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GeorgIa music news Conference Recap

Sessions, Performances, and Candids

All-State Conductors Band, Chorus, Orchestra and more!

Every Student Succeeds Act... Marcia Neel








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UWG PREVIEW DAY: Sunday, April 23, 2017

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georgia music news // spring 2017



District Chairs 1 - Kenza Murray 2 - Andrew C. Bell 3 - Jonathan Carmack 4 - D. Alan Fowler 5 - Stephen Lawrence 6 - Samuel Miller 7 - Blair Callaway 8 - Alan Carter 9 - Pat Gallagher 10 - Gene Hundley 11 - Todd Howell 12 - Paula Krupiczewicz 13 - Erik Mason 14 - Dion Muldrow

President-Elect Evelyn Champion Vice-President for All State Events Tracy Wright Vice-President for Performance Evaluation Events Richard Prouty


Past Presidents’ Representative Dr. Bernadette Scruggs


Editor, Georgia Music News Victoria Enloe

Executive Director Cecil Wilder

For the complete list of Board Members please visit:

Band Division Chair Neil Ruby

Dr. Andrew Poor

Choral Division Chair Wes Stoner

Around the State




All-State Conductors

Band, Choral, Orchestra and More!


GMEA Staff Aleta Womack Brandie Barbee Ryan Barbee

College Division Chair Dr. Laura Stambaugh Elementary Division Chair Vicky Knowles

GMN Advertising/Exhibitors Cindy Reed

Orchestra Division Chair Sarah Black Piano Division Chair Dr. Joanna Kim




The ESSA and What It Means for Music and Arts Education Marcia Neel





To advertise contact APPLY TODAY WWW.GMEA.ORG


Association News


Division News


Veteran 10

© Copyright 2017 by the Georgia Music Educators Association Printing by Slate Group, Lubbock, TX

All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright of the creators and publisher by the contractual arrangements. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the publisher and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership. Photos provided by Andy Edwards of Ace of Photos Visit

spring 2017 // georgia music news



Our 2nd In-Service Conference in Athens is now history and I want to thank all those who worked behind the scenes to make this a truly worthwhile experience for all our membership! I am very excited to announce that we had a total of 1783 register for the conference! The GMEA office staff worked tirelessly to insure that every aspect of the conference ran as smoothly as possible. We came together as a community that concentrated on the educator and our needs for professional development, networking, and having the opportunity to experience and celebrate some of the best in our state through performances and clinic sessions. Kudos to our division chairs and area leaders as we saw approximately 150 clinic sessions offering our members everything from Ethics in the Music Classroom to Building Literacy and Musicianship to Classroom Management and far beyond. There was certainly something for everyone as our areas of band, choral, orchestra, elementary, guitar, piano, technology, and research brought us a myriad of clinic sessions to aid in the growth and maintenance of music education in Georgia. And… what can we say about Dr. Tim? The spirit of everyone in attendance at the General Session was lifted as he shared such an inspiring and motivational message to our members, confirming that we can and do make a difference every day in the lives of these young men and women who have been entrusted to us to guide and lead. Special thanks go to all those directors who worked so hard to bring quality performances to the conference stage. Many of us know what goes into preparing and bringing an ensemble to perform at the conference and we are grateful to all who went that extra mile to bring such wonderful performances to us.


georgia music news // spring 2017

As most of you are aware, we have elected a new slate of officers this year. I want to send congratulations to these as they look ahead to begin their time of service to GMEA. Congratulations to Jon Cotton, Vice-President for LGPE; Amy Clement, Vice-President for All State; Rudy Gilbert, Band Division Chair; Marla Baldwin, Choral Division Chair; Joshua Byrd, College Division Chair; Jenny Chambless, Elementary Division Chair; and Sam Lowder, Orchestra Division Chair. As I write this, many of you are preparing for LGPE and All-State events. When you read this, those events will have passed. I hope that you all had wonderful experiences at LGPE and All-State. The quality of music education in Georgia is always made evident by these events as they showcase so many of our amazing students and are proof that music education is alive and well in Georgia. As we approach these final months of this school year, let each of us be reminded that, as music educators, we are a community. We all wear so many hats each and every day… we are educators, instructors, directors, counselors, life coaches, and sometimes second parents to hundreds of students daily in classrooms all over our state. This makes us a community of men and women that face common challenges every day as we bring music into the lives that are eager to and, sometimes, not so eager to learn. Yet, we continue, day after day, to gift these lives with the wonder and majesty of music. As Dr. Tim so emphatically put it in his keynote address…. We make a difference! DOWNTOWN ATHENS


GOING – GOING – ALMOST – GONE Recently, I was perusing some online sites and came across “A History of the Pepperell Bands.” And since I am constantly looking for little nuggets of information for our GMEA Archives, I visited the site. To my surprise and delight, it covered quite a span of time from the early 1900’s to the present. Checking through the information offered, I found out that the Pepperell Band tradition began in 1907, when Paul Nixon, a musical prodigy, moved to Rome with his parents and sister. A year later, Capt. H.P. Meikleham, of the Pepperell Mills in Lindale, hired the18 year old Nixon to form and conduct a community concert band. The Lindale Band was a great success, drawing listeners from a radius of 40 miles for their concerts. During his service in World War I, Nixon conducted a U.S. Army band in Europe and became friends with John Phillip Sousa. After the war, Nixon returned to Rome and reorganized the Lindale Band. In 1921, in cooperation with the Rome Music Lovers Club, Nixon combined his Lindale Band with Mrs. W.P. (Edith) Harbin’s Chamber Music Ensemble to form the Rome Symphony Orchestra, the first and oldest symphony in the South. Nixon was chosen to conduct the Rome Symphony Orchestra, and he continued to conduct the Lindale Band. In 1925, he brought his friend, John Phillip Sousa, to Rome. Sousa conducted the Lindale Band in concert, to the adulation of a packed audience at the new Rome City Auditorium. The first school in Lindale was organized in 1896 and, in 1940, a new school building was erected on the present site of Pepperell High School. In August of 1951, Pepperell became a high school and was recognized by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges in 1962. The first Pepperell High School Band was organized in 1953 by Mr. William Leach. Mr. Leach was a multi-talented instructor, as he taught science and band, as well as coaching the football and basketball teams. Thankfully, the author of this history article went on to detail the decades of Pepperell Band history that followed, right up to the present day.

After seeing the Pepperell Band site, I began to wonder about the history of music programs all over our state. Is anybody working to record the history of your school’s band, your chorus, or your orchestra program? I started checking around and the answer is not encouraging. Many schools have no one actively working to preserve the history of their music programs. I suddenly had the realization that the history of our local school programs was going – going – almost gone. The information about directors who conducted these groups and those who participated in many of our local school music programs is being lost. That means any chance we have in preserving the history for many of our local school music programs is rapidly disappearing, especially with the older programs. How about your program? Do you know your group’s history? Is it written down to pass on to the next generation? After you are gone, will there be a record to let future generations know you were there? Time waits for no one. What can you do to preserve the history of your organization? Where can you look for information? How do you get started? One good place to start is your school’s yearbooks. They contain the names and dates of past directors and group members. In addition they probably contain evidence of special events or recognition. By locating the names of the former directors and students, you or an interested booster parent, can find people to interview that can fill out the history of the program. The information is probably still out there but the time to gather it is quickly going away. And once the information is located, it needs to go online, like the Pepperell site, where it can be both preserved and accessible. Better check it out before it is going – going – Gone.



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Joe David, retired band director at Cairo High School, passed away after an extended battle with cancer. Joe was well loved and respected by many friends for his willingness to share his musical talents and mentor young directors. He was also highly sought after as an adjudicator and clinician. Joining the band program in the 5th grade, Joe entered the band program much like thousands of other youngsters. It wasn’t until he became a member of the Washington-Wilkes High School Band that he began to take music seriously and started to show his musical ability. The catalyst for his transformation came when Major Billy Verran’s Cairo High School Band stopped to perform at Washington-Wilkes as a part of their annual spring tour. Joe was so inspired by their performance that he decided to become a band director. Little did he know that years later, he would become the director at Cairo High School. Joe went on to Georgia Southern University to earn his bachelor degree and move on to his first job in Hardeeville, South Carolina. After 4 years of developing his teaching skills, Joe moved on to teach a year at Wilkes Academy and then two years at Doughtery Junior High School in Albany, before taking the reins of the Cairo HS Band in 1972. Under his direction, the Cairo Band became well-known for superior ratings at LGPE and outstanding marching band performances. In 2007, Joe was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Georgia Bandmasters Hall of Fame and was presented the GMEA Distinguished Career Award. Joe and his wife, Lisa, had three sons, all of whom chose music education as their careers.

We regret to announce the passing of Bill Haynes, the music and drama teacher at E. Rivers Elementary in the Atlanta Public Schools. Bill was the victim a carjacking incident in Sandy Springs, during the Christmas Holiday Break. He was formerly the band director at Hardaway High School in Columbus, and had also directed the band at Ohio County High School and Greenville High School, both in Kentucky. Bill was the founding director of the Centennial High School Band in Roswell, Georgia, and also the conductor of the Alpharetta City Band. Bill was born in 1963, in Bowling Green, Kentucky and began developing his love of music at the age of 12, when his band director gave him an old, battered baritone horn to take home and play. When he was a freshman in the Bowling Green High School Band, Bill was allowed to go with them to Europe, where they performed in several European cities. His high school band experiences inspired Bill to major in music at Western Kentucky University and after launching a successful teaching career, he went on to earn his MMEd at FSU. Bill soon learned that in addition to teaching, he had a talent for arranging all kinds of music and for writing marching band drills. He combined these with his love for technology and produced many fine musical arrangements and marching shows for bands in Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Bill was a kind and gentle man with many friends and colleagues that will miss him.

After his retirement from Cairo, Joe continued teaching at Georgia Southern University and Columbus State University. “Poppa Joe,” as he was affectionately called will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, and the Cairo Community.

"we need never to be ashamed of our tears." charles dickens

email the gmn editor with details of those who should always be remembered. 6

georgia music news // spring 2017


spring 2017 // georgia music news


DIVISION NEWS BAND DIVISION Neil Ruby I hope everyone had a great start to the new year and semester! The Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and our second year in Athens was a huge success! I want to thank all of our clinicians, directors, performers, volunteers, presiders, and hosts for the incredible job they did to make this an amazing conference. I think all would agree that music education in Georgia is alive and well! Listening to Dr. Tim speak never disappoints as he opened up our conference with words of encouragement and inspiration. After our conference, I was reminded of Robert John Meehan’s quote “A key to growing as a teacher is to keep company mainly with teachers who uplift you, whose presence inspires you and whose dedication drives you.” I hope all of you had a chance to relax a little, learn new information and techniques to take back to the rehearsal hall, and recharge your batteries for the last half of the school year. My term as State Band Chair is quickly coming to a close, and I’ve spent a great deal of time lately reflecting about our wonderful organization and the tremendous band directors we have in Georgia. I never truly realized the incredible impact Robin Christian had on me until just recently. Robin’s help and guidance early on in my career and over the past three years has been greater than I can put into words. The job hasn’t always been easy, but the knowledge, experiences, and friendships I have gained during this time are things I will always cherish. Working with so many colleagues across Georgia has solidified my belief that band directors are very special people. They are the first to arrive at school and the last to leave. They don’t know the full meaning of a summer break. They are masters of time management and multitasking. They often go months or years without seeing colleagues and can pick up a conversation right where they left off when reunited at a concert or conference. Band directors do so much more than teach music. They are counselors, planners, nurses, tutors, travel agents, cheerleaders, mediators, designers, spokesmen, janitors, fundraisers, and the list goes on and on. At the same time, band directors give their students the life-long gift of music. Yes, band directors are very special people. Best wishes for the remainder of your school year and upcoming concerts. Thank you for all you do for our students and music education in Georgia. I continue to be in awe by the incredible talent in our state and feel very blessed to be part of such a wonderful organization.


georgia music news // spring 2017

CHORAL DIVISION Wes Stoner Happy Spring! The Choral Division has had a wonderful and busy winter, with a very successful In-Service Conference, a great Statewide 6th Grade Honor Chorus, and a truly inspiring All-State Chorus event. It never ceases to amaze me what our students are able to accomplish in choral music each year, and they’re able to do this because of the diligent work that you, the members of the choral division, are doing each day. As we approach this final tilt toward the end of the semester, with concerts, musicals, spring trips and tours, I challenge you to keep up the good work. I think it’s so important for us to step back and realize just how far our students have progressed in vocal development, musicianship, and artistry since August. I think, too, that we as conductor/teachers have to recognize our progression. In our data driven schools, let’s take that measurable data, showing the progression of our students, and use it to make next year even better. We owe it, not only to our students, but to ourselves, to continue growing and learning, and making our choral classrooms and programs places of rigorous and fun learning. Earlier this year, the choral division chose Marla Baldwin to serve as the State Choral Division Chair for 2019-2021. I have every confidence that Marla will be a wonderful leader for our organization! I have been honored to have held positions in leadership, and I hope that many of you will consider serving in organizational roles within GMEA. There are few more fulfilling jobs than serving an organization that provides so many opportunities for its members and their students. Don’t forget to attend your districts’ Spring Planning Meetings coming up, and be active participants in the choral activities within your district. We need you! I want to thank you for entrusting me with this responsibility. I look forward to “passing the baton” to Kim Eason, who will take over the position of Choral Division Chair at the end of the school year. Our division is in great hands, and I look forward to what’s to come!

