A special award of
The John Philip Sousa
Robert Perkins has served as the Director of Bands and Adaptive Music at Wausau East High School for the last 9 years. Prior to being at WEHS he was the band director at Cuba City High School for nine years and he spent three years at Pep-in Area Schools.
Perkins got his BM in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin. He also earned at MM in Music Education from the University of Florida.
HIs philosophy is truly what has guided his work in the Adaptive Music area. He says, ”In his viral TED Talk, Ben Zander asked the question, “How would you walk, how would you talk, how would you be if you thought everyone loved classical music?” My professional philosophy is a rewording of this question: “How would you walk, how would you talk, how would you be if everyone had access to music?” My bands and music classes are open to all. Because we currently have two bands at Wausau East, I have the flexibility to create an experience for the top players as well as having a band for those students who just wish to play and not be at the top flight high school level. Not only do I teach an Adaptive Music class for students who receive Special Education services, we openly welcome those students to participate in our ensembles, and two years ago we pioneered the inclusion of an adaptive MIDI instrument called the Skoog in our band program.”
The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.
Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high-quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.
Each is honored at the annual Sousa Foundation awards ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University.
This has also lead to his being awarded the Wausau School District Foundation SPARK Award in 2020 (for sparking innovation in Adaptive Music opportunities.)
He tells about factors that have shaped his career, “I spent my summers during undergrad working as a counselor at the Wisconsin Lions Camp where I developed a good understanding of both child psychology and how to work with students with special educational needs. Although I went into a traditionally regular education field, that experience enabled me to better engage with students, and to develop an Adaptive Music class at Wausau East. The combination of my Lions Camp experiences and the positive relationships that were built through the Adaptive Music class informed and shaped my philosophy of “Access to Music for All,” which became critical in how we responded to the challenges and opportunities of both a changing student population at East High School and the continuing Global COVID Pandemic.”
Perkins is truly an inspiration in this field. He continues to serve his profession by serving as a Master Adjudicator for the WSMA. He has also served as the secretary of the the Wisconsin Chapter of the NBA.