Episode 13: Chip De Stefano, Director of Bands, Oliver McCracken Middle School

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, by Don Stinson

  1. Selected two pieces for score study. Ultimately, I spilled a cup of coffee on one of them so badly that it changed the physical structure of the piece. Good news, though: it's Persichetti, so you'll never know.*
  2. Decided to finally clean up all of the music I pulled from our library this year. Took a look at it, acknowledged the mess, became overwhelmed and convinced myself that "this is how artists live."
  3. Sat down with Chip De Stefano and walked away inspired by what work ethic and persistence can do for a program at any level.

This episode is about an hour long, but Chip and I spent over four hours off mic together talking band, including history, teaching techniques, and goals.  Chip is a band director's band director and has done some wonderful things for his students and the profession. Following our talk, I spent some evening hours combing through his band's website, www.mccrackenband.com.  This site is a fantastic resource that includes lesson sheets, exercises for all instruments, free arrangements by Chip, and lecture outlines and handouts. 

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. 

*Footnote: I'm not actually playing Persichetti.
Footnote to the footnote: Ok, 
confession: I'm just afraid of playing Persichetti.

Chip De Stefano Bio (full biography available by clicking here)

Mr. De Stefano is the 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 a 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.

Mr. De Stefano is active nationally as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. He’s conducted honor bands in Singapore, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, and throughout Illinois. In addition, he has presented conference sessions at the Midwest Clinic (2008), ILMEA All-State Conference (2003, 2005, 2008), 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). Mr. De Stefano is a recipient of fifteen 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, and the IGSMA Cloyd Meyers Memorial Award in 2011.