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Yamaha Artist Services has honored both David Smith, music professor, and Dr. Michael Varner, former director of Percussion and World Music at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Smith received the Yamaha Legacy in Education Award, which was presented during a Percussion Ensemble concert dedicated to Smith at the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut. The award was presented by Yamaha district managers Chris Manners and Ian Wudyka to recognize Smith’s extraordinary service to, and impact on, the field of music education. Smith recently retired in May after a 50-year career.

 “With a career spanning more than a half century, David has touched the lives of thousands of percussion students,” said John Wittmann, director, Artist Relations and Education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “We’re honored that he chose Yamaha to accompany him along his extraordinary professional and artistic journey, and wish him a wonderful retirement.”

Dr. Varnerin was honored in recognition of his lifelong contributions to music education and the percussive arts. Yamaha regional sales manager David Suter presented the award to Varner at a UTA Percussion Ensemble concert this past spring. The concert featured a work commissioned by Yamaha Percussion Artist and fellow UTA percussion faculty member Andy Eldridge, and composed by Yamaha Percussion Artist Nathan Daughtrey.

 “Michael’s outstanding versatility and passion for percussion shaped his remarkable career as an educator, performer and composer,” said Wittmann. “We’re honored to have supported him throughout his distinguished career, and wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”



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