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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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Music Is Essential: Creating a Compelling Narrative about the Value of Music Education

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  • ARTSpeaks is dedicated to inspiring local decision makers to place a high value on quality arts programs as part of a comprehensive education. By advocating that music education can create the competitive edge students need to succeed, ARTSpeaks strives to shape a community's arts education narrative through sponsorship of events designed to share stories and raise awareness about the role that music plays in developing life skills while showcasing the academic success of music students.
  • William Jastrow (
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  • William Jastrow's teaching experience ranges from a community high school with an enrollment of 450, to Neuqua Valley High School with an enrollment exceeding 4000, to a position of Music Education Coordinator for Indian Prairie School District 204; a district comprising 33 schools and 29,500 students. Teaching duties at Neuqua Valley included concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching band, and the Klangfarben Percussion Ensembles. Jastrow holds degrees in music education from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. A frequent Illinois All-State and NAfME clinician, as well as a District and All-State conductor, Jastrow served the Illinois Music Education Association as Band Division and State President. Jastrow assumed a leadership role in the development of a Future Music Educators Symposium for students, a Leadership Conference for music educators, and an All-State Percussion Ensemble. Jastrow was also active in promoting a statewide music education survey, contributed to the planning of "Dream Out Loud", an initiative of CSO and Yamaha, and authored articles on the role that music should play as part of a comprehensive education for all students. Jastrw's bands have performed for the University of Illinois Superstate Festival, the NBA National Convention, the West Sussex International Music Festival, and the Liberty, Outback and Fiesta Bowl festivals and parades, as well as for audiences in Canada, across Europe, and the People's Republic of China. During his tenure, Neuqua Valley H.S. was recognized as the Kennedy Center National School of Distinction in Fine Arts Education, and was a multiple recipient of the GRAMMY Signature Gold and National Signature School Award. A member of the Phi Beta Mu Illinois Bandmasters Hall of Fame, Jastrow is a recipient of the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, ISBE "Those Who Excel" Recognition, ILMEA Distinguished Service Award, and NAfME Excellence in Teaching Music Award.
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  • Charles Staley
  • Charles Staley is an award-winning band director and Fine Arts Department Chair who taught 35 years in Illinois public schools. Under his leadership, the Neuqua Valley High School music program earned widespread recognition and twice gained National GRAMMY Signature School status as "the best high school music program in the country." He also founded ARTSpeaks, an advocacy group for arts in education. Far more important though has been his commitment to excellence in teaching and education - whatever the subject, wherever the school - as essential elements in developing well-rounded, confident young people and vibrant, resilient communities. Staley is an Educational Clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc. and teaches graduate classes for VanderCook College of Music. He also conducts the Wind Symphony at the Merit School of Music in Chicago and facilitates the "Alive Inside" Outreach program in Naperville.