PORTALES—Eastern New Mexico University’s music program has distinguished itself through awards announced by the New Mexico Music Educators' Association (NMMEA) this year. The awards will be presented to Bambi Hays, Wayne Anderson, Jim Young, Robert Myers, David Allen, and Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas at the NMMEA All-State Conference in Albuquerque this January.
Each year the NMMEA presents seven awards to music educators in the state, and this year six of the seven awards have been given to Eastern alumni or faculty. According to Dustin Seifert, the collegiate vice president of the NMMEA, the recipients of the awards are selected by members of the organization’s executive committee.
Seifert, who is also chair of the music department and the director of bands at ENMU, remarked about Eastern’s music program: “It’s the best in the state. The proof is in the pudding; look at how many of our graduates won awards.”
Hays, who received two bachelor’s degrees in music from ENMU, received the Dr. John M. Batcheller Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Music. According to The New Mexico Musician, Hays has taught music in Clovis for 21 years. She has also served as the vice president for the Elementary Division of the NMMEA and is the Tactic Team Leader for “Brain-Based Learning” at Sandia Elementary School.
Anderson, who received his master’s degree in educational administration from Eastern, received the Administrator of the Year Award. Anderson taught chorus at Clovis High School for 24 years, and now is acting Music Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools. The New Mexico Musician states that under Anderson’s leadership, general music education has become part of the core curriculum in elementary schools, and he coordinates a calendar of over 150 musical activities for the Clovis area every year.
Young is the first teacher to receive the Emeritus Teacher Award. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s from Eastern and has taught at several places in New Mexico, including Los Alamos for nine years, and as the director of bands for 18 years in Alamogordo. Even after retirement, Young continues to be involved with music in New Mexico. According to The New Mexico Musician, he often adjudicates bands and gives clinics, and has volunteered to help struggling band programs.
All three Hall of Fame Recipients this year have Eastern ties. Myers, an ENMU alumnus, has taught in Cloudcroft, N.M., since 1990. He also helped to create the New Mexico Small School All-State Band which has given music in smaller schools a boost. Myers also worked to create new music classes at the high school and turn Cloudcroft’s marching band into an award-winning program.
Allen, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s from Eastern, is also a Hall of Fame recipient this year. He has been the head band director in Clayton, Hobbs and Lovington. He has also played with and directed the Southwest Symphony Band and has served as the chairman of the Southeastern Music Educators. Young has also received a Lifetime New Mexico Teaching Certificate.
The final Hall of Fame recipient is Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas, a professor of music at ENMU. Ornellas has served as an adjudicator and site chair for All-State auditions for 23 years. She has performed worldwide in many roles from opera to Broadway and, according to The New Mexico Musician, is very passionate about her love of music, and very dedicated to passing her knowledge onto her students. Ornellas is also listed in the 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century, and Who’s Who Among Teachers 03–05.
“From our point of view, the fact that six of the seven state honorees have close connections to Eastern says something. We believe in what we are doing here, and are very happy that this has happened,” said Michael Sitton, dean of ENMU’s College of Fine Arts.
For more information, call Seifert at 575.562.2671.