Greetings from Southwest Kansas!

by Ryan Partin – Ulysses High School – President, Southwest KMEA District

The Fall semester of the 2022-2023 school year is in full swing! I am extremely excited about the state of music education in Southwest Kansas! 

The Southwest KMEA Summer board meeting was held on June 14th at Dodge City High School. Chairpersons each gave a report to the board, outlining relevant information and/or concerns. All honor ensembles experienced a drop in participation compared to pre-pandemic numbers. We expect to see a rise in participation as we transition back into normal operation. There was also a discussion concerning our district finances. Our district ended our previous couple of years in a deficit. This was due to loss in audition/participation fees for honor groups, added salaries for employees, and other price increases. In an effort to recoup some of the financial losses, the SWKMEA board voted to raise audition fees across the board. We made several adjustments to audition requirements for district honor ensembles. The complete meeting minutes can be found on the Southwest KMEA website:

The Southwest Kansas mentoring day was held on September 18th via Zoom and was hosted by our district mentoring chairperson, Martha Saucedo. There were two new teachers in attendance. Our board shared information regarding how to submit auditions for honor ensembles and also answered a number of questions. The decision was made to host this meeting via Zoom due to the large distances between towns in Southwest Kansas.

Our November mini-convention took place at Dodge City Middle School on Saturday, November 5th. High school jazz band, middle school band, and middle school orchestra honor ensembles performed in the afternoon. The December mini-convention will take place at Dodge City High School on Saturday, December 3rd. High school band and high school choir honor ensembles will both perform. The high school honor orchestra will perform with the Northwest district this year on December 3rd at Fort Hays State University. Lastly, our January mini-convention will take place at Dodge City Middle School on Saturday, January 21st. Elementary choir and middle school choir honor groups will both perform on that day.

 We are excited to welcome the following clinicians for our honor ensembles!

  • High School Band – James McAllister, Kansas Wesleyan University
  • High School Choir – Dr. Terry Crull, Fort Hays State University
  • High School Orchestra (@Hays) –Dr. Leonard Rosario, Kansas Wesleyan University
  • High School Jazz Band –Dr. Craig Treinen, Washburn University
  • Middle School Band –Shawn Martin, Lakin – retired
  • Middle School Choir –Sean Boller, Garden City Community College
  • Middle School Orchestra – Bruce Boyd
  • Elementary Choir –Clark Comley, Sterling

The Southwest district piano competition continued this year on a new date and at a new venue. The Southwest KMEA board voted to move the date and location of the piano festival to Saturday, November 5th at Dodge City Middle School. The winner of the piano competition will perform at our December mini-convention at Dodge City High School on Saturday, December 3rd.

Southwest KMEA is proud to honor the following outstanding music educators in our district!

  • Outstanding High School Music Educator: Erika Clausing – Southwestern Heights
  • Outstanding Middle School Music Educator – Don Regehr – Great Bend
  • Outstanding Elementary Music Educator – Deana Fraley – Healy
  • Honor Administrator – Dr. Virginia Duncan – Garden City High School

I am looking forward to another great year of working with all our amazing music teachers in Southwest Kansas! Our board continues to work hard for all teachers and students in our district, and I am excited for what the future will bring!

For more information on all the events mentioned, please visit the SW KMEA District Website.

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