NSSBE Conference 2019
28 March 2019
On Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, 2019, the National Society of Steel Band Educators held its second annual professional conference on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The conference was a success, drawing attendees from across the nation. A number of vendors in the steel band industry sponsored booths, offering products including instruments, supporting equipment, and sheet music.
The conference followed a similar format to last year’s event, with six sessions covering diverse topics. Matt Dudack, artistic director of the University of Akron Steel Drum Band, demonstrated his approach to teaching technique on the various pan voices. Patty Dee, director of steel bands at Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo, California, led an interactive discussion on community-based steel bands. Rounding out the morning sessions, a number of panelists, moderated by Dr. Brandon Haskett, discussed the contributions to the steel band art form in the United States by two of the most important and influential figures in the discipline: Clifford Alexis, and Ellie Mannette.
In the afternoon, Professor Liam Teague of Northern Illinois University discussed his approach to composing and performing music in a variety of settings, from chamber music to Panorama.
Two clinicians, Yuko Asada and Dr. Anthony Hailey, worked with the Walnut Hills High School Steel Band in an open rehearsal format, so that attendees could view their respective teaching methods and strategies. Finally, Liam Teague joined the Walnut Hills High ensemble, led by director Mike Wendeln, in a closing concert performance.
As with the inaugural conference in 2018, this year’s event brought people together from various backgrounds and environments, to share ideas, meet and greet one another, and to celebrate the vibrancy of the steel band community in the United States.