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Applications to perform or to propose a clinic at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic are now available!

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Culture by Design: Building Community and Sense of Purpose in the Large Ensemble

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  • A sense of community and social connectedness can be a hallmark of a band/orchestra membership. However, directors rarely have the time to consider the ways we can intentionally create these atmospheres. This session will begin by identifying the core components found in music programs that foster strong “cultural hygiene.” Session attendees will leave with strategies for welcoming new members, sustaining veteran members, and cultivating a shared sense of belonging.
  • Christopher Marra (cmarra@setonhill.edu)
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  • Chris Marra is currently the Director of Instrumental Activities at Seton Hill University. As a part of his duties, Chris is the conductor of the Westmoreland Symphonic Winds, the Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, and teaches courses in music education and conducting. He is also currently completing a Ph.D in Music Education with an emphasis in wind band conducting from the University of Michigan. Prior to doctoral studies, Chris taught high school band and orchestra for 10 years in San Jose, CA where he held board positions with the CMEA Bay Section and the California Band Directors Association. Chris holds a B.S. in Music Education from Duquesne University and an MM in Music Education with an emphasis in wind band conducting from Northwestern University. Chris is also an active clinician and adjudicator within several state organizations as well as Drum Corps International.
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  • Jonathan R. Grantham
  • Jonathan Grantham, director of bands at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California, leads a band program of 330 students involved in five concert ensembles, three jazz bands, a competitive marching band, various chamber ensembles, winter percussion, and two winter guards. In his seventeen years at Amador Valley the band program has grown to more than double in size and the ensembles have earned consistent superior ratings and high honors. Under Mr. Grantham’s guidance, Amador Valley’s top wind ensemble has performed at the CBDA state conference three times (2007, 2010, 2018), at the 2013 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and at WASBE in the summer of 2015. Mr. Grantham is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor. He was an executive board member for CMEA Bay Section and the Western Band Association and served for several years on the Special Projects Committee for CBDA. Jonathan received his bachelor's degree in music education/trombone performance from Central Michigan University, graduating magna cum laude, and earned his master’s degree in conducting at the American Band College of Sam Houston State University. Honors include twice earning the Excellence in Education Award from Pleasanton Unified School District (2009, 2016) and being chosen as Pleasanton Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year (2013). Mr. Grantham was honored by the CMEA State Association in 2015 with the Don Schmeer/Byron Hoyt Band Educator Award. In 2018 Jonathan was inducted into the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Bandworld Legion of Honor.
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  • Jessica C. Vaughan-Marra
  • Jessica Vaughan-Marra is the Coordinator of Music Education at Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA) and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in string pedagogy at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI). Prior to beginning her Ph.D. coursework in 2015, she taught instrumental music for nine years in the Cupertino Union School District (Cupertino, CA). She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she completed her B.S. in Music Education in 2006 at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA). She received her M.M. Music Education in 2010 from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). She has been an active member of NAfME, SMTE, and ASTA as well as a regular attendee to the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic since 2007. Her research interests include: new teacher digital mentoring, instructional technology in the music classroom, and student motivation.
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