COLLEGE DIVISION Dr. Laura Stambaugh Use the successes of the 2017 GMEA Conference to inspire proposals for 2018. As I write this column, it is only a couple days after our January conference. We had more College Division sessions this year than in some past years. I hope you were able to take a break from your college’s exhibit hall booth to attend some of them. I will mention a few here, in an effort to spark ideas for next year’s sessions. The call for session proposals always creeps up sooner than I’m expecting. Take a moment now to jot down some ideas, so you will be ready to write your application around March or April. Two sessions targeted early career faculty: Winning the First College Job: What Do I Do Now, by Patrick Freer, and Navigating Promotion & Tenure, by Rebecca Johnston and Roy Legette. Dr. Freer explained the steps involved in hiring college faculty and the kinds of materials a candidate would need to submit. Sessions like this can help P-12 teachers and graduate students shape their professional development, making them more successful in the move from P-12 to tertiary education. Dr. Johnston and Dr. Legette brought multiple perspectives about the promotion and tenure process. While each college has different expectations for P&T, they all share a balance of evaluating teaching, service, and scholarly/creative activity. P&T isn’t necessarily well-documented at all institutions, so it can be enlightening for early career faculty to learn about the process from tenured faculty. In addition, graduate students benefit from attending sessions like this in order to learn about their future professional expectations. As teacher preparation faculty, it can be challenging to stay current with policy mandates, changes in certification, and legal and ethical issues. This year, we had excellent sessions from Dr. Barry Morgan (Law 101, A Legal Primer for Music Teachers) and from Dr. Shelley Sanderson (Out There in the Open: A Real World Discussion of Ethics in the Music Classroom). Both of these topics can be addressed from multiple perspectives and should be regular topics at conferences. In addition, you could build a conference session based on your participation on a PSC committee or other regional activity. I hope this recap and reflection will encourage you to submit proposals to the College Division for 2018.

Jeff Kriske, conducting the students participating in the 2017 Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus.


The 2017 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Athens was wonderful this year. We had a chance to learn from experts from home and abroad. I hope you have had a chance to try a few things in your classroom already.

The best moments of the conference were the two wonderful elementary concerts we hosted this year. Nora Dukes brought her students from Fairview Elementary and performed at the Athens United Methodist church. They performed a flawless concert with beautiful tone and wonderfully challenging repertoire. The second concert was in the Classic Center. The Dyer Elementary Chorus and Advanced Percussion Ensemble performed a lively concert on Friday night under the direction of Sherry Coulombe. These students sang, played, and danced their way through a wonderfully executed and engaging program. Both concerts showcased the wonderful teaching and learning that is happening in our state. I am happy to announce the election results are in and Jenny Chambless will be our amazing leader starting in 2019. Jenny is a wonderful teacher from Gwinnett county and has already honed her leadership skills as president of the Atlanta Area Orff Chapter. We enjoyed tremendous performances at Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus in Athens. Our expert clinicians and well-behaved, talented kids made for a great weekend; and our Georgia directors are the reason it comes together each year. I hope all of you across the state have a wonderful second semester with fulfilling performances.

PIANO DIVISION Dr. Joanna Kim Greetings! I cannot believe spring is under way already! I hope all the members of the piano division are doing well. It was my pleasure to meet many of you during the one-day Piano Event at the 2017 In-Service Conference in Athens. For those of you who had questions regarding the piano division’s change from a three-day conference to one day, here is my justification. First, the rate of participating attendees for a full threeday conference was too low for the piano division to continue to offer the multiday program. Because we piano teachers are often self-employed and every lesson hour counts, I understand the difficulty of giving up three teaching days to attend the conference. Secondly, many winning students required to participate during the conference had schedule conflicts and scheduling was becoming almost impossible. As we all know, our top students are multi-talented! They seem to be good at every activity in which they participate. Scheduling performances on our Saturday event made it possible for these winning students to travel to Athens and share their music with the rest of the piano members. Third, moving our event from the Classic Center to the University of Georgia campus proved to be a very reasonable and logical decision. (continued on page 8)

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All-State Middle School Orchestra organizer, Kinsey Edwards, rehearsing with students, preparing for their All-State debut.

If you attended last year’s session at the Classic Center, you will recall how difficult it was for us to hear the piano with jazz bands and percussion ensembles performing in the neighboring conference rooms. Our room was not sound proofed and the rented piano was a baby grand. This year, we were fortunate to be able to use the beautiful Steinway DConcert grand and the marvelous Edge Recital Hall at UGA. Special thanks to Dr. Martha Thomas who made this all possible for GMEA Piano Division. The one-day piano event had a record number of 32 teachers in attendance! This was the highest participation rate in the last seven years! There a tightly packed schedule, with sessions starting at 8:10am and the last session starting at 8:00pm. We had a lineup of wonderful piano professors from around the state. Thank you to Dr. Jerico Vasquez - Shorter University, Dr. Alex Wasserman - Reinhardt University, Dr. Martha Thomas - University of Georgia, Dr. Soohyun Yun - Kennesaw State University, Dr. Clara Park & Dr. Martin David-Jones - Augusta State University, and Dr. Geoffrey Haydon - Georgia State University. These clinicians shared their time and talents with our top young pianists. Your heartfelt dedication and service to the piano division are much appreciated. I also wanted to extend a special thanks to Dr. Kris Carlisle – chair elect, who assisted me with running the day smoothly. Lastly, I am grateful to all the teachers who have work tirelessly to prepare their students. Georgia is very lucky to have an army of piano teachers who are truly dedicated to their work, which is also their passion! I can clearly see all of your dedication and I am honored to be represent you as piano division chair. One last note, the biennial piano concerto competition took place on January 21st, 2017, under the leadership of Dr. Geoffrey Haydon at Georgia State University. This year’s winner was 12th grade student Ethan Chen from the South Forsyth High School. Those who attended the All-State Orchestra concert enjoyed his fine performance of the first movement of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto with the AllState Orchestra! Many exciting changes are happening in the piano division and I hope you share my excitements for our division. I look forward to hearing comments from the teachers who attended the one-day event. Always feel free to contact me and leave comments. My ears are always open for your suggestions and ideas.

ORCHESTRA DIVISION Sarah Black I hope everyone is having an amazing year. I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their flexibility with all state auditions when Mother Nature had alternate plans. Just as a reminder, we do publish the inclement weather date at the same time as the primary date, so I strongly encourage you to include that date in your orchestra calendar, all state information that goes home to students/parents, and with your school. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the all state process. First and foremost, our hosts at Westminster Schools: Linda Cherniavsky, Rebecca Frederick, and Bo Na. Next, Evelyn Champion and Carolyn Landreau for spending an entire 10

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Sunday making sure students were placed in correct orchestras and that directors were notified. I appreciate each and every private teacher and school director that volunteered your time and efforts on the day of auditions, as well. Finally, all state would not happen without this incredible force of organizers: Kinsey Edwards (Crews MS), Patricia Cleaton ( Jones MS), Teresa Hoebeke (Hopewell MS), Frank Folds (Osborne MS), Lori Gomez (Chattahoochee HS), and Carl Rieke (Osborne MS). One of my favorite weekends of the year is the In-Service Conference. It is so inspiring and exciting to be around so many dedicated and passionate educators. I feel like it is a big family reunion. Thank you to all that presented and of course, to our performing groups as well. I know that I couldn’t wait to get back to school on Monday to bring that excitement to my students. For those of you that attended, I hope you found it to be a valuable experience. I welcome your feedback for ideas you have for future conferences and will be happy to pass that on to our next division chair, Bernadette Scruggs. If you were unable to attend, please make plans to go next year. I know it is hard to be away from our students, especially during LGPE season, but I feel the spark that we get from being around so many amazing colleagues makes us better for our students and definitely makes us better teachers when we return to our classrooms. I hope that All-State was a wonderful experience for all of our students. We are extremely fortunate to have six orchestras in Georgia. With well over 1,000 students auditioning, we are able to showcase the best that Georgia has to offer. As I travel the country to different conferences, it is with great pride that I can share with you that Georgia’s All-State Orchestras are held in the highest esteem by conductors and educators across the country. Our middle school conductors were Richard Meyer and Brian Cole. The 9/10 string orchestra was conducted by Chris Selby; 9/10 full orchestra by Allen Tinkham. Finally, the 11/12 string orchestra was under the direction of Bill Bitter, and the 11/12 full orchestra was led by Steven Amundsen. Every year each orchestra raises the bar and the standard of excellence is overwhelming. I hope you were able to observe rehearsals and attend the Saturday concerts. I certainly left Athens full of hope and excitement about music education in our state. As spring arrives, I invite you to reflect on this year and what you have done that you are proud of. What would you change? What will you do again? We are so fortunate in our profession that we get to try new things with wonderful students. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and try something different, but always remember to rely on your tried and true methods as well. I wish you and your students the best as you continue making music and memories together. As always, if I can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for all you do every day for your students, school, and community.

EDITOR’S CORNER Christopher Carr, Herb Cox, Sam Lowder, Nancy Whittenburger, and Jennifer Wright, who have all been recognized as “Teacher of the Year,” were mistakenly omitted from the list of recipients published in the fall issue. Below are these directors’ honors. Georgia Music News apologizes for this error and congratulates these fine music educators on their awards.


Did you know that Georgia is made up of some of the greatest music teachers in the country? Here are just some of our fellow GMEA Members that have been recognized by their school systems for their outstanding work. NAME



Christopher Carr


2013 South Paulding High School’s TOTY in 2013

Herb Cox


1989 TOTY for North Springs HS and for the Fulton County school system.

Sam Lowder


2005-2006 Lovejoy Middle School (Clayton County) 2009-2010 Woodland Middle School-Stockbridge (Henry County)

Nancy Whittenburger


-TOTY for Fairplay Middle School in Douglas County School System - 1991-92 -Middle School TOTY in Douglas County School System 1991-92 -System-wide TOTY in Douglas County School System 1991-92 -TOTY for East Coweta High School in Coweta County School System -1994-95 -High School TOTY for Coweta County School System 1994-95 -Finalist for System-wide TOTY 1994-95 -TOTY for Sweetwater Elementary School in Douglas County 2004-05 -Elementary TOTY for Douglas County School System 2004-05 -System-wide TOTY for Douglas County School System 2004-05

Jennifer Wright


2009 Robinson Elementary School


GMN Recognizes Christopher Carr, Herb Cox, Sam Lowder, Nancy Whittenburger, and Jennifer Wright


GMN EDITOR Victoria Enloe

AROUND THE STATE • Garrison School for the Arts’ Jimmy Kim and John King, alto-Saxophone were selected as members of the Ohio State Honor Band February 25th. They traveled to Columbus, Ohio for the rehearsal and performance.

not only teaches her students about being the best musicians they can be, but more importantly, being the best people they can be. Long after her students have left Taylor Road, Mrs. Thompson continues to reach out and support her students. Mrs. Thompson was recognized at a reception by the Georgia Music Partners association in January, as well as at the ASTA luncheon in Athens, GA.

• The Savannah Wind Symphony, under the direction of Mark B. Johnson, presented the world premiere performance of Bootleggin’ Moonshine, their newly commissioned work by Julie Giroux, on March 7, 2017 in the Fine Arts Auditorium at Armstrong State University.

• We would like to congratulate the Central-Carroll High School Symphonic Band for receiving the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award. • The North Paulding High School Wind Symphony performed February 3, 2017, at the University of Alabama for their 32nd Annual Honor Band Festival. This performance marked the first of its kind for North Paulding High School.

• Kevin Oliver Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia from Westlake High School, has been named a 2017 National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) Merit Winner in Jazz for Alto Saxophone. Selected from the largest pool of applicants to date, Oliver has been recognized for his outstanding artistic achievements and joins 691 of the nation’s most promising young artists from 40 states across the literary, visual, design and performing arts. Winners receive awards, opportunities to participate in YoungArts programs nationwide and engage with renowned mentors, and guidance in taking important steps toward achieving their artistic goals. A complete list of the 2017 Winners, all 15 -18 years old or in grades 10 -12, is available online at


georgia music news // spring 2017

• The University of West Georgia announces new performance faculty: Staci Culbreth, Instructor of Clarinet, and Pam Holloway, Instructor of Oboe. Staci Culbreth

• Berry College Jazz Ensemble presents “The Jazz Soul of West Side Story” on Friday, April 7th at 7:30 PM in Ford Auditorium. The concert will feature New York trumpet sensation Audie Hass, who currently tours with Harry Connick and Maria Schneider. • The Woodstation Singers (Woodstation ES) are traveling to Nashville to record for Jack White’s Third Man Records.


• One of GMEA’s own members was recently honored as a finalist (top 10) for the 2017 Grammy Educator award. Nicole Thompson, orchestra director at Taylor Road Middle School, was nominated by a student and parent for her impact on them. Mrs. Thompson’s application and video was selected out of thousands of entries and a rigorous screening process. The common theme from her students is that Mrs. Thompson

• The following students were members of the 2017 U.S. Army All American Band: Miguel Gonzalez (Lakeview Ft. Oglethorpe); Sean McOsker (Ringgold); Keiley Rowland (Coosa);Tyler Wise (Ringgold); and Micah Young (Heritage/Ringgold).


