2023 NMEA Conference/In-Service Clinic Schedule

NMEA's annual Conference/In-Service Clinic will be held November 16-18 (Thursday-Saturday) in Lincoln, NE. Registration headquarters and Expo are at the Embassy Suites, 1040 P Street, with conference sessions across the street on UNL's main campus (Westbrook Music Building) and at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The Cornhusker Marriott Hotel will also be used for sessions.

*The conference schedule is subject to change.

Online Pre-Registration is Now Closed

If you still need to register for the conference, you can do so on-site at the Embassy Suites.
Check our Conference/In-Service page for more information about registration dates and prices. 
Click here to download a PDF of the current version of our at-a-glance 2023 Conference schedule.
Conference Schedule PDF


Keynote Speaker
Thursday Sessions
Friday Sessions
Saturday Sessions
Fri. Morning Concert Hour
Fri. Afternoon Concert Hour
Sat. Morning Concert Hour
Annual Membership Meeting
Awards Dinner
Exhibit Times
Shuttle Times



Thurs. Nov. 16 8:30 am - 6:15 pm Conference Registration (pre & onsite) Embassy Suites
Thurs. Nov. 16 10:00 am - 3:00 pm Exhibit Check-in and Setup Embassy Suites
Fri. Nov. 17 7:00 am - 3:30 pm Conference Registration (pre & onsite) Embassy Suites
Sat. Nov. 18 7:00 am - 11:30 am Conference Registration (pre & onsite) Embassy Suites



Thurs. Nov. 16 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm Exhibits Open Embassy Suites
Fri. Nov. 17 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Exhibits Open Embassy Suites
Fri. Nov. 17 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CLOSED FOR LUNCH  
Fri. Nov. 17 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Exhibits Open Embassy Suites
Sat. Nov. 18 9:00 am - 11:30 am Exhibits Open Embassy Suites



Travel easily between the various NMEA Conference venues with our complimentary shuttle service! Shuttle service pick-up and drop-off areas are:

  • Embassy Suites, corner of P St & N 11th St (within walking distance of the Graduate Hotel)
  • Cornhusker Hotel, S 13th St (within walking distance of St. Paul)

Shuttle service is available for conference attendees and All-State students to use and will run during the following times:

DAY 1: THURSDAY SHUTTLE SERVICE (stops on East side of ES, CH)

  • 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM; ES-CH
  • 9:00 PM - 9:30 PM; CH-ES

DAY 2: FRIDAY SHUTTLE SERVICE (stops on East side of ES, CH)

  • 7:15 AM - 8:15 AM; ES-CH
  • 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM; ES-CH, CH-ES
  • 3:30 PM - 6:15 PM; ES-CH
  • 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM; CH-ES

DAY 3: SATURDAY SHUTTLE SERVICE (stops on East side of ES, CH)

  • 7:15 AM - 8:15 AM; ES-CH
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON; ES-CH

Shuttle service is provided by Adventure Bus and Charter.

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Thursday, November 16


Self-Directed Roundtable Discussion Cafe
8:15 am, Location TBD

Directors with students participating in the 2023 All-State Middle Level String Orchestra are invited to meet together for an informal roundtable discussion. More information and location to come!



Session Title: Purposeful Play in a “Fun”damental Way, Michael Stinman LC S
Presenters: Michael Stinman
8:15 am & 7:30 pm LC S

In this session, we will be taking the elements of music and finding the many ways of engaging students, mind, body, and soul, through musical play. Jump into the world of a Kodály and Orff-Schulwerk infused classroom and discover the joy of active music making. Through a variety of activities, you will see the importance of keeping kids engaged at a young age thus building a foundation of love, community, and a deep passion for music. This session is committed to the Kodály belief that “music belongs to everyone,” and strives to reflect topics of diversity, equity, and classroom environments.

Michael Stinman currently serves as the General Music Specialist (K-5), the Middle School Jazz Band director at Treynor Community Schools in Treynor, Iowa. This is his 8th year at Treynor and 12th year teaching overall. Always seeking out new educational opportunities, Michael loves finding creative ways to make a connection with his students through music. Michael earned his Bachelor's degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Hastings College, and is currently working toward a Master's degree in Music Education. In addition, he has completed Levels I-III and a Master Class in Orff-Schulwerk from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as Levels I-IV of Kodály from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In 2019, Michael received the Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award. Michael is currently the President of the local Kodály chapter: Plains States Kodály Organization (PSKOR.) He is a proud member of AOSA (American Orff-Schulwerk Association), OAKE (Organization of American Kodaly Educators), and is also a Member-at-Large for the local Orff chapter: Great Plains Orff Chapter. 


Create Your Own Magic
Presenter: Kristine Wolfe
10:30 am & 6:00 pm (repeat of session), WMB 9

Join us for an active music making session where you will leave with ideas for you and your students to create your own magic! We will sing, speak, move and play a variety of instruments to show what music skills have been mastered, as well as have the opportunity to build confidence improvising new material. Activities for younger and older elementary students will both be involved.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

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. In addition to her Kodaly training, Kristine is a Level I & II Orff Schulwerk Instructor and has taught workshops throughout the United States. Most recently, Kristine was a clinician for the 2022 NMEA Orff Ensemble and presented for KMEA in 2022 and the AOSA National Conference in 2021. She currently serves on the AOSA Fund Development Subcommittee and is the Program Chair for the Great Plains Orff Chapter. In her free time, Kristine loves to play oboe with the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha and recorder with The Jewel Tones. as well as watch her husband and 4 kids on the stage and the ball field!



Discussion Forum: NSAA
Presenters: Taryn Retzlaff and Evan Lee
2:00 pm, WMB 109

Join Taryn Retzlaff, Assistant Director at the Nebraska School Activities Association, and NMEA Past President Evan Lee to discuss District Music Contest.

Discussion Forum: Auditions
Presenter: Doug Bogatz
2:00 pm, WMB 107

Join NMEA Director of Auditions Doug Bogatz for a discussion to provide feedback for our 2022 All-State auditions process.

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Join us for the annual NMEA Membership meeting will take place at 7:30 pm in WMB 119. NAfME North Central Division president Rich Tengowski will be in attendance and will address the membership during the meeting. We will also update you on what NMEA as been working on this past year and introduce the candidates for the 2023 Board of Directors election.

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Friday, November 17


Enjoyable Recorder Instruction for the Elementary Music Classroom; More Than Just “Hot Cross Buns”
Presenters: Kaylin Gardner and Sarah Elkher
8:00 am, LC C

There are many misconceptions about teaching the recorder. In this session, participants will discover different opportunities to offer their students with sequencing ideas, resources, extension activities, helpful tools, and most importantly, the WHY of how teaching the recorder is beneficial to their students. Attendees are asked to bring a soprano recorder to the session if they would like to participate.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Kaylin Gardner is a General Music Teacher at Arnold Elementary in the Lincoln Public Schools District. In Kaylin’s 11 years of teaching, she has taught K-12 Vocal and Instrumental Music in Central, Nebraska, and Elementary Music and Choir in Title 1 schools for Omaha and Lincoln Public Schools. In this time, Kaylin has taught recorder to her elementary 3rd and 4th graders for a combined total of 10 years. While teaching in Omaha, Kaylin served on the PSKOR (Plains State Kodály Organization) board as a member at large. While teaching in Lincoln, Kaylin has served on General Music Curriculum Committees for Lincoln Public Schools, and the Young People’s Concert Committee in 2023. She is an alumni of Nebraska Wesleyan University, and she completed her Master’s of Music and Kodály Certification from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and her Orff-Schulwerk Levels 1 and 2 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Sarah Elker has been teaching since 2011. She began her career by teaching abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Sarah holds degrees from Eastern Illinois University (2010) and Morningside University (2016). Her graduate research focused on using recorders in the general music classroom.  Sarah recently completed Orff Level I at the University of Nebraska. She also has training in Conversational Solfege and First Steps. Sarah currently teaches for Lincoln Public Schools. She loves to be creative in the classroom and hopes to inspire others to do the same! Sarah lives in Lincoln with her husband, Eric, and dog, Clover


Planning for Presence
Presenters: Sophia Papoulis and Matt Podd
8:00 am, LC S

In all of our planning, programming, and preparations, how can we also plan for the most meaningful part of our work – not only for learning and presenting the music, but also – and especially – for the artistic experience as a whole? We’ll explore the power of storytelling through music, the emotional connection between performers and listeners, and the importance of crafting experiences that have the power to move every person in the room, reminding ourselves that it is not just about the notes on the page, but about the journey, emotions, and shared connections. Discover how to design an experience that resonates deeply with both your singers and your audience, leaving a lasting impact that transcends technical prowess.

2023 All-State Children's Choir Conductor

Sophia Papoulis is a conductor and creative director for the Foundation for Small Voices, an organization dedicated, through music, to crossing cultural, generational, and ideological boundaries to raise awareness and funds for national and international music and mentoring programs for children. An adjudicator, lecturer, and clinician, she gives choral, collegiate, and teacher-education workshops and guest-conducts regional and all-state choruses nationally and internationally. Sophia has served as a conductor for the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City, conducting not only for its core after-school program, but also within many New York City public schools across the boroughs. She has conducted at a number of notable venues throughout New York City, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, the 92nd Street Y, Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center, and Symphony Space. 

Matt Podd is a pianist, composer, arranger, and music director based in Brooklyn, NY. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College. As a pianist Matt specializes in jazz, gospel, pop, musical theatre, and choral accompaniment. He has appeared on stage with some of New York City's finest musicians at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Town Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Symphony Space, and the 92nd Street Y.

He has worked on stage and behind the scenes as an arranger and orchestrator for such world-class acts as the Barbra Streisand, Dave Matthews, Darlene Love, the Boston Pops, New York Pops, Philadelphia Pops, Toronto Pops, the National Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Steve Van Zandt, Little Big Town, Reneé Fleming, Joshua Bell, Kurt Elling, Jason Robert Brown, Gregory Porter, Capathia Jenkins, Montego Glover, Sy Smith, Darren Criss, Stephanie J. Block, Brian D'arcy James, the Young People's Chorus of NYC, Time for Three, SHEL, Jake Shimabukuro, Stephen Kellogg, Milton Delug, and many other artists, choirs, and ensembles.


Orff Schulwerk in the Band Room
Presenters: Chelsea Kuddes and Colin Frye
8:00 am, WMB 9

Having all beginning band students in the same room simultaneously can present challenges, but using the Orff approach, we have been able to implement non-traditional means to teach beginning band students. This presentation will show ways to incorporate the Orff approach and Solfege to bridge the gap between elementary and secondary music, as well as develop more complete musicianship along the way by allowing students to explore and create on their own. This results in a more complete understanding of their instrument for students, and allows teachers to achieve greater differentiation of instruction without using a traditional method book.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Chelsea Kuddes is in her thirteenth year of teaching, and tenth year at Logan View Elementary School in Hooper, Nebraska. At Logan View, she teaches K-6 General Music, co-teaches 6th Grade Band, and directs Bucket Drumming, Choir, and Jazz clubs. Chelsea also teaches private piano lessons and is assistant choir director at St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Omaha. She completed both her Bachelor of Music Education and Master's of Music with a specialization in Music Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Chelsea earned her Orff Schulwerk Level I, II, and III certification at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well, and currently serves on the GPOC Board. Chelsea and her husband, Caleb, live in Fremont and spend their free time enjoying their three children.
Colin Frye is in his sixth year of teaching at Logan View Public Schools in Hooper, Nebraska. At Logan View, he directs Jr. High Band and Choir, High School Band and Choir, Pep Band, Jazz Band, Spring Musical, Marching Band, as well as co-teaches 6th-grade Beginning Band. The Logan View Marching Raiders have earned multiple Superior Ratings at competitions as well as multiple Class C and Class 1A NSBA State Marching Band Championships. Colin completed his Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was involved in multiple musical ensembles including Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, as well as the Cornhusker Marching Band. Colin enjoys playing music in any setting and spends the majority of his summers gigging and playing guitar in his band "Pioneer."


