In the Loop
Alumni News : Feb 26, 2015

School of Music educators, alumni and students attend the 2015 FMEA Professional Development Conference

By Nadia Durrani

The 2015 Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) Professional Development Conference was held at the Tampa Convention Center in January and included a reception for University of Florida School of Music alumni. The conference is one of the largest music education development events in the United States. In addition to approximately 250 clinic sessions and concerts, the conference is host to All-State Bands, Orchestras and Choruses, and it is attended by more than 8,000 music students, teachers, directors and supervisors.

In addition to being one of the exhibitors, the School of Music was represented by students, alumni and faculty. Assistant Professor Scott Wilson was invited to serve as the All-State Jazz Band director and performed with the All-State band at the conference. Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of the Online Master of Music in Music Education program Bill Bauer gave a presentation on using technology in band orchestra and choir rehearsals.

“The reception that the School of Music offers is always a highlight because it is about networking and reconnecting with alumni,” said Bauer. “It’s so important, and people look forward to coming back and seeing people that they went to school with and other people that they got to know over the years.”

Barry Houser (BMUSE ’00) has attended the conference a number of times while attending UF and teaching at Buchholz High School in Gainesville. Although he no longer teaches in the state, he continues to return to the conference to take part in the conference’s wonderful offerings.

A big reason for Houser’s return to the conference this year was the opportunity to conduct the FMEA All-State High School Honors Band. “What a fantastic opportunity to return ‘home’ to work with fine musicians from across the state as well as meet some amazing music educators,” said Houser. “This experience, I know, was largely due to the wonderful efforts of several music educators who have impacted my teaching early in my career while teaching at Buchholz High School.”

“The strong connections with the University of Florida School of Music faculty, alumni, as well as other colleagues, continue to impact me in my musical career,” Houser said.

While reflecting on the importance of staying connected with other Gator graduates, Houser said that he and other graduates shared an experience and bond that cannot truly be expressed through words.

“The time I spent on campus are some of my most cherished memories and certainly carry tremendous weight in my daily interactions with others,” said Houser. “By staying involved with other Gator grads, we continue to strengthen that bond and hopefully pass on the connection to current students so that they can also carry on the wonderful Gator tradition.”