Oliver will become part of the organization’s expansive alumni network of leading professionals, including actors Viola Davis (1983 Winner in Theater), Andrew Rannells (1997 Winner in Theater) and Kerry Washington (1994 Winner in Theater); visual artists Doug Aitken (1986 Winner in Visual Arts) and Daniel Arsham (1999 Winner in Visual Arts); musicians Conrad Tao (2011 Winner in Music and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and Jennifer Koh (1994 Winner in Music and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); filmmaker Doug Blush (1984 Winner in Cinematic Arts); recording artists Josh Groban (1999 Winner in Theater) and Chris Young (2003 Winner in Voice and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); writer Sam Lipsyte (1986 Winner in Writing and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); renowned choreographer Desmond Richardson (1986 Winner in Modern Dance and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); and 2015 So You Think You Can Dance winner Gaby Diaz (2014 Winner in Dance).

• The Carrollton High School Wind Ensemble performed at the Music for All Concert Band Regional at Georgia State University on March 23, 2017.

Peach County High School Symphonic Band Recognized As 2016 Mark of Excellence State Level Winner

The Peach Co. High Symphonic Band entered the 2016 Mark of Excellence National Band Competition sponsored by the Foundation for Music Education of Lubbock Texas. The competition seeks to recognize and award outstanding achievement in performance by middle and high school bands. Recorded entries are submitted from throughout the United States. Mr. Darren Johnson, Peach Co. HS Band Director, submitted a CD recording of the PCHS Band’s performance from their 2016 Large Group Performance Evaluation. Adjudicators listen to recorded performances and provide written detailed comments to all entrants. This year 236 of the finest musical ensembles from 36 states across the nation entered. The Peach Co. High Symphonic Band has been awarded the National Wind Band Honors 2016 State Level Winner.

Gary Green, Director of Bands, Professor Emeritus of Music, Univ. of Miami and James F. Keene, Director of Bands, Professor Emeritus of Music, Univ. of Illinois. This is the Peach County High Symphonic Band’s second time winning this award. The Band won this award in 2009. Peach County High School is located in Fort Valley Georgia. The PCHS Band is directed by Darren Johnson Sr.


The Peach Co High Symphonic Band’s performance was considered to be of high quality and one of the very best from the state of Georgia stated Rick Yancey, Managing Director, in the official notification letter. The PCHS Band received a plaque and received a banner. In addition, the PCHS Band is recognized on the Foundation of Music Education’s website. The 2016 Mark of Excellence adjudicators were Paula Crider, Professor of Music, former Director of Bands, Univ. of Texas;


spring 2017 // georgia music news



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Convention Award Winners

Celebrating this year’s GMEA Recognition Award Winners!



CHORAL DIRECTOR // BENJAMIN E. MAYS HIGH SCHOOL Garnetta Penn is a veteran Music Educator who teaches and serves the Atlanta Public School system as a Model Teacher Leader (Middle and High School Choral Division) and the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD Teacher Coordinator. Garnetta received her Master of Music Education from University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Clark Atlanta University. A product of the Atlanta Public School System, she has established a strong tradition of Choral Excellence at Benjamin Elijah Mays High School. Garnetta is a gifted Lyric Soprano who continues to sing, and she takes pride in mentoring and coaching young vocal artists. Garnetta is a Choral Adjudicator for Large Group Performance Evaluation, and has served as GMEA 5th District Chair, 5th District Choral Chair, and 4th District Multi Cultural Chair. She has organized and hosted numerous Large Group Performance Evaluation and Choral Solo and Ensemble events and is a Tri-M Honor Society chapter sponsor.



georgia music news // spring 2017



BAND DIRECTOR // VALDOSTA HIGH SCHOOL Michael E. Thomas is in his eleventh year as Director of Bands at Valdosta High School. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Science in Education from Troy University and holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota. Mr. Thomas has also taught at Northside High School, Americus-Sumter County High School, and Calhoun County High School. Bands under Mr. Thomas’ direction have received numerous superior ratings and awards and his students have been accepted to participate in District Honor Band, District Jazz Ensemble, South Georgia Region Honor Band, All-State Jazz Ensemble, and the All-State Concert Band. Mr. Thomas has served as the Fine Arts Department Chair, has been elected GMEA District 8 Chair, and has served as chairman on several GMEA committees. He has adjudicated and conducted bands throughout Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia and is a member of the Southeastern United States Honor Band and Clinic Band Board of Directors at Troy University. His professional organizations include Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmaster Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Fraternity for College Bandsmen, National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, and the Georgia Association of Educators.



BAND DIRECTOR // RETIRED GMEA MEMBER Ron Biffle retired in 1999 from the Clayton County Public School system, where he served as Instrumental Music Lead Teacher and band director at Lovejoy Middle School. Mr. Biffle’s bands were selected to perform at numerous state, regional, and national conferences, including the prestigious Mid-West International Band Clinic. Under his direction, the Morrow Junior High School band program was selected to receive the 1987 Sudler Cup Award for special merit at the national level. A past president of Phi Beta Mu, Mr. Biffle served as guest conductor for many district and region bands and was the 1991 conductor of the South Carolina Junior High All-State Band. He also served frequently as a festival adjudicator throughout the Southeastern United States. Mr. Biffle was honored to have been selected as Teacher of the Year, first at Morrow Junior High School, and then at Lovejoy Middle School, where he was one of six finalists for Clayton County Teacher of the Year. Ron’s philosophy was that if a teacher could equip his students with fundamentally sound musical knowledge and also instill in them a love of the musical art, then the accomplishments of those students would be his legacy.



PRINCIPAL // NORTH GWINNETT MIDDLE SCHOOL Wanda Law has worked in the Gwinnett County Public Schools for 28 years and has served as principal at North Gwinnett Middle School since its opening in 2009. Prior to that, she served as the principal of Sycamore Elementary school. As a math teacher, Ms. Law saw that music classes enhanced academics and were often the class of greatest success for students. For these reasons, she encouraged parents of struggling students to keep them in music classes. When she became an assistant principal, Ms. Law saw the positive impact on a larger scale and gained an appreciation for the hard work and dedication of music teachers. They turn students with no prior experience into students who can read music, perform at high levels, and are excited about future options in music careers or hobbies. Ms. Law is blessed to have four music programs and seven outstanding directors at NGMS. She loves to hear the students play and is honored and excited each time one of the groups is invited somewhere in the state or nation to perform. As a student, she tried several instruments but never stayed with one or practiced enough to become a musician. As a principal, Ms. Law can be the audience member who encourages, motivates, and appreciates the talents of her students and directors!



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ALL-STATE BAND Chip De Stefano received both his Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance and Master of Music Education Degrees from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, he studied conducting with John P. Paynter, Steve Peterson, and Don Owens, trombone with Frank Crisafulli and Art Linsner, and music education with Bennett Reimer, Donald Casey, Jim Kjelland, and Peter Webster. Mr. De Stefano was director of the Northwestern University Basketball Band (1994-1996) and the University Jazz Lab Band (1995-1996). In addition to these responsibilities, he assisted with all the office of band’s performing organizations and had conducting appearances with the wind ensemble, symphonic band, trombone ensemble, and marching band. Mr. De Stefano is currently in his 21st year as Director of Bands at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois. Under his direction, the McCracken Middle School Symphonic Band has received first division ratings at all district and state organization contests of the Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) and has made multiple appearances at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) All-State Conference, University of Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival, and NAfME North Central Division Conference. In 2006 and 2013 the Symphonic Band received an invitation to present at concert at the Midwest Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference. In the Spring of 2007, the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the McCracken Symphonic Band the prestigious Sudler Silver Cup. Most recently, McCracken Middle School was awarded the National Band Association’s Programs of Excellence “Blue Ribbon” National Award.


Since 2010, Mr. De Stefano has also served as Director of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Chicago, where he prepares the primarily non-music major ensemble for three performances each year. As a published arranger and composer, Mr. De Stefano has received commissions from the marching bands of Northwestern University, Samford University, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, the University of Idaho and dozens of high schools from across the United States. His works have been performed on ABC’s 1996 Rose Bowl Halftime Show, Live! with Regis and Kathy Lee, and WBBM News Radio 780. Mr. De Stefano’s works are available from FJH Music, LudwigMasters Publications, Grand Mesa Music, Kagarice Brass Editions and Mr. De Stefano’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Illinois Music Education Association, the National Band Association (Board of Directors, Middle School Representative 2010-2016, At-Large Representative 2016-2018), the Illinois Grade School Music Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. De Stefano is active nationally as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. He’s conducted honor bands in Singapore, Florida, Georgia (scheduled), Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire (scheduled), New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, and throughout Illinois. In addition, he has presented conference sessions at the Midwest Clinic (2008), ILMEA All-State Conference (2003, 2005, 2008, 2016), Iowa Bandmasters Conference (2010), Nebraska Music Educators Association State Conference (2011), Arkansas Tech University Band Director Workshop (2013), Illinois State University Band Director Workshop (2012) and DuPage County Music Clinic (2009, 2014). Mr. De Stefano is a recipient of twenty National Band Association Citations of Excellence. He was awarded the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2001, the IGSMA Barbara Buehlmann Young Conductor Award in 2004, the IGSMA Cloyd Meyers Memorial Award in 2011, and the Skokie Award for Artistic Excellence in 2016.


georgia music news // spring 2017



After graduating with a degree in Music Education from Texas Tech University in 1976, Cindy Lansford began her teaching career at her alma mater, Robert E. Lee High School, in Baytown, Texas. After relocating to north Texas in 1978, she began a twelve-year stint in the Plano Independent School District, first at Plano Senior High School followed by ten years at Carpenter Middle School. In 1991, Ms. Lansford joined the Birdville Independent School District and taught at Haltom High School with Greg Hull and David Bertman. It was here that she began studying with Eddie Green, Professor Emeritus, University of Houston. In 1996 she moved to North Ridge Middle School in the B. I. S. D. where she taught with James Smith until her retirement in 2007. During her tenure at Carpenter, Ms. Lansford was named Teacher of the Year and was a recipient of the Ross Perot Excellence in Teaching Award. She was again named Teacher of the Year at North Ridge. Ms. Lansford served on the Prescribed Music List selection committee 2002-2006 and served her regions throughout the years in various leadership positions. She has been a frequent presenter at conventions for both Texas and Oklahoma Music Educators Associations. She has also been a frequent presenter at the Texas and Oklahoma Bandmasters Associations as well as through the T. B. A. Professional Development program. In 2008 Ms. Lansford received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association.

The bands under Ms. Lansford’s direction enjoyed much success throughout the years. Continuous achievement at U. I. L. contests, numerous festivals, as well as state recognition were the norm, and individual student accomplishments were status quo. In 2004 the North Ridge Middle School Band was awarded the prestigious Sudler Cup award presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to outstanding middle school bands. In 2005 the North Ridge Honors Band performed at the Fifty-Ninth Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. In 2006 the North Ridge Band was the first middle school band program to be recognized by the Texas Bandmasters Association as “An Exemplary Program”. The 2007-2008 school year marked the first year of retirement from a public school position for Ms. Lansford, and she started her second “career” doing freelance work as a consultant, clinician, mentor, adjudicator and teacher. She has been in contact with hundreds of teachers and thousands of students through region bands and band camps throughout the South and Midwest, as well as one-on-one work with individual programs and teachers. Ms. Lansford has served as adjudicator and clinician throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah and Alaska. Ms. Lansford’s professional affiliations include Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and she is currently serving as past president of Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Mu.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE BAND Matthew Mcinturf is Professor of Music, Director of Bands and Director of the Center for Music Education at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He previously taught at Florida International University and in the public schools of Richardson, Texas. Dr. McInturf received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he was a student of Eugene Migliaro Corporon. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory from the University of North Texas, where he studied conducting with Anshel Brusilow and a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Houston where he studied composition with Michael Horvit and conducting with Eddie Green. Throughout his career, Dr. McInturf’s ensembles have been recognized for their musical accomplishment. He has performed throughout the United States and recordings of his performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio. In 1991, conducting the J. J. Pearce High School Band, he performed an acclaimed concert at the Mid-West clinic, with trombone soloist Christian Lindberg. He has performed at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio, TX and at the Southwest Regional Convention of the College Band Directors National Association with the SHSU Wind Ensemble.


An advocate of new music, Dr. McInturf has continued to commission new works for wind ensemble. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the World-Wide Concurrent Premiers and Commissioning Fund, Inc., a non-profit corporation that works internationally to form consortiums to commission significant new works from contemporary composers. Dr. McInturf has served on the National Commissioning Committee of the College Band Directors National Association and the Commissioning Committee of the American Bandmasters Association. Dr. McInturf has an ongoing commitment to music education and frequently serves as a presenter for teacher in-service and as a convention speaker. He frequently serves as a guest lecturer at universities in music education and as a consultant to public schools. In his role as the Director of the SHSU Center for Music Education, he coordinates a program of performance based pedagogy workshops that offer valuable tools for practicing teachers and is the Managing Editor for Praxis, the online journal of the Center for Music Education. He has served on the College Band Directors National Association Music Education Task Force and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the American Band College. Dr. McInturf is a Past President of the Texas Bandmasters Association and serves as Region Officer in the Texas Music Educators Association. He is the Vice President of the Southwestern Division of the College Band Directors National Association. He is active in the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the American Bandmasters Association and is a member of the College Music Society. Dr. McInturf enjoys guest conducting and frequently serves as a clinician and adjudicator.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE BAND Dr. Elizabeth Peterson, clinical professor of music, and associate director of bands, joined the Illinois faculty in the fall of 2015. Dr. Peterson conducts the Illinois Wind Orchestra, and teaches courses in instrumental conducting. Prior to her appointment at the University of Illinois, Peterson was a tenured professor of music education at the Ithaca College School of Music. During the seventeen years she spent at Ithaca College, Peterson conducted numerous ensembles including the Symphonic Band, Brass Choir and All-Campus Band. She taught courses in conducting, undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, and supervised student teachers. Peterson was the co-conductor of the Ithaca Concert Band (community band) for fifteen years. Dr. Peterson’s current research focuses on the experiences of firstyear teachers.


