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2017 Award Recipients Announced

The Midwest Clinic is pleased to announce the 2017 Award Winners. To view our complete history of award recipients, please click here.

Medal of Honor Award 
The Medal of Honor was introduced in 1962 as a way to honor conductors, educators, composers, and others whose unique service to music education and continuing influence on the development and improvement of bands and orchestras deserve special recognition.

John K. Southall
Coordinator of Music Education and Director of Bands
Indian River State College (Fort Pierce, Florida)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 7:00 pm
Skyline Ballroom 375AB

John K. Southall, PhD, currently serves as the Coordinator of Music Education and Director of Bands at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida. He also serves as Music Director of the Port St. Lucie Community Band. He has been an active music education advocate, conductor, clinician, adjudicator and presenter across the United States for over 30 years. 

Dr. Southall received the PhD and the MME from Florida State University and the BME from Florida A&M University. He has served as a Courtesy Associate Professor of Music Education/Therapy at the Florida State University. He has served on the faculties of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Nova Southeastern University (FL) and Broward College (FL). Dr. Southall has served as the Community Endowed Teaching Chair in Fine Arts at Indian River State College. He has served as the music curriculum specialist, K-12, for the Broward County school district in Florida. He has also served as the Director of Bands at Western High School, Piper High School and Ely High School in Broward County, Florida. 

Dr. Southall currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Florida Music Education Association and is also the Conference Chairman for the FMEA annual Professional Development Conference. He has served as Chairman of the Board for the Center for Fine Arts Education (FL) and as Chairman of the FMEA Finance committee. He has served as the Events Coordinator for the FMEA conference. He is also an editorial board member for the Florida Music Director magazine. Dr. Southall has served as the Chairman of the Affective Response Special Research Interest Group (NAfME). He has served as an editorial board member for the Research Perspectives in Music Education journal (FL). He has also published in national and state journals.

Dr. Southall has served as president of the Broward Music Educators Association and as Chairman of the Broward County Band Directors Association (FL). He has served on the executive board of the Broward County Cultural Affairs Division. He is the sponsor and coordinator of the Indian River State College Treasure Coast Four County Honors Band Festival. He has served as the coordinator and presenter for the Florida Bandmasters Association’s Adjudicator Renewal Seminar. He has served as a District Chairman for the Florida Bandmasters Association. He has served as coordinator of the Broward Music Educators Region Band Festival. He has served on the Florida Bandmasters Association’s Ethics committee. He has served on the FBA adjudication committee. He has served on the FBA All-State Selections committee. He has also served as an FMEA conference Session Coordinator. 
Dr. Southall was a participant in Vision 2020: The Housewright Symposium on the Future of Music Education. He has served as the conductor and director of the Florida State University Summer Music Camps Honors Chamber Winds program. He has served as the Associate Director of the FSU Summer Music Camps. He has also served on numerous K-20 committees and curriculum writing teams in Florida. He has conducted band clinics in secondary schools across Florida. He has served as the assistant conductor of the Youth Symphony of Florida (Ft. Lauderdale) and is the coordinator of the IRSC Summer Middle School Band Camp.

John and Kelly Southall live in Port St Lucie, Florida, with daughters Kimberly and Kathryn, son-in-law Jacob and grandchildren Neala Rose and Oliver.

Dr. Southall is a member of FMEA, NAfME, FBA, FCMEA, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. He was selected as the Florida College Music Educator of the Year by FMEA. He has also been selected as the Broward County Arts Teacher of the Year (FL) and the Western High School Teacher of the Year (FL).

Alfred L. Watkins
Director of Bands (Retired)
Lassiter High School (Marietta, Georgia)

Friday, December 22, 2017, 4:00 pm
Skyline Ballroom 375AB

Alfred L. Watkins was Director of Bands at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia for 31 years of his 37 years of teaching.  Prior to his arrival at Lassiter, he served for six years as Director of Bands consistently received high accolades in marching, concert, chamber and jazz. Mr. Watkins is an honor graduate of Florida A & M University, where he was a conducting and music education student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White.  He was a student in the trumpet studio of Dr. Lenard Bowie and Dr. Lindsey Sargeant.  He has done additional studies at Georgia State University.  He is currently Co-Founder, Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Cobb Wind Symphony (1999), an all-adult community band based in the Greater Atlanta area.  He is a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and has been inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame, the Florida A&M University Gallery of Distinguished Alumni and the Phi Beta Mu Georgia Bandmasters Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was awarded the Distinguished Career Award from GMEA and in 2014, he received the prestigious Edwin Franko Goldman Award from the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA). He has received the Flourish Award from Kennesaw State University and the Image Award from the 100 Black Men of America. 

