Bittersweet farewell for beloved South Jersey choir teacher

- “Altos, you have this.”

Actually, it's Gayle Rubenstein, who has this -- all this.

“The music is the bonding factor and I think the music is how we learn about life.”

After 37 years as a music educator at Pemberton Township High, Gayle Rubenstein has interacted with several thousand students, teaching them a thing or two about music and life.

Chrissy McManis, a member of the alumni choir, said, “She was like a tutor the mentor she got me to love singing I still do now.”

Melody Wambo, also a member of the alumni choir, said, “Because of her I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston I majored in music education and am currently teaching at Oregon Music Academy. She inspired me there's no other words for it she's everything to me.”

Mrs. Rubenstein's former students returned to perform in the high school winter concert, traveling from Oregon and Atlanta, and all over to share love, music and memories.

“She is magic. We used to come in at 8 a.m. as a teenager not ready to go for the day she would pump us right up,” Wambo said.

A testament to the collective admiration for their former teacher, members of the alumni choir jumped at the opportunity to get together again -- connecting through an alumni choir Facebook page.

Kenyatta Arnette said, “She was my mentor and encouraged me to go into education as well.

“I know I wouldn't be Dr. Kenyatta Arnette if it wasn't for Gayle Rubenstein.”

“It's time for me to move on time for somebody else to take the reins. This is definitely a bittersweet night it is beautiful display of mutual love and affection,” Rubenstein said.

“It's a celebration of all of us, really.”

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