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December, 20, 2023
04:30 PM - 05:30 PM




Walt Straiton

Walt Straiton
James Frankel

James Frankel
Darla Hanley

Darla Hanley
Jenny Neff

Jenny Neff
Richard Mextorf

Richard Mextorf
Tim Lautzenheiser

Tim Lautzenheiser

Extending Your Reach, The "Quilted" Career

Clinic Synopsis:

Over time, unique musical and classroom experiences have inspired unanticipated career shifts. Consider the “quilt”, a collection of "patches” combining to lead one into a field not anticipated when starting out as a teacher. Meet seven such innovators-representing academia, music products and technologies, and administration- who heeded the “call” leading to unanticipated transitions into areas where their vision and leadership has proven to have had positive impact on music education.

Walt Straiton - Biographical Information

Walt Straiton is Director of Academic and Institutional Partnerships at MusicFirst, a provider of music technology solutions for education, having previously served on the education teams of both the Yamaha and Conn-Selmer Corporations. Formerly Director of Orchestras and Assistant Director of Marching Bands at Williamsport Area High School (PA) he has taught both winds and strings at all levels, having also served as Director of Orchestras at Messiah University (PA) and instrumental music producer for HersheyPark. A recipient of a Kennedy Center Fellowship for Teachers in the Arts, Walt was a finalist for “Teacher of the Year” with Disney Corporation’s “American Teacher Awards”. A graduate of Millersville University (PA) and the Eastman School of Music, he also pursued doctoral study at the Pennsylvania State University. Professional guest conducting appearances include the Malaysian Philharmonic, New World, and Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestras, as well as the founding Artistic Director of the Corona (CA) Symphony Orchestra. In the “Pops” world, he has produced and conducted concerts including guest artists Chris Botti, Bob James, Nathan East, Kirk Whalum, Burt Bacharach, Michael Cavanaugh, David Benoit, Maynard Ferguson, Chuck Mangione, Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Phil Woods, The Captain and Tennille, The Spinners, Patti Austin, Neil Sedaka, and The Empire Brass Quintet. Walt remains active as a guest conductor and adjudicator for student festival orchestras including appearances with All-State Orchestras in Florida, Vermont, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

James Frankel - Biographical Information

Dr. James (Jim) Frankel is the Head of Digital Education for Wise Music and Director of MusicFirst. Previously, he was the Managing Director of SoundTree, and before that he was the instrumental and general music teacher for 15 years in New Jersey Public Schools. Jim is a widely published author in various state, national and international journals of music education. He is the author of The Teachers Guide to Music, Media & Copyright Law, co-author of YouTube in Music Education, contributing author for Critical Issues in Music Education and co-author of Making Music with GarageBand & Mixcraft. In addition to his writing, Jim is a highly sought-after clinician and keynote speaker in the local, national and international music education community. He is on the Board of Directors for TI:ME, NJMEA, and is the past president of ATMI.

Darla Hanley - Biographical Information

Darla Hanley is Professor of Music Education at the Berklee College of Music, having just switched back to the classroom following a 16-year tenure as Dean of Berklee’s Professional Education Division.  Darla holds a Ph.D. and M.M. in music education research from Temple University and a B.M. in music education and vocal performance from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She is an experienced arts leader who specializes in educational administration, vocal jazz, popular music education, music for children, and creative movement. Hanley has previously worked as a Pre-K-12 music educator, and, as an author, clinician, and consultant, she has extensive experience working with teachers and students all over the world. She is an active member of numerous professional organizations and associations.

Rick Ghinelli - Biographical Information

Rick Ghinelli is currently the Western Regional Director for CutTime, having previously served as Southwest Region Educational Support Manager for Conn-Selmer, as well as the leader of its Music Administrator Collaborative. Rick graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Music Education and began his career in the Spring Independent School District as a middle school band director. During that time, his bands earned a number of awards on both the local and state levels. Rick later earned his Masters of Administration from Sam Houston State University, and he continued his career in Spring ISD as an elementary assistant principal, a middle school assistant principal, and a middle school principal. In 2000, he assumed the role of Director of Performing and Visual Arts for the district, a position he held until his retirement in 2013. While serving in this position, fine arts programs in Spring ISD gained notoriety for their excellent work and were frequent recipients of the highest honors at the local, state, and national levels of competition.

Jenny Neff - Biographical Information

Jenny L. Neff, EdD, is Professor and Program Director of Music Education at the University of the Arts. She also serves as director of the Master of Music and Summer Music Studies programs at UArts. Neff previously taught primarily instrumental music for 25 years in public schools at various levels (K–12) in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Her most recent position was teaching instrumental music at Bala Cynwyd Middle School in Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District. Neff earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education from Michigan State University in East Lansing, where she studied horn with Douglas Campbell and Neill Saunders, and played under the batons of Eugene Corporon, Kenneth Bloomquist, and Leon Gregorian in MSU's top bands and orchestra.

Richard Mextorf - Biographical Information

A forty-year veteran of public education, Dr. Richard Mextorf is a longtime advocate for the arts in schools. As a school leader, Dr. Mextorf is a pioneer in future-focused learning and served as the primary author/facilitator of Leadership through Strategic Design for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Dr. Mextorf has presented at numerous state and national conferences, and has served as a consultant to a variety of schools and organizations, and has served on numerous public sector Boards. Musically, Dr. Mextorf has guest conducted various choral festivals, was a member of Re-Creation and the renown quartet, New Vintage, and is currently active as a performer in local musical groups. Dr. Mextorf was honored as the recipient of the John Wanamaker Humanitarian Medal in 2007, and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Outstanding Superintendent Award.

Kelly Bell - Biographical Information

Kelly Bell is the Executive Director for The Midwest Clinic, International Band and Orchestra Conference. Before joining the Midwest team in January 2020, Bell served as the Director of Educational Programs with Conn-Selmer’s Division of Education for seven years. During her tenure at Conn-Selmer, Bell oversaw the clinician and VIP programs as well as coordinated the annual educational conference, Conn-Selmer Institute. Bell began her career as a high school orchestra and guitar teacher in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was the Assistant Orchestra Director at Edward W. Clark High School from 2006 – 2009. In the fall of 2009, Bell took the position of Director of Orchestras at Basic High School in Henderson, NV. During her time at Basic, she served as Department Chair and helped grow the performing arts program from 400 students to over 1200 in four years. In 2010, Bell was awarded the Outstanding Young Educator of the Year award from the Nevada Music Educators Association. Bell received her Masters in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelors in Instrumental Music Education from Ball State University.

Tim Lautzenheiser - Biographical Information

Tim Lautzenheiser is a well-known name in the music education world as a teacher, clinician, author, composer, consultant, adjudicator, and, above all, a trusted friend to anyone interested in working with young people to develop a desire for excellence. His own career involves ten years of successful college band directing at Northern Michigan University, the University of Missouri, and New Mexico State University. During this time Tim developed highly acclaimed groups in all areas of the instrumental and vocal field. Following three years in the music industry, he created Attitude Concepts for Today, an organization designed to manage requests for workshops, seminars, and convention speaking engagements focusing on the area of positive attitude and effective leadership training. He presently holds the Earl Dunn Distinguished Lecturer position at Ball State University. Tim also is the director of education for Conn-Selmer, and he serves as the national spokesperson for MENC's "Make a Difference with Music" program. Tim is a graduate of Ball State University and the University of Alabama. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from VanderCook College of Music. Additional awards include the distinguished Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, the Mr. Holland's Opus Award, and the Music Industry Award from the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors.