In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we will be featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we present the first of our music educator profiles. Watch for more throughout this year!
How long have you been teaching?
KS I began teaching in 1969, so 46 years.
Where do you teach now? If not teaching now, when did you retire from teaching, and what are you doing now?
KS While I retired from having to get up every day at 5:00 a.m. to teach in 2004, I do still consider myself a teacher.
Where have you taught in the past?
KS I started as a graduate teaching assistant at Central Michigan University, then on faculty at CMU. Went to the Bridgeport, MI, public schools and then to Lake Park High School in Roselle, IL.
Where did you go to college? What degrees do you earn?
KS Central Michigan University for BSEd and MM. Later various places for an additional 45 hours.
What would you say to a new band director who asks you “what is the one thing you wish someone had told you just starting out?”
KS Patience! Developing a culture of excellence takes time and consistent attention. There are no good quick answers. It needs attention and maintenance every day.
Tell us about your participation with Music for All and Bands of America.
KS My bands from Bridgeport were finalists at the first three BOA (then MBA) Summer Nationals 1976-78. [Wife] Pamela and I did Weekend With The Experts sessions all over the country several years for the then parent company and we both judged some of the earliest BOA (MBA) Regionals. We both worked the Summer Symposiums, then at Whitewater, several times. I was briefly in the MBA office as the adjudication coordinator in 1980 where I wrote the first version of the rules and adjudication manual. My bands at Lake Park started participating in MBA/BOA events with a regional in 1984 and first went to Grand Nationals in 1985 where the band was a finalist. The Lake Park bands were Grand National finalists 18 times, placing in the top five for 11 consecutive years, 1987-1997. In recent years I have had the opportunity and honor to judge some of the BOA events. It is a wonderful experience to witness performances of so many dedicated student performers and see the efforts of talented and creative teachers and designers. Very humbling.
What are some of the highlights and memorable moments from your experiences related to MFA/BOA?
KS The first Summer Nationals finals with Bridgeport. The wonderful camaraderie among
the clinicians at the early Whitewater symposia. The first regional finals with Lake Park.
The band making Grand National finals for the first time in 1985.
The band being Grand National Champion in 1996.
Being inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2004.
What would you like to see MFA focus on or accomplish in the next 40 years?
KS Be a major voice for instrumental music advocacy. Things will be getting much more difficult for programs in the future. Without help, not only will there be no BOA/MFA, there will be no school music.