Color Music in the Ensemble Setting
Presenter: Jody Ziola
8:00 am, WMB 104

Several students with learning disabilities are being kept out of ensembles with the rationale that they can not handle the level of difficulty. If they are allowed to participate, they often choose to drop out of ensembles after a year or so because traditional notation becomes too difficult for them. Color music provides a possible solution and can be used to facilitate enhanced learning in all music students by adding visual color to written musical notation. This session explores the brain science of using color music to reach all students, particularly students with special needs. Color music has shown great promise in all students with learning disabilities, and particularly students with dyslexia and/or dyscalculia. Directors will learn multiple ways to enhance their teaching with altered notation.

Jody Ziola is in her thirteenth year of teaching music to students from birth to 12th grade in the Ogallala area. Jody earned her bachelor's degree in music education with an extensive minor in special education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She received a master’s degree in music education from Kent State University. Additionally, she has taken classes in Orff, Dalcroze, and First Steps in Music. Jody has always had a special place in her heart for students with special needs and is known for finding creative ways to allow ALL students to participate in all types of music to the best of their abilities. She has frequently served as a guest lecturer at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on a variety of special needs music topics. She and her husband David have been blessed with four children, Sara (9), Christine (7), Tyler (5), and Harper (1).


Of All The Groups I’ve Heard, This Is Certainly One of Them
Presenter: Jason Caslor
8:00 am, WMB 105

This session is based on many years of adjudicating groups across Canada and throughout the United States. Topics will include repertoire selection, philosophical reasons for attending festivals, and common things that keep groups from showing their best.

Jason Caslor is currently an associate professor of music and the director of bands at Arizona State University (ASU). In addition to directing the wind ensemble, he also mentors graduate conducting students and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting courses. Recent highlights include first commercial recordings of Kevin Day’s 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music nominated Concerto for Wind Ensemble and Carter Pann’s Double Concerto “Baroque” with the ASU Wind Ensemble, being a recipient of the Canadian Band Association’s 2022 International Band Award, and guest conducting the United States Army Field Band.


Burning Out: Symptoms, Levels, and Interventions for Music Educators
Presenter: Cayla Bellamy
8:00 am, WMB 109

When exhaustion and cynicism are high and confidence continues to sink, we find ourselves faced with burnout. Burned out musicians and teachers alike struggle with motivation, feel as if their efforts don't matter, and get 'stuck' in mental and emotional cycles. The quality of our performance suffers, and, more importantly, the quality of our human experience does, as well. What aspects of our lives contribute to burnout, and where is the line between needing resilience and needing rest? Together, we will explore a public health model of intervention to manage critical burnout, treat distress, disrupt and divert harmful systems, and establish healthier patterns for the future. This session includes frameworks for burnout markers and mitigation within teachers for themselves alongside advice for recognizing signs of burnout in students and providing or directing them to appropriate resources both in and out of the classroom.

Session Handout 1 (click to download/access)
Session Handout 2 (click to download/access)

Dr. Cayla Bellamy is the bassoon professor at Colorado State University and performs regularly with the Colorado Bach Ensemble and Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, as well as at local and national venues with her standing chamber music duo alongside Dr. Megan Lanz (flute). As an awardee of a 2022 New Music USA Creator Development Fund, Cayla is in the process of commissioning three new works by Jalen Jamal Thompson (for electric bassoon), Kevin Poelking (for flute, bassoon, and piano), and Frank Horvat (for flute and bassoon). Her debut album, Double or Nothing (2018), consists of premiere recordings for solo and duo bassoon, and she is currently recording her second project, a collection of new compositions for bassoon titled American Bassoon Voices. Cayla has over 20 years’ experience teaching private and group bassoon lessons with student successes winning regional MNTA prizes, youth orchestra concerto competitions, and college admissions and scholarships to major state universities and music conservatories nationwide. Find her online at www.caylabellamy.com.


Digital Audio Workstations: How to successfully engage all students in musical creativity
Presenter: Amy Spears
8:00 am, WMB 110

As a secondary music teacher, do you teach courses outside of traditional large ensembles but want more technology in your toolbelt to successfully engage all students in doing music? In this session, we’ll explore the free online digital audio workstation, Soundtrap, in a guided session to help you learn the basics and start creating your own music. The goal is for you to be able to guide your students to start creating music on their own. You’ll be taken through several music-creation projects, and you’ll have access to the lesson plans and assessments utilized in these projects. We will also discuss the pedagogical benefits of being a classroom facilitator and how to successfully guide your students without overstepping in their creation process. *Attendees will need to access Soundtrap on a phone, tablet, or computer.

Amy Spears is Associate Professor of Music at Nebraska Wesleyan University where she teaches courses in music education, world music drumming, and rock band. Her research interests include popular music pedagogy, internationalizing music curricula, and diversifying music education to include marginalized individuals. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from Arizona State University. Her previous teaching experience includes secondary school instrumental and general music classes in Alabama and Arizona. Dr. Spears is a regular presenter at national and international conferences. Her research has appeared in top peer-reviewed music education journals, and she also has published chapters in Women's Bands in America (Scarecrow Press) and Marginalized Voices in Music Education (Routledge).


A Thousand Tiny Cuts: Overcoming implicit bias to prompt belonging
Presenter: Alex Rivera
8:00 am, WMB 114

Some sources claim teachers make over 1,500 decisions each day. We often make these decisions in an instant, relying on our previous knowledge and experiences. Our biases, conscious or not, make their way into our classrooms daily. Implicit bias can cause teachers to unwittingly commit a multitude of microaggressions toward their students who are members of marginalized communities. These seemingly tiny acts cause palpable harm to our students. This session aims to help secondary Choral directors define and identify biases they may hold while providing a framework and tangible resources to restructure their practices and classrooms to ensure an equitable and just environment for all their students. This session focuses on issues of race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, and disabilities.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Alex Rivera (he/him) is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair for Oklahoma Choral Directors Association and Director of Music Ministries at Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville. He received his Bachelors in Music Education - Voice with Special Distinction from the University of Oklahoma. He taught public school for 10 years, where he conducted and accompanied several choirs in addition to teaching AP Music Theory and Music Appreciation. Rivera is in demand as a guest clinician and has conducted over a dozen honor choirs. He has received the Masonic Teacher of Today Award and the OkMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator Award. He served on the OkCDA Junior High All State Choir Committee for 5 years. Rivera has presented workshop sessions at several state and national conventions, including the National Association for Music Education in Washington, D.C. and the American Choral Directors Association in Cincinnati, OH.


Seen, Accepted, Empowered: Fostering social emotional learning in choral classrooms
Presenter: Philip Silvey
8:00 am, WMB 119

Students in secondary choral music classrooms can benefit from social emotional learning experiences designed to help them gain key competencies relating to identity, belonging, and agency. In this session, I show how choral classrooms offer an ideal forum for the kind of experiences, reflection, and dialogue that can impact social emotional learning. These learnings can be strategically planned and measured with outcomes that allow for the growth of the whole person through engagement in the art of choral singing.

Philip Silvey is Associate Professor of Music Education at the Eastman School of Music where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and serves as the instructor of the Treble Chorus. He has appeared as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in numerous states and directed state honors choruses in Maryland, Virginia, New York and New Jersey. He has presented interest sessions at state, regional, and national ACDA and NAfME conventions. His writings appear in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, and the Choral Journal. Santa Barbara Music, Carl Fischer, Boosey & Hawkes, and Hal Leonard publish his original choral compositions and arrangements.


Volin and Viola Practice Made Easy: Tools and Tips for Efficient Repertoire and Technique Learning
Presenter: Ioana Galu
8:00 am, WMB 130

The presentation aims to provide quick and efficient ways to maximize the learning curve for repertoire, etudes, double- stops and scales. There are many ways to practice more efficiently and establish practice patterns leading to a permanent and solid technique, while preserving the physical health of the performer. The presentation will offer practical exercises, tools and methods of practice geared for specific technical desired results. Several stages of learning any piece of repertoire will accompany fingering charts for two and three octave scales. Members in attendance are encouraged to bring their instruments if desired.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Ioana Galu, a native of Romania, is a former Assistant Professor of violin at Gheorghe Dima Music Academy în Cluj, Romania, and has also been on the faculty at Heidelberg University, Bowling Green State University, and The College of Wooster. Currently Galu is an Associate Professor of Violin/Viola and member in the Rawlins Piano Trio at the University of South Dakota.Galu earned a second master’s degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music and a doctorate in Contemporary Music from Bowling Green State University.In 2014 Galu performed the world premiere of Marilyn Shrude's violin concerto Libro D'Ore with the Central Ohio Symphony and the European premiere with the Sibiu State Philharmonic in Romania. She gave the US premiere in October 2014, and subsequently recorded the concerto for Albany Records. Galu also recorded "Music Under Political Unrest", works by Bacewicz, Gorecki and Spisak for two violins with violinist Iuliana Cotirlea.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER - Franklin Willis

Dancing Towards Change: Empowering Music Education Communities through Movement
Keynote Address by Franklin Willis
9:15 am, WMB 119

For fourteen years, educator, and leader, Franklin Willis has served the students and families of Nashville. Through music, Willis has educated, mentored, and developed young minds to be forward-thinking contributors to society. A three-time CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence with more than a decade of experience in the classroom, Franklin Willis is a trailblazer and catalyst for change in the music education space, as well as a rising leader within the music industry at large. Not only does he lead the way in culturally responsive teaching techniques, but also, in his new post as Community Impact Director at the CMA Foundation, paves the way for students to experience equitable access to opportunities in the music industry beyond the classroom.

As the former elementary music instructional coach for Metro Nashville Public Schools, Willis focused on equipping teachers with instructional support and necessary resources to strengthen their professional acumen and enhance their classrooms. Including, shepherding colleagues and teachers through the reality students are faced with around equity, inclusion, and racism. Through his work, he has developed a passion in the cultivation of musicianship for young minds as every child has musical potential and deserves a music teacher who will see the best in them. Willis believes that music education is a vital tool to teach students about other cultures, create community, and inspire a love for learning. Willis consistently uses his network to provide opportunities for students to utilize their passion for music for all to see. This includes producing music videos and stadium performances at CMA Fest, a four-day music festival in Nashville, TN.


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Scott Middle School 8th Grade Band
Directed by Lori Falcone and Sandra Murphy-Robb
10:30 am, GRAD

Hazel Scott Middle School opened in the Fall of 1996 and was named after Hazel Scott, a teacher and administrator for Lincoln Public Schools. The band program consists of two 8th grade bands, two 7th grade bands, and a 6th-grade band. In addition, there are 3 jazz bands, a flute choir and a clarinet choir. The 7th and 8th grade bands are team taught by both directors. The two 8th grade bands combine to perform as one band for their concerts, as do the 7th grade bands. Scott Middle School has received straight superior ratings since the opening of the school in 1996. The Scott Bands performed at the NMEA Convention in 2005 and at the NSBA Convention in 1991, 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2023.

Lori Falcone is in her 16th year as a Band Director at Scott Middle School in Lincoln. She is the department liaison and teaches band 6 - 8 as well as three Jazz Bands. Lori has 32 years of public school teaching experience that include Seneca Ridge Middle School Bands (VA), Luray High School Band/Choir/Show Choir (VA), Prairie Grove 6-12 Schools Band/Choir/Jazz/General Music (AR), Palmyra 7-12 High School Bands/Choirs/General Music, and Lincoln Southwest High School Bands/Jazz/Orchestra/Music Technology. Lori, a native of Vandalia, Il., received her B.M.E. from Truman State University (May1990). While teaching, she began graduate studies at James Madison University and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. In 2002 she completed her Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied with Dr. Carolyn Barber and served as a graduate teaching assistant.
Sandra (Sandy) Murphy-Robb is in her 2nd year as a Band Director at Scott Middle School in Lincoln. She teaches band 6 - 8, flute choir and clarinet choir. Sandy has 25 years of teaching experience that include 20 years as the instrumental director at District OR1 – Bennet Elementary and Palmyra Jr./Sr. High Schools as well as 4 years as the Instrumental Director for Freeman Public Schools.Sandy, a 1990 graduate of Papillion/LaVista Sr. High, began her higher education at Hastings College. Later she transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received her Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in 1995 with an emphasis in flute performance. In 1998 she earned her Teacher Certification from UNL. She earned her Master of Arts in Music Education (2021) from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and has some postgraduate work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Doane, Colorado State University-Pueblo, and Vandercook College.


