2022-2023 Workshop Presenters


September 17, 2022: Ben Torres

Ben Torres teaches K–5 general music at Woodlawn Elementary in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, where he was named teacher of the year for the 2020-2021 school year. Prior to this, he taught K¬–6 general music at Brentfield Elementary in Dallas, TX where he was chosen as teacher of the year and where both his choral and Orff ensembles were selected to perform at Texas MEA conventions and the national AOSA Professional Development Conferences. Ben received his bachelor’s degree in music education from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX and his Orff training and master’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is a certified AOSA-approved teacher educator in movement and recorder and teaches all three levels of movement in the Orff Schulwerk teacher education courses at Trinity University in San Antonio, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Ben presents workshops for Orff chapters and school districts across the country.

Workshop Title: Inspire and Create Through Music

Workshop Date/Time:  Saturday, September 17, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Workshop Location:  South Lebanon Elementary School 


October 15, 2022: Manju Durairaj

Manju Durairaj was born and raised in India. She studied in Pune, India. She was involved in graduate research projects on comparative pedagogical practices of Indian (Carnatic) and Western Music at Middlesex University, London, UK. She graduated with her second master’s degree and K-12 certification from VanderCook College of Music, Chicago.
Manju is the Lower School Music Teacher at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president elect for ILMEA elementary general music division, vice president elect DEI of AOSA, past president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter and is a certified Orff Schulwerk Levels Teacher Educator. She is a certified Arts Integration specialist. She is an adjunct professor at VanderCook College of Music, Chicago where she teaches curriculum design and elementary methods graduate, undergraduate and continuing teacher education courses. Her continuing teaching education courses, on campus and online, include Culturally Responsive Music Education, Technology, Arts Integration, Curriculum Development, Responsive Classroom, and Redesigning Teaching and Learning for 21st Century.

She is a frequent clinician at various state, national, and international conferences. She has been published in the Orff Echo, Reverberations, Illinois Music Educators Journal, General Music Today, and the Journal of the Council for Research in Music Education. Her publications with Hal Leonard include InterAct with Music Assessment Levels 1 and 2, InterAct Levels 1&2 Student Activities for Devices and Print, Technology in Today’s Music Classroom and Dancing Around the World with Music Express Magazine.

Workshop Title:  21st Century Orff Schulwerk: Making Responsive Teaching and Collaborative Learning Visible

Workshop Date/Time:  Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. 

Workshop Location:  South Lebanon Elementary School 


February 11, 2023: Aimee Curtis Pfitzner

Aimee Curtis Pfitzner has taught music for 29 years, 25 at her current school. She holds a Masters of Music degree from UNC-Greensboro and completed Level I Orff -Schulwerk Training at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, Level II and III at University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and Master’s Level at the University of Memphis. Aimee is a frequent presenter at music workshops and conferences in the US and internationally. Her books, Hands to Hands, Hands to Hands Too!, Painted Music, Sing a Song, Play a Game, Playful Possibilities, and Singing Waters Dancing Flames: Music and the Elements are available from Beatin’ Path Publications. She is passionate about music making, singing, gardening, adoption, and anything and everything creative; painting, zendoodling, making jewelry, sewing, and crafting. When not teaching or singing, writing music or creating, she can be found musically musing on her blog, www.ofortunaorff.com.

Workshop Title: Hands to Hands: Clapping and Singing Games, Songs, and Dances from Around the World

Workshop Date/Time:  Saturday, February 11, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. 

Workshop Location:  South Lebanon Elementary School 


March 18, 2023: Natasha Thurmon 

Natasha Thurmon teaches K-5 general music, choir, strings, Recorder, and Orff
ensemble at Boldt Elementary in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, TX. She has a BME in Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University and an MM in Music Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She completed her Orff levels and two master classes at Trinity University, where she now teaches Recorder. Natasha is past president of Central Texas Orff, and has served on several subcommittees for AOSA, chairing the Social Media subcommittee, and most currently on the Recorder Teacher Apprenticeship Panel. She has presented at various workshops locally and at state conferences, as well as at the national AOSA conference and for Orff chapter workshops. She serves as co-site chair on the Professional Development committee of her local Northside AFT union and on their Executive Board as Elementary Vice President.

Workshop Title: Giving a Little Grace: Teaching with Understanding and Empathy

Workshop Date/Time:  Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. 

Workshop Location:  South Lebanon Elementary School