Tanya Bennett, a veteran Orchestra Teacher, has been a member of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association throughout her 27 years in education. In 1993, Ms. Bennett achieved her Bachelor of Music Education degree and in 2001, she achieved a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After beginning her music teaching career at Faith Christian Academy and then briefly in Walled Lake, Ms. Bennett founded the Winans Academy Orchestra program in 1999. She continued building the program for nearly 20 years teaching orchestra students from around the Detroit metropolitan area. Her students have consistently participated in the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association District and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Throughout her teaching career, Ms. Bennett earned a Music Educator Fellowship from Northwestern University in 2010 which merited her the opportunity to learn about some of the most current teaching practices of the time. In 2013, Ms. Bennett was awarded the National Artist Teacher Fellowship award which granted her the opportunity to study improvisation string techniques around the United States. As a result, she attended the Mark O’Conner Camp at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and also studied Cello in Appleton, Wisconsin with Matt Turner.
As a private Cello Teacher, Ms. Bennett has consistently taught cello throughout the Detroit community. Some of her former students are teaching Orchestra around the metropolitan Detroit community. Her private Cello students have been accepted into college programs including Wayne State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan just to name a few.
Ms. Bennett conducted for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for ten years and has encouraged and prepared students to attend the camp and has also prepared students to travel internationally through the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International program.
Ms. Bennett, is within her 3rd year at Renaissance High School in Detroit and is loving it! Last school year the Renaissance students having continued successfully participating in the MSBOA District festival achieved Superior and Excellent ratings at Solo and Ensemble Festival and an Excellent rating at the District festival. One of the Renaissance Bass students was also chosen to perform in the All State High School Orchestra in Grand Rapids.
Patti Kilgore has been lucky enough to have spent 29 years as a music educator, with a career that spans from elementary through the university level. For the past 21 years, she has taught in Livonia Public Schools, and directs orchestra and bands at Holmes Middle School and 9-12 orchestra at Churchill High School.
Participation at the Solo & Ensemble festival is embraced enthusiastically at both the middle and high school levels. Ensembles under Patti's direction have earned consistently high ratings for performance at MSBOA Band & Orchestra festival.
A chamber music program is integrated into both the orchestra and band curriculum, and facilitates a number of student-led small ensembles that provide music for a variety of school functions throughout the year.
Patti's first orchestra at Holmes in 2007 had 9 members. Thirteen years later, the number has grown to 60 student musicians. Patti credits the growth of her programs to her love of music, recruitment in the hallways during passing time, and the ensemble she started, which was comprised of the parents of orchestra and band students.
Thirteen years strong, this ensemble functions as the "house band" at concerts, providing music during set changes, and reminding students that playing music can always be a part of your life.
Outside of school, Patti directs the Livonia Youth Symphony Orchestra, and maintains an active performance schedule as a jazz and classical musician.
This is Amanda's 8th year of teaching in Midland Public Schools. She's teaching 5th grade Orchestra at Siebert Elementary; 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Orchestra at Jefferson Middle School; and both Concert and Symphonic Orchestras at Dow High School. The Symphonic Orchestra functions as both a string and full orchestra. Since Amanda has taken the reins of this program, it has grown both in size and musicianship.
For several years, Amanda has been taking Jefferson 8th grade Orchestra, and both Dow High Concert and Symphonic Orchestras to the District Band & Orchestra Festival. Her groups consistently earn high ratings.
Amanda has very high percentages of student enrollment in Solo & Ensemble Festival, both at middle and high school levels. Her high school students go on to both State S & E, and qualify for Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Her students at both middle and high school levels qualify annually for the Michigan All-State Orchestra. Her students also participate in (and win!) other state and national solo events, and have performed at Carnegie Hall.
Amanda grew up in Bad Axe, where she participated in her school's band program on oboe, baritone, and tuba. She started her orchestra studies at the Flint Institute of Music (FIM)/School of Performing Arts at a young age. Through FIM, she has performed with her violin all over the world, making musical contacts everywhere she goes. She has also taught orchestra classes at FIM on weekends and during the summer.
Amanda earned her BME from Grand Valley State University, and is currently working toward her MME at the University of Michigan.
Amanda currently serves as the 4th Vice-President of Orchestral Activities for MSBOA District 5. She's also a member of other string organizations, such as MASTA.
Amanda is a phenomenal colleague -- she's detail-oriented, dependable, and a fabulous collaborator. She works with many musical members of the community, bringing her students opportunities through Midland Center for the Arts, local colleges, and many more. She has brilliant educational ideas, and is more than willing to share the wealth. She's encouraging to both students and colleagues - truly wants the very best for everyone. A joy to work with!