Ensembles under Mr. Watkins’ direction have performed at the Midwest Band Clinic on four occasions, six performances as Featured Bands (top two bands/three times) at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival and seven performances at the GMEA In-Service Conference. The Lassiter Band Program has received national acclaim for its comprehensive approach and excellence in concert, marching, jazz, chamber music, percussion and winter color guard.  The Lassiter Band is one of only sixteen high school bands in America to have received both the Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor for concert band and the Sudler Shield for marching bands.  Lassiter Band enrollment ranged between 250-430 students and was housed in four or five year-round concert bands. Over his last 21 years, the entire program consecutive Superior Ratings in Performance at the GMEA Large Group Performance Assessments, with the top two bands consistently performing literature in Grade VI since 1993.  The Lassiter Concert Percussion Ensemble (one of three) has performed at the Midwest Clinic on two occasions, once at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), three times at the Music for All National Percussion Festival and four times at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference.

Under Mr. Watkins’ baton, the Lassiter Symphonic Band has acquired a fine reputation of musical excellence.  In 1997, the Sousa Foundation listed the Lassiter Symphonic Band in the HISTORIC ROLL OF HONOR OF DISTINGUISHED HIGH SCHOOL CONCERT BANDS IN AMERICA, 1920-1997. The band performed at the 1988 National Band Association Biennial Conference and performed as an invited guest at eight colleges and universities. In 1987, Mr. Watkins, along with Assistant Director of Bands, Dr. Sue Samuels, pioneered the concept of the Symphonic Band Camp, an intensive three-day post-marching band season study of symphonic and chamber literature.  The camp concept has been expanded to include a middle school and jazz component and is currently implemented by thousands of school band programs throughout the country including the National Band Association.  Lassiter’s Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Trumpet Ensemble, Trombone Choir, and Percussion Ensemble have all performed on the national stage.  

The Lassiter Marching “Trojan” Band was the 1998 and 2002 Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Champions and also won nine BOA Regional Championships. Under Watkins’ leadership, the band also participated in four Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parades, three times in the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, twice in the King Orange Bowl Parade and once in the Florida Citrus Bowl Parade, performing for an audience of nearly 10 million live spectators and a television viewing audience of nearly four billion people. In 1996 and again in 1997, the Lassiter Winter Color Guard was named Winter Guard International Scholastic “A” and “Open” Class World Champions. In 1986, the Trojan Band was awarded the lead role in the full-length motion picture, “The Leader of the Band,” starring Steve Landesberg. 

Mr. Watkins is Co-Founder, Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the 108-member Cobb Wind Symphony, an all-adult community band based in the Metro Atlanta area.  Formed in the fall of 1999, the Cobb Wind Symphony has performed at the 2004 and 2011 Midwest Clinics, four times at the GMEA In-Service Conference, and at the 2006, 2008 and 2018 NBA/CBDNA Southern Division Convention.  In 2009, the Cobb Wind Symphony earned the prestigious Sudler Silver Scroll Award, which recognizes community bands that have demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in concert activities over a period of several years, and which have played a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment in their respective communities. 

Mr. Watkins is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, National Band Association, Phi Beta Mu National School Bandmaster Fraternity and the Georgia Music Educators Association. He has received seventeen Certificates of Excellence from the National Band Association, the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the Band World Magazine Legion of Honor.  In 1996, Mr. Watkins was Associate Director for the Atlanta Olympic Marching Band that performed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Centennial Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta. Mr. Watkins currently serves on the Educational Advisory Board of the Midwest Clinic and was a member of the Design Committee for the Music for All National Concert Band Festival.  He has been recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and is listed in their Congressional Record for his outstanding achievements. The $1.5 million Alfred L. Watkins Band Building at Lassiter High School bears his name. He is currently Co-Founder and President of the Minority Band Directors National Association, an organization whose purpose is to serve, promote, celebrate and mentor minority band directors throughout America.  In 2009 and 2010, two doctoral dissertations were written (Sue Samuels, Auburn University and Matt Thomas, FSU) centered around his life and educational practices surrounding the Lassiter Band Program. Mr. Watkins has conducted concert band ensembles in 29 states, including 15 All-State Bands.  He and is wife of 34 years, Rita, live in Marietta.  They have two adult sons:  Christopher, a trumpet player in the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D. C. and Jonathan, a businessman who lives in San Diego, California.


International Award
 Introduced in 1992, the International Award honors individuals who contribute to instrumental music education from around the globe, reflecting the growth of The Midwest Clinic from an event of national stature to one of international notoriety.

Mike Tyler

Principal Education Officer, State Schools - Performance
Queensland Government (Australia)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 2:30 pm
Ballroom W183

Mike Tyler’s musical life began before he entered school. His father was a musician and gifted teacher and owner of a private music school where he established the first community concert band in Brisbane, Australia. Mike played in this band and later became its conductor.

Mike has had extensive experience in music and arts education, music performance and arts business throughout his career.

While majoring in both clarinet and percussion in his tertiary studies, he continued performing professionally and semi- professionally in both areas.

He began his formal teaching career with the Department of Education and Training (DET) in Queensland in 1980 as a secondary music teacher before moving into instrumental music in 1982.

In 1990, he was appointed instrumental music adviser with DET and then in 1991 as State Coordinator of Instrumental Music and Statewide Instrumental Music Consultant in 1992.

In 2000, he was appointed Senior Education Officer (Instrumental Music) and in 2005, Principal Education Officer responsible for the Arts while maintaining responsibility for statewide coordination of the instrumental music program and direction of the DET’s 2 extension programs – MOST (for Musically Outstanding Students) and Fanfare, the Statewide music festival and competition for bands and orchestras.

Mike is currently Principal Education Officer, State Schools – Performance working primarily in Arts and music education and with responsibility for overseeing Queensland’s highly regarded and extensive Instrumental Music Program.

From 1985 – 1998 Mike lectured part-time at the University of Queensland in woodwind, brass and percussion techniques, conducting and instrumental music pedagogy.

In 2000, Mike co-founded the Maryborough Music Conference which he continues to co-direct. The biennial Conference now hosts more than 700 music teachers and boasts a faculty that has included Bruce Pearson, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, Dr. Peter Boonshaft, Captain Ryan Nowlin, Brian Balmages and many more. In 2017, Mike was honoured by the Conference in being awarded it’s highest honour, that of Honorary Patron, joining Bruce Pearson, Dr Ralph Hultgren and James Morrison, the only others to have previously received that award.   

In 2005 he was appointed by the Queensland Minister for Education as Chair of the Queensland Advisory Committee to the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) and Director of AMEB Ltd, the federal company. He held the positions of Deputy Chair of the Board in 2006 and from 2010-12 and Chair from 2007-2009 and 2013 – present. He chairs the Budget and Finance Committee and is also an AMEB examiner.

In 2010, AMEB Ltd moved from outsourcing publishing to self-publishing, becoming the largest publisher of print music in Australia and in 2015 acquired Encore Music Distributors, a major Australian print distributor and exclusive Australian distributor of a number of significant publishers, including Neil A. Kjos Music Company. 

Mike is a member of the University Of Queensland’s Bachelor of Arts Advisory Board and chairs the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University Industry Advisory Board. He is also serves as a Board member of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival.


Music Industry Award 
The Music Industry Award was introduced in 1991 to honor individuals for their support of music education through their work in the music industry. 

Jim Strouse

 President (Retired)
Stanton's Sheet Music (Columbus, Ohio)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 8:00 am
Skyline Ballroom 375AB

As a recognized leader in the field of printed music retailing, Jim Strouse has dedicated his life and career to enhancing music education. His service to the industry has spanned over 55 years and has impacted millions of educators and students. 

Jim holds a B.S. in Music Education from The Ohio State University and is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha, American Bandmasters Association, and Phi Beta Mu. Once finished with school, Jim played trombone with the 30th Army Band in Munich, Germany, and then directed band and orchestra at the high school level in Columbus, Ohio.  

In 1975, Jim purchased Stanton’s Sheet Music.  Under his leadership, Stanton’s has developed into one of the leading suppliers and resources for band, choral, and orchestra directors all over the United States.  While president of Stanton’s, he helped found the national organization, Retail Print Music Dealers Association, (RPMDA).  Not only has Jim served twice on the board of directors for RPMDA, but he is also a retired board of education director and the retired director emeritus of the Scottish Rite Choir. 

As an innovator in this field, Jim has earned many awards throughout his career.  In 2001, RPMDA awarded Jim the highest honor in the print music industry, the prestigious “Dorothy Award” for his hard work and high standards.  Also in 2001, he was awarded the first ever Traugott-Rohner, “Leadership in the Music Industry” award from the American String Teachers Association.  In 2006, the first ever “Outstanding Retailer Lifetime Achievement Award” from Hal Leonard Corporation was awarded to Jim. He also received two more awards in 2007.  The “Industry Service” award from the Ohio Music Education Association and the “Distinguished Service in the Field of Music” award from The Ohio State University School of Music.  

Currently, Jim continues to play the trombone as a member of the Hilliard Community Band, the Aladdin Temple Shrine Concert and Big Bands, and the Shrine Dixieland Band. He also has been a member of the Dixieland band called the “Ragtime Strutters” for 14 years.  Since 1999, Jim has held the elected position of a 33° Mason.