Dr. Peterson is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and school music consultant in the United States and Canada. She presents clinics at the local, state and national levels in the field of music education. Peterson’s book, “The Music Teachers First Year: Tales of Challenge Joy and Triumph,” is published by Meredith Music and her second book, “The Music Teacher’s Later Years: Reflection with Wisdom” will be published this fall, also by Meredith Music.


Dr. Peterson received a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Literature, Science and Arts degree from the University of Michigan where she studied trumpet with Armando Ghitalla. She received a Master of Music in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University, where she studied trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz, and performed in the North Shore Community Band under the direction of John P. Paynter. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory. Prior to her appointment at Ithaca College, Peterson was an arts administrator and director of bands in the public schools of Ohio and Illinois. Dr. Peterson holds a number of professional memberships including the College Band Directors National Association, The National Association for Music Education, Mu Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda. Peterson is a member the American Bandmasters Association and the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE BAND Dr. Rodney Dorsey comes to SOMD from a position as the associate director of bands at the University of Michigan where he conducted the Concert Band, taught undergraduate conducting, and conducted the Michigan Youth Band. Dorsey will be taking on the director of bands, conducting, and conductor of the UO Wind Ensemble starting Fall of 2013. Prior to this appointment at UM, Dorsey served on the faculties of DePaul and Northwestern Universities. Dorsey studied conducting with Dr. James Croft, Mr. John P. Paynter, and Dr. Mallory Thompson. He was a clarinet student of Mr. Fred Ormand and Dr. Frank Kowalsky. He gained extensive experience teaching in the public schools of Florida and Georgia. Ensembles under Dorsey’s direction have performed at several state and national events including the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. He is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in the United States. Recent presentations include sessions at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Intercollegiate Band (guest conductor), Georgia Music Educators District Band Festival (adjudicator), and Kentucky Music Educators Association State In-Service Conference (presenter).


Dorsey holds a number of professional memberships that include the College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, Illinois Music Educators Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. Dorsey is also a member of the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE BAND Myron Welch is an emeritus professor and former director of bands at The University of Iowa where he conducted the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, coordinated the graduate program in band conducting, and taught courses in instrumental methods, conducting and band literature. In 2001, Dr. Welch was named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his years of outstanding teaching, service and dedication to the college. Prior to coming to Iowa, Dr. Welch was Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. He was also band and orchestra director at Okemos High School, Okemos, Michigan, where he developed superior ensembles in both mediums. A native of Michigan, he received the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Michigan State University, with majors in clarinet and bassoon. He earned the Doctorate in Music Education from the University of Illinois where he was selected as the first candidate for the Band Conductor Internship program and studied conducting with Dr. Harry Begian. Ensembles under his direction have performed at state and national conventions for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Ohio Music Education Association, Iowa Music EdSYMPHONIC BAND ucators Association, Music Educators National Conference, Iowa Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association. Dr. Welch was a reviewer of new music for The Instrumentalist and is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician. He has appeared with the Goldman Band of New York City and numerous all-state bands, honor bands, and music camps throughout the country.


Dr. Welch is Past-President of the American Bandmasters Association, Past-President of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, Past-President and Treasurer of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, and holds membership in the College Band Directors National Association (Past-President, North Central Division), National Band Association (College/University Representative), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Past-Faculty Advisor), and Music Educators National Conference. A member of the advisory boards of the Goldman Memorial Band and The Purdue University Bands, he was also awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE CHORUS Christy Elsner is founder and director of the energetic Allegro Community Children’s Choir. She graduated with honors from the University of Kansas in 1992 with a degree in Music Education and received the Marcus E. Hahn Award for Outstanding Senior Music Education Student. In 1995, she was the recipient of the Kansas Choral Directors Association’s Award for Outstanding Young Conductor. She has taught elementary and middle school vocal music in the Wichita Public Schools as well as middle school vocal music in the Blue Valley Schools. She has directed children’s and youth choirs at First United Methodist Church in Wichita, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, and at Presbyterian Church of Stanley in Overland Park. In accordance with Allegro’s emphasis on community service, Mrs. Elsner logged over 60 hours of volunteer service in the last year working with church and public school choirs. Ms. Elsner is an active clinician for children’s and youth choirs and continues to give workshops on her innovative rehearsals and unusual teaching tools.


georgia music news // spring 2017



ALL-STATE CHORUS Victor C. Johnson is a native of Dallas, Texas and currently works as Artistic Director of the Children���s Choir of Texas as well as music instructor at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. Victor attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where he majored in music education with a concentration in organ. While attending UTA, he served as student conductor of the university’s choral ensembles and as opera workshop accompanist. He was named “Outstanding Music Freshman” and “Outstanding Musician.”


Victor has won numerous composition contests and has received ASCAP awards for the past twelve years. His first piece was published by Lorenz in 1994 while he was a sophomore in high school. To date, he has more than 250 octavos and choral products in print.

Victor has led reading sessions and choral workshops in numerous states and has conducted All‑State and Regional Honor choirs in Texas, California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi. His own choir was selected to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 2011 and 2014. Victor currently serves at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, as Minister of Worship and Arts. His professional affiliations include: American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, ASCAP, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Inc.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE CHORUS Jeffrey Benson is currently Director of Choral Activities at San José State University in San José, California.The Washington Post hails his choirs for singing “with an exquisite blend, subtlety of phrasing, confident musicianship and fully supported tone… that would be the envy of some professional ensembles.” Dr. Benson recently made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut with the SJSU Choirs and the New York Festival Orchestra, and he will make his international conducting debut with the Irish Chamber Orchestra in Limerick this summer. He has served as cover conductor for the Grammy award-winning Washington Chorus, where he helped to prepare the ensemble for Maestros Julian Wachner, Leonard Slatkin and Marvin Hamlisch. Choirs under his direction have performed on multiple state and regional conferences of ACDA, NAfME and Chorus America, and have toured throughout the United States and Europe, including invited performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The White House and Washington National Cathedral. Recently Dr. Benson’s choirs have been invited to perform with the Rolling Stones, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, the Los Angeles Festival Orchestra and the Skywalker Orchestra.


A former member of the Choir of Men and Boys at Washington INTERMEDIATE MIXED CHORUS National Cathedral, Dr. Benson is an active singer and a frequent guest conductor and clinician. He will conduct honor choirs and present sessions on both coasts this year, including conducting the Florida All-State and presenting for the Alabama Vocal Association. Benson has been invited to La Universidad Americana in Managua, Nicaragua to assist the university in forming the first a cappella choir at the institution. Dr. Benson is a published composer and arranger with Colla Voce Music and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, under the Charlene Archibeque Choral Series. He is also the Artistic Director of Peninsula Cantare, a community chorus based in Palo Alto. Previously, Dr. Benson served as Director of Choral Activities and Fine Arts Department Chair at H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Benson is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the National Collegiate Choral Organization, where he currently serves as California National Board Representative. ACDA recognized Benson with the first annual Colleen Kirk Award for his outstanding achievement as a young conductor. Benson received his Masters degree and his Doctorate in Choral Conducting/Music Education from The Florida State University and his Bachelors degree in Music Education from New York University.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE CHORUS Pamela Elrod Huffman’s conducting career spans all levels – from elementary and secondary schools to university, symphonic, and church choirs – and has included positions in Texas, New York, Illinois and Georgia. Since 2007, Dr. Huffman has served as the Director of Choral Activities at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she oversees the M.M. Choral Conducting program and directs the University’s choral ensembles.


An accomplished vocalist, Huffman has appeared as a guest artist with numerous university, professional, community and church choirs throughout the country. From 1988 until 1999, she sang with the late Robert Shaw, performing and recording with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Robert Shaw Choral Institutes, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus. Since 2003 she has been a member of the Grammy Award-winning professional choral ensemble, Conspirare, under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson.

Huffman regularly serves as a choral clinician and adjudicator in Texas and throughout the United States. In addition, she is a sought-after workshop clinician, particularly in the area of the choral techniques of Robert Shaw. Her article on Shaw’s warm-ups can be found on the Singer Network website, and an article on Shaw’s rehearsal techniques appears in the February 2013 issue of TMEA’s (Texas Music Educators Association) professional journal,Southwestern Musician.


Huffman holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Texas at Austin and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She is a member of TCDA, TMEA, ACDA, Chorus America and Pi Kappa Lambda.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE CHORUS Recognized as a leading conductor, pedagogue, and lecturer, Eugene Rogers has appeared throughout the United States as well as in Africa, Canada, China, Singapore, England, Portugal, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. Recently, Rogers conducted the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club in Salt Lake City, Utah at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In December 2014, the Naxos recording of Milhaud’s monumental L’Orestie d’Eschyle, on which Rogers served as a chorus master, was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY® Award (“Best Opera Recording”). Rogers is currently associate director of choirs at U-M where he teaches undergraduate conducting, conducts the Men’s Glee Club and the University Choir, and is the faculty director of the MPulse Vocal Arts Institute, a national high school summer program. His past appointments include Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota), the Boys Choir of Harlem, Waubonsie Valley High School (Aurora, Illinois), and Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir). In 2013, Rogers co-managed the production of the joint CD Ye Shall Have a Song with the Michigan, Yale, and Harvard Glee Clubs, a collaboration celebrating America’s three oldest collegiate choirs.


SENIOR MEN’S CHORUS Notable guest appearances include the Ministry Branch of Education Inaugural World Youth Choir Festival (Singapore); the Lisbon Summerfest Chamber Choir and Festival Chorus; VocalEssence and the Minnesota Public Radio Harmony in the Park; the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) High School Mixed Honor Choir (Luxembourg), the British Columbia Music Education Association Honor Choir; the NAfME All-Northwest High School Mixed Choir; Westminster Chamber Choir (Florence, Italy, and Princeton, New Jersey); Choral Music Experience (London, England); the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia High Schools Biennial Music Festival (Singapore); the Colorado All-State Choir; the Oregon All-State Mixed Choir, the Tlaxcala Mexico Second International Festival of Chamber Choirs; Choirs of America Festival (New York); the Oklahoma State University Choral Festival (Stillwater, Oklahoma); the Florida ACDA High School Mixed Honor Choir; the OAKE (Organization of American Kodály Educators) National Youth Honor Choir; the Alabama Middle School All-State Choir; Chorus America San Francisco Conference; the Illinois ACDA Summer Conference; the ACDA North Central Division Middle School Honor Choir; and the Vocalizze Youth Program in Lisbon. 2015-16 appearances include guest- conducting and conference presentations in Madrid, Portugal, Florida, Minnesota, California, Texas, British Columbia, and Michigan. In 2015, Mark Foster Publishing began the Eugene Rogers Choral Series, a series featuring emerging composers who specialize in contemporary classical and folk music traditions. In 2011, Rogers traveled to and studied the choral traditions of East Africa (Tanzania) and subsequently published editions of Tanzanian choral music under the Hal Leonard World Music Series. As a singer, Rogers has performed with the World Youth Choir, the Portland Symphonic Choir, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale, and the May Festival Chorus in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to his duties as a conductor, teacher, and singer, Rogers is co-artistic director of Portugal’s Lisbon Summer Choral Festival and, in 2010 and 2011, was the artistic director of the Disneyland Hong Kong Winter Choral Festival. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts and currently serves on the boards of the Central Division American Choral Directors Association (Male Chorus R&S Chair), the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and is theChoralQuest series editor for the American Composers Forum. Rogers holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from U-M.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE CHORUS Joshua Habermann, Music Director, is in his eighth season with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Since joining the ensemble he has raised the ensemble’s artistic profile and broadened its programming to include choral-orchestral masterworks as well as cutting-edge a cappella programs. Habermann has led honor choirs and choral festivals in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia. As a singer (tenor) he has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (Eugene, Oregon), and Conspirare (Austin, Texas). Recording credits include three projects with Conspirare: Through the Green Fuse, Requiem, a Grammy nominee for best choral recording in 2006, and Threshold of Night, a Grammy nominee for best choral recording and best classical album in 2009.


In 2011, Joshua Habermann was named director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the official vocal ensemble of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he prepares the 185-voice chorus for classical and pops series concerts. Highlights with the DSO include performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Verdi’s Requiem, Berlioz’ Te Deum, and Britten’s War Requiem, which was performed for the national meeting of the American Choral Directors’ Association in 2013.

From 1996-2008 Habermann was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and professor of music at San Francisco State University, where under his direction the SFSU Chamber Singers received international engagements in Havana, Cuba, and undertook concert tours in Germany and the Czech Republic, and China. In 2006 he led a collaboration between the SFSU Chamber Singers and the Orchestre des Jeunes de Provence in music of Poulenc and the Requiem of Maurice Duruflé in concerts throughout France. National invitations include the Waging Peace Festival in Eugene, Oregon, multiple appearances at the California Music Educators Convention, and an appearance at the American Choral Directors’ Association regional convention in 2008. From 2008-2011 Habermann was director of choral studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he led the graduate program in conducting, and directed the Frost Chorale. Notable projects in Miami included an appearance at the Florida Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association convention, and collaborations with the New World Symphony and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in music of Ives, Schubert and Beethoven. During this same period Habermann led the Master Chorale of South Florida in performances of masterworks such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, and Mozart’s Requiem. A native of California, Joshua Habermann is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed doctoral studies in conducting with Craig Hella Johnson. He lives in Dallas with his wife Joanna, daughter Kira and son Kai.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA Brian Cole has been an orchestra teacher in the Moorhead, Minnesota public school district since 1995. Originally from Marshall, Minnesota, Brian graduated from the University of South Dakota, received his Master’s of Music in orchestra conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and has received post-graduate credits from The Ohio State University. Mr. Cole is now in his 18th season as a conductor with the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony. His hockey-jersey-clad orchestras have been invited to play at both state and national conventions. The Moorhead program is one of only eight programs in the country to have been invited to perform at both the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and the American String Teacher’s National Convention. During his tenure, enrollment in Moorhead’s orchestra program has grown from 210 to over 800. Mr. Cole and his orchestra colleague Doug Neill are strong believers in performing outreach concerts for rural schools. Since 1996, orchestras from Moorhead and the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony have performed more than 100 concerts throughout the upper Midwest for schools without orchestra programs.