Nebraska Festival Singers
Directed by Marques L. A. Garrett
10:30 am, StP

The Nebraska Festival Singers is a new choral organization in the Midwest. The membership comprises teachers of all levels—inclusive of music and non-music areas—and community members. Providing community performances of the highest quality, the Nebraska Festival Singers is dedicated to engaging and inspiring through impassioned singing while expanding awareness and appreciation of the choral arts. In its second season, the choir is conducted by Marques L. A. Garrett, founding artistic director.

  Marques L. A. Garrett (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is an accomplished vocalist and composer with his works available through several publishers and performed by festival/honor choirs, all-state choirs, and professional and university choirs such as Seraphic Fire and the Oakwood University Aeolians. He regularly serves as a choral clinician and guest conductor for festival and honor choirs throughout the country. He is an active researcher with published articles and presentations on the choral music of Black composers and rehearsal techniques for state, regional, and national conferences.


Pierce High School Jazz Band
Directed by Mike Sindt
10:30 am, WMB 130

The Pierce High School Jazz Band has been actively playing for the past 25 years at festivals and community events in the area. They have received numerous Superior Ratings through the years and in the 2023 Festival Season received all Superior Ratings or 1st place at their level.The group meets twice a week before school and twice a week during the school day from November through May. The members of the band are also actively involved in marching band, concert band, pep band, and other small groups. All of the members are involved in many other activities as every school activity is represented in our jazz band.They love performing and playing at the elementary schools, the Senior Center, the Veterans’s Home, rest homes, and home concerts. The jazz band has also performed in Branson and have played for clinicians in Chicago and Denver.

Mr. Michael Sindt is currently in his 25th year serving as the Director of Bands at Pierce Public Schools in Pierce, NE teaching 5th through 12th grade band. He is the Class B representative for NSBA, a member of NAfME, NMEA and NSBA, and is a member of Phi Beta Mu. He was a recipient of the Nebraska Bandmasters Jack Snider Young Band Director Award and the Nate Metschke Creative Teacher Award.He retired from the National Guard in 2019 after serving 20 years as a member of the 43rd Army Band in Lincoln, NE as a trombone player. He has also remained an active performer in Northeast Nebraska, and has directed a number of area honor bands.In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 16 years, Kelli, and his two boys, Spencer (14) and Carter (12).


Doane Concert Band
Directed by Andrew Feyes
10:45 am, LC

Founded in 1891 by music conservatory director, H. Bert King, the first band at Doane College consisted of 15 players and lifted the spirits of students, faculty, and alumni at various concerts and college events. Over 130 years later, the Doane University Concert Band has benefited from the instruction of many conductors, including Larry Havlicek, Dr. Paul Whear, James Marby, Dr. Hubert Brown, Dr. Douglas Stotter, Dr. Robert Franzblau, Dr. Jay Gilbert, and our current director, Dr. Andrew Feyes. The DCB performs many concerts on campus including the annual Homecoming Concert, Fall Festival of Winds, Christmas Festival, Sounds of Spring, and President’s Concert. In addition to these on campus performances, the DCB tours annually and has performed across the United States on stages from Washington to New York, Wisconsin to Texas, and throughout the great state of Nebraska.

Dr. Andrew Feyes is proud to serve Doane University as Director of Bands and Instrumental Music. At Doane, he conducts the University’s Concert Band and Tiger Pep Band while instructing courses in Instrumental Music Education Methods, Conducting, and private trumpet lessons. Feyes has earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University (OH) as well as a Master of Music in Conducting and a Ph.D. in Music Education both from Kansas State University. As a conductor and trumpeter Feyes has performed in Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and France, as well as state and national conferences. He has presented clinics on score study, musical leadership, conducting techniques, brass pedagogy, composition, and marching band techniques across the country. Prior to his arrival at Doane, Feyes served as Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Akron in his native state of Ohio.


Lincoln High School Sinfonia Orchestra
Directed by Brett Noser
11:00 am, GRAD

Under the direction of Brett Noser the LHS Sinfonia Orchestra is comprised of 10th through 12th grade students, which number around 30 plus students. These students are part of a long-standing history and tradition of great orchestral music making. The LHS orchestra has been around since 1912 and has won national awards from the Music Supervisors National Conference (MSNC) in 1925, and 1927. The Orchestra has played many well-known orchestral works ranging from Renaissance to modern with a little rock and roll every year for spice. Some of their favorite works include, Heinrich Biber’s Battalia, Dag Wiren’s Serenade for Strings, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's African Suite IV. Danse Negre to name a few. The group is made up of composers, arrangers, improve specialists, musicians, debaters, soccer and tennis players, dancers, thespians…well rounded young adults who excel at what they do.

  Brett Noser, a Minnesota native, has been playing viola since 1995. In 2008 he began teaching orchestra in Lincoln Public Schools and has taught 4th-12th grade students. Brett is currently the Music Department Chair at Lincoln High School and teaches Varsity and Prep Orchestra, IB Music, and Mariachi. Mr. Noser also taught 5th-12th grade orchestra in Beatrice from 2012-2014. Mr. Noser is currently a member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association, part of NAfME, and a member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). Brett was the the Associate Director of Lincoln Civic Orchestra (LCO) from 2013 until fall of 2022, and has played viola in LCO since 2008. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris, and his Masters in Music Education from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. During the Summers of 2017 and 2018 he participated in the National Mariachi Workshop for Educators completing both the beginning and intermediate level courses. Brett lives in Lincoln with his wife, Holly, his daughter Calysta, and their two dogs Weasley, and Torcon.


SNJ Singers
Directed by Joel Johnston
11:00 am, StP

SNJ Singers is the premier vocal ensemble at the SNJ Studio of Music. Directed by Joel Johnston, SNJ Singers is comprised of talented high school singers from across the Omaha metropolitan area, most of whom are also active in their own school choirs, show choirs, and musicals. SNJ Singers perform repertoire ranging from classic choral literature to contemporary a cappella. Performances include Fall, Winter, and Spring concerts, the annual SNJ A Cappella Festival, and a one-day bus tour of area high schools. SNJ Singers have been featured performers at the Omaha Symphony Christmas Celebration, Worlds of Fun, and the Iowa Western Performing Arts Center.

  Joel Johnston is Director of Vocal Music at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, where he conducts the University Choir, the Clef Dwellers, The BlueNotes, and teaches courses in Music Education and Vocal Pedagogy. Known for his positive and dynamic leadership, Joel is in demand as a vocal clinician, conductor, choreographer, and adjudicator. He has conducted more than 40 choral festivals throughout the Midwest, and is a frequent judge at show choir competitions.Since 2005, Joel’s second “home base” has been the SNJ Studio of Music in Omaha, where he teaches voice and conducts two award-winning ensembles – the SNJ Singers, a select High School A Cappella Choir, and Center Stage, a Middle School Show Choir. Joel has served as President of the Nebraska Choral Directors Association, as well as Chair of Choral Affairs for the Nebraska Music Educators Association. He was named NMEA’s Outstanding Music Educator of the Year in 2003.


Lincoln Southeast High School Jazz Band 1
Directed by R J Metteer
11:00 am, WMB 130

Lincoln Southeast’s Jazz 1 is an auditioned group consisting of students grades 9-12 that meets daily during normal school hours throughout the school year. Annual performance opportunities include four curricular concerts, several jazz festivals, and various events throughout the Lincoln community. Jazz 1 has performed at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association a number of times, most recently in 1994, 1999, and 2007 under the direction of Bob Krueger. Krueger directed the ensemble from 1985 until 2020 upon his retirement, with the exception of two years. The band has been recognized with countless awards and accolades during his tenure, most notably acceptance into the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Festival in 1999. Every year students are selected to the NMEA All State Jazz Band and the Young Lions Big Band. Countless members of this ensemble have gone on to careers in music and music education including, most famously, guitarist James Valentine of Maroon 5. Mr. Metteer returned to directing Jazz I in the fall of the 2020 school year.

R J Metteer has been the Director of Bands at Lincoln Southeast High School since the fall of 1995. His responsibilities include marching, concert, pep, and jazz bands as well as Department Chair of Performing Arts at Lincoln Southeast High School. Mr. Metteer has conducted concert ensembles that performed at the 2001 and 2006 Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Convention as well as the 2016 Nebraska Music Educators Annual Fall Conference/Clinic.Mr. Metteer is a member of the Nebraska Music Educators, Nebraska Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, and the Lincoln Education Association. He is an active clinician and adjudicator in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.


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Teach Me About Hip Hop
Presenter: Franklin Willis
1:15 pm, LC C

Workshop Description: As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, there is growing interest in its integration within elementary music education. Mr. Franklin Willis presents an informative session focused on harnessing the pedagogical potential of Hip Hop music to enhance student engagement and cultural resonance. Delve into the historical backdrop of Hip Hop’s emergence, drawing parallels to its contemporary relevance in education. Participants will gain actionable insights for cultivating inclusive and diverse learning environments.

Barbershop 101 & Tag Circle
Presenters: Casey Allen and Logan Langholdt
1:15 pm, LC S

In this session, we describe the "need-to-knows" for implementing Barbershop Singing into the classroom. We will introduce and connect educators to various resources, music, and methods of teaching beginning Barbershoppers, and we will spend the end of the session singing tags in a circle. This introduces educators to tag singing the classic Barbershop way--hands on, jump in, and learn with your ears!! 

Session Handout (click to download)

Casey Allen is an emerging director from Omaha, Nebraska, currently in her third year at Elkhorn North High School, and fourth year of teaching overall. At Elkhorn North, Casey directs the Freshman Choir, Mixed JV Choir, Varsity Concert Choir, Varsity Show Choir, Vocal Jazz Group, and several Barbershop Quartets. In her first year at Elkhorn North, Allen was recognized as the Outstanding Young Director of the Year through the Nebraska Choral Directors Association (NCDA). She is currently serving as the Repertoire & Resources Chair for Vocal Jazz, Barbershop, and A Cappella through NCDA. Casey loves people, music, and teaching.
Logan Langholdt is an enthusiastic and exciting Music Educator based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Langholdt graduated from UNL with his Music Education degree in 2019 and is currently in his fifth year of teaching Vocal Music. He has attended the week-long international Barbershop Conference, Harmony University through the Barbershop Harmony Society twice, and directs Barbershop Quartets through North Star High School today. Langholdt is also furthering his love of Barbershop by Co-Directing the Lincoln Continentals Barbershop Chorus, and plans to take them to regional, national, and international competitions in the coming years. Langholdt believes that music is about enrichment through exploration, that everybody has a voice, and that the best way to learn is to do.


Mentor Speed-Dating
Moderators: Becky Wilhelm and Jeff Mount
1:15 pm, WMB 9

Do you want to get ideas, advice, and feedback from several experienced music teachers in a fun, relaxed setting? Sign up to participate in the Speed Mentoring session. This session will have you rotate among several mentor teachers every few minutes similar to speed dating. While this session is geared for teachers in their first 5 years, everyone is welcome to participate. If you are interested in participating in the speed mentoring, please complete the following form to assist us in organizing the session.

Mentor Speed-Dating Sign-up

From the Neck Up: Building Better Woodwind and Brass Fundamentals
Presenters: Kyle Jones and William Sutton
1:15 pm, WMB 104

In many beginning band contexts, students are encouraged to move directly to practicing with a fully-assembled instrument. Though this instruction expedites the learning of "tunes" by the student, it often does so at the expense of more focused work on the mouthpiece and neck, ultimately delaying the cultivation of solid fundamentals. This presentation will focus on how to better utilize small-piece practice (the mouthpiece by itself, as well as joined with the saxophone neck or clarinet barrel) to address fundamental aspects of brass and single reed instrument playing at various stages of development. These include exercises and concepts that include but are not limited to embouchure, voicing, jaw pressure, articulation, and audiation. By maximizing the function of these instrument parts as "magnifying glasses" to our most basic skills, we can learn to create effective and engaging learning frames for students, regardless of their developmental stage, maximizing time spent in a practice session.

