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West Music Honors Vendors at 2016 Annual Celebration
By West Music Company
3/16/2016 3:30:00 PM  
Coralville, IA - March 16, 2016 –  West Music is proud to announce the recipients of their 2016 Vendor Recognition Awards: Vendor of the Year - The Music People, Vendor Representative of the Year - Danny Smolenski from Alfred Music, and Business Partner of the Year - Music Education Consultants.  These awards were presented at the West Music Annual Celebration in February 2016.

“The Annual Celebration is the one time of the year where we are able to gather all of the West Music associates from every department and division. It is a truly meaningful time where we celebrate our accomplishments from the last year and look forward to the next as well as have a little fun. This Annual Celebration was especially meaningful, as we kicked off celebrating our 75th anniversary. We took a moment to look back at how far we’ve come and to celebrate the vendor and associates that have made everything possible.  All of our awards are nominated and determined by West Music associates, truly reflecting the hard work and recognized contributions everyone has made. These award winners have truly gone above and beyond in their commitment and efforts when they work with us and our associates.” said Ryan West, Senior Vice President of West Music.

                                                                                                                                     Vendor of the Year

The Vendor of the Year Award was presented to The Music People by Kyle Ware, West Music Combo Merchandise Manager. This award is given to the vendor or supplier who aligns themselves as a partner and resource for West Music as both companies look to fulfill their missions and values in the workplace. Sharon Hennessey, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of The Music People. Ware works closely with The Music People on a on a number of projects, including merchandising, pricing, and fulfillment on a number of unique products. Ware said of The Music People,

"The Music People continue to find solutions at incredible prices for West Music. They are easy to work with and get us great product at a great price. Communication is fast and efficient, and their distribution side is expanding so much that they are covering more and more products. The Music People are simply, a pleasure to work with.”

                                                                                                                     Vendor Representative of the Year

The Vendor Representative of the Year Award was presented to Mr. Danny Smolenski of Alfred Music, by Marcia Fuller, West Music Print Music and Special Order Merchandise Manager. The Vendor Representative of the Year recognizes the individual who works closely with the West Music team, providing training, tools, and the resources necessary to exceed their customers’ needs. An effective vendor representative is thought of as a member of the West Music team, and has a clear vision when working together as true partners, expanding the existing market by actively promoting products and participation in music. Fuller said of Mr. Smolenski,

"Danny is a great rep who is enthusiastic about his job and you can hear how genuinely excited he is to share Alfred information with us. He regularly contacts us to see if there is anything he can do for us to help promote products or if we have any questions for him. Danny is on top of our orders, assuring that we get them quickly and that our customers get what they need as soon as possible, making us look great in the process. Danny makes sure we receive the best deal possible on Alfred products,; he’ll even send a sample copy of a product to a teacher who is helping to promote any Alfred product.  Whether the music is for an honor choir, a convention, our catalog, or a customer, Danny is always willing to go the extra mile for us, all in an effort for us to best serve our customers. In all, Danny just goes “above and beyond” for us – from calling on a regular basis, to keeping us updated on new products, to helping us get product to our customers, to visiting us in person, he is awesome. Danny is a true asset to Alfred Music and he exemplifies our West Music core values – he plays well with others, he is willing to seek out and try new promotional opportunities while making sure all parties get a “good deal”, he is passionate about his products, he serves with integrity, and it’s obvious from working with him that building and maintaining meaningful relationships is at the heart of what he does.”

                                                                                                                            Business Partner of the Year

Finally, the award of Business Partner of the Year was presented to Music Education Consultants, based in Las Vegas, Nevada and the award was accepted by Marcia and Keith Neel. Well-known for their commitment to program expansion and innovation, Music Education Consultants is recognized as a leader in the music industry for their creative approaches to music curriculum design and implementation. West Music President and CEO, Robin Walenta, spoke highly of Music Education Consultants:

“Marcia Neel served as the Supervisor of the Secondary Music Education Program of the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1994 through 2007. As her legacy, she will be known for creating one of the most successful standards-based Mariachi Programs in the country. Instituted in 2002 this program has grown from 4 instructors and 250 students to now being staffed with twenty-three (23) full-time, licensed mariachi educators teaching over 3,500 students daily. It was because of her success with this program that she and I met. She was presenting a band recruitment and retention session at NASMD in March 2009 on behalf of the Music Achievement Council. During her presentation she showed a video of a Mariachi performance in Clarke County and I remember being amazed by the audience participation during the concert. The auditorium was packed and not one audience member was sitting, they were standing and singing along with the students as they performed. I said to myself - I need to learn more! It was at the Midwest Convention the following December that Marcia and I had a chance to sit down and dream about the future of school music programs and discover what we could do to remove all barriers for participation.

