2008 Lowell Mason Fellows
Since 1996, Dan Acheson has been the executive director and CEO of Drum Corps International, Inc., the global, nonprofit producer of the world’s elite marching ensembles for student musicians and performers. Prior to his association with Drum Corps International, Acheson served as the executive director of the Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps of Toledo, Ohio. For 10 years, he spearheaded the development of the organization’s community roots and guided the corps to success on the national competitive stage. During his tenure at the Glassmen, Acheson was tapped to serve as chairman of the Drum Corps International Board of Directors. Acheson holds a degree in business management from National-Louis University. His professional affiliations include memberships in MENC, the Percussive Arts Society, the Center for Association Leadership, and the National Center for Nonprofit Boards.
Tom Batiuk is the creator of the celebrated comic strip Funky Winkerbean, which is syndicated in 400 newspapers worldwide. Through this comic strip and its character, Harry L. Dinkle, self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Band Leader,” Tom brought attention to the joys and frustrations of life in music education—marching band in particular. He received the 2002 “Friend of Education” Award from the Ohio Education Association for leadership in the improvement of public education. In 1986, Batiuk received the distinguished service award from MENC, and in 1988, the Band Directors of America Medal of Honor. A former middle school teacher, Batiuk is such a fan of music education that he created the comic strip Halle Dinkle just for MENC members. Halle is Harry’s daughter, and the strips chronicle the trials and triumphs of a general music teacher. Halle Dinkle appears periodically in the online news at menc.org/news. Batiuk was one of three finalists for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning “for a sequence in his cartoon strip that portrays a woman’s poignant battle with breast cancer.” It was only the fourth time a cartoon strip was a Pulitzer finalist.
Joel Biggs is the President and CEO of FAME Events, The American Musical Salute, and Forte Festivals. Mr. Biggs has spent much of his life in support of music education. His companies have provided memorable performance opportunities to thousands of music students from all 50 states in locations throughout the world. He is a corporate member of MENC and has been instrumental in the success of the National Anthem Project’s Grand Finale and the formation of MENC Events. As a young student, Joel participated in MENC programs for band and choir, going on to perform in college music programs at Arizona State University. After starting his business to provide performance opportunities to students in a real world setting, he returned to Arizona State for his Masters in Business Administration degree. His love of music and history provides the inspiration for his business model. Joel maintains that the world’s rich history is best remembered when associated with the music that marked the time. Musical Salutes and festivals produced by Mr. Biggs’ companies have provided students the opportunity to travel and learn of other cultures, while commemorating the past and celebrating the future with music. His programs have been recognized and endorsed by numerous historic commissions, state and national governments, officials and event organizers as a principal component of their observance. His companies enjoy the reputation for providing the highest level competitive music festival and showcase experience, hosted in the world’s most distinguished venues.
Dr. Larry Blocher is currently Professor of Music and Director of the school of music at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Dr. Blocher has served as conductor, adjudicator, and clinician in twenty eight states and nine countries. He has presented at national and international seminars for many prestigious music conferences, including those of MENC, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the National Band Association, the College Band Directors National Association, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. Dr. Blocher is a recognized arranger and composer of music for wind band. His arrangements have been heard at the pregame and halftime shows for the Cotton, Peach, and Outback Bowls. He is a past President of the Kansas Bandmasters Association and a member of the National Band Association School Reform and Research committees. He is a past member of the Editorial Committee for the Music Educator’s Journal. In 2004, he received the Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award, and in 2002, the University Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Award from Wichita State University. Dr. Blocher has served as co-principal author for ten books, including the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series.
Sandra Dackow is currently the Music Director of the Hershey Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania. An Aspen Conducting Fellow in 2001, she was awarded the Silver medal in the 2001 Vakhtang Jordania/New Millennium International Conducting Competition in Kharkov, Ukraine. She is former Music Director of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey. Recent guest conducting experiences include appearances with the Helena Symphony, Montana, the All-Queensland Honors Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia, the Kharkov Philharmonic in Ukraine, the Rapides Symphony, Alexandria, Louisiana, and the Moriah College Orchestra in Australia. Dr. Dackow has served as visiting faculty member during summer sessions of the Eastman School of Music, Temple University, Montclair State College, NJ, Wichita State University, and the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. Most recently, she served on the faculty of Brandeis University as director of the University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. A native of East Paterson, New Jersey, Dr. Dackow served as Supervisor of Music for the Ridgewood, NJ public schools, and former chair of the string department and orchestra director at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. An award-winning ASCAP arranger, Dr. Dackow has generated over seventy published works for orchestras and is an author of the Orchestra Expressions curriculum. She has shared her expertise on professional issues in many ways over her 35 years as an active, contributing member of MENC.
