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Report: 2013 Midwest Clinic

Mike Lawson • News • December 26, 2013

Midwest Clinic Reports Successful Show

“Our expectations for the conference were exceeded in all manners,” declared Denny Senseney, treasurer of the Midwest Clinic. “The exhibit hall was nearly sold-out with approximately 50 new exhibiting companies. But best of all, the concerts and clinics met our primary objective of serving the music education profession.” More than 80 professional development clinics were mixed in with multiple concerts. “As a result, music educators benefited, and, as we hope, so will their students, schools, communities, and our culture.”

While final numbers are still being tabulated, based on a significant increase in registration, it’s expected that this show will be a record-breaker, he adds. In spite of the bitter cold and dreary weather, spirits were high among those who came from all over the country to Chicago the week before Christmas for the 63rd Midwest Clinic.

The increase in numbers of participants and exhibitors was not accidental; Senseney credits the boards expanded marketing efforts to get more band directors to the show. He says that there was anecdotal evidence of the effort’s success as board members reported many hands going up on the “How many are here for the first time?” question put before clinics. “We have always thought that once an instrumental music educator attends the conference, there is great probability she or he will return.”

Tim Nail, a band director at Calle Mayor Middle School in Torrance, Calif., is one who has been coming to the conference for more than a decade. “It’s always great, and the clinics they have are so good that sometimes it’s hard to come up [here to the exhibit hall],” he said.

Another enthusiastic attendee was Katharine Jensen of North Las Vegas, where she’s director of bands at Johnston Middle School. “I inherited a weak program across the board,” she says. “There wasn’t much print music, there wasn’t much of anything. So I come here to gather resources and it’s really great for that. It’s also really fun.”

Stefanie Smith came all the way from Brisbane, Australia where she teaches band. She says she had come to this show once before in 2008 and it was “fantastic.” “The expense for all that travel took me a while to come back, but I really like all the clinics. I even went to a marching band one today and we don’t even have marching bands in Australia!” Maybe after this trip, she’ll be the first to launch one? “No, I don’t think my boss would let me!” she laughs.

“The Midwest remains the largest instrumental music conference in the world,” Senseney says. “That’s in part because of the programming, but also because of the tradition of dedicated band, orchestra, and jazz educators gathering in Chicago every December to learn, share, and rededicate themselves to this wonderful profession.”

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