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Fair Honors Ensembles History

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In the fall of 1921, Samuel T. Burns, assistant superintendent of schools and director of music education for Medina County Schools, initiated what was to be later called the Medina County Plan. This plan made it possible for Medina County school administrators to secure and retain music teachers, with adequate training and successful experience, to teach in the county schools. Burns’ plan would allow for a comprehensive music program to be built in the Medina County Schools. The Plan made possible a varied and equalized program of music instruction at a moderate cost to each school and a fair degree of specialization in instruction through the employment of well-trained music teachers.

The Plan also called for the organization of honors organizations. A 60-member county honors orchestra, 75-member county honors band, and an honors chorus of over 100 voices were formed from students within the county school system. The students taking part in the ensembles were the most advanced and “best the county could offer.” Rehearsals were centralized and held regularly during the course of the year. Concerts were provided at various times during the school year as well. So successful were those groups that a county music camp was organized for one week during the summer.

The fair ensembles were first organized in 1962 by Del Graff. They died out in the late 1960s and I brought them back in 1982. (4/30/10 e-mail from Marcus)

The summer of 1982 saw a rebirth of Burns’ honors band concept under the leadership of Marcus Neiman, fine arts consultant. In 1990, fair honors orchestras were in place, but only through 1994. The fair honors choirs began in 1992.  As of the 2008 fair season, two bands and two choirs perform as part of the Medina County Fair. Since their rebirth in 1982, 3574 students have participated in the fair honors bands, 1685 students have participated in the fair honors choirs, and 222 students participated in the fair honors orchestras.

A decade later in 1992, the honors band program had grown to include two bands, two choirs, and an orchestra. This year the ensemble offerings include two bands and two choirs. The ensembles are comprised of over 300 students.

The 2008 fair honors staff includes: Pamela Haberkorn, vocal music teacher with Buckeye Local Schools; Amy McArtor, instrumental music teacher with Wadsworth City Schools; Michael McClintock, vocal-general music teacher with Highland Local Schools; Alice Rudolph, band director with Strongsville City Schools; Corey Rudolph, Medina High School student; and Nancy Schneider, _______________________.

Michael McClintock and Pamela Haberkorn will be conducting the Fair Honors Elementary and Youth Choirs, with Nancy Schneider serving as accompanist.  Amy McArtor will be conducting the Fair Honors Elementary and Junior High/Middle School Bands, with Alice Rudolph serving as assistant director and Corey Rudolph serving as band assistant. The honors ensembles are under the supervision of Marcus L. Neiman, Directorof Fine Arts Tours and Festivals for the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center, with Amy McArtor serving as assistant coordinator. Brenda Zacharias, administrative secretary for the Fine Arts Tours and Festivals, is providing logistical assistance.

A special feature this year will be the premier performance of a newly commissioned work in memory of Mrs. Christine Judd, who conducted the Fair Honors Choirs for 15 years. The work was composed by Tadd Russo and inspired by a setting by Adam Judd. The junior high/middle school band and youth choir will perform the commissioned work.

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