2022 All-State Orff Ensemble

All-State Orff Ensemble Clinicians 


Karen K. Benson is the Professional Development Director for the American Orff Schulwerk Association. She is a Past President and former National Conference Chair of AOSA. Recently retired, Karen taught music for grades PreK-5 for 29 years in the Millard Public School District in Omaha, Nebraska. She also directed the school’s choir and the district’s Orff Schulwerk Honors Ensemble. Her work as a performing musician includes playing recorders, saxophone, and singing as a member of the Sing Omaha Master Chorale. Karen teaches AOSA Teacher Education Levels Courses and Masterclasses in Orff Schulwerk, presents at AOSA chapter workshops, guest lectures for collegiate music education classes, and serves as adjunct faculty for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.


Shelly Smith has been teaching for 32 years. She instructs children in grades Pre K-5 at Mari Sandoz Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. Published in 2015, Shelly was a contributing author to Artful-Mindful-Playful in Action. She has taught movement and recorder at AOSA Teacher Education courses since 2002 and has served as a workshop clinician at numerous professional development music conferences, school districts, and AOSA regional chapters. Shelly recently served on the AOSA National Board of Trustees and continues to support music educators across the country as a member of two AOSA subcommittees. 



Kristine Wolfe has been teaching PreK-6 Music & Band in the Papillion - La Vista (NE) Community Schools for over 20 years. She holds a BM from Iowa State University and a MM from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Kristine is a Level I & II Orff Basic Pedagogy Instructor and has taught workshops throughout the United States, including the AOSA National Conference in 2017 and 2021.  She currently serves on the AOSA Fund Development Subcommittee and is the Program Chair for the Great Plains Orff Chapter. 




Kelly Whisinnand teaches at Reeder Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska.  She teaches Preschool-5th grade students and conducts the 4th/5th grade choir.  She also directs the 7th and 8th grade show choirs at Beadle Middle School.  Kelly has served as treasurer for the Great Plains Orff Chapter and is currently serving on the AOSA National Board of Trustees.  She received her Orff Schulwerk Certification from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Southern Methodist University.  Kelly is a certified Movement and Recorder Teacher Educator for AOSA.  Kelly presented at the 2016 and 2019 AOSA National Conference and continues to present to children/adults locally.



What is the Orff Ensemble?

Students in fourth and fifth grades (whose teachers are NMEA members) are offered a chance to work with acclaimed conductors during even-years of the Nebraska Music Education Association Conference/Clinic. This is a one-day event with the final performance at the Graduate Hotel in downtown, Lincoln. 

Who can attend?

  • Students attending must be registered and attending the school or home school listed on the registration.
  • Students must be under the direction of an NMEA member.
  • Students must be in the fourth or fifth grade during the 2022-2023 school year.
  • The director MUST be registered and attend the conference/clinic with their student(s).
  • If you wish to become a member of this organization visit: www.nafme.org.

How are students selected?

Students in this group will sing, speak, move and play instruments. Teachers are encouraged to nominate students who experience joy in making music, are comfortable in group settings, and have the ability to collaborate with others. Prior experience playing on Orff instruments is not required!  Nomination submission and selection will be handled similarly to the All-State Children's Choir. 

How do I register my student(s)?

  • The registration application link will be posted on this website about mid-August 2022.
  • You may select one student for every 30 students that you teach in grades four and five. For example, if you teach 68 fourth graders and 72 fifth graders, you could only send in four names. If you teach a total of 60 students or less, you may submit two names. We will do our best to include both of them in the event.
  • Our goal is 100 musicians from around the state of Nebraska. 
  • Complete the online registration form on or before midnight, TBD.


August 1: Registration opens on the NMEA website

September 15 @ 11:59 p.m. CST: Registration closes

September 21: Selected participants are announced

September 30: Registration payment ($60 per student) is due for selected participants. Payment must be received to confirm your students' participation. 


Registration is now closed.

Teachers may select one student for every 30 students that they teach with a max of 5 students. For example, if you teach 68 fourth graders and 72 fifth graders, you could only send in four names. If you teach a total of 60 students or less, you may submit two names. We will do our best to include at least two of your students in the event. Our goal is 75 young musicians from around the state of Nebraska. 

The $60 fee per student covers festival fees, T-shirt, snack, lunch, and sales tax.

If you have any questions, please contact Angela Wright at [email protected].

Please note: NMEA policy states that no refunds will be given for students unable to attend.


The Orff Ensemble schedule can also be found on page 4 of the NMEA Conference Schedule. All schedule times are in Central Time. Registered teachers may attend Orff Ensemble rehearsals at the Graduate Hotel. The schedule is subject to change.

7:30am-8:00am Orff Ensemble Teacher Registration and Student Check-In Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
8:00am-10:00am Rehearsal Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
10:00am-10:15am Break + Snack Graduate Hotel
10:15am-12:00pm Rehearsal Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
12:00pm-12:45pm Lunch Graduate Hotel
12:45pm-2:15pm Rehearsal Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
2:15pm-2:30pm Break Graduate Hotel
2:30pm-3:30pm Dress Rehearsal Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
3:30pm-3:45pm Break - use restrooms Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
3:45pm-4:00pm Line up Backroom/hallway behind Ardis Ballroom
4:00pm-4:30pm Orff Ensemble Concert Graduate Hotel Ardis Ballroom
4:30pm-4:45pm Dismissal, teacher pick-up Outside Graduate Hotel