Kyle Jones, saxophonist, is a performer, teacher, and arts administrator. An advocate for new music, Kyle actively collaborates with composers and performers from various styles and genres. Recently, he has been involved in a commissioning project with Dr.Nathan Mertens with the composer Anthony R. Green, as well as leading a consortium for a new work for saxophone and clarinet by composer Gabriela Ortiz. He is currently a doctoral student of Zachary Shemon at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, as well as Instructor of Saxophone at Northwest Missouri State University and MidAmerica Nazarene University.In addition to his performing activities, Kyle serves as a Co-Director for Fast Forward Austin, Kyle serves as Production Coordinator for Kansas City Baroque Consortium, and Grant Writing Associate for Appalachia: A Southeastern Wind Symphony. He holds degrees from The University of Texas-Austin, Peabody Conservatory, and East Tennessee State University.
Dr. William Sutton is an avid teacher and performer of trombone, euphonium, and tuba. Prior to his appointment at Northwest Missouri State University where he teaches low brass and music theory, he held teaching positions at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Mott Community College, Olivet College, Saginaw Valley State University, The Flint Institute of Music, and The Michigan State University Community Music School. Will has performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, St. Joseph Symphony Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Holland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Northern New York, Capital City Brass Band, Mountain Town Brass Band, and Mid-Michigan Brass Band. He has performed as a soloist with the Northwest Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Crane Symphonic Band, Olivet College Wind Ensemble, Saginaw Valley State University Wind Ensemble, and Mid-Michigan Brass Band. He has been invited to perform at the Midwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference and International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, and his solo playing can be heard under the Kendor Music, Inc. label. www.suttonbrass.com


Composition in Any Classroom
Presenter: John Kosch
1:15 pm, WMB 105

I would like to offer some tried-and-true strategies for introducing composition in large ensemble rehearsals. Even though composition has been listed as a national standard of music education since 1994, it is frequently omitted from classroom curriculum due to teacher discomfort, lack of time, or other logistical challenges. Composition is notably absent in large ensemble settings; although music educators have tried to supplement ensembles with courses containing composition, most music students grades 6–12 have very little opportunity to write original music. Composition does not need to be a complicated and scary process— in fact, it can start as something arbitrary! It doesn’t need to take time away from other practical skills— we can use composition to assess other content knowledge, like scales and chords. And by referencing solfege or scale degrees, we can engage with students in ensembles of any size or type, composing with them in real time.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

John Kosch currently serves as instructor of composition at Concordia University. His compositions fuse pop melodies and jazz chords with the intricate rhythms and textures of concert music, winning awards from organizations like ASCAP, Downbeat magazine, NAfME, Tribeca New Music, Austin Classical Guitar, and the American Prize. His works have also been selected for performances at regional and national Society of Composers conferences, as well as the Brevard Music Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, and the Cortona Sessions for New Music. Previously, Kosch spent several years as a full-time 5–12 instrumental music teacher, and he currently helps direct jazz bands and percussion ensembles at Pius X High School. It is his goal to help other K–12 music teachers find creative ways to implement composition in the classroom.


Sun, Thunder, Daugava! Accessible Treasures from the Baltic Choral Tradition
Presenter: Paul von Kampen
1:15 pm, WMB 109

This presentation will encourage the programming of accessible choral pieces for choirs of all levels from the great Baltic tradition of choral singing. Much of the popular choral music from the Baltics tends to be quite difficult, and for good reason: the Balts engage in choral music the way America does sports. Together we will discover hidden gems from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania including folk and art songs, both sacred and secular, as well as newly composed pieces by Baltic composers that are not household names.

Paul von Kampen is an educator, conductor, and performer who has taught in both K-12 schools and at the university level. Upon graduating from Concordia University, Nebraska, von Kampen taught at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine California and Lutheran High Northwest in Rochester Hills, Michigan. While in Michigan, he earned a Masters in Choral Conducting from Oakland University under the direction of Dr. Michael Mitchell. He is currently at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, pursuing a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting under the direction of Dr. Peter Eklund and Dr. Marques Garrett.


Tech Tools for the Music Classroom
Presenters: Paloma Mena-Werth, Jeana Peterson, Stacy Bean, and Tori Glandon
1:15 pm, WMB 110

Join Kearney Public’s middle level music teachers (band, orchestra, and choir) for a sharing session on the technology we’ve added to our classes since becoming a 1:1 district. We have an extensive digital toolbox that we’re excited to share with other music educators. This session will demonstrate the ways we use sites like Wizer (digital worksheets for assignments and testing), MusicTheory.net assignment customizer, Canva, PearDeck, 3-Minute Theory, Google tools, and Canvas. Participants will walk away with links to online worksheets and exercises that we have created. These can be used in your own classroom right away, or tweaked to fit your level and assessment needs! BYOD (bring your own device) to test out the tools yourself!

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Paloma has been the band director at Sunrise Middle School for 11 years. She teaches five concert ensembles, a beginning guitar class, and runs the famous (in Kearney) Sunrise Ukulele Club. Paloma received a Bachelors in Music Education from UNK in 2012, and continued her education with Masters degrees in Secondary School Counseling and PK-12 Administration.

Jeana Peterson has been teaching in Kearney since 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Luther College and a Master's degree in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Mrs. Peterson teaches fifth-grade orchestra at each of the ten elementary schools, sixth and seventh grade at Horizon and Sunrise Middle School, and assists with the Kearney High School orchestra program. She is a member of NAfME and NEASTA and currently serves as the NEASTA Newsletter Editor.

Stacy Bean is in her 29th year of teaching. She is currently at Horizon Middle School in Kearney teaching 6th-8th Grade Band. Her previous teaching experiences include Amherst Public School, Exeter-Milligan Public School, and Overton Public School. She has a Bachelor of Art in Music Education and a Masters of Arts in Music Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.Stacy’s groups performed at a high level and consistently earned superior ratings with students earning positions in all-state and honor bands. Stacy was awarded the VFW 2017 teacher of the year for Patriotism and Citizenship. Stacy was coordinator of the Class C All State Band from 2004-2007, was middle level chair of the Nebraska Music Educators Executive board from 2011-2013, and was the middle level chair for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association from 2017-2019. Stacy is on staff with the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music and has been an adjudicator and clinician for numerous schools in Nebraska.

Tori Glandon is in her 8th year in teaching and currently teaches at Horizon Middle School in Kearney, Nebraska. She is the current Singing Youth of Nebraska coordinator for the Nebraska Choral Directors Association. Previously she held the position as the District 4 representative for NCDA. Tori has her Masters in Music Education from UNL and Bachelors of Music Education from UNK.


Intonation Development through Security Spots
Presenter: Sonja Kraus
1:15 pm, WMB 114

The concept of good intonation on string instruments is often seen as a topic that is difficult to teach and seemingly impossible to master. Many approaches only talk about the development of excellent listening skills as well as constant repetition. My concept for good cello intonation is based on the theory that there are only two physical ways to play out of tune; in a position (handshape) and in between positions (shifting). In my presentation, I will first focus on the teaching of an ergonomic and effective left-hand posture where the fingers fall almost automatically into their correct spots. Secondly, I will explain how to teach the development of a mental map of the fingerboard. This includes the practicing of specific “security spots” or “anchor points”, which divide the fingerboard into sections, allowing a faster and more secure development of intonation across the cello while shifting.

Dr. Sonja Kraus, a native of Germany, is an internationally acclaimed cellist, teacher, and music scholar, whose career has taken her through Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.Currently, Kraus holds the position of Assistant Professor of Cello/Bass at the University of South Dakota and is the cellist in the renowned Rawlins Piano Trio. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Dakota, Kraus was the cello professor at the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo as well as the principal cellist of the Orquesta Filarmónica Municipal de Guayaquil in Ecuador.During the past few years, Kraus participated as teacher and performer in several music festivals around the world including Habana Clásica, the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, and the Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy to name a few. She is also a sought-out clinician and instructor of masterclasses throughout the US, Latin America, and Germany.


NCDA Reading Session
Chris Storm, presiding
Part 1 - 1:15 pm, WMB 119
Part 2 - 2:30 pm, WMB 119

Educator as Maestro
Presenter: Alejandro Gómez Guillén
Part 1 - 1:15 pm, WMB 130
Part 2 - 2:30 pm, WMB 130

In this conducting masterclass, you will have the opportunity to watch and learn along with your peers as they conduct the Omaha Symphony with Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gómez Guillén. The session will focus on conducting technique, communication skills, and musicianship – in a real-life laboratory setting with a professional orchestra. Using repertoire from participating teachers’ classrooms, this session aims to support every educator as a maestro.

If you are interested in participating as a podium conductor in Educator as Maestro, please complete and submit the following brief application no later than Friday, October 6. Participants will be notified by Tuesday, October 10 of their acceptance and will only be selected for a conducting time slot in one of the above sessions. Both sessions will be open to all NMEA conference attendees as auditors.

Apply to be a Podium Conductor

2023 All-State Middle Level String Orchestra Conductor

Conductor and violinist Alejandro Gómez Guillén was recently named assistant conductor with the Omaha Symphony and is an artistic leader of the orchestra’s prestigious and multifaceted community and education programs. Having finished a seven seasons as artistic director and conductor of Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, he also completed a successful tenure as associate conductor of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He is also music director of Denver's Sphere Ensemble.

Dr. Gómez Guillén has served as assistant professor of music at Colorado Mesa University where he taught violin, viola, courses in symphonic literature, string pedagogy and chamber music, as well as conducting the chamber and symphony orchestras. He served as music director of the Colorado Youth Philharmonia, and led performances with the Spokane Youth Symphony, Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras, University of Colorado Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He has also taught middle school and high school camps at at the University of Texas Permian Basin and at Colorado Mesa University as well as a residency in his native Colombia with Batuta, an El Sistema style program that benefits youth across the country.


Telling Your School’s Music Education Story
Presenter: Cody Talarico
2:30 pm, LC C

Music educators all across our state are busy teaching kids. In the hustle and bustle of marching band competitions, show choir performances, fundraisers, rehearsals, and concerts galore, we forget that we have to "toot our own horn" and let our parents, school, and community know the many things we are doing. It's not just about the next performance! What are those high quality instructional experiences your kids do even when they're not on stage and "in the limelight?' "Telling Your Schools Music Education Story" engages music educators through discussion about their programs and their kids. We'll take some time to envision, set goals, and find ways to share a glimpse of what's happening in your classroom. Next, we'll explore and discuss ways you can "get the word out" about your music classes with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness for your kids and how important music education is for your school and community.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Cody Talarico is a musician and supporter of arts education. Cody taught music in the Bellevue Public Schools. He is currently serving Nebraska as the Fine Arts Education Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. Cody has been a conductor with the Nebraska Children's Chorus, adjunct instructor for the University of Nebraska Omaha. Cody is a professional church musician, too, and all-around fine arts fanatic.


Supporting LGBTQ+ Students in the Music Classroom
Presenters: Christine Valish and Bridget Hill
2:30 pm, LC S

This session will explore LGBTQ+ student identities and the impact of these identities on the educational experience and student learning in a larger context and within the music classroom. Presenters will share personal experience and anecdotes about teaching LGBTQ+ students. Specific action items will be given as to how to help LGBTQ+ students feel included and supported in the classroom.

Christine Valish (she/her) is currently the director of vocal music at Omaha Bryan High School. Valish obtained her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University with certification in K-12 instrumental and vocal music. There she studied piano with Dr. Larry Jones, violin with Tami Osborne Pederson, and voice with Dr. Janene Sheldon. Prior to teaching for Omaha Public Schools, Valish taught for Chicago Public Schools and Wahoo Public Schools, as well as accompanied for choirs in various school districts. Her prior teaching experiences range from elementary general music to high school drumline. In addition to her teaching duties, Valish was the guest conductor of the Omaha Public Schools All-City Middle School Choir in 2022.
Bridget Hill (she/her) is adjunct instructor of flute and music appreciation at Doane University. She is a DMA candidate at University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She obtained her MM from University of Northern Iowa and her BM from University of Iowa. She has given masterclasses and solo recitals throughout the Midwest and performs with Trio 402.


