Department Highlight: Music/Theater


The Eye of the Hurricane is here to present our department highlight for the theater-music department! These teachers teach Choir, Band, Music Theory, Guitar, and direct the school musical. We hope you enjoy the interview.

The Music-Theater teachers:

Mrs. Raybold

Mr. Yoho

Mr. Onufrak

Mr. Lee

When did you begin your teaching career? How long have you been teaching music/directing the musical?

Mrs. Raybold- I began teaching music in 2002 at Freedom Area School District. I taught there for my first 4 years before coming to New Castle 17 years ago. So, this makes year 21 for me.

Mr. Yoho- I began my teaching career in 2004 here at New Castle Area School District. My first position was at the former Ben Franklin Junior High School teaching junior high choir (grades 7 and 8) and 7th Grade General Music. The very next year Ben Franklin closed and the junior high was moved up to the current Jr/Sr High building. From 2005-2010 I split my day between the junior high teaching 7th-grade general music in the morning and then going to the former John F. Kennedy Elementary in the afternoon teaching grades 1-3. In 2010 I became the band director and am currently in my 13th year as the director of bands.

Mr. Onufrak- I began teaching at New Castle in 2005, although I had been teaching private trumpet lessons since 2000.

Mr. Lee- I started teaching in 2001. I have previously taught first and fourth grade, and I was a reading specialist at George Washington. I have been directing musicals since 2015.

What do you like most about teaching/directing?

Mrs. Raybold- I love getting to know my students and watching them grow up in the choir room year after year. It really feels like a family where everyone can thrive and is accepted.

Mr. Yoho- Getting to make music every day with the students of New Castle. This is my alma mater and I take pride in the history and tradition that is the New Castle band program. Watching the current students carry on that pride and tradition but also making the band their own. They grow so much throughout the season and school year and that is great to watch them grow and succeed.

Mr. Onufrak- I love interacting with the students, especially the ones that don’t particularly enjoy music as a school subject.  It is really a great feeling when I can get a student who may not enjoy listening or playing music to truly appreciate it.

Mr. Lee- I enjoy working with the high school students, the last time I saw many of them was in elementary school, so it is a privilege to see you grow. I also enjoy watching students grow from when they first start to opening night. On a personal note directing allows me to express and channel my creativity, I always try to choose a show that pushed both the students and myself.

What is the best thing about the music/theater department?

Mrs. Raybold- We get to have students throughout their entire time in school. In my position, I start with my students in 3rd grade and see many of them every year after. The music department is also such a great place for students to find success and joy. Music provides a great outlet and is a nice change of pace during the day.

Mr. Yoho- New Castle has a rich history in their music department. The band program started in 1920 and has been very strong in the community and produced a lot of great musicians. Instilling the history of the program into the current band students is something we take great pride in.

Mr. Onufrak- I can’t speak on the theater department, but creating music together is a great thing.  It’s amazing the amount of talent our kids have, and seeing the creativity and musicianship of our students is amazing.

Mr. Lee- The theatre department is a place for everyone, no matter their background, race, or sexuality, we strive to make it a safe and welcoming space for all.

Did you have a favorite thing for you to do in your department? i.e, a favorite song to sing, favorite musical performed, favorite song the band played?

Mrs. Raybold- I always love doing a combined number at the end of concerts. It is so exciting to see that many students on stage and it sounds amazing.

Mr. Yoho- My favorite part of my job is working with our different bands throughout the school year.  Here at New Castle, we have the SH concert band, JH concert band, marching band, jazz band, and pep band. One of my favorite times of the year is when the brass ensemble performs for the last day of school right before Christmas break in the commons area and then travels around the school to perform throughout the hallways and in classrooms. It is too hard to narrow down my favorite song the band has played but to list a couple would be Pirates of the Caribbean and anything by John Williams, specifically Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We performed these both while clips of the movie played on the screen above the band. Timing these pieces out to line up with specific clips was a fun challenge for the band.

Mr. Onufrak- I really love teaching General Music 8.  Some of the characters in the history of American music – from Elvis to Phil Spector to Grandmaster Flash –  are truly exciting for me to delve into.

Mr. Lee- One of my favorite events each year is the Cabaret, sadly it has been on hold because of COVID, but we are bringing it back this year.

Thanks for reading Canes!