Our History - An International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference
The Midwest Clinic began on December
7, 1946, when approximately 120 directors from the Chicago area
assembled in a YWCA gymnasium on Chicago’s West Side for
a six-hour clinic and new music reading session. In 1947, the event
was expanded to two days and moved to the Hotel Sherman to take
advantage of the larger facilities and accommodations for out-of-town
directors. Besides the two-day format, this second installment
brought many new features, including a printed program, an additional
band, and a new name: The Mid-West Band Clinic. The VanderCook
School of Music, Neil A. Kjos Music Company and Lyons Band Instrument
Company sponsored the event. For the next 25 years, the Hotel Sherman
was home to The Midwest Clinic. In the 1950s, orchestras and jazz
ensembles were introduced, and in 1962, The Midwest Clinic held
its first official Orchestra Day. In 1963, the clinic expanded
to a four-and-a-half-day format. In 1973,
The Midwest Clinic moved to the Hilton Chicago, where, with several
it was held until 2008. In 1995, the Blackstone Hotel was
used in addition to the Hilton for hosting clinic events. With
the addition of this facility, The Midwest Clinic was able to present
more clinics than ever in its history. In 1999, the Congress Plaza
replaced the Blackstone Hotel as the second site of conference
events. The Blackstone Hotel and Merle Reskin Theatre were used
as additional sites in 2008. In 2009, The Midwest Clinic moved
to McCormick Place West, bringing all the conference programs and
exhibits under one roof.
In the earliest years of the "Mid-West Band Clinic," the
organizers – H.E. Nutt, Howard Lyons and Neil Kjos, Sr. – invited
outstanding bands to perform, based upon the reputations of the
organization and its director. In addition to giving a formal concert,
the bands were also expected to provide a sight-reading session,
with the selections being requested by audience members on the
spur of the moment. Today, The Midwest Clinic continues to feature
performances by outstanding organizations, but now every group
that desires to perform must first apply to
Over the years, the focus of The Midwest Clinic has remained on
bringing music directors into contact with not only the best published
music, but also with new and established teaching techniques, and
the latest products and services for the music educator.
Timeline: What Growth Has Meant to Our Organization
||The Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor is created to recognize outstanding contributions to music education.
||The Executive Director position is increased from part-time to full-time.
||College Night is instituted, bringing representatives of colleges and universities into contact with students and teachers
||The Teacher Resource Center is created.
||The Midwest Motifs newsletter is first published.
||The Midwest Clinic Industry Award is created to recognize outstanding contributions to music education through the music industry.
||The Midwest Clinic International Award is created to recognize outstanding contributions to music education internationally.
||A new Executive Assistant position increases the full-time staff to two.
||The Midwest Clinic commissions its first two pieces of music, in honor of its 50th anniversary.
||The United States Coasts Guard Band presents two concerts on Wednesday night to meet the growing audience demand for the featured United States military band performances.
||Preregistration for the conference is first offered, through this website, and orchestra events are expanded into Thursday.
||Streaming video selections from concert performances are archived on The Midwest Clinic website, and the College Student and Beginning Teacher Track series of events provides a core curriculum specifically aimed at teachers at the beginning of their careers.
||Rehearsal labs are introduced at the Palmer House and the Merle Reskin Theatre is added to the venues hosting Midwest Clinic events.
|| A new Office Manager position increases the full-time staff to three, clinics created specifically for high school students are added to the program, and the 60th anniversary conference is attended by a record-setting 17,000 people from 36 countries.
||Conference given it's first theme, "Mentoring in Music Education."
|| Inaugural High School Institute Program and first Orchestra New Music Reading Session
1946 First Band Clinic at Chicago Westside YMCA
1947 Mid-West Band Clinic moves to The Sherman House
1951 Mid-West National Band Clinic
1968 Mid-West National Band and Orchestra Clinic
1973 Mid-West National Band and Orchestra Clinic moves to Chicago Hilton and Towers
1986 Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic
1996 The Midwest Clinic, An International Band and Orchestra Conference
2009 The Midwest Clinic moves to McCormick Place West
This historical overview was adapted from The First Fifty
by Midwest Clinic Secretary Victor Zajec, and from additional commentary
provided by Victor and Marilea Zajec.
The Midwest Clinic archive is housed at the University of Maryland.
For information, please visit the archivepage