A frequent clinician, speaker, and guest conductor across the country, Mr. Cole has appeared at music conventions in more MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA than 20 states. Upcoming engagements include: conducting South Dakota’s All-State High School Orchestra and presenting at The Ohio State University. Cole was named Minnesota’s string teacher of the year in 2003 by MNSOTA and was given the Heidi Castleman Award from Chamber Music America in New York City. The Moorhead String Program also is a past recipient of MNSOTA’s Meritorious String Program award. A football and track coach at his school, Cole is past chairman for ASTA’s National High School Honor’s Orchestra. Brian and his wife Deborah make their home in Moorhead with their three children.


georgia music news // spring 2017



Richard Meyer has been involved in music education for over 25 years. He received his BA from California State University, Los Angeles and taught instrumental music at both the middle and high school levels in the Pasadena (CA) Unified School District for 12 years. Currently, he directs the orchestras at Oak Avenue Intermediate School in Temple City, California, and is in charge of the city’s elementary school string program. For 16 years, Mr. Meyer was the conductor of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra, a 90-piece 7th through 9th-grade honor orchestra that he led in concerts in Vienna, Austria, Carnegie Hall, New York, Sydney, Australia, Washington D.C., and Victoria, Canada. Mr. Meyer has served as a guest conductor and clinician on many occasions throughout the United States, and has been a member of the Bellis Music Camp staff for 26 years. In addition to his teaching assignments, Mr. Meyer is a nationally-recognized composer of works for young ensembles, with over 100 orchestra and band pieces in print. His composition Millennium won the 1998 National School Orchestra Association composition contest, and his Geometric Dances were awarded first prize in the 1995 Texas Orchestra Directors Association composition contest. He is also a co-author of the popular String Explorer string method series, and is the string editor for Alfred Publishing Company. He lives in Arcadia, California with his wife and three daughters.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA Brian Cole has been an orchestra teacher in the Moorhead, Minnesota public school district since 1995. Originally from Marshall, Minnesota, Brian graduated from the University of South Dakota, received his Master’s of Music in orchestra conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and has received post-graduate credits from The Ohio State University. Mr. Cole is now in his 18th season as a conductor with the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony. His hockey-jersey-clad orchestras have been invited to play at both state and national conventions. The Moorhead program is one of only eight programs in the country to have been invited to perform at both the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and the American String Teacher’s National Convention. During his tenure, enrollment in Moorhead’s orchestra program has grown from 210 to over 800. Mr. Cole and his orchestra colleague Doug Neill are strong believers in performing outreach concerts for rural schools. Since 1996, orchestras from Moorhead and the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony have performed more than 100 concerts throughout the upper Midwest for schools without orchestra programs.


A frequent clinician, speaker, and guest conductor across the country, Mr. Cole has appeared at music conventions in more 9/10 STRING ORCHESTRA than 20 states. Upcoming engagements include: conducting South Dakota’s All-State High School Orchestra and presenting at The Ohio State University. Cole was named Minnesota’s string teacher of the year in 2003 by MNSOTA and was given the Heidi Castleman Award from Chamber Music America in New York City. The Moorhead String Program also is a past recipient of MNSOTA’s Meritorious String Program award. A football and track coach at his school, Cole is past chairman for ASTA’s National High School Honor’s Orchestra. Brian and his wife Deborah make their home in Moorhead with their three children.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA Allen Tinkham is increasingly recognized as one of the most inspiring and exciting conductors and teachers of his generation. He is hailed by John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune as both a conductor and teacher, described as working “wonders” as one of the most important “educators, mentors and inspirational guides in the training of tomorrow’s orchestral professionals” and defined by his “communicative” conducting bringing forth “an adrenalin rush of superior playing.” Under his leadership as the longtime Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO), both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times have described performances by the CYSO Symphony Orchestra as “professional level,” and under his baton, the Chicago Tribune has noted his “impressive” conducting and “uncanny control” and has compared the CYSO Symphony Orchestra’s “ferocity and theatricality” to that of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


For the 2015-2016 season, Tinkham celebrates his fifteenth season as Music Director of CYSO and begins his 9/10 FULL ORCHESTRA first season as Music Director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, an ensemble devoted to performing contemporary works of living composers. He begins the season guest conducting the opening night of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and ends the season leading CYSO Symphony Orchestra in performances of Mahler’s 6th Symphony. As Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Chicago Composers Orchestra, season highlights also include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 with contemporary highlights including Boulez’s Dérive 1, Zwilich’s Symphony No. 1 and works by David Lang and Chicagoan Anthony Chueng. In guest engagements, Tinkham conducts Dvorák’s Symphony No. 6 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA Bill Bitter is in his thirty-fifth year with Gilbert Public Schools, Gilbert, AZ. During that time he has taught orchestra and band at all levels, elementary through high school. He is presently Director of Orchestras and Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Highland High School. Highland High School opened in 1993, and the Highland Orchestras currently consist of five performing ensembles, with an enrollment of over 350 students. Mr. Bitter has been active in the Arizona Band and Orchestra Director’s Association, serving as Vice President of High School Orchestra Activities, State Concert Festival Chairman, Fall Orchestra Festival Chairman, and Regional Orchestra Chairman. He was a 9 year member of the staff of the National High School Honors Orchestra, sponsored by ASTA WITH NSOA, serving as organizing chairman in 2005.


11/12 STRING ORCHESTRA Mr. Bitter has served as an adjudicator and clinician for festivals throughout the southwest United States and Hawaii. His orchestras have performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and in New York’s world-renowned Carnegie Hall. In 2014, the Arizona Music Educators Association named Mr. Bitter the Arizona Music Educator of the Year, and in 2015, he received the Elizabeth A. H. Green School Educator Award from the American String Teachers Association.


georgia music news // spring 2017

ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA Steven Amundson joined the music faculty at St. Olaf College in the fall of 1981. Under Amundson’s direction, the St. Olaf Orchestra has become recognized as one the finest undergraduate orchestras in the United States. In addition to his duties as conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra, he teaches courses in conducting, aural skills, and music theory.


Prior to his appointment at St. Olaf, Amundson held conducting posts at the University of Virginia and with the Tacoma Youth Symphony in Washington. He is the founding conductor of the Metropolitan Symphony in Minnesota and served as Music Director and Conductor of the Bloomington Symphony from 1984-1997. He has been both a resident conductor and guest conductor for the well-known Interlochen National Arts Camp and has served as guest conductor for many All-State Orchestra festivals throughout the United States. Amundson has guest conducted professional ensembles in Minnesota including the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, the Fargo/Moorhead Symphony, and the renowned St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

A commissioned composer and arranger, Amundson is published by Lauren Keiser Music and the Neil A. Kjos Music Co. Tempo Music Resource distributes his self-published works. His orchestral compositions have received hundreds of performances by professional orchestras including the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Oregon, Phoenix, San Diego, and Utah Symphonies in the United States, and internationally with orchestras including the Toronto Symphony in Canada and BBC Concert Orchestra in the United Kingdom. Amundson did his studies in orchestral conducting at Luther College, Northwestern University, the University of Virginia, the Aspen Music School in Colorado, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has enjoyed the tutelage of notable conductors including Maurice Abravanel, Milan Horvat, and Erich Leinsdorf. In the 1980 International Conducting Competition hosted by the Mozarteum and Austrian National Radio, Amundson placed first, earning the Hans Haring Prize. In 1992 the Minnesota Music Education Association named him “Minnesota Orchestra Educator of the Year.” In the fall of 1995 Amundson received the Carlo A. Sperati Award from Luther College in recognition of his meritorious achievement in the field of music.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


STATEWIDE ELEMENTARY HONOR CHORUS Nationally recognized as a leader in the field of youth chorus directors, Ms. Ellsworth has served has Artistic Director of Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus since 1996. Under her direction, Anima has won several national awards, including the 2013 ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming from Chorus America, the 2013 Tribute Award from Chicago A Cappella, the once-in-an-organizational lifetime Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America (2008), and the 2009 Dale Warland Singers Commissioning Award jointly given by the American Composers Forum and Chorus America. Ms. Ellsworth has additionally served as Lecturer in Choral Conducting at Northwestern University and serves as the advisor for the Opera Workshop choral series with Boosey & Hawkes publishers. She has served several times on the music panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, and has over 20 years of singing and teaching experience as a voice faculty member in various college and university settings. She has served the American Choral Directors’ Association as the Central Division Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children’s and Community Youth Choirs, and is a long standing member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In 2010, she was inducted as a National Honorary Member to the Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.


In great demand as a guest clinician and conductor, Ms. Ellsworth has conducted all-state choirs and festivals in over 25 states, as well as for the Northwest, North Central, and Southwest divisions of ACDA. She has conducted featured performances at national conferences of ACDA, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, and Chorus America. She has prepared various ensembles within Anima for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Bach Project, Grant Park Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Sinfonietta, and many others. She has appeared as guest conductor at festival performances in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall); Wexford, Ireland; England’s Wells Cathedral; the Cultural Center in Hong Kong, and given presentations for the national association of choral directors in Brazil.


georgia music news // spring 2017

STATEWIDE ELEMENTARY HONOR CHORUS Jeff Kriske holds a Master of Music Education degree as well as a Master Class certificate in Orff Schulwerk and spent the first part of his teaching career as an elementary music specialist for the Clark County School District where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1985. He then became the Director of Music Activities at The Meadows School, a pre-K through twelfth grade college. Jeff Kriske has studied with Henry Leck in the Creating Artistry program at Butler University. He is also the co-founder of the University Children’s Chorale at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This choir has toured to New York City and sung at St. John the Divine Cathedral as well as traveled to Canterbury and London where they participated in a mass choir under the direction of Henry Leck and David Flood. Mr. Kriske has conducted various honor choirs across the country and had students perform at two national AOSA conferences.


He is the co-author of GAMEPLAN – An Active Music Curriculum for Children which he wrote with Randy DeLelles. He has sung under William Hall, David Thorsen, Paul Salamunovich, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and David Weiller. He continues to sing in two ensembles each week – the Varsity Men’s Glee at UNLV and the Las Vegas Master Singers.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


SIXTH GRADE STATEWIDE HONOR CHORUS Michelle Herring is the assistant professor of choral/general music education at Columbus State University and the artistic director for the Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus. Dr. Herring earned her Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Previous degrees include a bachelor’s degree in Music Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas. Prior to graduate work, Dr. Herring taught middle school choir for eight years in Austin, Texas, where she was recognized as “Teacher of the Year.” While teaching in the public schools, Dr. Herring was instrumental in transforming her campus into a Fine Arts Academy, preventing the school from possible closure. Her choirs received consistent superior ratings in festivals and contests during her tenure as well as many opportunities to perform with community choruses and religious organizations. The Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus at Columbus State University has achieved excellence under Dr. Herring’s direction. Voices of the Valley has been selected to perform for the West Georgia Choral Society’ Choral Festival in LaGrange, Georgia as well as the Columbus Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker. In addition to local performances, Voices of the Valley will collaborate with the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble in the spring of 2017.


