BY BOBBIE HAYSE Messenger-Inquirer Oct 25, 2015
The name of Steven Pederson’s game is recruiting.
Much like the care one would take in building a college football team, the director of bands at Kentucky Wesleyan College has steadily been growing the school’s music program since arriving at the school four and a half years ago.
When he first arrived, there were seven people signed up for the music program.
Now, the program has grown to more than 75 members — a feat he attributes to investing time and sincerity in area high school bands.
“Now we have a top college concert group,” Pederson said. “We have pep band, drum line, brass quintet, a full orchestra.”
Kevin Callihan, formerly of Apollo High School, has recently joined the program as assistant director of bands.
Callihan said another important aspect of growing an instrumental program is having successful graduates.
“Then when other teachers see that someone graduated from KWC and is doing well, that’s going to continue to help our reputation among the music community,” he said.
Students are very close to their high school band directors, and Callihan and Pederson both want the KWC music program to be one to which area high school band directors refer their students.
“Owensboro is a very good place for music,” Callihan said. “Now there’s a viable option for students in Owensboro schools to stay in Owensboro and go to school and get a good music experience.”
Pederson said he visits several of the area high schools multiple times a year and tries to form a good relationship with the directors and students.
“They have to get to know me, they have to trust me, they have to see what I can do to help their program,” he said. “And that has to be sincere.”
The KWC instrumental program includes a wind ensemble and honors wind ensemble, concert band, pep band, jazz band, competitive drumline and strings. Several area directors and high school musicians perform with the wind ensemble in addition to KWC faculty and staff.
The wind ensemble is a big draw for recruiting students as well, Callihan said, adding that high school students appreciate the opportunity to play pieces they ordinarily wouldn’t have the chance to play during their regular performances.
For more information about the band program, contact Pederson at 859-333-8666 or Callihan at 606-923-6309.