News & Notes - 6/22/23 Grosse Pointe Times

Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 21, 2023

 LEFT: Tom Torrento. RIGHT: Noah Zogas

LEFT: Tom Torrento. RIGHT: Noah Zogas

Music educators recognized
Grosse Pointe Public School System music teacher and band director Tom Torrento was chosen as a quarterfinalist for the 2024 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. Torrento, who has been teaching in the Grosse Pointe Public School System for the last five years, teaches band at Grosse Pointe North High School, Parcells Middle School and Brownell Middle School. He’s also the director of the district’s north-end pep, jazz and marching bands.

“I am honored to be selected amongst so many incredible music educators, and appreciate all the incredible teachers who I had the honor of learning from over the course of my musical career, as well as the ones I collaborate with every day,” Torrento said in a press release. “This honor is just as much theirs as it is mine.”

Torrento was one of 212 music educators selected as quarterfinalists, out of more than 2,000 applicants.

Another GPPSS music educator, Noah Zogas, was named Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association District XVI Orchestra Director of the Year. Zogas teaches strings at Parcells and is the orchestra director at North. He has been with the district for nine years.


AAUW awards scholarships to graduating seniors
The Grosse Pointe branch of the American Association of University Women recently presented $1,500 scholarships to female students graduating from Grosse Pointe North and South high schools who’ve expressed a preference for pursuing a career in a STEM field — science, technology, engineering and math. Applicants needed to submit an essay explaining what they would like to create to change the future, and they were evaluated on their academic performance, student and community leadership, and other qualities.

North recipients include Kaitlin Barr, who plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute to become an aerospace engineer, and Grace Korkmaz, who plans to attend Michigan State University to become a civil engineer.

South recipients include Ava Carr, who intends to go to Dartmouth College to study for a career in biomedical engineering, and Meredith Tiderington, who’ll be attending Purdue University, where she’ll be studying engineering.


Liggett Students receive awards
Nearly 50 University Liggett School students took home awards from the Michigan Social Studies Olympiad, including both third grade classes, which received a gold medal for Historical TV Newscast.

Other Elementary Division awards went to Zachary Morgan and Elliott Hemler, who received a gold medal for “Mapping Michigan’s Past,” and Hemler’s “Take a Stand” essay, which took home an honorable mention.

In the Senior Division, Ben Combs, Drew Johnson, Jack Nicholson and Jake Juip earned gold medals. Otto Massie, Charles Bronk, Izak Calderon, Luke Slanec, Kanaan Tayler and Luke Yoshido all won silver medals. Taking bronze awards were Olivia Jacque, Angelina Randazzo, Gia Randazzo and Felix Swanson.

Honorable mention winners in the Senior Division included Chase Connell, Sophia Secco, Jillian Whitton, Max Goerlich, Sana’a Brown, Luci Boyle, Jake Juip, Dahlia Medvinsky, Sophia Balaya, Josh Pierce, Taurian Dorty, Jarren Purify, Lydia Widick and Claire Juip.


The Village is alive with the sound of music
Music on the Plaza, a free series of outdoor cMusic on the Plaza, a free series of outdoor concerts in The Village, is back for another summer of sounds to remember. Concerts take place on the corner of Kercheval and St. Clair avenues on Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Until construction on parking lot 4 is completed, concerts will be conducted on the north side of Kercheval.

Not 2 Nite will play a mix of yacht rock, classic rock, ’80s New Wave and more June 22. Bandwagon will play modern, alternative, country, and more June 29. The acoustic duo Uncle Brown and ME will perform music from the 1960s through the present July 6. The Reason You Came delivers its own unique arrangements of beloved tunes July 13. Hear songs from the 1880s to the 1980s when The Kufflinks perform July 20. Dance to everything from Top 40 tracks to Motown and classic rock during a set by Mainstream Drive July 27. Concert attendees are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets. For more information, visit or see The Village, Downtown Grosse Pointe Facebook page or The Village Grosse Pointe Instagram page.


Park man named to state nonprofit board
Sandy Baruah, of Grosse Pointe Park, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, was recently named to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan Board of Directors. The nonprofit works to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those who have it.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Sandy to our Board. His experience in serving the people and businesses of Metro Detroit, as well as his leadership skills, will be extremely valuable to our Board and staff as we look to the future,” NKFM President and CEO Linda Smith-Wheelock said in a press release.


Shores man appointed to automotive nonprofit
Former Grosse Pointe Shores Village Councilman Fred Minturn has been appointed to the board of the Automotive Hall of Fame. Minturn is the chair of MSX International.