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Episode 118 - Chip De Stefano

Everything Band Podcast

Release Date: 07/01/2019

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Chip De Stefano is an arranger, composer, and the longtime band director at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois. Under his direction, the bands at McCracken have won numerous awards and have twice been invited to perform at the Midwest Clinic.

Topics:

  • Chip’s background and important early experiences in music.
  • The decision to become a music teacher and the support that he receives from his administration and support at McCracken Middle School.
  • Thoughts about creating excellence and some programs that Chip uses as models for his program.
  • The band program at McCracken Middle School.
  • Chip’s experiences at Northwestern.
  • The value of commissions and some of the composers with whom Chip and his students have worked.

Links:

Biography:

Chip De Stefano received both his Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance and Master of Music Education Degrees from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, he studied conducting with John P. Paynter, Steve Peterson, and Don Owens, trombone with Frank Crisafulli and Art Linsner, and music education with Bennett Reimer, Donald Casey, Jim Kjelland, and Peter Webster. Mr. De Stefano was director of the Northwestern University Basketball Band (1994-1996) and the University Jazz Lab Band (1995-1996). In addition to these responsibilities, he assisted with all the office of band’s performing organizations and had conducting appearances with the wind ensemble, symphonic band, trombone ensemble, and marching band.

Mr. De Stefano is currently in his 23rd year as Director of Bands at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois. Under his direction, the McCracken Middle School Symphonic Band has received first division ratings at all district and state organization contests of the Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) and has made multiple appearances at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) All-State Conference, University of Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival (selected as Honor Band eight times), and NAfME North Central Division Conference. In 2006 and 2013 the Symphonic Band received an invitation to present at concert at the Midwest Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference. In the Spring of 2007, the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the McCracken Symphonic Band the prestigious Sudler Silver Cup. Most recently, McCracken Middle School was awarded the National Band Association’s Programs of Excellence “Blue Ribbon” National Award.

Since 2010, Mr. De Stefano has also served as Director of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Chicago, where he prepares the primarily non-music major ensemble for three performances each year.

As a published arranger and composer, Mr. De Stefano has received commissions from the marching bands of Northwestern University, Samford University, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, the University of Idaho and dozens of high schools from across the United States. His works have been performed on ABC’s 1996 Rose Bowl Halftime Show, Live! with Regis and Kathy Lee, and WBBM News Radio 780. Mr. De Stefano’s works are available from FJH Music, LudwigMasters Publications, Grand Mesa Music, Kagarice Brass Editions and DeStefanoMusic.com.

Mr. De Stefano’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Illinois Music Education Association, the National Band Association (Board of Directors, Middle School Representative 2010-2016, 2018-2020, At-Large Representative 2016-2018), the Illinois Grade School Music Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Mr. De Stefano is active nationally as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. He’s conducted honor bands in Singapore, Florida, Georgia, Indiana (scheduled), Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, and throughout Illinois. In addition, he has presented conference sessions at the Midwest Clinic (2008), ILMEA All-State Conference (2003, 2005, 2008, 2016), New England Band Directors Institute (2016), Iowa Bandmasters Conference (2010), Nebraska Music Educators Association State Conference (2011), Arkansas Tech University Band Director Workshop (2013), Illinois State University Band Director Workshop (2012) and DuPage County Music Clinic (2009, 2014). Mr. De Stefano is a recipient of twenty National Band Association Citations of Excellence. He was awarded the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2001, the IGSMA Barbara Buehlmann Young Conductor Award in 2004, the IGSMA Cloyd Meyers Memorial Award in 2011, and the Skokie Award for Artistic Excellence in 2016.