Dr. Herring continues to be an active member in the choral music community as a clinician and performer having performed in choral organizations such as Conspriare (Austin, Texas) and the Dallas Symphony Chorus (Dallas, Texas). She currently performs with the Columbus State Choral Union, under the direction of Constantina Tsolainou, and the St. Thomas Episcopal Choir, under the direction of Rick McKnight. Dr. Herring has served as the guest clinician for the GMEA Muscogee County Middle School Chorus as well as local middle schools and high schools in the Chattahoochee Valley. In addition, she has served as an adjudicator for state-wide festivals and contests and as a guest lecturer at Iowa State University, the University of North Texas, and Georgia State University. Dr. Herring has presented research in a variety of state, national, and international venues, including Texas Music Educators Association conference, the Florida Music Educators Association conference, the Georgia Music Educators Association conference, the National Association for Music Education conference, the Society for Music Teacher Education conference, the Race, Ethnicity, and Place conference, and the Narrative Inquiry in Music Education conference. Additionally, she has published research articles in state, national, and international music journals. Dr. Herring and her fiancé, Zach, reside in Columbus, Georgia with their dog, Tex. She is thrilled for the opportunity to be the guest clinician for the Georgia Music Educators Association’s Sixth Grade Honor Chorus!


georgia music news // spring 2017



Martha Shaw is the founding director of the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir Program and Professor of Music and Director of Choral Music Education at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia. Under Dr. Shaw’s direction, the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir and Spivey Hall Tour Choir have been featured in performances for state, regional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the national conference of the Orff-Schulwerk Association, and for the 2010 national conference of Chorus America. Because of the artistry and mature vocal sound exhibited by her choirs, she has received numerous invitations as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States, in Canada and in Korea. For thirteen years, Dr. Shaw served on the faculty at Shorter College which honored her as the 2008 recipient of its President’s Award for Teaching and Scholarship. She also taught at the University of South Carolina, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting with Larry Wyatt. Prior to her collegiate teaching, she was a music specialist for Atlanta’s Fulton County for 15 years. Studying with Donald Neuen, she earned a Master of Science in Music Education from the University of Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Shorter College.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-STATE READING CHORUS Dr. Paul Neal is currently the Director of Choral Activities at Berry College where he oversees the choral program and serves as Associate Professor of Music. Prior to his appointment at Berry College, Paul served on the faculty at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. Dr. Neal has studied with such conductors as Donald Neuen, Dennis Shrock, and Jerry McCoy. Choirs under his direction have received invitations to sing at both the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and the Southern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. He also serves as President-Elect for the Georgia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.


georgia music news // spring 2017


ALL-STATE JAZZ ENSEMBLE Ronald Carter, the former director of the world-renowned Northern Illinois University (NIU) Jazz Ensemble and former Director of Jazz Studies is continuing to educate students in jazz education and performance on university, high school and performing arts schools and campuses across the country, South America and Canada. As an educator, Carter has presented workshops as guest conductor, artist, clinician, or adjudicator at Michigan State University, Georgia State University, Western Illinois University, University of Northern Colorado, Iowa State University, University of Kansas, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, Northern Illinois University, Hampton University, Loyola University, Coe College, Augustana College, Vander Cook College of Music, and Georgia State College, and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. He has performed, conducted and presented clinics at regional, national, and international conferences, and directed all-state jazz bands in Illinois, Indiana, Rhode Island, Missouri, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, Vermont, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Washington. Carter who worked 18 years in the East St. Louis School District as the former director of the Lincoln Senior High School Jazz Band, also performed professionally in the St. Louis metropolitan area as a freelance musician on saxophone, clarinet, flute, and as a vocalist. He co-directed the group Infiniti and performed with the legendary George Hudson Orchestra. Carter has also performed professionally with Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, The Jimmy Dorsey Band, Wallace Roney, The Temptations, The Dells, Oliver Lake, Hamiett Bluiett, Leon Thomas, Art Davis, Fareed Haque, Joseph Bowie, Frank Mantooth, Terell Stafford, Orbert Davis, Carl Allen, Rodney Whitaker, and many others.


An abbreviated list of his honors and awards includes Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Educators Hall of Fame, The Woody Herman Music Award (Birch Creek Music Center), The 1991 Milken National Distinguished Educator Award, Southern Illinois University Excellence in Teaching Award, and the St. Louis American Newspaper’s Excellence in Teaching Award and Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees Professorship. Carter’s current projects includes International Consultant for the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York; Lead Artist for the Jazz At Lincoln Center Band Director’s Academy; Co-Author for Alfred Publications “Swingin’ On The Bars”, and author of GIA Music Publications “Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz – Book I.” Carter is currently completing Book II of “Teaching Music Through Performance In Jazz,” scheduled for completion in 2015. Carter is currently an artist for Conn-Selmer Inc. and D’Addario Woodwinds –(Rico Reeds)

spring 2017 // georgia music news


ALL-COLLEGE CHORUS As conductor, teacher, and scholar, Sandra Snow’s work spans a wide variety of ages, abilities, and musics. She holds appointments in conducting and music education at the MSU College of Music, where she interacts with undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of conducting, choral pedagogy, and choral singing. She is a recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award. She conducts the Michigan State University Women’s Chamber Ensemble, a group that has appeared as featured performers at American Choral Directors Association conferences (Central Division 2014; National Conference 2009; Central Division 2008; MI-ACDA 2007). As guest conductor, she travels extensively conducting allstate and honor choirs and holding residencies with singers of all ages. She recently was a principal conductor at the Festival 500 International Choral Festival in Newfoundland, Canada. Recent guest conducting appearances include all-state choirs in Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia. She is the 2015 principal conductor of the Pacific International Children’s Choir and is a featured headliner of the 2015 Texas Choral Director’s Association convention. Snow will serve as principal guest conductor for the Texas Christian University Chamber Singers tour of Central Europe. She is artistic director of the 2016 ACDA National Youth Choir traveling to Prague, Salzburg, and Vienna. Prior to joining the MSU faculty, Snow served on the faculties of the University of Michigan and Northern Illinois University, and as music director of the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus (Anima). She is author of the DVD Conducting-Teaching: Real World Strategies for Success published by GIA (2009), a resource for conductor-teachers at all levels of teaching. She edits the choral music series In High Voice published by Boosey & Hawkes and is a member of the Choral Music Experience Choral Teacher Certification Board.





georgia music news // spring 2017


spring 2017 // georgia music news



The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and What It Means for Music and Arts Education


In December of 2015, with bi-partisan support, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) thereby reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) first signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson. Within the current law, there are a number of “Titles” which deal with various facets of the Act—many of which have been established along the way in subsequent reauthorizations after the initial signing of ESEA. The most well-known of these Titles is “Title I” as it makes up most the total funds allocated. Prior to the signing of ESSA, the last reauthorization of ESEA was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was signed into law in 2001 by President George W. Bush.


One of the biggest changes is that decision-making and accountability measures will no longer be dictated from the federal level—they will now originate from each individual state. State education agencies (SEAs) are currently in varying stages of developing and/or revising their State Plans to meet the provisions within ESSA and are expected to submit them to the U.S. Department of Education. Also, ESSA places a focus on the providing of a “Well-Rounded Education” for all students. ESSA defines a “Well-Rounded Education” as follows.


The term “well-rounded education” means courses, activities, and programming in subjects


georgia music news // spring 2017

such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience. Speaking to the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts on April 14, 2016, former Secretary of Education John King declared that while literacy and math skills are “necessary for success in college and in life…they’re not by themselves sufficient. A more well-rounded education is critical for a safe, supportive and enjoyable learning environment.” (The Huffington Post, “Education Secretary John King: It’s Time To Stop Ignoring The Arts And Sciences.” entry/john-king-well-rounded-education_ us_570e9013e4b03d8b7b9f34c6)


ESSA has provided a major opportunity for each state to determine to what degree Music and Arts Education are incorporated into federal funding plans at the state and local level. The stage has been set: 1) Decision-making is occurring at the state level rather than from the federal level, 2) State Plans are currently under construction thus providing opportunities to have input via state arts organizations, coalitions, and interested like-minded supporters, and 3) A focus has been placed on providing a well-rounded education which, among others subjects, includes music and the arts so that all students may have “access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.”

The author, Marcia Neel is the Senior Director of Education for the Band and Orchestral division of Yamaha Corporation of America. She also serves as the Education Advisor to the Music Achievement Council, is also President of Music Education Consultants, Inc. and was the former Coordinator of Secondary Fine Arts for the Clark County School District headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The author would like to thank Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation, and Lynn Tuttle, Director of Content and Policy for the National Association for Music Education, for their extensive and comprehensive contributions in the preparation of this article. Luehrsen is NAMM’s chief strategist for education policy and music education advocacy. Tuttle currently serves as the AMEA Advocacy Chair and was the Director of Arts Education at the Arizona Department of Education from 2003-2015.


Title I is the largest source of federal funding for education. The U.S. Department of Education website describes it as a program which “provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.” Arizona has had more than a decade of allowing arts integration to be supported by Title I funds, first through Title I Part F funding (Comprehensive School Reform under No Child Left Behind) and through Title I Stimulus funds. An Arizona website for arts and Title I was created at in part to create a centralized portal to showcase this work and to encourage Arizona districts to undertake more Title I funded arts integration within the state. The site provides a direct link to the “Arizona site” which also clearly states that, “Arts programs can help schools achieve the goals of Title I by facilitating student engagement and learning, strengthening parent involvement, and improving school climate and school wide behavior.” This site even quotes Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas in her support for arts education for Arizona’s children in her remarks that, “as an artist myself, I know how important the arts are for learning. I support the arts as part of a complete education for Arizona’s children.” As Title I can address all areas of a well-rounded education, Title I funds may open up at your school/within your district to supplement support of music education. To learn more, visit the “Everything ESSA” page at


Districts will need to create their own ESSA plans for Titles I, II and IV – where music education can benefit. In fact, many districts, in anticipation of impending State Plans, have already begun this process since ESSA is to be implemented in the upcoming school year (2017-18). Keeping in mind Tip O’Neill’s famous quote that “all politics is local,” this is the perfect time to step up and become part of the process at your district and/or school level through coordinated action to ensure that music and arts education are included in the local plan. For example, some State Departments of Education want to provide more comprehensive in-depth accountability information to the general public beyond test scores. They may also articulate that the LEAs be required to substantiate how they are providing a well-rounded education for all students. This would indicate that there will be some measure for collecting this information from the local school district. Will music and arts education be included in the local plan as part of the definition of a well-rounded education? How can the music and arts community ensure that EVERY STUDENT will indeed be provided with access? Now more than ever, it is vital that music and arts educators work collaboratively with their associations, fellow music and arts educators, music dealers and community arts organizations to ensure that districts, and even individual schools, ENSURE that the local plan addresses music and arts education in a manner that specifies, at a minimum, what is articulated in the State Plan. In particular, music educators will want to get involved with the creation of the Title IV plan, the section of the law bringing new funding specifically for a Well-Rounded Education. You can create your own music education needs assessment for your district using NAfME’s 2015 Opportunity-to-Learn Standards; checklist versions of these standards are now available for your use at You can also work, if you are at a Title I Schoolwide school, at making certain that music education is included in your school’s Title I Plan. ESSA encourages schools to address a well-rounded education in their Title I schoolwide plans, so now is a great time to get music included for the 201718 school year. To find out if you are at a Title I Schoolwide school, check with your principal and while you’re in the office, volunteer to help with the creation of next year’s plan. This may also be a good time to dig into your music education program’s impact data and be sure that summary information on student participation and learning outcomes are widely available via your school/district website to the entire community. How does music education participation relate to student attendance, participation in advanced coursework (AP), graduation rates, student engagement, and positive school climate including behavior? The Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools published the Prelude Report: Music Makes Us Baseline Research Report which provides exactly

this type of information on a district wide level. It may be worth reviewing their findings which are available at: In addition, you want to get a sense of the percentage of students who are actively engaged in music and arts education at your school and begin thinking about how that percentage might be increased to address the needs of students not currently served.

with colleagues (department meetings, emails to colleagues), parents (parent nights, PTA meetings, booster meetings) and administrators (planning meetings with supervisors). Some of the most helpful resources include:

Finally, visit the website of your state Department of Education and search for ESSA Consolidated State Plan. Read through it in detail to see if music and arts education have been included. If not, consider engaging your state music education advocacy group or music education association to participate in efforts to include music and the arts in the Plan. NAfME has provided a formatted sample of how music and arts education can be included in the Consolidated State Plan. That document, along with many others, is available on the NAfME website at

2. Yamaha: The Music Teacher’s Guide to ESSA, which may be accessed at:

How to become part of the process—the four R’s: 1. REACH OUT and get involved in your state and/or local music and arts coalition or advocacy group. Offer your commitment and service. The NAMM Foundation provides a variety of advocacy resources online at 2. REINFORCE that music is designated as part of a well-rounded education, not only within ESSA, but also within your State Plan 3. REMIND state, district and community leaders as well as other music and arts education stakeholders (parents, administrators, colleagues, community businesses) about the benefits of music and arts education and what it means for students and communities. Provide supportive data. 4. REQUEST that music education be included in your district’s Well-Rounded Education needs assessment and possible funding under Title IV. Also, be sure to request that a well-rounded education be addressed, including music, as part of your district’s Title I plan. There are numerous resources available to assist arts educators in learning more about ESSA and its impact for music and arts education. It is highly recommended that music and arts educators review these online resources and download them to share

1. NAfME: Everything ESSA site which may be accessed at:

3. The NAMM Foundation’s recently released brochure, Music is a Part of a Well-Rounded Education: What parents need to know about music education and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Federal Education Law. Complimentary copies (packets of 50 each to share with parents) are available to order at: 4. SBO: How to Use Advocacy Stats to your Best Advantage: Using Music Education Data as Indicators of a Positive School Climate by Marcia Neel at: 5. SBO: In the Trenches: The Every Student Succeeds Act and What’s in it for You! (But Only if You Act!) by Bob Morrison at: 6. Meet Title I Goals Using the Arts at: 7. Using Title I funds to support music and arts education in Arizona at: NOW IS THE TIME to become engaged and to engage others. With the passage of ESSA and the eventual passage of your State Plan, music and arts educators and advocates have been provided with an opportunity to speak up about the value of music and arts education. The more that we can advocate for music and the arts as part of a well-rounded education within our own districts and schools, as well as providing documented support for how Title I funds can be used for music and arts education, the better the chance that more students will have increased access to the many benefits that an education in music and the arts will provide.

spring 2017 // georgia music news


Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2005.




I was recently speaking with a young teacher who was frustrated with an older teacher who he thought was “lazy”. After talking a little longer, I realized this was not a lazy teacher, but one who was dealing with burnout. The net result is the same--loss of effectiveness and productivity--but the solutions are quite different.