Vocal Jazz Concepts for Young Singers
Presenter: Sara Alswager
2:30P pm, WMB 9

Experience commonalities between elementary music teaching philosophies and the vocal jazz idiom, exploring how vocal jazz concepts function effectively within the curriculum of an elementary general music classroom.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

After receiving a BME from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sara completed Orff Schulwerk Levels I & II at UNL, Level III at Southern Methodist University, and an SMU Master Class with Werner Beidinger. Sara’s elementary chorus students have been featured soloists at the Sing Around Nebraska Honor Choir, and her 4th & 5th grade ensemble Swingin' with 'Swager has won two Clinician's Choice trophies during annual appearances at the Nebraska Vocal Jazz Festival. Sara received her master's degree from the University of St. Thomas Graduate Programs in Music Education where she studied choral conducting with Dr. Angela Kasper and Dr. G. Phillip Shoultz III. Sara teaches in Millard Public Schools and serves on the Great Plains Orff Chapter board. Additionally, Sara is an active honor choir clinician, co-director of Justice Choir-Omaha, and social media contributor for the national Justice Choir organization.


Meeting the Physical Demands of Today’s Brass Student
Presenters: Tim Farrell and Louie Eckhardt
2:30 pm, WMB 104

In our experience as collegiate ensemble and brass applied instructors, as well as high school clinicians and private teachers, we have witnessed the increased physical and mental demands placed on brass students, especially those who are expected to play in multiple ensembles throughout the day. Between concert band, marching band, pep band, lead playing, improvisation, solo work, and more, students are being stretched thin, and their physical and mental shape reflects this. Additionally, the distraction of living in a digital age is affecting students’ ability to focus and maintain a balanced routine. This presentation will provide practical solutions for teachers and students as they encounter various physical and mental challenges in today’s educational setting

Dr. Tim Farrell is a Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Dr. Farrell teaches applied trumpet, horn, improvisation, and music education courses and directs the Jazz Rock Ensemble. Dr. Farrell also taught jazz and brass at the University of South Dakota and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. At FLC, he was the Director of Jazz Studies. Dr. Farrell started the Fort Lewis College Jazz Festival in 2000, which brought some of the world’s greatest jazz performers and educators to campus to perform with the Fort Lewis College Jazz Ensemble. Dr. Farrell is a Yamaha Performing Artist on trumpet and has performed with many great artists. Tim can be seen on the Sound Innovations trumpet DVD published by Alfred Music in 2010. Dr. Farrell received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Oregon, his Master of Music from Northwestern University, and his Bachelor of Musical Arts from Pacific Lutheran University.
In addition to directing the Hastings College Band and Marching Bronco Band, Dr. Eckhardt teaches music history and high brass and is chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. He is the principal trumpet of the Hastings Symphony Orchestra, principal trumpet of the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, the Cathedral Brass Quintet, and La Follia Austin Baroque. He has also performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Nittany Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Eckhardt has performed with the Victoria Bach Festival in Victoria, Texas, and the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado. Dr. Eckhardt holds a B.M. in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Hastings College, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trumpet Performance from Louisiana State University. 


Emotional Intelligence in the Performance Classroom
Presenter: Kyle Brubaker
2:30 P WMB 105

Social-emotional learning conjures up preconceived ideas and notions that are not actually what SEL is. This presentation will give a general overview of SEL and why it is important in the performance classroom, help teachers name and label common SEL practices that they are already implementing in their classrooms, and help teachers move from a passive approach to an active one that will develop further connection to the music-making process and bring new life to performances.

Kyle Brubaker was born and raised in central Illinois. Coming from a musical family, he attended Illinois State University, where he got his degree in music education with a concentration in instrumental music. After graduating from ISU, Mr. Brubaker taught for two years in the Peoria Public Schools District and worked with the auditioned extracurricular jazz band, "The Peoria Jazz All Stars," and seven years in the Olympia CUSD, where he taught beginning band, seventh and eighth grade band, and high school band. Mr. Brubaker is currently in his sixth year teaching at Omaha Burke High School, where he is the director of instrumental music and oversees the band and orchestra programs.


The Impact of Attachment Theory in Music Education
Presenter: Lindsay Lund
2:30 pm, WMB 109

What is attachment theory? The most recent trends of Social Emotional Learning only hit the iceberg of what attachment theory means. When a student's behavior is declining in the classroom there is more to the story. When a band room becomes the safe place for a student, there is more to the story. It has been proven that attachment trauma and music travel through the same channels of brain neurons impacting dopamine and serotonin levels. In this session we will discuss the roles of secure and insecure attachment and what this means for you as a music educator. Once you dive in on this theory, you will not look at student behavior the same again, and perhaps a different perspective may be gained which can offer important insights. Attachment theory can be explored in depth through this insightful and brief overview of the connections between the theory itself and the work music educators do everyday which impact our music students.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Lindsay Lund received her undergraduate and Master's Degree's from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In addition she is currently working towards an additional Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health & Counseling and a Doctoral Degree in Music Education from Boston University. Lindsay has been the 6th-12th grades band and choral director at Kearney Catholic since 2008. Within this position, she directs the marching band, drumline, 6th grade band, 7th grade band, youth choir, general music classes, high school choir, stardust singers, pep band, mass music, and jazz band. Her personal music experiences range from being an oboist within various orchestras, composing and recording works, singing in weekly masses, piano, flute, and percussion. In 2011 Lindsay received the NMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator of the year award. She is married and has three children, a husky, and three tuxedo cats.


More Time for Artistry with MusicFirst
Presenter: Mike Olander
2:30 pm, WMB 110

Jump start music making with PracticeFirst! The faster students master notes and rhythms, the more rehearsal time can be spent on artistry and expression. PracticeFirst’s detailed feedback to the player includes rhythm, duration, and tuning. The easy ‘hover over’ interface shows assessment details on any note played – down to how many cents sharp or flat. Teachers can customize the scoring system to make it more forgiving for beginners, and more rigorous for advanced students. Use the huge and still-growing method book and repertoire library or upload your own music, and start making more time for artistry in the rehearsal room.

Mike Olander, as an Education Manager with MusicFirst, advocates for music programs by encouraging the adoption of technology solutions designed to save time, simplify tasks, and drive student engagement and growth. He has worked for MusicFirst, Wenger Corporation, MakeMusic, Music Prodigy, JAMF Software, and Edmentum leading teacher workshops and training, staff development sessions, and serving as a consultant for schools across the country.


Denison’s Mariachi Journey
Presenter: Ruben Newell
2:30 pm, WMB 114

In 2012, Denison Community Schools introduced a mariachi ensemble to their instrumental music program, and ti transformed their band, school, and community. Mr. Newell will outline how and why Denison added mariachi to their traditional band program as well as share data on the impact it has had on their program and community as a whole.

Ruben Newell is currently an instrumental music instructor at Denison High School in Denison, Iowa, where he is in his fourteenth year in that position. At DHS, Mr. Newell oversees the 9-12 instrumental music program, and directs the 11-12 Concert Band, two jazz bands, Mariachi Reyes del Oeste, the Monarch Marching Band and the Monarch Pep Band.Mr. Newell received his Bachelor of Music degree from Iowa State University in 2000, and has previously taught in Corning and Atlantic, Iowa. Mr. Newell is an active clinician and adjudicator for the Iowa High School Music Association, and has served as President of Southwest Iowa Bandmasters Association (SWIBA) as well as Director of the Southwest Iowa Honor Marching Band (SWIHMB). He is currently the SWIBA Treasurer and SWIHMB Assistant Director.Mr. Newell lives in Denison with his wife, Sarah, and serves as President of the Crawford County Arts Council.


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Lincoln Southeast High School Chamber Orchestra
Directed by Margret Delaney
4:00 pm, GRAD

The Lincoln Southeast Chamber Orchestra is an auditioned string ensemble consisting of students grades 9-12. Many of these students are members of the Lincoln Youth Symphony and several have been selected as members of the NMEA All State Orchestra. A majority of these students are also members of additional music ensembles at Lincoln Southeast. This group performs locally within the community and in regional music festivals. The Lincoln Southeast Orchestra has performed at NMEA in the past, presenting a large ensemble orchestral performance as well as a string quartet performance.

Margret (Maggie) Delaney graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and received a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Maggie has been a teacher for Lincoln Public Schools for the last 11 years and has been the Orchestra Director at Lincoln Southeast High School for the past 10 years. She also teaches Elementary Orchestra for Lincoln Public Schools and is currently the Orchestra teacher at Beattie and Rousseau Elementary schools. Prior to teaching in Lincoln Public Schools, Maggie served as an upper strings coach with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s “SYSO In The Schools” program. She has managed her own private studio for violin and viola in both Seattle, WA and Lincoln, NE. Maggie is a member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the Lincoln Education Association.


Papillon La-Vista High School Ardent Voce
Directed by Meredith L’Heureux
4:00 pm, StP

Ardente Voce is the select chamber choir from Papillion La Vista High School. These 21 singers are all involved in Papillion La Vista's concert choir, with most also involved in show choir and the all-school musical. Ardente Voce rehearses three times weekly and focuses on high level literature of all musical styles. They are highly involved in community functions around the Omaha area, and were most recently featured in the City of La Vista Tree Lighting Ceremony, the City of Papillion Winter Wonderland festival, and the Omaha Durham Museum Corporate Gala. Since 2011, Ardente Voce has received a superior rating at every District Music Contest, and has received several Outstanding Performance awards. Ardente Voce translates roughly to "the voice aflame", accurately representing this group's desire for excitement and beauty through their music making. Please welcome Ardente Voce!

Nebraska Vocal Jazz Project
4:00 pm, WMB 119

The Nebraska Vocal Jazz Project was established in 2022. Comprised of a composer, a marketer, a space lawyer, and two teachers, NVJP aims to bring Vocal Jazz to Nebraska in a new light, support Vocal Jazz through performance and education in Nebraska. NVJP is excited to take root in Nebraska and explore the possibilities of a modern vocal jazz ensemble. 

University of Nebraska at Omaha Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Directed by Joshua Kearney
4:15 pm, LC

As UNO's premier concert band, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE) has developed an exemplary reputation throughout the country and abroad for its exceptional performances of high quality traditional and contemporary wind literature. Comprising some of the most outstanding musicians on campus, SWE performs approximately five concerts a year.The ensemble has performed at regional conferences of the College Band Directors National Association, multiple conventions of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, several Nebraska Music Educators Association All-State conferences, and numerous other regional and national professional conferences. SWE has also performed abroad—giving concerts in France, the Czech Republic, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, and others. Most recently, SWE performed at the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival in Chicago.The UNO band program contains two concert bands and several athletic ensembles. Groups within the UNO Band program perform literature of the highest caliber and are open to students of all majors.

Joshua Kearney is Director of Bands at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he is responsible for all aspects of the UNO band program, teaches courses in music education and conducting, and directs the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. In addition to UNO, Kearney serves as Music Director of the Nebraska Wind Symphony. Dr. Kearney has worked as an adjudicator and clinician for ensembles of all levels—maintaining an active conducting schedule locally and across the United States. Additionally, Kearney regularly shares his research and experiences at conferences within the U.S. and abroad.Dr. Kearney earned his DMA in Conducting from Michigan State University and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Columbus State University (GA). Kearney holds affiliations with the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, Nebraska Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, College Music Society, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the College Band Directors National Association.


University of South Dakota Chamber Orchestra
Directed by Ioana Galu and Sonja Kraus
4:30 pm, GRAD

The USD Chamber Orchestra (youtube.com/@usdchamberorchestra) is an elite conductor-less strings ensemble with members chosen by audition from the Department of Music. The concept of performing without a conductor is an innovative approach that creates individual musical responsibility and exact roles in achieving exceptional quality performances. The USD Chamber Orchestra tours the region regularly, performing throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. The group has been selected as a performing ensemble for the South Dakota Music Educators Association Conference and the Iowa Music Educators Association Conference. The ensemble has also served as the ensemble-in-residence for conducting workshops at music education conferences. As a part of their upcoming CD “Music by British Composers”, the group already recorded Rutter’s Suite for Strings available on Spotify.The group’s mission is to prepare its members for the 21st-century music marketplace and to continue the commission of new works by contemporary composers.

