Dr. Joyce Richardson-Melech is in her 31st year of teaching general classroom music in her hometown of Perth Amboy. She has been the 5th grade chorus director of Samuel E. Shull School, William C. McGinnis School, and the 3rd and 4th grade chorus director of A. V. Ceres School. She also has been the assistant band director of the Perth Amboy High School Band in charge of woodwinds from 1984 - 1994. Dr. Richardson-Melech has also been the musical director of the Perth Amboy High School play from 1989 – 1992, winning outstanding musical director awards from the Division of Community Education at Middlesex County College, Edison, New Jersey for “Grease” in 1989, and “Little Shop of Horrors” in 1990.
She was also honored with Best Musical Accompanist for “Little Shop of Horrors” in 1990 presented by the Joseph P. Hayes Drama Festival in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Other plays performed at Perth Amboy High School where Richardson-Melech served as music director were “Hair” in 1991 and “Leader of the Pack” in 1992.
As an elementary chorus director, Richardson-Melech has been instrumental in producing numerous plays, programs, and concerts, including Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book, and Cinderella. Her chorus programs focus on themes such as Classic American Folksongs and Dance Hits Through the Decades and the chorus sings for the annual Holiday Programs. She has led the A. V. Ceres School 3rd and 4th Grade Chorus in participation with Kids in Concert sponsored by the Education Law Center of Newark, New Jersey for three consecutive years in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She has been named A. V. Ceres School’s Teacher of the Year for 2011.
Dr. Richardson-Melech is active at the state, national, and international levels as well as at the local level. She is a Fulbright scholar and is the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminars Abroad Award given by the U. S. Department of Education in 2010. The seminar resulted in a curriculum project that integrates music, language arts, visual arts, and social studies, and is available through the University of Texas website. She was part of a school administration delegation to Russia in 2007 sponsored by People to People. In addition to this, she also was part of music education delegations to South Africa in 2010 and to Brazil in 2011, also sponsored by People to People. Richardson-Melech received the Lois Bailey Glenn Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004 presented by the National Music Foundation. She also received a grant from the American Education Initiative of the National Music Foundation in 2004 for a lesson plan design based on Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha Overture and Wall Street Rag employing Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. A children’s book entitled The Peacock of Halfway Tree: a Caribbean Fable was illustrated by
Richardson-Melech and published during 2004. An article was published in Sept. /Oct. Tempo Magazine entitled A Matter of Philosophy in Music Education: Reimer’s Aesthetic Experience Compared to Elliot’s Optimal Experience. As a designer of lesson plans, Richardson-Melech has contributed to the Teachers’ Resource Book published by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She is the recipient of the notable Excellence in Teaching Award given by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005. Richardson-Melech is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in American Education, as well as Marquis Who’s Who in America, and Marquis Who’s Who of American Women. She is also listed in International Who’s Who of Musicians, 2000 and 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century, both published by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
Dr. Richardson-Melech sings with Philomusica Community Choir in East Brunswick and serves on the Board of Directors as Secretary. She is a parishioner and member of the choir of Historical St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Perth Amboy where she occasionally sings solos for Sunday services. She has performed as a mezzo-soprano soloist with the United Moravian Church in New York City 1980 – 1981 and the John Hus Moravian Church in Brooklyn where she was the mezzo-soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah in 1998. She is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the New Jersey Music Educators Association, the Central Jersey Music Educators Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. She is a life member of the Perth Amboy NAACP chapter. She holds bachelor and master of music in music education degrees from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a doctorate of musical arts in music education from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her dissertation is entitled An Analysis of the Listening Preferences of Elementary School Children for Western Classical Art Music in the Orchestra Setting. Dr. Richardson-Melech holds a certificate in supervision in addition to certification as a music teacher. She currently teaches kindergarten through fourth grades at the Dr. Herbert N. Richardson 21st Century School in Perth Amboy which is named after her late father, who was a music educator, music supervisor, and principal. Dr. Herbert N. Richardson was the first black teacher hired in the city of Perth Amboy in 1949 and was also a member of the Music Educators National Conference as well as the New Jersey Music Educators Association.