Most people enter into the teaching profession filled with idealism and a strong sense of optimism--I know I did! This is often fueled by a passion for service and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others--still does for me. There may also be a strong love of our subject matter we want to share with others. The problem occurs when the ice cold bucket of reality clashes with the burning flames of idealism--I remember those early years all too well. The jarring result can often be both intense and occasionally devastating for the teacher. How do you keep that fire burning? In January 2017, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on a 2016 Georgia Department of Education survey involving a large number of educators from across the state. According to the AJC article entitled, Highstakes tests blamed for high teacher turnover, Superintendent Richard Woods instituted the survey upon learning that almost half of new Georgia teachers quit teaching within five years (Tagami). The survey also revealed primary teacher concerns to be the amount of required testing and its role in teacher evaluations. Many teachers may become disillusioned with the process and bureaucracies of teaching and simply feel they can no longer make a difference. Basically, when the negatives outweigh the positives of the profession, teachers burn out. How do we reverse this trend? Over the course of my career, I have taught in some challenging environments and faced many obstacles. My professional road has not been smooth. However, I would not change one thing about my journey. I learned a great deal from the difficulties I faced and I am a stronger, more effective, teacher as a result. I will be honest, there were times when I felt like my fire was dying out. The diversity of difficulties I was facing, most of which were out of my control was, at times, overwhelming. To quote a friend, “I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant.” Talk about something that can extinguish a fire…


The short answer: living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. What follows is a more in-depth discussion of some strategies I have learned to utilize along the way.


While often associated with 12-step programs, the small piece of wisdom imparted by the Serenity Prayer is quite powerful for me:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. In the teaching profession, there are many things out of your that you cannot change. When I was younger, I focused a great deal on these issues- colleagues, community, administration, state bureaucracy, facilities, schedule, etc.- to the point I sometimes felt defeated. Once I accepted what I could and could not control, a great burden was lifted off of me. What I could control was my attitude, performance, and work ethic.


You hear athletes talk about it all the time, “We just take it one game at a the down... one play at a time.” They understand that optimal performance only comes from focusing on the present. Fixating on the past and the future generates a great deal of unnecessary anxiety. I often hear teachers speak these phrases, “Well, back in my day...,”, “Kids these days...,” and “Only 31 more days...”. These statements center on the past or the future. When I began to devote my energies to my students and teaching one day at a time rather than the type of thinking reflected in these statements, I found amazing amounts of energy and much more success.


It comes naturally to me as a musician, but being a perfectionist--especially about music-can easily lead to focusing on failures and over-


georgia music news // spring 2017

DR. ANDREW F. POOR looking successes. While chasing perfection, I found myself preoccupied with the three to five students I could not reach or the parent who just did not understand my vision. My competitive side would not allow me to accept these perceived limitations. It is a difficult reality to tolerate, but you will never bat .1000. Some students are not ready for what you are offering. Some have too many other distractions. Some people are just not team players. I could go on and on. NOTE of CAUTION: This is not an excuse card to give up on kids. I think we should try to learn from every student who leaves our programs- find out why they are is leaving and then LET IT GO! Your batting average may not be perfect, but it needs to be in the high 80%’s.


The Perfection Myth is a result of being product-focused. We have accountability and data rammed down our educational throats. It is easy to be focused on these results. When you are product-focused, something will always be incorrect, someone not reached, or one more thing to fix. This mindset leads us to focus on the 3-5% of students we are not reaching and ignore the 95% with whom we are engaging. Obviously, this approach is inherently negative and extremely draining and demoralizing. When you focus on doing the right things the right way, you will improve. If there is improvement, there is always something positive to focus on. “Just get better!” Did we get better today? Was it a good day? If not, why? How can we change to fix the problem? See! Evaluation centers on the positive, not the negative. This is what some in educational-ese call a “Growth Mindset.” Additionally, this approach leads to a healthier view of your students, your situation, and your career. Mastery requires a great deal of failure, redirection, effort, and repetition. If you are process-focused, the failures an essential step, not a fatal setback. If you are product-focused, well...


There have been times in my teaching when the proverbial city of Rome was crumbling around me. I always found refuge in focusing on helping my students. I avoided the ridiculous

meetings or unimportant deadlines imposed on me. I stayed out of the places where negativity bred like black mold. I became a teacher to help students, and when I focused on them, all of the other stuff seemed to disappear. Of course, there are times when the students are the problem. What now? I refer back to my previous points: you can control the now, you will not be perfect, and just get better.


Do you truly love your subject? If yes, your students will notice and your passion will become contagious. If not, your students will notice and your lack of passion will become contagious. Are you growing and learning new ideas? Are you working to become a better musician, mathematician, scientist, etc...? If you do not grow in your subject area, your fire and passion are sure to fade. Music is one of my main hobbies and also my profession. Some may say I lack balance, but if I am doing what I love, it does not feel like a job. The more I know, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. Never forget, there is always something new to learn and experience.


Do you remember what it felt like to learn? To be challenged? To truly struggle to master something? If you remember that feeling, then you will remain empathetic toward your students. I recently read a great article on this topic. The Teacher Curse that No One Wants to Talk About discusses the phenomenon that, “a strong base of content knowledge makes us blind to the lengthy process of acquiring it” (Reddy). The article also suggests seven strategies to combat this problem. The bottom line: without empathy for the learner and awareness of what it means to be a learner, you are incapable of truly teaching. The resulting indifference is crippling to an educator. You must be able to see yourself, your teaching, and the challenges you place upon your students from their perspective. Your success as an educator depends on this mindset. My 28-years as a teacher have been a great ride and I am excited to go to work every day. I teach on the weekend, over the summer, at night as a baseball coach, and I love what I do. I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you on your journey.




Reddy, Christopher. “The Teacher Curse No One Wants to Talk About, Edutopia, www.Edutopia, 18 December 2015, Tagami, Ty. “High-stakes tests blamed for high teacher turnover”. Atlanta Journal and Constitution, www.ajc. com/news/local-education/high-stakes-tests-blamedfor-high-teacher turnover/jt9K27a9BEnGZnKjLfFvaN/. Accessed 13 September 2016.

Andrew F. Poor, D.M.E., currently serves as the Director of Bands at South Forsyth Middle School in Cumming, Georgia, and is the current Teacher of the Year for the school. Additionally, Dr. Poor was recently named the Forsyth County Middle School and System-Wide Teacher of the Year for 2016. Previously, he served as Associate Director of Bands and Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. Additionally, Dr. Poor was on the part-time music education faculty for the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University from 2006-2015. Dr. Poor holds the Doctor of Music Education, as well as, the Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and he previously received the Bachelor of Music Education degree (High Honors) from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. His professional affiliations include: ASCAP, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, National Band Association and the International Trumpet Guild.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Band, Choir, and Orchestra

2017: April 21-22 April 28-29 May 5-6

2018: April 20-21 April 27-28 May 4-5 or call:1-855-766-3008 spring 2017 // georgia music news







n an effort to help students improve their skills, music educators seek to help students develop good practice habits. An estimated ninety percent of the time spent learning a musical instrument is time that the student spends practicing alone, with only 10 percent of the time used for instruction by a teacher (Puopolo, 1971). Unfortunately, when students have been observed practicing alone, they have spent a majority of their time simply “playing through” pieces without employing any specific practice strategies (McPherson & Renwick, 2001; Oare, 2011). Hence, practicing with no purpose in mind becomes repetition without learning (Leonhard & House, 1972). For learning to truly take place, students should engage in deliberate practice, i.e. practice which allows for repeated experiences and is highly structured (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993; Miksza 2007).


A large body of research has been devoted to musical practice. Some researchers have attempted to determine which practice strategies students most commonly employ (Duke, Simmons, & Cash, 2009; Miksza, 2007; Miksza, Prichard, & Sorbo, 2012; Rohwer & Polk, 2006). Other researchers have attempted to determine which practice strategies are the most effective. Findings indicate that practicing with a model is superior to practicing without a model (Henley, 2001; Hewitt, 2001), combining mental and physical practice is beneficial (Ross, 1985), the use of a practice report does


georgia georgia music music news news // spring / fall 2016 2016

not always result in greater improvement (Wagner, 1975), and parental involvement in practice is important (Davidson, Howe, Moore, & Sloboda, 1996; Mcpherson, 2009). Repetition is one of the most common practice strategies, but may not always be the most effective strategy for beginning instrumentalists (Stambaugh, 2010). Students who reported the use of more self-regulated learning strategies also tended to report greater degrees of practice efficiency and considered their practice to be more formal (Miksza, 2012). While the amount of time spent practicing seems to be less important than the quality of practice (Duke, Simmons, & Cash, 2009; Miksza, 2007; Wagner, 1975), students who reported using self-regulated practice strategies more frequently also tended to practice for longer amounts of time (Miksza, 2012) and distributive practice has been found to be more effective than massed practice (Rubin-Rabson, 1940; Simmons, 2012). Other findings have demonstrated inconsistencies in terms of which practice strategies are the most effective. While some researchers have suggested that the use of specific practice strategies is more effective than free practice (McPherson, 2005; Miksza, 2007; Rohwer & Polk, 2006), recent findings have shown no significant difference between the use of specific practice strategies and free practice (Sikes, 2013). The current study is an effort to replicate the Sikes (2013) study under slightly modified conditions to discover if the findings hold true.

Modif ications to the Sikes (2013) Study

Sikes’ sample consisted of university non-music majors. It can take years for musicians to assimilate the use of deliberate practice strategies (McPherson & Renwick, 2001), and college-age musicians have been found to demonstrate extensive self-regulatory skill (Nielsen, 2001). The participants in Sikes’ study likely employed specific strategies to some extent in their free practice intended to serve as the control. Sikes did not analyze the free practice of the control group to determine if specific practice strategies were employed. The current study sample consisted of younger students (middle and high school band students) and included analysis of the free practice employed by the control group.



Participants were wind and percussion players enrolled in band at a private school in the southern United States. Of the 40 participants in the study, 23 were female (57.5%) and 17 were male (42.5%). One participant was in twelfth grade (2.5%), seven were in eleventh grade (17.5%), six were in tenth grade (15%), eight were in 9th grade (20%), eight were in 8th grade (20%), and ten were in seventh grade (25%). Eight students played flute (20%), one played oboe (2.5%), one played bassoon (2.5%), six played clarinet (15%), two played bass clarinet (5%), nine played alto saxophone (22.5%), three played trumpet (7.5%), three played French horn (7.5%), one played trombone (2.5%), three played euphonium (7.5%), and three played snare drum (7.5%).


Table I Means and Standard Deviations of Participants’ Scores by Strategy

Two excerpts of study music were used, one for middle school students and one for high school students. The study music for middle school students was taken from Arabian Dances by Roland Barrett. The excerpt was in common time at a tempo of quarter note = 120 beats per minute (bpm), and was eight measures long. The study music for high school students was taken from the first movement of the Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst, adapted by Robert Longfield. The excerpt was in cut time at a tempo of half note = 120 beats per minute (bpm), and was sixteen measures long. Each excerpt was divided into four separate phrases, and the phrases were numbered as such for the purposes of this research. The scoring instrument was based on the rubric used by the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) for All-State Band auditions. In keeping with the GMEA All-State judging procedures, judges in the current study evaluated participants’ performances in the areas of tone quality, technique, rhythmic accuracy, articulation/ style, dynamics/phasing, and interpretation/tempo. Five points were possible in each area for a possible 30-point total.


Participants were given the performance tempo and were asked to study the music for one minute without playing or fingering. The metronome was turned off during the one-minute study period. After one minute the proctor started the recorder, announced the participant’s test code, and gave the performance tempo again. Once the proctor turned off the metronome, the participant sight-read the excerpt, which served as the pretest. Leaving the recorder on, the proctor then instructed the participant to practice the excerpt for four minutes using one of the following, randomly assigned practice strategies:

1 2 3 4

Free practice: Participants used any strategy they felt was best to learn the excerpt. Play slowly then gradually speed up: Participants were given a starting tempo of 70 bpm and were asked to play through the entire excerpt at that tempo, after which a tempo of 80 bpm was given and the participant was asked to play through the excerpt again. This procedure occurred six times, each time increasing in tempo (i.e. 90, 100, 110, 120) until the participant reached the target tempo of 120 beats per minute. Repeat small sections: The participant was given the performance tempo of 120 bpm and was asked to practice only the first section of the excerpt for one minute at tempo, after which the participant practiced the second section of the excerpt for one minute. This procedure continued for each of the four sections of the excerpt.

Play the excerpt multiple times: The participant was given the performance tempo of 120 bpm and was asked to play through the entire excerpt as many times as possible at tempo during the four minutes of practice.

After the treatment, participants were given one minute of rest. After the rest, the proctor gave the performance tempo of 120 bpm again. Once the proctor turned the metronome off, participants performed the music one last time, which served as the posttest. After all treatment sessions were completed, participants’ pretest and posttest performances were edited for scoring. Two judges with 25-30 years of teaching experience were recruited for scoring. All 80 performances, which included a pretest and a posttest for each participant, were played back in random order for judging. Judges were blind to participant identity as well as time point of performance (pretest or posttest).


Interjudge reliability, calculated using the Pearson r correlation, was acceptable (r = .65). Pretest and posttest mean scores were used to compute a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures for test and strategy using participants’ overall scores. Significant main effects were found by test, F(1, 17) = 4.68, p < .05 and by strategy, F(3, 51) = 6.50, p < .05. As shown in Table 1, total overall scores for participants’ pretests were lower than total overall scores for participants’ posttests. A paired-samples t test indicated that participants significantly improved their overall performances between pretest and posttest (t = 2.24, p < .05). Results of the two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures also indicated no significant interaction between test and strategy with regard to overall scores. A three-way ANOVA with repeated measures was calculated using pretest-posttest, musical category score, and strategy. Significant main effects were found for strategy, F(3, 51) = 6.50, p < .05), for test, F(1, 17) = 4.68, p < .05, and for category, F(5, 85) = 16.11, p < .05. No significant interactions were found.

