1946 – The Instrumentalist
In 1946 Traugott Rohner decided he could produce a better publication for school band and orchestra directors. At the time he directed a junior high and a high school orchestra every day and taught instrumental music at three grade schools and several classes at Northwestern University for future band and orchestra directors.
1954 – Sousa Award
In the fall of 1954 he came to the conclusion that band students deserved the same recognition their classmates earned on the athletic fields. He created the John Philip Sousa Band Award with the approval of Sousa’s daughters, who commented at the time that “young people and school band music were very close to the heart of our father.” The inital purpose of the award was “to honor the top band student with an outstanding award, and to promote the welfare of both school bands and instrumental music.” For 62 years the Sousa award has been the preeminent recognition of excellence in a high school band. At conventions directors often mention that the day they received the Sousa award was the highlight of their high school experience, and was for many the event that set them on the path to become a band director. Over the years our editorial staff has included many Sousa winners (two at this time). Louis and Woody From that beginning, an award for orchestra students followed in 1960, for choral students in 1964, and for junior high band students in 1973.
Later additions were the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, the Woody Herman Jazz Award, and the Patrick S. Gilmore Award. New Additions Several years ago we added the National School Marching Award and recently the Director’s Award for Chorus evolved into the Fred Waring Director’s Award for Chorus. Fred Waring (1900-1984) was a renowned choral director for many years and had a long-running television program.
2009 - Parent/Booster Awards and The Quincy Jones Award
This year we are pleased to announce two new awards. The parent/booster awards allow directors to thank those people who help make the program a success. With the approval of Quincy Jones, we now offer an award to honor outstanding students for their creativity and musicianship.
We also publish Flute Talk for advanced students, teachers, professional flutists, and adult amateurs and Piano Explorer magazine for piano students.