I hope everyone is enjoying their first days back to school! Please enjoy this episode with Alex Kaminsky, Director of Bands at VanderCook College of Music. We talk about Alex’s musical upbringing, transitioning to a college band, and repeating success.
Music credit: special thanks to Harrison Collins for permission to use his composition O rose of May, premiered by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony in 2018 under the director of Alex Kaminsky.
Alexander Kaminsky was appointed Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at VanderCook College of Music in 2019 after a highly successful tenure at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. He holds degrees from the University of Florida and Indiana University, is active as an adjudicator, and is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician across the country. Throughout his 30-year career as a high school band director, Kaminsky’s ensembles consistently earned Superior ratings at all levels of evaluation. In addition to earning Superior ratings at the FBA State Concert Band Assessment for an unprecedented 23 consecutive years (the last 13 of those years being with both his first and second bands), he is the only director in the history of the Florida Bandmasters Association to have had three concert bands from one school earn straight Superior ratings at State, and he achieved this three times (2009, 2018 and 2019).
Kaminsky’s bands have performed at the Midwest Clinic (2005, 2009, 2014, and 2018), ABA Convention (2014), CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (2004 and 2014), FMEA State Convention (2014), National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), and the National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009 and 2018). In 2018, the Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony was named a National Wind Band Honors winner as one of only ten 6A bands in the nation. His marching bands consistently placed in the Florida Marching Band State Championship Finals, winning consecutive FMBC State Championships (2013 and 2014, 2017 and 2018) as well as being named a finalist band at BOA regional competitions.
Kaminsky has presented his clinic “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That” at various conferences and workshops, and his annual “How To Fix It” series at the FMEA Convention has been received to high acclaim, with over 900 attendees in 2019. He is a ten-time recipient of the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence and has been recognized with numerous achievement awards for education including Florida’s 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, FBA Oliver Hobbs Award, FBA Andrew J. Crew Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Kaminsky is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician and is an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the American School Band Directors’ Association. He has served on numerous state and national committees, and currently serves on the ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award Committee and the ABA School Bands Task Force. He has been featured in several periodicals including The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music, School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” and Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators.”
Matt Temple discusses the music program at New Trier High School, philosophies on competition in music, and comprehensive musicianship.
Matt Temple was appointed Director of Bands at New Trier High School in 2007. He conducts the curricular Freshman Concert Band, Concert Jazz Ensemble, Varsity Wind Ensemble, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble. His extracurricular groups include Pep Band, Solo/Ensemble, Pit Orchestra for the Fresh/Soph Musical, and Lagniappe, New Trier's student-written musical. In 2008, he wrote a comprehensive wind ensembles curriculum that guides student instruction throughout the program. Mr. Temple earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in conducting from Eastern Illinois University. He also completed an additional master's degree in educational leadership through Aurora University.
Under Mr. Temple's direction, the New Trier Symphonic Wind Ensemble has performed at the 2015 NBA Director's Workshop, 2012 Midwest Clinic, 2010 Western Illinois University Showcase of Bands, 2009 Music for All National Concert Band Festival, and the 2008 and 2009 University of Illinois Superstate Festivals. In 2014, the New Trier band department received national recognition as an inaugural recipient of the "Blue Ribbon Award" for Programs of Excellence from the National Band Association. Prior to his appointment at New Trier, Mr. Temple served as the Fine Arts Chair at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, from 2000-2007, and as the music director at Flora High School from 1994-1998.
Mr. Temple is a Contributing Editor for The Instrumentalist and completed a four-year term on the Advisory Committee for the Music Educator's Journal. He is currently serving his second term as a high school representative on the Board of Directors for the National Band Association. Mr. Temple is a co-founding member and President Elect of the Illinois committee for Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP). In 2015, Mr. Temple was recognized by his colleagues with the "Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award" presented by the Quinlan and Fabish Music Company. He is an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the honorary society, Phi Beta Mu.
Mr. Temple has presented multiple clinic sessions at the Indiana and Illinois State Music Conferences including, "Analyzing for Meaning," " Student-Centered Instruction in a Band Rehearsal," " Writing Innovative Curricula for Performance-Based Classes," and "The Impact of Music Selection on Student Learning." In December 2014, he presented a session at the Midwest Clinic, and he will present there again this year. Mr. Temple has also presented at Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Illinois State University, and Ball State University. He frequently serves as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States.
In 1913, A.R. McAllister, a manual arts instructor who played the cornet, was asked to organize a band for Joliet Township High School. Mr. McAllister, who grew up on a farm in Jackson Township, bought a cornet at age 14 with profits he earned from selling his pig at the Will County Fair. He studied music under James H. Ward, director of Ward's Boy Band in Joliet. Prior to directing the JT band, McAllister organized the Trinity Girl's Band in 1905 and performed with local ensembles, including the Dellwood Park Band and Joliet Steelworkers Industrial Band.