Analysis of Free Practice

Of the eleven participants assigned to the free practice control group, five participants repeated the excerpt multiple times at a slow tempo (45.45%). Four participants stopped to correct errors (36.36%). Six participants studied silently (54.55%). Two participants repeated sections of the excerpt (18.18%), two participants practiced slowly before increasing the tempo (18.18%), and two participants repeated the excerpt multiple times at the performance tempo (18.18%).


The findings of the current study were consistent with the findings of the Sikes (2013) study: all practice strategies resulted in significantly improved performance. This result is important as it replicates Sikes’ result while addressing some of the concerns of the Sikes study through modifications in the current study.

The Concern of Free Practice

While Sikes found free practice as effective of any of the strategies tested, a lack of analysis of participants’ free practice made it impossible to determine if free practice included elements of the other strategies investigated and/or other analytical practice strategies. In the current study, the most commonly employed free practice strategy (other than silent study) was repeating the excerpt at a slow tempo. One would expect increasing the tempo with each repetition to be more effective, but no differences were found. Only two participants included repetition of small sections in their free practice, and in both cases this strategy represented only a small portion of the total practice time. Only two participants practiced slowly and increased the tempo. Of those two, one participant did not gradually increase the tempo. Rather, the use of this strategy consisted of a complete performance of the excerpt at a slow tempo followed by one complete performance of the excerpt at performance tempo. Four participants employed a strategy that was not tested in the current study but could be considered analytical, that being stopping to correct errors. It is worth noting that three of those four participants were in the tenth grade or older.

The Concern of the Hawthorne Effect

In the Sikes study, participants knew that their practice habits were being studied. Participants in the current study did not; they believed that they were engaged in an exercise to assess their sight-reading skills.

The Concern of Experience and Performance Level

Sikes suggested that the improved performances in his study may have been due to the experience and performance levels of his advanced (college-level) participants. The current study findings also indicated significantly improved performances in all strategies tested with younger, less experienced participants (middle and high school).

spring 2017 // georgia music news



The Concern of Repertoire

Because Sikes used the same excerpt for all participants, the musical characteristics of the parts were different between instruments. The repertoire selection for the current study included separate pieces for middle school participants and high school participants to account for differences in ability. Further, different excerpts from each piece were selected for each instrument. Each excerpt was the same length and tempo, but care was taken to ensure that the musical characteristics and level of difficulty were also similar for each instrument.

Implications for Teachers

Sikes noted that, because free practice was as successful as targeted practice strategies, advanced musicians could be left to their own devices to practice with the expectation that improvement would be as great as if they were engaged in guided practice with the teacher. The current findings suggest that improvement could also be expected from younger students under similar circumstances, although keeping students on-task might prove more difficult. Perhaps the most useful information for teachers yielded from the current study comes from the analysis of participants’ free practice. The fact that the participants who stopped to correct errors were mostly older students echoes previous findings that younger students tend to “play through” practice material without stopping to address problems. Six students in the free practice control group engaged in silent study; two of those six participants engaged in silent study exclusively without engaging in any other form of practice. It is unclear whether they were even studying at all, or whether they chose not to practice because they did not know how. This possibility underlines the importance of teachers spending time to teach their students how to employ specific practice strategies.

Suggestions for Future Researchers

In the Sikes study, results indicated that there were differences among performers as a result of instruments played. The current study involved a greater number of different instruments, but because of the

relatively small sample size within each instrument sample no comparisons between instruments was attempted. Future researchers should seek to include larger sample sizes of both homogenous and heterogeneous instrument groups. While the interjudge reliability in the current study (r =.65) was acceptable, it was on the low end of acceptance. Future researchers should attempt to replicate this study with more judges and strive for higher interjudge reliability. Because the rubric used in this study is also used for All-State Band auditions in Georgia, a study of the rubric’s reliability would not be inappropriate. The practice strategies tested in the current study were the same as in the Sikes study because the current study was an attempt at replication. However, future researchers may consider an expansion of these strategies. Playing the excerpt multiple times, for example, and as Sikes conceded, is not considered a highly analytical form of practice. Repeating small sections is also little more than repetition, especially if participants are not self-selecting the sections to practice. Gradually increasing the tempo may be more analytical than the other two strategies, but is also a form of repetition.


The purpose of this study was to replicate the Sikes (2013) study to determine if the effects of specific practice strategy use on middle and high school band students’ performance are the same as the effects of the same strategies on university string players’ performance. Results indicated, as in the Sikes study, that all strategies tested were effective, resulting in significantly improved performances. As additional research is completed in the area of musical practice, practitioners and researchers can become better informed of various factors that may influence students’ practice habits and, by extension, their musical performances.

Davidson, J. W., Howe, M. J., Moore, D. G., & Sloboda, J. A. (1996). The role of parental influences in the development of musical performance. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 14, 399-412. Duke, R.A., Simmons, A.L., & Cash, C.D. (2009). It’s not how much; it’s how: Characteristics of practice behavior and retention of performance skills. Journal of Research in Music Education, 56, 310-321. Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Pscyhological Review, 100, 363-406. Henley, P. T. (2001). Effects of modeling and tempo patterns as practice techniques on the performance of high school instrumentalists. Journal of Research in Music Education, 49, 169-180. Hewitt, M. P. (2001). The effects of modeling, self-evaluation, and self-listening on junior high instrumentalists’ music performance and practice attitude. Journal of Research in Music Education, 49, 307-322. Leonhard, C. & House, R. W. (1972). Foundations and Principles of Music Education. New York: McGraw-Hill. McPherson, G.E. (2005). From child to musician: Skill development during the beginning stages of learning an instrument. Psychology of Music, 33, 5-35. Mcpherson, G. E. (2009). The role of parents in children’s musical development. Psychology of Music, 37, 91-110. McPherson, G.E., & Renwick, J.M. (2001). A longitudinal study of self-regulation in children’s musical practice. Music Education Research, 3, 169-186. Miksza, P. (2007). Effective practice: An investigation of observed practice behaviors, self-reported practice habits, and the performance achievement of high school wind players. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55, 359-375. Miksza, P. (2012). The development of a measure of self-regulated practice behavior for beginning and intermediate instrumental music students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 59, 321-338. Miksza, Prichard, & Sorbo (2012). An observational study of intermediate band students’ self-regulated practice behaviors. Journal of Research in Music Education, 60, 254-266. Nielsen, S. (2001). Self-regulating learning strategies in instrumental music practice. Music Education Research, 3, 155-167. Oare, S. (2011). Practice Education: Teaching instrumentalists to practice effectively. Music Educators Journal, 97, 41-47). Puopolo, V. (1971). The development and experimental application of self-instructional practice materials for beginning instrumentalists. Journal of Research in Music Education, 19 (3), 242-249. Rohwer, D. & Polk, J. (2006). Practice behaviors of eighth-grade instrumental musicians. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54, 350-362. Ross, S. L. (1985). The effectiveness of mental practice in improving the performance of college trombonists. Journal of Research in Music Education, 33, 221-231. Rubin-Rabson, G. (1940). Studies in the psychology of memorizing piano music, II: A comparison of massed and distributed practice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 31, 270-284. Sikes, P.L. (2013). The effects of specific practice strategy use on university string players’ performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 61, 318-333. Simmons, A. L. (2012). Distributed practice and procedural memory consolidation in musicians’ skill learning. Journal of Research in Music Education, 59, 357-368. Stambaugh, L. A. (2010). When repetition isn’t the best practice strategy: Effects of blocked and random practice schedules. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58, 368-383. Wagner, M. J. (1975). The effect of a practice report on practice time and musical performance. In C. K. Madsen, R. D. Greer, & C. H. Madsen, Jr. (Eds.), Research in music behavior (pp. 125-130). New York: Teachers College Press.

SAM SIMON earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Berry College

and the Master of Music Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Georgia. He is currently the band director at Excel Christian Academy in Cartersville where he has taught band since 2003.


georgia music news // spring 2017

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VETERAN 10 Questions for Experienced Teachers


NICOLE THOMPSON is Director of Orchestras at Taylor Road Middle School in Johns Creek, Georgia. She was selected as the school’s 2010 Teacher of the Year and the 2014 Georgia American String Teachers Association Educator of the Year. In 2017 Mrs. Thompson was honored as a top ten finalist for the GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award. Mrs. Thompson has served as District 5 Orchestra Chair, State Orchestra Chair, and is also an active adjudicator and clinician. Most recently, she enjoyed a collaboration through UGA between the Taylor Road Orchestra and Moi Girls’ School Orchestra in Kenya, via skype. Mrs. Thompson conducted the Metropolitan Youth Symphony String for six years, and under her direction, they were selected to perform at the 2007 GMEA Conference. Mrs. Thompson’s orchestras at Taylor Road have consistently earned superior ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluations and have been selected to perform at the 2006 and 2011 In-Service Conferences. Mrs. Thompson earned her Bachelor of Music Education Degree at Georgia State University. She earned her Master of Music Education Degree and her Specialist in Education Degree at the University of Georgia.

1. Please tell us a bit about your musical background and teaching experience. I began playing violin in the 6th grade in public school. At the age of fifteen, I began playing with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and continued to play with them for 10 years. My first teaching position was for general music and chorus in 1996 at a private school while I was completing my degree in music education at Georgia State University. Just after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 1999, I started a beginning band class at the private school. In 2000, I began teaching orchestra full time at Taylor Road Middle School.

2. What first drew you to music education? I love music. My mother loved music. She sang all the time when I was young. Joe Tarentino was my first orchestra teacher and I respected him so much. He was a real inspiration to me. Orchestra became my family and now I have the opportunity to create that same atmosphere for my students. I love the feeling of helping large groups of children work together to create a bond and build relationships that only music can facilitate. Making music is so much fun and I always get choked up when I hear small children singing in a performance together.


georgia music news // spring 2017

3. Who has been the biggest influence on your teaching career? What lessons did that person teach you? Jon Wareham, the principal at the private school where I began my teaching career, was a huge influence. Mr. Wareham had confidence in me when I had none in myself. He gave me a chance and led me to learn I would be able to achieve my goals and dreams. Tim Aucoin has been a great influence on my orchestra teaching career. He was very patient and kind when I had the opportunity to student teach under his guidance. I love the way Tim relates with kids and he’s an incredible musician. I learned so much from him about orchestra, teaching, and life. Tim is a great guy, all around. Joseph Kirschner was a constant support and encourager when I began my career in Fulton County. In addition to the demands of being Supervisor of Music Education, he spent time working with my orchestra after school. Joe always had a positive outlook and inspired me to achieve greater results. There have been several orchestra teachers who have influenced my teaching career and, as a result, they’ve become great friends. I am so thankful for them. Bernadette Scruggs has been a fantastic mentor, support, encourager, and sounding board for current issues in music education. Evelyn Champion influenced me in the way I viewed All-State and taught me to do all I can to provide special opportunities for kids who excel. Evelyn has pushed me personally, as well as educationally, to excel and work hard to achieve the highest results. Amy Clement and Sarah Black have both been incredibly supportive and pushed me to surpass my own limitations. Collaborating with Carl Rieke in MYSO has been an invaluable experience.

4. What have been the biggest changes to music education in the course of your career?

7. What wisdom/experience/skills do you hope students gain from their time in your program?

The paperwork and attempt to fit into the “box” all education is placed in. Over time, I have seen music classes required to use computers, take standardized tests, and create plans that are most ideal for math, science, language arts, social studies, etc. There seems to be less emphasis on music for the sake of music. I expect the pendulum will swing back the other way at some point and music will be appreciated again as the unique subject it is, not expected to fit other classes’ standards.

I hope my students gain the wisdom to never give up- always try your best. Try to be a better person today than you were yesterday. I hope to teach them the skills to achieve high standards of music performance. I hope they learn to love others and give generously.

5. How has your teaching philosophy evolved throughout your career?

Anything that inspires them personally to improve. I’m glad there are so many different works and composers because all children are unique with various tastes. There is a great work or composer for everyone and I try to expose my students to as many different artists as possible through listening examples on a regular basis. Sometimes, they send music to me, in hopes to influence me!

I have always wanted to include everyone. I have always wanted all kids to be involved in music. I was teased once by an administrator and called- “The savior of orchestra souls” because I was so passionate about keeping kids in orchestra and finding solutions to conflicts so they could continue participating. My teaching philosophy has evolved in that I am more passionate about teaching the children to use music to communicate and influence others, whether it be performing at a nursing home and interacting with residents or playing music to raise money for a cause such as cancer research or diabetes. It is very important to me that the children use their talent to support one another and find ways to brighten the lives of others.

6. What has been the proudest moment of your teaching career? Two years ago, I had a student with diabetes and his classmates secretly raised money for a walk he was doing for diabetes research. My proudest moment was watching the orchestra present him with a very large check as a surprise. The love and encouragement they showed him was wonderful.

8. Is there a particular musical work or composer to which you feel all students should be exposed?

9. What advice would you offer teachers beginning careers in music education? Do your best. Don’t give up. Find a mentor. Talk it out. Every day is a new day. Life is short. Try to share love and give generously.

10. What still inspires you about teaching? The kids’ faces and excitement every day. Seeing the music through their eyes is refreshing and fun. I love teaching and spending time with kids. They have the best stories!


VETERAN 10 Questions for Experienced Teachers

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DEADLINE: MAY 1, 2017 georgia music news // spring 2017

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We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams; World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems. -Arthur Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Shaughnessy



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