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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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Behind the Curtains: The 2008 and 2009 Midwest Clinics

by Kathleen Andersen, Communications Coordinator, The Midwest Clinic

2008 and 2009 were historic years for The Midwest Clinic! Find out what happened behind the scenes as we prepared for the last two conferences and for the move to McCormick Place West. We start with 2009, before looking back at 2008.

2009 in Review
2009 was a momentous year for The Midwest Clinic! The conference left its home of 35 years, the Hilton Chicago, for a modern meeting facility: McCormick Place West. The move kept organizers – and attendees – on their toes, exploring possibilities, teasing out new logistical questions, and staying in touch with participants who needed to know what to expect in the new venue. Here, we give you a behind-the-scenes look at The Midwest Clinic in 2009.

January 2009
On the Move
Immediately after the 2008 conference, the Board and staff began getting ready to hold the next Midwest Clinic in McCormick Place West. There was a great deal to think about, from new stages and meeting rooms to shuttle routes and loading docks, as well as many questions from engaged attendees. While The Midwest Clinic tries to do something new every year, the shifts in 2009 were unprecedented, and affected our work right away.

March 2009
Clinic Proposals and Performance Applications
Although wonderful performers and clinicians apply every year, the Midwest staff gets excited and even a little bit nervous when the application forms become available. We can’t help wondering – will there be a strong applicant pool this year? This was particularly true in 2009. We thought directors and clinicians might wait to attend an event in our new home before applying, and knew a troubled economy could tamp down interest. As the deadline approached and clinic proposals and performance applications poured into the office, we were relieved by – and truly appreciative of – the Midwest community’s tremendous interest and participation. As in the past, the Board had a wonderful selection of ensembles and clinic topics to draw from as they prepared the conference program. We thank all the applicants for their engagement, time, and effort.

April 2009
Honorees Selected
The Midwest Clinic Board selected individuals to present with its three awards, honoring lasting contributions to music education. They decided that at the 2009 conference, Edward S. Lisk, Ellis Marsalis, and Al G. and Gladys Stone Wright would receive Medals of Honor, Felix Hauswirth would be presented with the International Award, and James Cochran would receive the Music Industry Award.

Lisk is an internationally recognized clinician, conductor, and author. The former Director of Bands and K-12 Music Supervisor for New York’s Oswego City School District, his many activities include serving on The Midwest Clinic Board of Directors and as an elected member of the National Band Hall of Fame for Distinguished Conductors.

Marsalis is widely regarded as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans, and honored as the father of America’s leading jazz family. He has an active performing and recording career, and has taught at New Orleans’ Xavier University and Virginia Commonwealth University. During the 2009 conference, he gave a concert with the Ellis Marsalis Quartet, and presented a clinic.

The Wrights married in 1953, after meeting at Colorado’s Gunnison Music Camp. Al G. Wright served as Director of Music at Miami Senior High School from 1938-54. He then moved to Purdue University, where he was Professor, Director of Bands, and Conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Band until 2001. Gladys Stone Wright has 35 years of experience as a high school band director. Her many activities and honors include serving as the founding President of the Women Band Directors International.

Hauswirth is a distinguished author, conductor, and clinician. He founded the Swiss National Youth Ensemble in 1983, and has served as the President of WASBE. His professional activities have taken him across the globe, and he has been a Professor of Conducting at Switzerland’s Basel Conservatory since 1985.

Cochran has been employed by Shattinger Music for 36 years, and has served as its President since 2000. He is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on wind band and wind chamber music literature, and initiated the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project in 1999.

June 2009
Directors Visit McCormick Place West
The 2009 performing directors came to Chicago to meet one another and The Midwest Clinic Board and staff. The meeting was held at McCormick Place West and included a tour, making them the first large group of music educators to explore the modern performance spaces. It was an exciting day for everyone, and the directors left ready to take on the challenges of the upcoming year.

August 2009
The Annual Commission is Ready
We were pleased that Mark O’Connor accepted our commission in honor of the 63rd annual conference. In August, he completed “Olympic Harvest (An Orchestral Overture),” written specifically for youth orchestras and inspired by students’ energy and excitement. At the conference, it received its premiere during the Las Vegas Academy Philharmonic Orchestra concert.

December 2009
Board of Directors Holds Elections
At a meeting held before the conference, the Board elected new officers: Richard C. Crain, President; Dorothy A. Straub and John L. Whitwell, Vice Presidents; and Mark N. Kjos, Treasurer. David C. McCormick continues to serve as Secretary. The Board also honored those who stepped down from their offices, but remain members: Past President Ray E. Cramer; Past Vice President Mark S. Kelly, and Past Treasurer Glenn E. Holtz. The current and past officers serve The Midwest Clinic community loyally and generously.

December 2009
The 63rd Annual Midwest Clinic
After a year of hard work by the ensembles, clinicians, exhibitors, and organizers, the conference week was a great pleasure. Attendees explored the state-of-the-art exhibit hall and clinic rooms, the sleek performance spaces, and light-filled concourse. We were gratified to hear the music, laughter, and impassioned conversations that have come to define Midwest over the past 63 years. The conference drew 15,208 attendees, and we extend our thanks to each and every one of them.

