In a unanimous vote by the five-member Londonderry School Board, Serge Beaulieu was appointed the new music director.
Beaulieu has served for 18 years as the assistant music director under Andy Soucy, who is retiring.
The promotion of Beaulieu, effective July 1, follows a national search that attracted a number of applicants, according to a news release.
“I’m very excited, definitely honored and humbled. It was really a long process and I’m sure the powers that be wanted to make sure that they got the decision right,” Beaulieu said.
Board Chairman Jenn Ganem said she looks forward to seeing what Beaulieu brings to the program.
“Really, what won us over was his commitment to the program over the years and his vision for moving the program forward,” Ganem said.
Board member Steve Young said he recused himself from the Interview Committee because he hired Beaulieu’s wife to tutor his son in math 10 years ago, but, speaking for himself, he is impressed by Beaulieu and happy he intends to work more closely with the wider district.
Beaulieu said he plans to reach out to the middle and elementary schools to listen to educators there about any issues or areas of need for their music programs, and help find solutions.
Young said the selection process was competitive and there was one other applicant who came close to being selected.
“It wasn’t a slam dunk that it was gonna be Serge,” he said.
But he said it’s a testament to Beaulieu’s talent and respect in the community that he was ultimately selected.
“He has exhibited a love of music and desire to continue to create learning opportunities for our students that have earned the confidence of our leadership team,” Superintendent Scott Laliberte said of Beaulieu in a statement.
Londonderry High School Principal Jason Parent said in a statement he is “thrilled” about Beaulieu’s promotion and said he brings “vast knowledge, passion and commitment” to the program.
School board member Michael Saucier said he is “really excited that we have him on board.”
He said he expects Beaulieu to carry on the same level of excellence the town’s music program is known for.
“I think he can continue the legacy of the Londonderry music program … and continue the good work that Soucy has done,” Saucier said.
Soucy had been with the district since 1974, before the district even had a high school, according to Young. He started as music director in 1999.
Beaulieu said Soucy’s legacy is a significant one to live up to.
“I have big shoes to fill, certainly, but I feel like I’m going to bring my own flavor to how we do things,” Beaulieu said.
Beaulieu is proficient in 13 instruments and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in music education in 1999. He attended UMass Amherst and marched with the Minuteman Marching Band there before transferring to UNH.
During his time with the district, he’s helped orchestrate, write and arrange music performed by the Marching Lancers and the high school drama department.
Beaulieu is now the strings teacher at the high school. While his replacement will likely take on that role, he hopes to stay involved in the program. Beaulieu said Londonderry is one of just nine communities in the state that has a strings program, and it gives music students who don’t want to be in the band an opportunity to play an instrument.
The Marching Lancers have performed in five Rose Bowl Parades, two Presidential Inaugural Parades and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Cultural Festival. They also are a regular staple at the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.