In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we are featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we feature a band director who has had bands invited to five Music for All National Festivals, including the debut Festival in 1992.
David Maccabee: United Township High School, East Moline, Illinois
David Maccabee is currently Director of Bands at United Township High School in East Moline, Illinois, a position he has held since 1986. He previously taught in the Geneseo and Nokomis, Illinois school systems. At United Township High School, he is director of all instrumental music ensembles, including Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, musical pit orchestra, and pep band. During Mr. Maccabee’s tenure, enrollment in the UTHS Band program has grown from 100 to nearly 200 members.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Augustana College (IL). He received his Master’s Degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music Education in 1989.
Mr. Maccabee is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States. Mr. Maccabee has also served the Illinois Music Educator’s Association as Division Chair, All-State Auditioner, and member of the IMEA Mentoring Council. He is a member of the National Band Association where he currently serves as state chair for Illinois. In 2014, Mr. Maccabee was named “Bandmaster of the Year” by the Illinois chapter of Phi Beta Mu. He was the first recipient of the “Dr. Victor Zajec Award,” given to him in recognition of the United Township High School Symphonic Band’s performance at the 1998 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.
Tell us about your participation with Music for All and Bands of America?
We participated as one of eight bands in the very first National Concert Band Festival at Northwestern University back in 1992. We also participated in the National Concert Band Festival in 1995, 1997, 2001, and 2008. Our marching band was a semi finalist back in 1997, and we participated in regional Bands of America events back in the 90’s as well.
What are some of the highlights and memorable moments from your experiences related to MFA/BOA?
During the first National Concert Band Festival I had an extended conversation with William Revelli. I learned a lot, especially about programming and literature. It was a very moving, memorable moment watching Fred Fennell working with the very first Honor Band of America back in 1992. Former students of mine who were in that band still talk about that experience. Many of the evaluators from the National Concert Band Festival have become trusted friends and colleagues. I continue to learn and be inspired by these people to this day.
What is one thing you’d say to a new band director who asks you “what is the one thing you wish someone had told you just starting out?”
You will touch more lives than you can imagine. Being a band director, your life will impact your students, their families, their extended families, the entire school including fellow staff members, custodians, bus drivers, the administrative staff – everyone. The community you work in will be profoundly touched by your work as well. Understand that your role as a music educator has meaningful impact far beyond your classroom.
What do you like to see Music for All focus on or accomplish in the next 40 years?
I hope Music for All will continue to hold their name “Music for All” as a guide for their whole mission. I fear that music education could become music for the “haves and have nots.” I hope “Music for All” will continue to reach and support all of us, regardless of our resources, in our efforts to make quality music education available to all schools.