The 2018 All-National Honor Ensembles Conductor Spotlight:
Throughout the month of March, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) will be sharing profiles of the 2018 All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE) conductors, who will lead the nation’s most elite high school musicians in Orlando, Florida, November 25-28. These exceptional musicians will gather at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort to showcase their expert musicianship and perform a gala concert celebrating music education and the arts.
Dennis Glocke will lead the 2018 All-National Concert Band. Professor Glocke was appointed Director of Concert Bands at Pennsylvania State University in 1996. He earned degrees in conducting from Northwestern University, where he studied with John P. Paynter, and in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his principal conducting teachers were H. Robert Reynolds and Eugene Corporon. Professor Glocke is frequently invited to serve as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States. His ensembles have performed at the Eastern Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association State Conference and the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. He has also conducted in some of the country’s finest performing venues, including the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater (Chautauqua, NY), The Music Center at Strathmore (North Bethesda, MD), and Lincoln Center (New York). Read more about Dennis Glocke here.
When did you first fall in love with music?
I don’t recall ever not being in love with music. As a young elementary school student, I begged my parents to let me start piano lessons, and I finally did in the third grade. I started playing clarinet in band in 5th grade and knew I was going to be a band director by the time I was in junior high school.
What inspired you to become a conductor? Describe the process in getting to where you are today.
The person who had the most significant impact on me as a musician and conductor was H. Robert Reynolds, who, in my opinion, is the greatest wind conductor in the world. He was my band conductor at the University of Wisconsin where I earned my baccalaureate in music education. I clearly remember my first rehearsal in the UW Symphonic Band as a freshman, rehearsing Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite, which I had played in high school. Bob had rehearsed the piece for about five minutes when I realized that though I had reproduced most of the notes and rhythms Vaughan Williams had written, I had NEVER played the MUSIC. This was different! That was the catalyst for what became my life-long quest to do the same for my students.
The “process” of getting to where I am today mostly consisted of having the courage to go through doors when they were presented to me. I’ve taught at a junior high school, a high school, a small college and two large universities and loved each one. But when new opportunities came my way, I took advantage of them.
Being the best musician I can possibly be is most definitely the greatest challenge. I need to constantly grow and mature as a musician if I am going to provide the members of my ensembles with profound musical experiences.
What are some of the greatest accomplishments, and challenges, you face as a conductor of a large ensemble?
Being the best musician I can possibly be is most definitely the greatest challenge. I need to constantly grow and mature as a musician if I am going to provide the members of my ensembles with profound musical experiences. Meeting the diverse musical needs of the students in any given ensemble is also very challenging, as is finding different teaching techniques and conducting gestures that will reach the students in the ensemble, each of whom has a unique way of learning. Not everyone learns the way I do; I cannot teach/conduct as if they do.
There have been many performances that I have conducted that I would consider great accomplishments, but in a broader sense, I am proud of the fact that I can make music with middle schoolers, advanced graduate students and everyone in between.
What factors do you consider when programming music for a concert or honor ensemble? What are some of your favorite pieces of repertoire?
The musical and educational needs of the students in the ensemble I will be conducting are first and foremost in my mind when selecting repertoire. I hope the audience likes the music we perform, but they are a very distant second when planning a program. Luckily, a program consisting of high quality music from a variety of time periods and in a variety of styles is not only good for the musicians in the band, but also makes an enjoyable program for the audience. It can be a win-win.
Some of my favorite pieces (these are but a few of MANY) – Symphony in B-flat, Paul Hindemith; Lincolnshire Posy, Percy Grainger; Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein; Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Igor Stravinsky; Zion, Dan Welcher; Symphonic Metamorphosis, Hindemith . . .
A Significant Musical Experience (SME) is difficult to describe, much less define. It is impossible to prove that a student has had one, yet we all know when it occurs; it’s why we are in music. I want the members of the NAfME All-National Honor Concert Band to leave having had a Significant Musical Experience.
What excites you the most about the ANHE program? What do you hope your young musicians who attend will take away from their experience?
The prospect of working with students from around the country is VERY exciting. John Rafoth, the man I student-taught with at Madison West High School in Wisconsin, was another hugely influential person on me as a person, musician, and educator. His main goal for his students was that they had a Significant Musical Experience. An SME is difficult to describe, much less define. It is impossible to prove that a student has had one, yet we all know when it occurs; it’s why we are in music. I want the members of the NAfME All-National Honor Concert Band to leave having had a Significant Musical Experience.
Why do you think music education is so important for all students?
My answer to question #5 really applies here, as well: Significant Musical Experiences. Students need to acquire the tools, knowledge and techniques necessary to have a significant experience with music. I am not referring to superficial encounters with sounds and sound production which usually provide more extrinsic rewards than intrinsic musical reward. Music education provides students with these tools, knowledge and techniques so they are equipped to have Significant Musical Experiences.
Visit nafme.org every Friday throughout the month of March to meet the next ANHE conductor!
Read about the other ANHE conductors:
- All-National Honor Mixed Choir: Dr. Amanda Quist
- All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra: Dr. Jean Montès
- All-National Honor Guitar Ensemble: Dr. Michael Quantz
Elizabeth Baker, Social Media Coordinator and Copywriter. March 23, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)