Former Assistant Professor of Violin and chamber music at Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania, Ioana Galu is currently Associate Professor of Violin/Viola, co-director of the USD Chamber Orchestra and member in the Rawlins Piano Trio. Galu earned a second master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from College Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati) and a doctorate in Contemporary Music from Bowling Green State University.Galu was the winner of the First Prize and Special Prize of the SOROS Foundation at the George Enescu Violin National Competition (Romania), as well as the Second Prize winner at the Mozart International Trio Competition (Romania).Galu performed the world premiere of Marilyn Shrude's violin concerto Libro D'Ore with the Central Ohio Symphony and the European premiere with the Sibiu State Philharmonic in Romania, and subsequently recorded the concerto for Albany Records.
Dr. Sonja Kraus, a native of Germany, is an internationally acclaimed cellist, teacher, and music scholar, whose career has taken her through Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.Currently, Kraus holds the position of Assistant Professor of Cello/Bass at the University of South Dakota and is the cellist in the renowned Rawlins Piano Trio. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Dakota, Kraus was the cello professor at the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo as well as the principal cellist of the Orquesta Filarmónica Municipal de Guayaquil in Ecuador. During the past few years, Kraus participated as teacher and performer in several music festivals around the world including Habana Clásica, the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, and the Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy to name a few. She is also a sought-out clinician and instructor of masterclasses throughout the US, Latin America, and Germany.


Millard North Singers
Directed by Megan Swain
4:30 pm, StP

The Millard North Choral program has a current enrollment of 250 singers in grades 9-12. Students in the department have the opportunity to be in many different performing ensembles throughout the school year. The three a capella choirs of Millard North are Chamber Choir (mixed), Nova (soprano/alto), and Northern Lights (tenor/bass). We also have 3 extracurricular ensembles; the award-winning Millard North Show Choirs: Intensity, Illumination, and Infinity. The 4 choirs at Millard North are Voce, Cantori, Cantori/Forensics, and Singers. The Millard North Varsity choir, Singers, is an auditioned ensemble that has a rich tradition of excellence, consistently receiving superior plus ratings from District Music Contest over the last 9 years under the direction of Megan Swain. An average of 20 students per year have been selected as members of the All-State Choir over the past six years. The Millard School District has been recognized by NAMM as being one of the Best Communities for Music Education in America several times, most recently in 2017. In 2018, Millard North High School received the exemplary award for Music Education by NMEA.

Megan Swain boasts a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in voice from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. Megan currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Her responsibilities include conducting 4 curricular choirs, teaching the International Baccalaureate Music course, and serving as the head director of the Millard North Show Choirs. Under Megan’s direction, Millard North’s Varsity Show Choir “Infinity” received numerous awards including Grand Championships, Best Vocals, Best Choreography, Best Band, and more. Megan is in her 9th year of teaching at Millard North, and 10th year teaching overall. In her spare time, Megan enjoys spending time with her family.


Western Nebraska Community College Varsity Vocalise
Directed by Nathaniel Johnson and Patrick Newell
4:30 pm, WMB 130

Varsity Vocalise is a highly select touring ensemble whose repertoire includes the very best of Broadway, pop, swing, jazz, and ageless favorites. Varsity Vocalise is proud to represent the WNCC Vocal Music Program. Members regularly perform for public service and at charitable events, participate in arts festivals, and represent WNCC while touring throughout the Midwest. While members are passionate about their joy of performing and the camaraderie of membership, Varsity Vocalise members remain dedicated to their stated purpose, “to promote goodwill through music and to enhance the quality of life in our valley.”

Dr. Patrick Newell is the Director of Choral Activities at Western Nebraska Community College, the Choral Director at First United Methodist Church of Scottsbluff, the Director of Riversong Chancel Singers, and the Artistic Director of Theatre West Nebraska. With 25 years of academic teaching experience, Dr. Newell has a diverse teaching portfolio in the areas of Opera, Musical Theatre, and Art Song as a teacher of singing, conductor, and stage director. His students have worked for Disney, Off-Broadway, National Tours, military bands, cruise lines, regional theatres, amusement parks, and web series. Nationally and Internationally recognized as a teacher of the Sweetland Belt Technique, he has presented and taught at multiple conferences and music festivals. His newest project is to open a bi-yearly School of Belting in Italy to teach teachers the Sweetland Belt Technique.


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The annual Awards Dinner will take place on Friday, November 17 at the Cornhusker Hotel Atrium / Grand Ballroom. Social hour will take place from 5:15 pm with live music. The dinner will begin at 6:00 pm.

Advance ticket purchase is required to attend the Awards Dinner. Online sales for Awards Dinner tickets have closed. If there are seats available, tickets can be purchased at on-site registration at the Embassy Suites.

Collegiate Member's tickets are included with their conference registration.

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Saturday, November 18


Fermatas, Cues, and Cut-Offs, Oh MY!
Presenter: Jason Caslor
8:00 am, LC C

Nothing fancy here! Bring your baton to this session that will review the basics of conducting while shifting our focus away from timekeeping towards gestures that show the music and empower our students.

Her Voice Matters: Including repertoire composed by women in choral classrooms
Presenter: Philip Silvey
8:00 am, LC S

Repertoire selections send implicit messages about who writes music and what music merits study. Choral music educators can acknowledge implicit bias and purposefully include compositions by women to diversify the learning experience of their students. Students can develop empathy by experiencing the world through the eyes and ears of others. Although resources exist to help choral music educators select repertoire composed by women, the application of these resources requires intentionality. Learn where to find these resources, how to use them, and three strategies to apply during instruction to help impact student perceptions about who composes.

Middle School General Music: Yes, it can be fun!
Presenters: Amy Spears and Chase Crispin
8:00 am, WMB 9

We know that most middle school students enjoy engaging with music outside the classroom, whether it’s listening to or making music. However, they may express less excitement about being in an ensemble-based music class. In this session, Chase, a middle school teacher, and Amy, a university music educator, will discuss multiple ideas and units to teach students who may not necessarily have elected to be in the music classroom. We will briefly discuss philosophical underpinnings for why and how these “doing” activities engage and motivate all students. The lessons we discuss will include access to materials so you can begin using them in your own classroom. This session will give you new ideas and fresh perspectives for approaching the secondary general music classroom. Those who attend will also be able to engage in collaborative conversations about problems and solutions faced by general music teachers at the secondary level.

(Amy Spears' bio already given)

Chase Crispin currently teaches Jazz Band, Guitar, and Music Theory at Muchin College Prep in Chicago, IL. He formerly taught vocal and general music classes at Scott Middle School in Lincoln, NE. In this position, he created Exploring Music (a general music elective for eighth grade students) and a Unified Music course, the first such course at the middle school level in Nebraska. In addition to directing the sixth-eighth grade choirs, he co-taught eighth grade band, sponsored the Ukulele Club, and directed the Clarinet Chamber Ensemble. Chase’s pedagogical passion is creating inclusive curriculum that increases musical opportunities for all students. Chase received his Bachelor of Music Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2019.


Discretion is the Better Part of Valor: Rethinking Chart Selection for Jazz Ensembles

Presenter: Shawn Bell
8:00 am, WMB 104

Selecting music that requires students to step up to an attainable challenge is essential for young players to grow. In this session, attendees will consider some of the factors that help achieve this balance in a Jazz setting. Participants will examine some of the common missteps that many directors make when programing material for their Jazz ensembles, with special attention paid to rhythm section parts and improvised solo sections. These components will be evaluated through a lens that does not require advanced Jazz or music theory knowledge in order determine the suitability of a given arrangement. In addition to identifying the challenges posed by some commercially available big band charts, attendees will also discuss approaches for modifying these arrangements to better serve students from both pedagogical and performance perspectives.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Trombonist and educator Shawn Bell’s omnivorous playing and writing have been called “soulful” and “captivatingly quirky.” Bell holds degrees in Jazz studies from Western Michigan University and Northern Illinois University. His 2010 debut album Things Yet Unknown garnered significant critical praise. JazzTimes’s stated, “To find a young trombonist like Shawn with this level of command and virtuosity is amazing.” Bell’s 2020 release Trio features a departure from traditional Jazz formats. Instead, Shawn draws on material from R&B and Rock artists alongside original material that grooves rather than swings.As an educator, Shawn operates Bell Tone Brass Studio and is a sought-after lesson provider and Jazz clinician throughout the region. Additionally, he is the lead teaching artist for Omaha Performing Arts’s Jazz Academy. This program provides in school clinics, hosts a middle school honors ensemble, and sponsors music educator workshops for students and teachers throughout the Omaha metro area.


Maximizing Music Morale: How a Tri-M Chapter makes a better music program and a better you
Presenters: Nicole Shively, Rick Mitchell, and Melissa Schuerman
8:00 am, WMB 105

Tri-M Music Honor Society, a program for middle and high school students through NAfME, is devoted to student leadership, community, and service within the music department. Tri-M is an untapped resource in many Nebraska schools. This session will explore what Tri-M is, ways to best utilize a chapter, and how having a chapter can make you as a teacher, your students, and your music program better. It will also examine three successful chapters within the state and what it looks like to start a new chapter. We truly believe that every music department would benefit from a Tri-M chapter, and we aim to equip you with the tools to make that a reality.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Nicole Shively is the Assistant Instrumental Music Director at Lincoln East High School, where she has taught various Concert and Marching Bands, Orchestra, Guitar, and Music Technology since 2018. Nicole also directs the extra-curricular Brass Choir, Musical Pit, and Prep Jazz Bands. She is the sponsor for East’s Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter and the LPS Music Festival. East’s chapter was recognized as first runner-up for National Tri-M Chapter of the Year in 2018-19. Nicole received the Jack R. Snider Outstanding Young Band Director Award from the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association in 2022. Nicole received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2018. In addition to teaching, she actively performs with the Lincoln Civic Orchestra, Husker Horn Choir, and Sinfonia Brass Quintet at St. Mark’s Church. Nicole also serves as Camp Coordinator for UNL’s Summer Marching Band Camp and Director of Counselors for Cornhusker Girls State.

Rick Mitchell has been teaching since 1993 and has been at Kearney High School since 2000 as Instrumental Music Instructor, Music Department Chair and Tri-M Sponsor. He also taught at Schuyler Central High School, Elm Creek Schools, served as adjunct brass faculty at the University of Nebraska–Kearney, and established Kearney’s first Kindermusik studio. Rick is a trumpet player who performs both classical and jazz styles and has performed with groups including the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Dobytown Brass Quintet, Flatwater Jazz Orchestra and the Kearney Symphony Orchestra. He is also an active clinician and adjudicator throughout Nebraska and was selected for the 2019 50 Directors that Make a Difference award sponsored by School Band and Orchestra magazine. He is a member of NAfME, NMEA, NSBA and Phi Beta Mu. Rick holds a B.M.E from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MA in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

​​Mrs. Melissa Schuerman is the orchestra director at R. M. Marrs Middle School in the Omaha Public Schools District. She has been teaching for OPS since 2019 and moved to R.M Marrs in 2020. There, she teaches 6th grade orchestra, intermediate orchestra, and advanced orchestra. Melissa is a co-advisor of the Tri-M Chapter at Marrs, which was started in 2022. Melissa received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in May 2019 with an emphasis in harp. She also received her Master’s in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in July 2023. In addition to teaching for OPS, she also has her own studio teaching harp lessons to students of all varying ages and abilities. Melissa actively performs private events around the Omaha and Lincoln area. She has performed with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, Hastings Symphony Orchestra, and the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.


Riffing Rosini: Encouraging Embellishment across Vocal Genres
Presenter: Suna Gunther
8:00 am, WMB 109

Improvisation is often restricted to jazz combos and big bands. However, across historical genres and world cultures, the tradition of embellishing sung music has been an essential part of practice and performance. This presentation explores how ornamentation, riffing, and improvisation can unlock creativity and expression in both solo and ensemble singing.

Dr. Suna Gunther joined UNL's Voice and Jazz faculties in 2021. In her first two years, she taught Applied Voice, Musical Theatre Techniques, Graduate Diction, German Diction & Literature, Opera Workshop scenes, and directed last Spring's touring production of La Traviata. She was formerly Voice Area Coordinator at the College of Saint Rose, Instructor of Musical Theatre at the University of North Dakota, and Instructor of Applied Voice at Berea College. Dr. Gunther lives in Lincoln with her husband Thom and their two daughters.