Under Mr. McAllister's leadership, the band won state championships from 1924-26 and national championships from 1926-28. In their hometown, the band received permanent possession of the trophy in 1928 and was praised by John Philip Sousa (see photo below). The band was exempt to play at the 1929 contest in Denver, but performed as an exhibition group. In 1931, the band regained the national title.
In 1936, McAllister lead his young musicians through a week of nine performances at Radio City Music Hall where the band performed an Easter show with the Rockettes, playing for a total of 160,000 people. The band played for draftees, and was known as "the minute men" because they were always ready - day or night to perform for soldiers traveling through Joliet.
Mr. McAllister became a nationally recognized leader of the school band movement and was known as "the father of the high school band program." McAllister helped organize the National School Band Association in 1926. He was elected vice-president the same year before serving as president for 14 years. On Sept. 30, 1944, McAllister died at age 63.
Let’s kick off summer with an interview with Dr. Rodney C. Dorsey, Director of Bands, Indiana University.
Dr. Dorsey discusses his musical upbringing, building connections with students, competition in music, and warns us of the dangers of not ordering buses for our band.
Special thanks to George Quinlan, Jr. for helping to set this interview up and for providing an interview space at Quinlan & Fabish in Burr Ridge, Illinois.
FULL BIO from info.music.indiana.edu
Rodney Dorsey was previously director of bands and conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Oregon. Prior to that, he was associate director of bands at the University of Michigan, where he conducted the Concert Band and the Michigan Youth Band and taught undergraduate conducting. He served previously on the faculties of DePaul and Northwestern universities, and gained extensive experience teaching in the public schools of Florida and Georgia. Dorsey studied conducting with James Croft, John P. Paynter, and Mallory Thompson. He was a clarinet student of Fred Ormand and Frank Kowalsky. Ensembles under Dorsey’s direction have performed at several state and national events, including the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Regional Conference and the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. His numerous professional memberships include the CBDNA, National Association for Music Education, Midwest Clinic board of directors, and the American Bandmasters Association.
“With most people of my generation, and the generation that preceded me, we tend to be doom and gloom because everyone isn’t doing it the way we did it . . . , no matter what people tell you, bands are better today than they’ve ever been.”
James F. Keene took a break from conducting the ILMEA All-State Honors band at IMEC 2019 to sit down with R. Scott Barnas and I to talk about adapting music for ensembles, the role of a university director of bands, and commissioning new works. Professor Keene also speaks about his experience with international outreach and talks about identifying quality literature for bands.
Special thanks to R. Scott Barnas for connecting all of us and for guest-hosting on this episode. Special thanks to the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) for helping to make this interview possible at the Illinois Music Education Conference.
In 2008, Professor James F. Keene retired from the University of Illinois School of Music, where he held the titles of Director of Bands and Brownfield Distinguished Professor of Music. Appointed in 1985, he was only the fourth person to hold the Director of Bands position since 1905. During his 23-year tenure at Illinois, the UI Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony, under his direction, were selected to perform for every major music conference in the U.S., have toured internationally and have performed in many of America's most prestigious concert halls, including New York's legendary Carnegie Hall and several performances in Chicago's Orchestra Hall. The Illinois Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band have produced one of the most extensive bodies of commercial band recordings. These recordings have been broadcast on National Public Radio in the U.S., as well as radio programs in Asia, Australia, and several European countries.
Mr. Keene is a Past-President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is a Past-President of the National Band Association, having previously served in several other NBA offices, and is a Past-President of The Big Ten Band Directors Association. For several years he served as chairman of the ABA/Ostwald Composition Contest, and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Band Research.
In addition to membership in several professional and honorary societies, Mr. Keene is an Evans Scholar, Past-President of the Champaign Rotary Club, and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation. In 1993, Professor Keene was named as an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the International Percy Grainger Society in recognition of his devotion to the music of Grainger and he also serves on the Board of Directors of the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the historic Goldman Memorial Band of New York City. Prior to his appointment at Illinois, Professor Keene taught at all levels, including building nationally recognized programs at East Texas State University (now Texas A and M-Commerce), and at The University of Arizona.
In 2002, Professor Keene was named Honorary Life Member of the Texas Bandmasters Association, becoming only the sixth person to be so honored in the 55-year history of that organization. He is in constant demand as conductor, clinician and adjudicator and has appeared in those capacities in forty-four states and on five continents. In 2009, Professor Keene conducted in Australia, China and Europe, in addition to a busy schedule of appearances in the United States.