Cleburne ISD middle school band directors Keith Davis and Matthew Hiller are also musicians in their own right as members of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra.
The teachers recently had the opportunity to mix business with pleasure as participants and performers at The Midwest Clinic music education conference, held Dec. 19-22 in Chicago.
The Midwest Clinic is considered the world’s largest music education conference, drawing thousands of students, teachers and musicians from across the U.S. and 40 countries. The purpose of the clinic is to raise the standards of music education and develop new teaching techniques and strategies through a series of clinics, lectures and concert performances.
As members of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Hiller, who is a bassoonist, and Davis, who plays the clarinet, were among the featured performing groups which also included the United States Air Force Band, the University of Missouri’s St. Louis Jazz Ensemble and the University of Houston Moores School Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra — and keynote speaker and guest performer, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Middle and high school and college honor bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles were also featured.
“It was a pretty big honor to be invited,” said Hiller, who directs the band program at Smith MS. “We were given an evening performance time as the last event of the night, which made it an extra special honor.”
“We had over 2,500 people in the audience and received three standing ovations — which is a lot from the caliber of audiences at this convention.”
As members of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, their concert appearance was taken to an even higher level as teachers and performers, with the opportunity to work with Leonard Slatkin, music director of the Detroit Symphony. Slatkin served as the guest conductor for one of the pieces performed by the North Texas orchestra.