2008 Year in Review
2008 was also a banner year for The Midwest Clinic, and those who came to the conference had a front seat at many of the events that made it so notable. While the conference is always the year’s culmination, attendees are sometimes surprised by how much takes place in the months leading up to it. We are pleased to tell you a few things you might have missed about The Midwest Clinic in 2008.

March 2008
Music Educators’ Overwhelming Interest
Every year, we appreciate our community’s interest in appearing at the conference. 2008 was certainly no exception. By the time all the applications arrived in mid-March, over 200 clinicians had submitted proposals and almost 150 directors applied to bring their ensembles! The Board of Directors held a four-day meeting to review this excellent pool, and had a difficult time choosing between the many standouts. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the process, and encourage those who were not selected to apply again.

May 2008
Annual Commission Awarded
We were honored when Dennis Wilson, Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone and Improvisation Studies at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, accepted our invitation to write a new work for the 2008 conference. After several conversations with the Board and Staff, Wilson penned Count Basie Midwest Suite. Wilson is a former trombonist with the Count Basie Orchestra, and remains deeply involved with the ensemble. His new work honored the Count Basie Orchestra stylistically, and its three-movement structure nods to Midwest Clinic traditions. During the conference, Wilson guest-conducted the Bloomington High School North Advanced Jazz Ensemble, which gave the suite a thrilling premiere.

June 2008
Medal of Honor and Industry Award Recipients Chosen

John D’Addario was selected to receive the 2008 Industry Award, and E. Daniel Long and Weston Noble were chosen as Medal of Honor recipients. Out of many possibilities, the Board of Directors especially wished to recognize these three for their distinguished careers and contributions to the field.

D’Addario is the President of The D’Addario Music Foundation, which provides 100 grants annually to music education-oriented organizations around the world. The former President of D’Addario & Company, Inc., he is active in a variety of positions that help the expansion and outreach of the music industry.

Long is the Founding Director of the School for the Performing Arts-Ann Arbor Youth Symphony Orchestra. He acted as an educator at the 2008 conference, as a technician at as a Middle School Orchestra Rehearsal Lab technician.

Noble may be best known for his half-century tenure as conductor of Luther College’s Nordic Choir, for directing the Luther College Concert Band, and for guest-directing at over 900 music festivals spanning four continents. Like his fellow Medal of Honor recipient, Noble was not content to rest on his laurels at the 2008 Midwest Clinic, instead presenting two clinics and guest-conducting the United States Army Field Band.

August 2008
New Staff Position Created
With the creation of a new Communications Coordinator position, The Midwest Clinic was able to share announcements with attendees more consistently throughout the fall and winter.

September 2008
An Historic Decision
After years of careful consideration and exploration, the Board of Directors made a monumental resolution. In a unanimous vote, the Board decided that the 2009 conference would leave its longtime home, the Hilton Chicago, for McCormick Place West, a gorgeous new facility less than two miles away. This move improved the conference by bringing all the clinics, concerts, and exhibits together under one roof, and by enhancing these offerings.

November 2008
Online Career Center launched
With the launch of our ambitious, online Career Center, we created the first free, international job site for the music education community. The Midwest Clinic Career Center developed from the Job Market that had long been part of the conference’s Teacher Resource Center. Attendees told us how they wished this resource was available throughout the year, and we were pleased to meet this need.

December 2008
Changes to the Board of Directors
Jacquelyn Dillon-Krass retired from the Board after 15 years of indefatigable service. We miss her, but as a Board Member Emerita, she continues to advise and guide The Midwest Clinic.

The Board was delighted to welcome new Directors Mallory Thompson and Mark Laycock. Thompson is the Director of Bands, Professor of Music, and Coordinator of the Conducting Program at Northwestern University. She serves as the Northshore Concert Band’s Artistic Director. Laycock is the Director of Orchestras at Wichita State University, where he holds the Ann Walenta Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship. We thank them for joining The Midwest Clinic’s governing body.

December 2008
Concert Videos Reach a Wide Audience through YouTube
For the first time, concert videos reached a wide, general audience through a special Midwest Clinic channel on YouTube.com. Most concert selections have been watched over one thousand times (some over three thousand times) on YouTube. We are thrilled that the wonderful performing ensembles are now inspiring people who may never get to attend The Midwest Clinic.

December 2008
An Emotional Conference at the Hilton Chicago

The final conference at the Hilton Chicago was a worthy celebration of our history in this beautiful venue. Attendees took special note of the glorious murals, bright holiday decorations, and lush, Gilded Age atmosphere that made the Hilton such a unique place to learn and listen for 35 years. Over 15,000 people took part in the conference’s nonstop program: concerts, clinics, exhibits, and unparalleled opportunities to connect with old friends and forge new relationships with peers. It was an unforgettable experience for all!

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