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December, 20, 2022
10:45 AM - 11:45 AM




Bonnie Spurling

Bonnie Spurling
Steve Mikulay

Steve Mikulay
Arnold Rosen

Arnold Rosen
Martha Rolf

Martha Rolf

Meet the Band Grandpas

Clinic Synopsis:

The Band Grandpa program assists students in a high poverty district by providing consistent support from significant role models working in collaboration with teachers. Session will include the process for developing and supporting the Band Grandpa program, and reflections from Grandpas and teachers.

Bonnie Spurling - Biographical Information

Bonnie Spurling is the Director of Fine Arts, Recruitment and Programming for the Rockford Public School District, the 3rd largest school district in Illinois serving over 28,000 students in 40 schools. Under her direction, the Fine Arts programs have experienced consistent growth of over 20% every year for the past 5 years through the development and re-designing of programs and curriculum in order to establish equity for all students across the district. A graduate of St. Olaf College, she began her career as a choral music teacher but felt she could make a greater difference in the lives of students by becoming an advocate for Fine Arts teachers. She also holds her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction as well as her C.A.S. in Educational Administration. She is currently working towards her Ed.D.

Steve Mikulay - Biographical Information

Steve Mikulay has been the Band Director at Lincoln Middle School in Rockford, Illinois since 2013. In that time, he has tripled the size of the music program and developed a great rapport with students all across the RPS 205 school district. His teaching emphasizes the importance of social emotional learning and student voice in the music classroom to help students connect to the music, themselves, and each other. Recruitment and retention are the lifeblood of his band program as he has seen the program he inherited grow from one band, a choir, and an orchestra into five bands, two choirs, and two orchestras. His bands consistently earn division I ratings at IGSMA district festivals

Arnold Rosen - Biographical Information

A good public school system in Pittsfield, Massachusetts gave me my start in music. I continued to play tuba through college, but then remained musically silent during my many years of medical training. Happily, I again found time for instrumental music when I moved in 1990 to Rockford, Illinois to practice gastroenterology. The Band Grandpa program started in 2017, following my retirement from medical practice. I remain on faculty at the U of I College of Medicine. My most fulfilling days can include teaching a seventh-grader the meaning of a dot after a note in the morning, and discussing the evaluation of abdominal pain with a junior med student in the afternoon. Many musical activities keep me busy and happy. For over twenty years, I have played tuba with the Rockford Wind Ensemble. I started drum lessons around ten years ago and have fulfilled my boyhood fantasy of playing drum set with a big band, the Rock Valley College Community Jazz Ensemble. I am a board member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and currently chair its Music Director Search Committee. My personal mission in being a Band Grandpa is simply this: to demonstrate to students that instrumental music can be a lifelong friend.

Sarah Byrnes - Biographical Information

Sarah is from Northern Illinois. She graduated from Hononegah High School (Rockton, IL) in 2002. She attended Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL) and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Vocal & Instrumental Music Education k-12. She began her teaching journey in the fall of 2006 teaching Elementary Music with Kinnikinnick District 131. Sarah transferred to Belvidere District 100 in 2009 where she continued teaching Elementary music. In 2016 Sarah accepted her current position teaching Middle School Band and Choir with District 205 at the Rockford Environmental Science Academy (RESA). As of spring 2022, Sarah has completed 15 years as a Music Educator in Illinois. She enjoys farming, gardening, spending time with her husband and daughter, and performing with the Rock Valley College Community Ensemble as principal flute.

Martha Rolf - Biographical Information

Martha recently retired after a 38 year career with the YMCA. Her current interests include involvement in school and church choirs from age 6. She currently sings in church choir and the Rockford Choral Union (community chorus) and also participates in church bell choir. Martha has been an active Choir Grandma volunteer at Rockford East High School for 7 years.