Preparing the next generation of music educators, Who would want this job anyway?
Presenter: Emily Chapman
8:00 am, WMB 110

"Attrition" and "burnout" have been in education research vocabulary far before "coronavirus" and "pandemic" became household terminology. Something the pandemic did in education, including music education was to place a magnifying glass on an already volatile career path. With education challenges arising before and during COVID-19, finding exceptional and willing mentoring teachers to help guide the new generation of music educators has become an increased concern for collegiate placement coordinators. This presentation will look at a recent study examining survey data of k-12 educator responses towards positive and negative factors that may influence why an educator decides to put their hat in the ring to be a cooperating teacher. Discussing these findings and exploring “why it is worth it” just might help lessen negatively influencing factors that some teachers feel while building upon more positive decisional factors.

Emily Chapman is a second-year Ph.D. student studying Music Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At this very institution, she obtained two bachelor's degrees in music education and vocal performance, which set her on the path to teach singing to many youngsters. After receiving a master's degree in vocal performance from Baylor University, Emily spent eight years teaching k-8 music in an Arizona charter school and two additional years teaching middle school choir in a large public school district. In these two placements, she learned of her love for teaching choir to middle-level adolescents. On Emily's current path, she is passionate about helping as many students as possible have a wonderful music education experience by working to help the next generation of music educators fill their tool belts with skills that will help them become outstanding, resilient educators.


Guitar in Small Schools
Presenters: Nathan Morrissey
8:00 am, WMB 114

The Tri County Guitar program was founded in 2010 by Nathan Morrissey and in 2012 an Advanced Guitar level was added. Since its inception, over 100 students have learned to play guitar. In this session, I will go over the history of the Tri County Guitar Program and it's evolution throughout the years. The addition of this program has increased the number of students participating in music and helped Tri County to become NAMM's most recognized "Best Community for Music Education" in the state.

Nathan Morrissey has taught at Tri County Schools in De Witt, NE since 2008. During his tenure, the band has more than doubled in size and has been recognized statewide and nationally. He founded the guitar program in 2010 and in 2012 an advanced class was added.Prior to Tri County, Mr. Morrissey taught for 4 years in Tahlequah, OK. While at Tahlequah Public Schools, he was the Head Middle School Band Director and the Percussion Instructor for the Tahlequah Orange Express High School Band.In 2013, Mr. Morrissey earned a Master's Degree in Music Education from Boston University. In 2019, he earned a Master's Degree in Music Education from the American Band College of Central Washington University. He has attended many music workshops to improve music education at Tri County including the Teaching Guitar Workshop Levels 1 & 2, Orff Levels 1 & 2, the Dan Ryder Marching Band Drill Design Workshop, and the Conducting Workshop for Music Educators at The Juilliard School in New York City. 


Teachers Gone Silent: Speech Health for Music Educators
Presenters: Katrina Cox, Jayme Dowdall, and Amber Koch
8:00 am, WMB 119

Vocal hygiene is not just for singers. Instrumental conductors and general music teachers commonly struggle with speaking in loud environments. Therefore, it is no surprise that teachers report vocal problems at much higher rates (between two to eight times) than their non teaching peers. In fact, an estimated 600,000 educators miss work due to voice loss each year. Join us to discover vocal health statistics, common complaints and diagnoses, and to learn when you should see a doctor. We will also introduce you to a variety of tools and exercises that could help to maintain or improve your teaching voice.

Dr. Katrina A. Cox is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she serves as a member of the Medical Humanities faculty, teaches undergraduate and graduate music education and research courses, directs the Treble University and Nebraska Medical Choirs, and acts as faculty advisor for the nationally award-winning UNO student chapter of NAfME. Her research interests center on conductor, teacher, and collaborative expertise, community engagement through music, and effects of instructional strategies on student performance outcomes.
Dr. Dowdall is a board-certified surgeon in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine. She received her Performing Arts Medicine Certification from PAMA in 2016. She specialized in a multi-disciplinary approach for care of the professional voice, laryngeal contributions to breathing disorders, gender-affirming voice care and performing arts medicine. She has expertise in advanced diagnostics, office-based laser surgery and a holistic approach for complex rehabilitation. She has experience treating touring performers, opera and musical theatre companies and especially enjoys caring for students and developing voices. Dr. Dowdall currently works with the faculty at University of Nebraska – Omaha, School of Music, College of Fine Arts and Media and School of Special Education and Communication Disorders and frequently lecturers to undergraduate and graduate, voice, music, choir, theatre arts and speech pathology students. Dr. Dowdall is known for her patient-centered approach and prefers to collaborate to create an integrated and holistic treatment plan for patients.
Amber V. Koch, MS CCC-SLP is a certified speech/language pathologist in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Nebraska Medicine. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of voice and upper airway disorders and gender affirming voice. Amber graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2012 with her master's in science in speech/language pathology and has been practicing in the Omaha metro since. She has licenses in Nebraska and Iowa, allowing her to evaluate, treat, and provide training to regional patients with voice and upper airway goals. Amber's certifications include Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) and VitalStim. Her therapy and training approach is dynamic, caring, upbeat, and targeted to produce the highest outcomes for each individual. She has a passion for teaching community members, students, voice professionals, fellow speech/language pathologists, and voice enthusiasts optimization of their voice sub-systems.


Fun and Games in the String Classroom
Presenter: Mary Perkinson
8:00 am, WMB 130

Groups that play together stay together! This session will explore fun and games in the strings classroom that aim to build on basic musicianship, teamwork, and string technique. Improv with musical chairs, play Telephone with rhythm cards, sharpen listening skills with eyes closed, begin a piece together without watching, and practice visual feedback in a game of Detective. We will also explore string-based team-building activities that rely on student accountability and input. Attendees will participate in a variety of activities that can be modified based on grade level. Instruments encouraged. A limited number of string instruments will be available.

Dr. Mary Perkinson is an award-winning violinist, educator, and community leader, who has appeared throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The founder of several award-winning community-engagement projects, she is dedicated to the role of student musicians as artist citizens who use their music to contribute to the greater good in meaningful, creative, transdisciplinary ways. She holds degrees in performance and education from Boston University, The Boston Conservatory, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has given presentations on string pedagogy, violin performance, arts and health, and community engagement on state, national, and international stages. Dr. Perkinson has taught in K12 schools, privately, and in collegiate settings. Currently, she is Distinguished Associate Professor of Violin and String Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.


Preparing and Practicing for Successful Musical Performance
Presenters: Carmen Brennan and Holly Eberhardt
9:15 am, LC C

In this session, participants will delve into the process of preparing a successful performance. Performance planning, goal setting, curriculum tie-in, program resources, and evaluation information will be shared for both the elementary and secondary music setting.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Carmen Brennan is the K-5 General Music Teacher at Aspen Creek Elementary for Gretna Public Schools, a position she's held since 2017. Prior to this, she taught elementary general music for 14 years at Benson West Elementary in the Omaha Public Schools. Mrs. Brennan has a BME (2003) and a MME (2007) from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (2015) from Concordia University (Portland, OR). Carmen completed her Orff certification from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Kodály certification from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she was the Jenö Ádám national scholarship recipient during her level 3 training. Carmen is the Past-President of the Midwest Kodály Music Educators of America (MKMEA), a division of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE).
Holly Eberhardt serves as the Lead Teacher for the Department of Music for the Omaha Public Schools, a position she has held since 2019. Before this, she was a K-5 Vocal Music Educator for 12 years in OPS. During her tenure, Holly has participated in curriculum writing and development, planning and presenting professional development,mentoring new music teachers, supporting collaborative efforts between OPS and community organizations, and organizing district-level festivals and student events.Holly earned her BME (2003) and MME (2007) from UNO, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership (2020) from Doane University. Holly is a National Board-Certified Teacher (2015) with an emphasis in early/middle childhood music. She has served on the boards of the Plains States Kodály Organization and the Great Plains Orff Chapter and now serves as secretary for the Organization of American Kodály Educators.Holly is certified in Orff and Kodály teaching methodologies.


Connecting the Curriculum - Setting Students up for Musical Success after High School
Presenters: Matt Hill and Joshua Roach
9:15 am, LC S

How do we help ensure that the hard work that students put into their K-12 musical experiences continues to bring them value after they graduate high school? This session will explore the ways in which we as a community of music educators can “bridge the transition” and keep young adults singing and playing beyond their scholastic experiences.

Dr. Matt Hill is a choral conductor/composer/educator based in Omaha Nebraska. Dr. Hill founded the nonprofit “Sing Omaha” in 2007, and serves as Executive Director and Artistic Director; conducting three choirs (of 8), planning annual eight-concert seasons, teaching applied voice, and overseeing a faculty of 30 educators. He also serves Creighton University as Director of Choral Activities, conducting the “Chamber Choir” and “University chorus” and teaching coursework. He earned a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Oklahoma State with Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, and a Doctorate in Choral Conducting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Hill regularly presents at professional conferences, and is active as a guest conductor. He serves ACDA as a national board member, and is the Executive Director of its Nebraska chapter. He is a two-time Nebraska Choral Conductor of the Year and won the Teaching Excellence Award (faculty member of the year) at Peru State in 2019.

Dr. Joshua Roach is the Director of Instrumental Activities at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
He has also served as music faculty at Peru State College, the Crane School of Music in New
York, The College of New Jersey, Southwestern Michigan College, and California Lutheran
University. Before pursuing teaching full-time in higher education, Roach lived in Los Angeles, where he was the music director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, instrumental coach for the Grammy Signature School Award Diamond Bar High School, and orchestra manager at the USC Thornton School of Music. For eleven years, he spent his summers teaching at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, and from 2015-2017 he was on the brass staff for the Phantom Regiment drum and bugle corps. At the USC, Roach earned a Bachelor of Music degree in performance, Graduate Certificate in film scoring, and a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting. At the University of Michigan, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting.


Elevating the Small-School Music Education Experience
Presenters: Rich Tengowski and Judy Bush
9:15 am, WMB 9

Teaching music at small schools affords unique opportunities and benefits, while also presenting specific challenges. Come celebrate the small-school music education experience and share your successes, ideas, challenges, and questions with your peers.  Join Richard Tengowski, NAfME North Central Division President and NAfME Small Schools Initiative Task Force Chair and Judy Bush, NAfME North Central Division and NMEA Past-President as they identify key issues and effective strategies for networking, community building, professional learning, advocacy, and resource development.  Help celebrate, elevate, and support this enormously important and impactful segment of the profession serving students in small schools in diverse communities across wide open spaces in every region of Nebraska.

Richard Tengowski recently retired after thirty-six years as a music teacher for the School District of Kohler in Kohler, Wisconsin. He received his B.M. in Music Education from St. Norbert College and his M.M. from Northwestern University. He taught middle and high school concert bands, jazz ensemble, pep band, drumline and secondary general music. Tengowski has taken leadership roles in the field of music education. Currently, he is the President for the NAfME North Central Division and serves as the NAfME Small School Initiative Task Force. He is on the leadership team developing state music standards for Wisconsin on behalf of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association. Tengowski is the Past-President of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association, Past-President of the Wisconsin Association of Music Supervisors, Coordinators, and Department hairpersons, and a member of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project.

Tengowski is a Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award Recipient, a School District of Kohler Teacher of the Year and was inducted into the Wisconsin Bandmaster Association. Tengowski is an active clinician, conductor, master adjudicator, speaker and freelance performer. He has
addressed numerous state, regional and national education groups including the Midwest Clinic and NAFME national conferences. He is a member of NAfME, WMEA, AFM, and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is married to wife Beth Ellen and has four sons, Ryan, John, Benjamin and Gregory – all musicians.

Judith Bush is the Music Teacher Leader for Lincoln Public Schools after 29 years teaching K-5 General and Choral Music. Judy earned her BME from Northern Kentucky University and her Orff Certification from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with graduate work from Xavier University, Miami of Ohio and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music. She is a Past President of NMEA, currently serving on the National Executive Board of NAfME as North Central Past President and is a co-chair of the NAfME Professional Development Committee where she chairs the 2022 PreK-12 National Conference.Judy has presented at state, national and international conferences including the ASCD International Conference in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with the Whole Child Network of Schools and has written for the Nebraska Music Educator magazine, the NFHS Music Journal, the Orff Echo and the SmartMusic Blog, in addition to her blog at musicteachermidlifemusing.blog.


