PLAISTOW — For more than two decades, Tony DiBartolomeo has been the face of the Timberlane Regional School District music program. Now, he’s the face of music teachers around the state.
DiBartolomeo, 60, was honored with the 2013 New Hampshire Music Educator of the year award for his 26 years of service to Timberlane. The award is given out by the New Hampshire Music Educators Association.
DiBartolomeo is the director of music for the Timberlane district and also conducts the Timberlane Community Band.
“It’s a lifetime achievement award,” DiBartolomeo said. “It’s really an honor to be in the group and presence of those who have been honored with this award in the past.”
DiBartolomeo was honored at a statewide conference in Concord last month, attended by teachers and students. He goes to the conference each year, but had no idea he would be the one receiving the most prestigious award of the night.
“I was sitting next to a colleague from another district and I asked him who was getting the award this year,” DiBartolomeo said. “He told me he didn’t know, but of course he knew.”
A representative from the board then started reading an excerpt from the nomination letter, written by DiBartolomeo’s colleagues. But the writing was vague enough that he still didn’t know it was him.
“A lot of people have those characteristics, which he was reading about,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, it hit home and I realized it was me.”
DiBartolomeo was then told to turn around and he saw his family and colleagues had come to Concord to watch him receive the award.
“I just couldn’t speak,” he said. “I was getting emotional. I wasn’t prepared at all and everything was just a surprise to me.”
DiBartolomeo’s students and colleagues agree that the award was well deserved.