What was your background before ABC?
Prior to ABC, I served as the Associate Director at Bismarck High School and Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota for three years. At both of these schools, I was the director of the middle concert group, ran the second jazz ensemble, and served as the sectional coach for all other bands. I remained in this position until the spring of 2010.
When did you graduate from ABC? 2008
What is your current teaching position? Director of Bands at Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota.
How long have you been in that position? Nine years.
Name some other accomplishments, awards or other degrees since graduation.
- Student ensemble selected to perform at the North American Saxophone Region 3 Convention (2010).
- Recipient of the NDNBA Allegro Award (2010).
- Wind Ensemble selected to perform at the North Dakota Music Educators Association Convention (2013).
- North Dakota’s representative for School Band Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” issue (2013).
- Student ensemble selected to perform at the North American Saxophone Region 3 Convention (2014).
- Recipient of the NDNBA Jazz Educator of the Year Award (2014).
- Wind Ensemble selected to perform at the North Dakota Music Educators Association Convention (2016).
- Inducted into the St. Mary’s Central High School Hall of Fame in the Fine Arts Category (2016).
- Recipient of the NDNBA Citation of Excellence Award (2017).
- North Dakota’s representative for School Band Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” issue (2018).
- Wind Ensemble selected to perform at the North Dakota Music Educators Association Convention (2019).
How did ABC help prepare you for these? ABC was instrumental in helping me improve my overall knowledge of pedagogy and delivery of instruction. The practicality of the coursework, the wealth of knowledge given by the clinicians, and the ability to share what I learned with my students was so beneficial. I also credit ABC for expanding my general awareness of how vast the band community really is. I grew up and live in a sparsely populated state and all of my experiences in high school and college, while excellent, were limited in scope due to my surroundings. Interacting with colleagues from across the country and seeing what can be accomplished in a high school music program was a real eye-opener and pushed me to raise my expectations for myself and my students.
What was your most memorable ABC experience? There are so many wonderful memories that I have from my time at ABC. I loved working with the clinicians, performing with world-class artists, and meeting teachers from across the country. As the only representative from North Dakota during my time there, I also enjoyed carrying my state flag at every Fourth of July concert. But, my favorite memory was from a sightreading session. Eugene Rousseau performed with the group on a newly published arrangement of “Diversion” by Bernhard Heiden. It has always been one of my favorite alto solos and it was awesome getting to play it with the person for whom it was written.
Who are your biggest influences/mentors? My mentors include Bill Schmidt (high school band director), Dennis Gowen (college band director), Loran Eckroth (college saxophone professor), and Tim Fogderud (former Director of Bands at Century High School). However, the biggest influence on my musical career is Jon Baumann (former Director of Bands at Bismarck High School/current Director of Bands at Mandan High School). Much of what I learned about being a good music educator in my early years of teaching came through my observations of and conversations with him. As a former ABC grad himself, Jon was the one who really encouraged me to attend and he has been a strong mentor, advocate, and friend over the years.
What advice do you have for young directors? Work hard and always strive to improve yourself and your program. Find a mentor to learn from and seek advice. Continually seek opportunities for professional growth and pursue graduate school. (ABC is a great choice!)