Currently the Director of Bands and Professor of Music Education at the College in Wooster, Ohio, Nancy Ditmer has been a respected and devoted leader in music education for many years. She is a past President of the Ohio Music Education Association, the recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Service Award from the OMEA, and past President of the North Central Division of MENC. She continues to serve the OMEA as chair of the collegiate member committee and as co-chair of Ohio’s Professional Development Conference in 2009. A respected scholar and author, Ms. Ditmer edited the OMEA publication, Triad. She has been a frequent presenter at state and national music education conferences over the last 15 years, on such relevant topics as education reform, music education advocacy, and professional development issues for teachers. Nancy is the founder and director of the Wooster Music Camp, which has hosted 450 music students playing in five bands and two orchestras since 1997. This camp provides junior high and high schools students with memorable performance opportunities with renowned clinicians and educators. As a music consultant, she has assisted the Canton Symphony in implementing an education grant, including developing professional development materials for symphony personnel. A member of the Arts Education advisory Committee in Wooster, she worked to strengthen the arts programs offered in the public schools served by the Tri-County Educational Service Center.
Michael G. George
“Mike” George has devoted what most would consider three or four professional careers to music education. Following almost 40 years as a public school music teacher, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction state music consultant, University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Education faculty member, Executive Director of Wisconsin School Music Association, Executive Director of Wisconsin Music Educators Association, President of the North Central Division of MENC, and other leadership roles, Mike retired in 2004. Soon after his “retirement,” Mike answered the call of the Wisconsin Department of Instruction to return to work in curriculum development. He continues to work for music education as a board member of the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, the existence for which he is largely responsible. It was Mike who first proposed developing a vehicle that could provide ongoing funding for state music programming. Now in its twelfth year of formal operations, the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music has developed a strong endowment of assets that is providing a great deal of stability to programming for Wisconsin’s music students. The first and only one of its kind in the nation, the Wisconsin Center for Music Education was dedicated in 2005. This facility houses the offices and staff for the three associations that provide programs and support for the state’s music students, music educators, and the foundation. Mike George is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Music Educators Association in 1980, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1984, among others.
Samuel Hope has served as executive director of the National Association of Schools of Music, the national accrediting agency for institutions and programs providing professional education in music since 1975. He has also served in this capacity for the accrediting agencies for art and design, dance, and theatre, and of the Higher Education Arts Data Services. These organizations accredit over 1000 institutions and programs in the U.S., primarily in higher education. Hope is an executive editor of Arts Education Policy Review magazine, and editorial consultant to the Journal of Aesthetic Education, and a trustee of the American Academy for Liberal Education and the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations. Throughout his career, he has worked to build relationships between higher education and pre-K-12 education. He was a member of the National Oversight Committee for the 1994 National Voluntary K-12 Arts Standards, and on the steering committee that developed specifications for the National Assessment of the Educational Progress for the Arts. At present, Samuel Hope is the senior accreditation administrator in the United States, and he has worked with over 2,000 full reviews for accreditation in the arts. Hope holds degrees in music composition from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University and is well known as a writer on arts and arts education policy.
Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., grew up in Rochester, New York. As an engineering student at the General Motors Institute, he gained experience in a variety of different jobs at GM-Delco’s 6,000 employee electronic components plant in Rochester. Henry worked his way through school playing guitar—a Gibson, of course—playing weddings and parties. After graduating with honors, he worked at Delco for two years as a product manager, while studying for an MBA which was completed at Harvard, on a GM Fellowship. Juszkiewicz then joined the New York firm of Neiderhoffer, Cross and Zeckhauser, Inc., where he rose to the position of executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Leaving that firm in 1981, he acquired Phi Technologies of Oklahoma City with two Harvard classmates, and turned the struggling technology firm into a highly profitable company. In 1986, Juszkiewicz and his partners acquired the faltering Gibson guitar operation from the Norlin corporation. Juszkiewicz’s aggressive management style again effected an immed iate turnaround, and Gibson became profitable within a month’s time. Juszkiewicz is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows and Board member of the Rainforest Alliance, GRAMMY Foundation, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, and We Are Family Foundation. He founded the Gibson Foundation in 2002 with a mission to advance education, the arts, health and welfare and environmental causes. Through Music Rising, the award-winning disaster-relief program, which he co-founded as a response to Hurricanes Katrina & Rita, that replaces instruments for Gulf Coast musicians, schools, churches, and community programs, Juskiewicz has helped raise millions of dollars for charitable causes that have benefited millions of people in over 100 countries. Henry Juskiewicz resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Catherine and two children.
Barbara Payne McLain
Barbara Payne McLain is currently an associate professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. At the University of Hawaii, she started the very popular online Masters Degree in Music Education, which reaches the many classroom teachers unable to take time away from school to attend the University campus. This program also provides the important opportunity of a higher degree to teachers on the outer islands whose choices are restricted because of their location. Prior to her tenure at the University of Hawaii, Dr. McLain was a member of the music education faculty at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and taught instrumental and vocal music in the public schools of Arizona, Illinois, and Indiana. Dr. McLain is an active adjudicator, clinician, and author, and recently served as the National Collegiate Chair for MENC. She serves as the editor of the Leka Nuhou Bulletin of the Hawaii Music Educators Association. Her articles have appeared in professional journals including The Instrumentalist, Music Educators Journal, the Journal of the College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society Symposium, New Ways, T.U.B.A. Journal, and Triad. Barbara McLain received a B.M.E. degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, a M.M. degree from the University of Arizona, and the Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. She has extensive experience as a conference speaker, concert and marching band clinician/adjudicator and has served as guest conductor for numerous honor bands across the country. Dr. McLain is Past President of the Hawaii Music Educators Association and Past President of the Western Division of MENC.