Roundtable Discussion: Building on Success and Planning for the Future
Moderator: Debbie Martinez
9:15 am, WMB 104

Join our panel of teachers in their first five years to share ideas on successes and strategies that have been helpful in building their competence in the classroom. Topics will center on classroom management, featuring resources from NAfME Academy, although we may touch on other topics brought up by attendees

Unlocking Potential: Ensemble Teaching Tools for Student Musicians with Disabilities
Presenter: Amber Bock
9:15 am, WMB 105

In public education, 15% of our students receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The most common category of disability is specific learning disability which makes up 33% of those students. (NCES, 2021). Most of these students are in general education classes during the school day. These students have accommodations listed on their IEP or 504 plan for their general coursework. Still, they rarely have music-specific accommodations listed for large ensemble classes like concert band, chamber orchestra, and concert choir. The purpose of this presentation is to provide 5-12 music directors with tools that work for students who predominantly take general education courses and have a learning disability diagnosis. Current and ongoing research will be presented. The presentation provides perspectives from students, families, composers, music therapists, and music directors. This serves as a conversation starter on inclusivity in ensemble music classes.

Amber Bock is from Sioux City, Iowa. Amber’s background in the arts lead to them attending the University of South Dakota (Vermillion). They earned their bachelor’s degree in music education, focusing on instrumental music and trombone performance. Amber has been teaching in the Omaha Public Schools District since 2017. They are the band director at Omaha North High School where they lead courses in concert band, percussion, color guard, jazz, AP Music Theory, and ACP Music. They have previously taught at Burke High School and McMillan Middle School. Amber received the Jack D. Snider Outstanding Young Director Award from the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association in 2020. They are an active studio teacher, conductor, and performer in the area. Amber is pursuing a degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, focusing on Curriculum and Instruction. Amber enjoys painting, playing board games, and biking in their free time.


Let Their Voices Be Heard: Incorporating Marginalized & Excluded Composers in the Choral Classroom
Presenter: Matthan Mrkvicka
9:15 am, WMB 109

In this session, we will access a diverse repertoire of choral music that represents a variety of lived experiences and supports students’ musical growth. We will explore indigenous music, both in existing arrangements and in the public domain that can meet the musicianship of your singers while including voices not often heard in the choral classroom. Finally, we will walk through arranging indigenous music in the public domain for a variety of ensemble types and levels of musicianship.

Session Handout PDF (click to download/access)
Session Handout PowerPoint (click to download/access)

Matthan Mrkvicka is a conductor, singer, and teacher of choral music. After earning his Bachelor's in Music Education at Missouri Western State University, Matthan spent four years teaching 6-12 Choir, Music Theory, Music Appreciation, in the Chillicothe R-II School District. In the fall of 2022 he began studying towards a masters in choral conducting at the University of Nebraska Omaha, and working as the Graduate Teaching Assistant for their choirs.


Commissioning Music - Making it Happen
Presenter: Chad Dean
9:15 am, WMB 110

Commissioning a piece of music can seem like a daunting task. We may even look at it as something only big schools can afford. There are many reasons to commission a piece and many ways to fund such a work. During this session you will hear a first hand account of three commissions. One successful, and one that never made it....and even one very special work that is being premiered in April for a former Nebraska Band Director.

Session Materials (click to access)

  Chad Dean is in his 31st year of teaching Instrumental Music. He received his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Mount Marty College, Yankton, SD. He earned his Masters Degree in Education from Doane College, Crete, NE. Chad taught for seven years in Avon, SD before moving to O'Neill, NE. He has been the band director in O'Neill the past 23 years. His bands have earned awards in marching, concert & jazz band throughout the years. Professionally, Chad is a member of: NEA, NSEA, OEA, NAfME, NMEA, NSBA, and the National Band Association. He has been a guest conductor, clinician, and judge at various festivals, contests and honor bands in South Dakota and Nebraska. Chad had been the coordinator for the Nebraska Class B Honor Bands for 7 years. In addition, he has been a site host for the NSAA District III Music Contest seven times. Currently he is the NSAA District III Music Coordinator. He’s received the 2021 Midstate Conference Instrumental Teacher of the Year Award along with the 2021 Nate Metchke Creative Teacher Award from the NSBA.


A Music Teacher’s Bag of Tricks! Ideas and Hacks to Make Your Class More Joyful!
Presenter: Kelsey Helton
9:15 am, WMB 114

Like Mary Poppins, music teachers need a bag of tricks to make their classroom flow smoothly. Go back to school with ideas and resources for class activities, organization, materials and more! We will discuss classroom instruments, movement, after-school ensembles, budget items and more!

Kelsey Helton is the music specialist at Silbernagel Elementary in Dickinson, Texas and the art and choir director at Fanfare! Lutheran Music Academy in Galveston, Texas. She is a proud Music Education graduate of Kansas State University and holds certifications and trainings in Feierabend's First Steps in Music, World Music Drumming, World Music Pedagogy, and Mariachi Education. Her favorite things to teach are folk dance, recorder and world music. She has presented in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas and nationally online. She is a contributor with West Music ConstructED and a workshop clinician. She is a member of NAfME, TMEA, TCDA and P.E.O.


Let's Rock! Popular Music in the Elementary Music Classroom
Presenter: Stefan Wolf
9:15 am, WMB 119

Educators know that students are more engaged in learning and more successful when they see themselves represented in the curricula. What has become increasingly clear is that, while they are essential to the elementary music experience, traditional and folk musics are not sufficient to provide students with a comprehensive music education that actively affirms and validates their musical vocabulary, which is most often rooted in popular music. This session will provide participants with a wide variety of strategies for engaging elementary-aged students in joyful, active music making. Interacting with pop music allows students to demonstrate their “musical literacy” through a wide variety of modalities, with an eye towards fostering a more inclusive and equitable elementary educational experience for all students. Participants will be actively engaged in music making and play for the entirety of the session.

Session Handout (click to download/access)

Stefan Wolf is a PK-5 elementary music specialist in Osseo Area Schools in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. He is passionate about making the music room a welcoming place for all students, regardless of background, and one where all students can learn, grow, and explore the world of music. He loves making music with children and giving them the tools to be lifelong music learners, appreciators, and makers. He also enjoys bringing these experiences to other current and future music educators through mentoring pre-service teachers and presenting sessions like this one! Stefan received his B.A. in Music and teacher licensure from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He also holds a M.A. in Differentiated Instruction from Concordia University-St. Paul. He has received training in the Kodaly and Orff methods as well as First Steps in Music.


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Platte River Children’s Chorale
Directed by Clayton Moyer
10:30 am, StP

The Platte River Children Chorale (PRCC) is an auditioned choir dedicated to nurturing the musical talents of young singers, aged 9-14 with unchanged voices, in Buffalo County and the surrounding communities. Directed by Clayton Moyer, the Chorale was established with the goal of providing students with exceptional musical training in a lively and exhilarating environment. PRCC places a strong emphasis on instilling good vocal habits in young singers, exploring high-quality musical repertoire, and fostering a close-knit community of musicians. Since its founding in 2016 by Ann Bauer and Clayton Moyer, the choir has flourished and evolved into a renowned choral ensemble. Collaboration is a vital aspect of PRCC's endeavors, and the choir regularly performs alongside its sister organization, The Platte River Singers. Notable collaborations include performances with renowned recording artists, Roy and Rosemary, as well as sharing the stage with the esteemed Kearney Symphony Orchestra. The choir has had the privilege of working under the direction of distinguished conductors such as Mack Wilberg, Laszlo Nemes, and Brandon Boyd. 

Clayton Moyer is director of choirs at Kearney High School where he leads five choral ensembles and serves as music director for the musical theater program. Clayton is also a founding and artistic director of the Platte River Children’s Chorale, which consists of talented young singers from the Kearney area. He is an assistant director of the Platte River Singers, a community choral ensemble. Mr. Moyer received a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from UNK where he studied choral conducting with Dr. David Bauer. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, past-president of the Kearney Concert Association and chancel choir director for First Presbyterian Church-Kearney. Moyer was the 2022 recipient of the Gary Thomas Distinguished UNK Music Alumni Award.


Lincoln Civic Orchestra
Directed by Rob Salistean
10:45 am, GRAD

The Lincoln Civic Orchestra is a symphonic orchestra comprised of the finest amateur musicians from Lincoln and the surrounding communities. Formed in 1977 on the campus of Union College, the Lincoln Civic Orchestra became the resident orchestra at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1987. The ensemble regularly performs on the Nebraska Wesleyan campus and travels to other communities with concert presentations.

Rob Salistean began his tenure as music director of the Lincoln Civic Orchestra during the 2010-11 season. Mr. Salistean earned his Bachelors and Masters of Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2005 he began teaching in Lincoln Public Schools and currently chairs the Performing Arts Department at Lincoln Northwest High School, which opened its doors in August 2022. In November 2022 he was awarded the Nebraska String Teacher of the Year through the Nebraska chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Mr. Salistean is a member of NMEA and NE-ASTA and is an active adjudicator and clinician in the region. He lives outside of Lincoln with his wife, Kelsey and children Ayla, Bram and Hannah.


Hastings Madrigals
Directed by Christian Yost
11:00 am, WMB 119

The Madrigals are the top vocal ensemble at Hastings High School. They are an auditioned group of 16-20 singers that meet every-other day for class. This ensemble has performed at NMEA two times previously under director Charles Dewall, and has consistently received superior ratings by adjudicators at various festivals. This 18-member ensemble is composed of sophomores, juniors and seniors, and sings a variety of literature ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary choral and pop music.

Christian, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, is the vocal music director at Hastings High School and a graduate of Wichita State University. As a seasoned performer, he has been seen in productions both locally and around the world, playing theaters from Broadway to London, and from Las Vegas to Times Square. Christian has produced work for Disney, NBC, Hallmark, the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, and has designed and consulted with multiple Broadway shows, most recently being the national tour of Disney’s Aladdin. While he cherishes his creative accomplishments, Christian is thrilled to have found a calling in education to prepare the next generation of performers. He believes that all students have big dreams worth pursuing, regardless of their background, and hopes that his students will recognize their potential to challenge the status quo.


UNL Varsity Chorus
Directed by Peter Eklund
11:00 am, StP

Varsity Chorus, UNL’s second formed music ensemble, the longest continually-performing ensemble in the state, is dedicated to the service of the University, the state, its membership, and their rich historic inclusive/diverse art. They recently performed two complete concerts to very high acclaim of music by women writing specifically for tenors/basses. Membership is open to any tenor/bass enrolled at UNL. From athletes to valedictorians, leaders in student government, clubs/fraternities/activities, the membership of this busy ensemble brings with them a wide diversity in backgrounds and interests while maintaining high GPAs. Rehearsals are held for 150 minutes per week. The chorus combined with other UNL choirs to perform Brahms’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th, Verdi’s Requiem, Liszt’s Christus, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and other masterworks. The choir owns a rich list of distinguished alumni that have gone on to lead choirs and music departments at major universities and schools across the country.

Pete Eklund is the President-Elect of the UNL Faculty, national finalist for the NFHS Outstanding Music Educator, one of the elite national quarterfinalists for the first-ever GRAMMY® NATIONAL MUSIC TEACHER OF THE YEAR (30,000 nominees), the Hixon-Lied Professor and Director of Choral Activities, where he annually conducts ensembles in Europe and America. His concertizing/clinician schedule includes professional, orchestral, collegiate, liturgical, festival, and youth ensembles. He’s conducted frequently in Carnegie Hall, Mozart’s Salzburg Cathedral, Paris's Notre Dame Venice’s St. Mark's, Oxford’s Christ Church, Washington DC's Kennedy Center and National Cathedral, London’s St. Paul's, Vienna’s St. Stephen's, and other prestigious cathedrals in Prague, Strasbourg, Milan, Barcelona, Rouen, Beauvais, Monaco, Normandy, Chartres, Cambridge, Munich, Nürnberg, Reins, Verona, Coventry, and Canterbury.Eklund studied with International Mahler Medal-winner James Dixon, ACDA past-president (and UNL alum) William Hatcher, and scholar Don Moses. His music is published by Hal Leonard, CollaVoce, Hope, Concordia, MusicSpoke, and Santa Barbara.


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