by Greg Bergman, 2021-2023 SCKMEA President

The South Central District started the 2022-2023 school year with a Kick-off event at Newton High School on August 27. Attendees enjoyed a light breakfast and heard updates about the many activities and opportunities sponsored by KMEA and SCKMEA. Breakout sessions allowed band/jazz, choir, orchestra, and general music teachers to discuss items pertinent to their particular areas. Following these meetings, the SCKMEA Board gathered to make plans for upcoming events.

On October 22nd, the SCKMEA Elementary Choir Concert and Clinic were held at Christa McAuliffe Academy in Wichita. The Honor Choir was directed by Don Gray, and Lauren Hirsch led a workshop for teachers in attendance. November 5 was the date for live high school auditions, as well as the rehearsals and performances of the High School Jazz Bands, Middle School Honor Band, and Middle School Honor Choir. Eisenhower High School and Explorer Elementary School in Goddard hosted these events. Our conductors were Jim Pisano, 1234A Jazz Band; Nick Schroeder, 56A Jazz Band; Corderyl Martin, MS Honor Band; and Ryan Beeken, MS Honor Choir.

The SCKMEA Mini-Convention was held at Wichita East High School on Saturday, December 3. The general meeting and lunch were well attended. Martha Gabel, KMEA Past President, and NAfME Southwestern Division President-Elect brought news and greetings from our state and national organizations. Conductors for the high school honor ensembles were Maria Ellis, Treble Choir; Robert Sinclair, Mixed Choir; Andrew Chybowski, 1234A Band; Peter Lillpopp, 56A Band; and Lee Alexander, Orchestra. At the concerts, two $300 scholarships were presented to Seniors who will be pursuing music after graduation: Alex Young of Peabody-Burns HS (instrumental) and Isabel Brownlee of Sterling HS (vocal).

Three SCKMEA award winners were recognized at their schools in late October. Shelby Unruh, vocal and general music teacher at St. Mary Catholic School in Newton, was named Outstanding Elementary Music Educator. The award for Outstanding High School Music Educator was presented to Todd Hollis, band director at Augusta High School. Tim Hamblin, Derby High School principal, was honored with the Outstanding Administrator award at a staff meeting where members of the Derby HS Band contributed to the celebration.

The 2023-2025 SCKMEA officers, including President James Hollingsworth, and ensemble chairpeople, are committed to doing their best to serve the music students and teachers of South Central Kansas. Stay tuned!

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