Tom Batiuk is the creator of the comic strip Funky Winkerbean. A 2008 Lowell Mason Fellow, Batiuk was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the comic strip, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2012. A onetime middle school teacher, Batiuk respects music educators so much that he created the comic strip Halle Dinkle, just for NAfME members.
In the Funky comic strip, Batiuk chronicles the lives of students and faculty at Westview High, including Harry Dinkle, the self-proclaimed "World’s Greatest Band Director," who believes that "football fields are for band practice."
And when the fictional Westfield Band was chosen to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in a Pasadena, California, the confident Dinkle couldn’t understand why the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association declined his offer to serve as grand marshal of the parade as well.
Halle Dinkle is Harry’s daughter, and the NAfME comic strip chronicles the trials and triumphs of a general music teacher, mirroring music classroom life, from student questions to budget cuts and, yes, back to school.
A new volume of cartoon strips will feature more of Harry’s early days as the director of the "Westview High School Scapegoat Marching Band." The Kent State University Press will publish The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Vol. 1 in 2012, the first of a series of volumes surveying all of the Funky comic strips. Funky Winkerbean appears in more than 400 newspapers worldwide.
—Roz Fehr, September 8, 2011. © National Association for Music Education (nafme.org)