JTHS Band Directors selected for International Bandmasters’ Fraternity

1/24/2018, 10:35 a.m.
Joliet Central High School Band Director Don Stinson and Joliet West High School Band Director Eric Wellman have been selected ...

Joliet Central High School Band Director Don Stinson and Joliet West High School Band Director Eric Wellman have been selected for membership in the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters’ Fraternity.

Phi Beta Mu is a non-profit fraternity organized to recognize and honor outstanding band directors worldwide, to promote good fellowship among its members, and to encourage the building of better bands throughout the world. Members benefit from their participation in this networking opportunity for leading band directors.

To be accepted into the organization, applicants must be sponsored and participate in a thorough screening process. Members of Phi Beta Mu must have:

• Hold at least five years of experience as a school band director

• Presently (or has been) a conductor of a consistently superior performing band

• Evidence of leadership contributions to the progress of the band profession

• Character morally and ethically beyond reproach

Stinson said, “It’s very humbling to be invited into a national fraternity such as Phi Beta Mu. I’m thankful for the honor, and it will certainly encourage me to continue working as hard as I can for the school and community that has given me so much. Mr. Wellman and I work in hands-down the absolute best city for band programs, and I’m appreciative for the all of the opportunities that our schools allow our students.”

Wellman said, “I am very honored to be invited to join Phi Beta Mu. This organization will continue to help us as educators bring musical opportunities to all our students and I look forward to learning much from my fellow members. Along with Mr. Stinson I feel that this opportunity is another way for us to improve the already outstanding band programs present in Joliet District 204.”

Stinson and Wellman will be inducted during the Illinois state music conference in Peoria, IL, at the end of January.

About Don Stinson, Joliet Central High School Band Director: Don Stinson is the Director of Bands at Joliet Central High School, only the fifth director in the band’s 106 year history. Under his direction, the program has received a grant from the Give a Note Foundation and received a NAMM Foundation SupportMusic Merit Award for excellence in music education. In 2017, the symphonic band was selected to participate in the prestigious University of Illinois Superstate Festival, and in 2018, the band will travel to the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Tennessee.

Don graduated from Joliet Central High School in 2002. During his time as a student at Joliet Central, he performed as first trumpet with the Joliet Central Symphonic Band under the direction of Mr. Ted Lega, and was selected as an Illinois All-State Honors Musician. As a senior, Don was named “Mr. J” in 2002 as a representation of the most well-rounded and involved student at Joliet Central High School.

Mr. Stinson’s ensembles have consistently earned superior ratings, and have attended the Illinois SuperState Contest three times, once as honor band. He holds three Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association, is a 2017 CMA Music Teacher of Excellence, a twice-named Grammy Music Educator Quarterfinalist, a Conn-Selmer VIP for Music Education, and is a National Board Certified teacher. As a service to the profession, he hosts the music education podcast “The Bandmasters,” found at www.thebandmasters.com.

About Eric Wellman, Joliet West High School Band Director: Eric Wellman is in his 4th year as Director of Bands at Joliet West High School where he directs the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, and the Marching Tigers. Prior to coming to Joliet, Mr. Wellman spent 14 years as Director of Bands at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, IL. Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Illinois Music Educators Conference, the Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival, the Illinois SuperState Festival on multiple occasions, and this March the Symphonic Band will be performing at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.

Mr. Wellman is a member of NAfME, ILMEA, the Vic Firth Educational Team and the Percussive Arts Society. He graduated with a music education degree from Illinois State University and received his Master’s degree from the Vandercook College of Music. He currently lives in Joliet with his wife Kathy and their beautiful daughters Elizabeth and Claire. (both of whom will one day be part of the Joliet West Music Program!)