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December, 19, 2024
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM




Nicholas Blue

Nicholas Blue

Susan Abell

Susan Abell

Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Establishing Supportive Relationships Between Band and Orchestra Programs

Clinic Synopsis:

This session will provide strategies for developing a collaborative and supportive (rather than combative) relationship between band and orchestra directors and programs. Benefits of such a relationship will be discussed and tangible strategies for getting started will be shared. This session is intended for middle or high school band or orchestra directors curious about working with their instrumental counterpart to promote and support all school music programs.

Nicholas Blue - Biographical Information

Nicholas Blue is the Band Director at Grassland Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee. Originally from Indiana, Mr. Blue is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Music programs at Grassland Middle enroll nearly 40 percent of the school’s population. Ensembles under Mr. Blue’s direction have earned Superior ratings at MTSBOA Concert Performance Assessment and other festivals, most recently performing at the Belmont University Regional Wind Band Festival sponsored by Music For All in 2024. Students in the Grassland Band have high rates of selection in regional and state honor bands, as well as high rates of participation in Solo and Ensemble Performance Assessment, with many students earning Superior ratings. Under Mr. Blue’s direction, the Grassland Band program has been awarded the Tennessee Bandmasters Association Sweepstakes Award, and the American School Band Directors Association Award of Distinction in Concert Performance on three occasions. An active advocate for music education in Middle Tennessee, Mr. Blue is the founder and coordinator of the IMPACT! Middle School Summer Band Camp, a weeklong summer camp for middle school band students in Williamson County, TN. Mr. Blue has presented clinics for the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, the Tennessee Music Education Association, and the American String Teachers Association. Mr. Blue loves travelling and Portillo’s Italian Beef.

Susan Abell - Biographical Information

Susan Abell is a native of Bowling Green, KY where she grew up in both choral and instrumental music programs. She began singing at a young age, later adding piano, clarinet and cello. Ms. Abell continued her love for music at Western Kentucky University where she completed both her BME and MAE. While at WKU she was a member of CNAfMe, founding member of the WKU ASTA Chapter, and an active member of the Omicron Omicron chapter of Delta Omicron. Ms. Abell was also the Orchestra Graduate Assistant under Dr. Bill Scott while completing her MAE. After moving to Tennessee, Ms. Abell began the programs at Grassland Middle School and Brentwood Middle School. After going to Grassland Middle School full-time, she grew the program to earn consistent Superior ratings at MTSBOA CPA and Mid-State selection for the past 8 years. Beginning in the 23-24 school year, Ms. Abell joined the Franklin High School faculty as their Orchestra Director while also remaining at GMS part-time. Ms. Abell has been an active part of the Williamson County Orchestra Director Association, helping to establish the group to unite orchestra directors in her county. She also served as a MTSBOA Orchestra Representative from 2018-2020 and is serving again for the 2023-2025 term. In 2016, Ms. Abell founded the Williamson County Summer Orchestra Camp which hosted its’ 6th season last summer. Ms. Abell joined the Vanderbilt Youth Orchestra program in 2022 to rebuild the Beginning Reading Orchestra, Reading Orchestra and Youth String Orchestras. Under her leadership these ensembles have grown from 16 students to over 60 students in three semesters. Most recently, Ms. Abell accepted the position of Assistant Orchestra Director at Simpson Middle School in the Cobb County School District in Georgia. Ms. Abell is excited to continue developing young students into lifelong musicians and music advocates.