Keith Neel is the stage manager to the team. Behind the scenes he quietly goes about making sure every event goes off without a hitch. When West Music is at one of their sponsored events, Keith has worked with the event center staff to assure our products and presentations are top notch. When we arrive, Keith has already set up our booths with stunning displays. Keith is also the master chef of the team, famous for his prime rib, he keeps the team well feed with his creative culinary talents.

It has been an incredible journey, as we continue to educate administrators, directors, and community members in towns across the country on the importance of School Music Mariachi. Music Education Consultants work tirelessly to bring more students to music-making through hands-on, high quality experiences provided by a sequential curriculum that focuses on achievement. Their greatest joy is to see young people excelling as a result of becoming engaged in these types of life-changing music education programs.

Tags: Vendor, award, The Music People, Danny Smolenski, Alfred Music, Music Education Consultants, Sharon Hennessey, Marcia and Keith Neel
Categories: Company Culture
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Meet Our Repair Team - Mark Fiagle: West Music Coralville
By West Music Company
3/11/2016 8:43:00 AM  

Mark Fiagle is a Brass and Woodwind Instrument Repair Specialist at the West Music Coralville location. He's been with West Music since 1986, and specializes in saxophone, flute and bassoon repair and is qualified to work on all brands of Woodwind instruments. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1981 with a degree in Music Performance and attended Red Wing Vo-Tech in 1985-86, where he gathered experience working on both woodwind and brass instruments. Mark enjoys traveling with his family, as well as volunteering at his church.

If you have an instrument in need of repair, contact Mark at West Music Coralville by calling 800.373.2000 or 319.351.2000!

Tags: mark figale, repair, brass, maintenance
Categories: Band & Orchestra, West Music Coralville
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West Music’s Residency Sponsorship Shows The Power of Music Therapy
By West Music Company
3/10/2016 10:21:00 AM  

The music therapy discipline is a fundamental and highly respected element of care for people with dementia, developmental and learning disabilities, brain injuries, and many other conditions—and the University of Iowa School of Music has contributed in important ways to its growth, through training therapists and conducting foundational research.

Rhapsodie String Quartet
The Rhapsodie String Quartet of the Madison Symphony Orchestra

Later this month, the UI and eastern Iowa community will have a chance to learn  about a successful music therapy-informed program, when the UI and West Music team up to bring the Madison Symphony Orchestra's HeartStrings program—a community engagement initiative that serves children and adults with special needs—for a two-day residency.

The MSO's Rhapsodie String Quartet will host a free, public "Under the Hood" program in the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall from 12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. The event will feature the Rhapsodie String Quartet, MSO Director of Community Engagement Kathryn Schwarzmann, MSO music therapist Laurie Farnan, and UI music and music therapy educators.

"Anyone with an interest in music with special populations will find the Under the Hood event a fascinating exploration of the development of the MSO's HeartStrings program," said Mary Adamek, head of the Music Therapy Area of the UI School of Music.

During their residency, the Rhapsodie String Quartet will also perform in a specially designed HeartStrings program for residents of Iowa City's Oaknoll Retirement Residence and their families. The Oaknoll session will be closed to the public.

The residency is co-sponsored by the UI Music Therapy Program, the UI String Quartet Residency Program, the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and West Music.

About HeartStrings

HeartStrings is the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s award-winning, music therapy-informed community engagement program that serves children and adults with special needs, including developmental and physical disabilities, long-term illnesses, assisted living needs, and dementia.

The program aims to serve participants by enhancing their quality of life and overcoming the barrier presented by concert halls by bringing live, high-quality classical music to them through a series of highly participatory music sessions.

HeartStrings is presentedby the MSO’s Rhapsodie Quartet at community partner locations which include healthcare facilities, state institutions, and retirement communities.

Tags: University of Iowa School of Music, Madison Symphony Orchestra, HeartStrings, Rhapsodie String Quartet, under the hood, Kathryn Schwarzmann, MSO, Laurie Farnan, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
Categories: Music Therapy, Music Advocacy
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Meet Our Repair Team - Tim Oldre: West Music Cedar Falls
By West Music Company
3/2/2016 3:19:00 PM  

Tim Oldre is a Band and Orchestra Instrument Repair Specialist at the West Music Cedar Falls location. He's a 2005 graduate from Northwestern College with a Bachelor degree in music. Tim is also a 2006 graduate from Minnesota State Technical College with a degree in instrument repair. Tim repairs band instruments in Cedar Falls with an emphasis on brass instruments. As a trombone and tuba player, Tim has kept active in the community playing his horns. Tim is also active in his church helping with the sound system.

If you have an instrument in need of repair, contact Tim at West Music Cedar Falls by calling 800.248.7004 or 319.277.1000!

Tags: Tim oldre, repair, cedar falls, trombone, tuba, brass, Minnesota State Technical College,
Categories: West Music Cedar Falls, Company Culture
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Des Moines Teacher Feature: Asia Brutian-Grant
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Asia Brutian-Grant was born in Yerevan, Armenia to a musical family. Her father was a professional cellist, and her grandmother was a professional pianist and composer. Her father’s family included professional musicians, artists, and sculptors. The Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Armenia was named after her great-grandfather.
Asia began her education at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. Her musical training since first grade was heavily focused on technique, tone, articulation, the art of performance, theory, and music critique. After graduating with a Bachelors of Music degree she was accepted into the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory. She studied under Anahit Bogdanian, who was a pupil of the legendary Professor Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory. While in school, Asia performed numerous solos, with chamber ensembles, orchestras, and stood out for her musicality and a unique tone. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy at the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory.

Dr. Grant continued teaching at Music Schools in Yerevan, and also at the Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Yerevan, Armenia. Asia is one of the most sought-after piano instructors. Under her tutelage, students have won competitions and were prepared to be accepted to Conservatory. Upon moving to USA, she was performing with solo and duo concerts. She was immediately in high demand to instruct Master Classes. She has been a resident of Sioux Falls, SD since 1994.

Dr. Grant has served as a President for Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association (SFAMTA), and is an active MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) member. Has volunteered with Solo Piano Concerts for the Good Samaritan, and Dow Rummel Villages, and has performed monthly solos at Lincoln Hills Bible Church.

In March 2012 Asia founded the annual Grant Piano Competition. Students from Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas are rewarded cash prizes. The goal of the Annual Grant Piano Competition is to give the young pianist an opportunity to sharpen their performing skills and reward them for their hard work.

Asia speaks fluent English, Armenian, Russian, and some Spanish.

Learn more about taking lessons! Call West Music at 800-373-2000, or visit looking4lessons.com to schedule your first class online.

Tags: P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children, Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Anahit Bogdanian, Lev Naumov, Moscow Conservatory, Piano Pedagogy, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association, SFAMTA, MTN, Music Teachers National Association,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Des Moines Piano Gallery
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Quad Cities Teacher Feature: Wes Weeber
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Wes Weeber has been a full-time professional musician for over 15 years. He has studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and in the private hands of Virgil Donati, Mike Mangini, Terry Hanson and Edgar Crockett.  He has been teaching for 17 years and has taught at West Music Quad Cities for 12 of them.

Currently, Wes is the founder/vocalist/core songwriter for Drama Major. Wes also leads a high energy top 40 outfit called Wes Weeber’s Broke*ss Sellouts and is the singer for the acoustic duo The Chris & Wes Show.

Wes currently maintains a 30+ student per week schedule teaching drum set, percussion and college prep. He is also averaging as much as averaging 150+ performances per year. He believes in catering to the educational needs and desires of each student as an individual.  He is excited to announce his newest project of creating his own online teaching facility that will be an extension to his West Music Quad Cities studio.

In addition to his busy teaching schedule, Wes enjoys playing football, reading, practicing, writing and spending time with his kids.

Learn more about lessons with Wes!

Tags: wes weeber, berklee, percussion, drum
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Quad Cities
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Marion March 2016 Musician of the Month: Jeff Henderson
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Jeff Henderson is an adaptive lesson drum student of Rosemary Riesberg MT-BC. He has been studying with Rosemary for 7 months. Rosemary nominated Jeff for Musician of the Month because he demonstrates a high level of musicianship and plays complex rhythms on the drums as I play and sing his favorite Classic Rock repertoire. He knows the lyrics of many songs and sings along with accuracy. He brings enthusiasm to his lessons and beams as we make music together. Jeff is a wonder!!! In many ways, he is so gifted!! Jeff is employed by REM RDS and one of his musical goals is self-control.

Congratulations, Jeff! Keep up the great work!

Tags: Rosemary riesberg, percussion, drums
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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Urbandale March 2016 Musician of the Month: Mikayla Jensen
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Mikayla Jensen has been studying piano with Janet Winship for 2 years at the West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale. She is in 5th grade and also plays the flute. Janet says "Mikayla does not shy away from the work that needs to be done to achieve a beautiful sound and welcomes music that challenges her abilities with a cheerful and hopeful attitude. She is a delight to teach."

Mikayla's other musical goals include learning to play the guitar. Her advice to other musicians is that music is something you can do at any age, so don't give up. Mikayla is involved in her school's band, plays in piano festivals, plays basketball, and swims. She also likes to sing, play video games, and draw. Mikayla's favorite styles of music are jazz, pop, and country.

It may surprise you to learn that Mikayla has traveled to Colorado and went body surfing in the Gulf of Mexico!

Congratulations, Mikayla! Great job!

Tags: janet winship, piano gallery
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Des Moines Piano Gallery
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Coralville March 2016 Musician of the Month: Hazen Addis
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  

Hazen Addis is in the 2nd grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Iowa City.  He has been studying piano with Alice Golden at West Music for 3 ½ years. Hazen has accomplished the amazing goal of 400 consecutive days of practice!  “I’m going for 1000 days in a row, and I might just keep going!”  In addition, he has memorized 100 songs.  Wow!!

Hazen’s advice to other musicians is “Practice every day – it makes you so you can memorize stuff and get better.”

His favorite musician is Mozart and “all kinds of different stuff.”  He loves to play the piano because there are so many notes and lots of different sounds.  Hazen is also involved in chess club, ice skating, soccer, drumming and biking.  His other interests are:

“Nature – being quiet in the woods so you can hear lots of animals, and sitting still outside so you can see lots of chipmunks and birds.”

“Art, especially printing.  I’ve done monotypes, collagraphs, printing with a soft linoleum block, and also printing with a metal plate on a printing press.  I have been printmaking since I was 4.”

Congratulations, Hazen! 

Tags: alice golden, piano lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville March 2016 Musician of the Month: Josie Fullenkamp
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Josie Fullenkamp is 10 years old and has been taking violin lessons with Gayla Drake at West Music for almost three years. She plays in the school orchestra, also plays flute in her school band and loves all music! 

Her teacher has this to say about Josie:
Josie is a very inspiring person to work with. She loves the violin so much that she once said, upon entering the String Shop, "Ahh, the smell of my people!" She has really helped to shape my studio into a community through her introduction of Notey the Naughty Dog cartoon and fan club. I feel so lucky to spend time with her every week.

Josie’s musical goal is to play the violin fast and with fluency.  She loves music because of “the vibe and how you react.  It is like the wind is music and you are a willow tree.” Her advice to other musicians is to never stop doing what you love most. Her favorite music is from Les Misérables, Hamilton, Lindsey Sterling plus other pop, classics and hip hop hits. 

A busy 5th grader - Josie also enjoys skiing, drawing, dancing, kickball and reading “The Warrior” series. She is a fan of wolves (and huskies), mountains and loves spending time with friends and family (including her dog, Jake). She often draws her cartoon characters and music lessons on the studio white-board at lessons. “I enjoy drawing the musical sensation of West Music, Notey the Dog!”

Congratulations, Josie! Great job!

Tags: violin, gayla drake, lesson, conservatory,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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