Gary Stith

Conductor Emeritus

Education

  • M.Mus., Eastman School of Music (1978)
  • B.Mus., Ohio State University (1972)

Gary Stith taught instrumental music in the Holland and Williamsville Central Schools for a total of thirty years prior to his appointment in 2002 as Coordinator of Music Education and Conductor of the Symphonic Winds at the Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College.  Stepping down from the Symphonic Winds in 2010, he continued to head the music education department at both the undergraduate and graduate level and served one semester as Interim Dean of the Greatbatch School of Music.

During his eight-year tenure as conductor of the Symphonic Winds, the ensemble regularly toured the northeast and performed frequently throughout Western New York and Pennsylvania.  They initiated an annual commissioning project that culminated in the performances of ten premieres and performed under various guest composers and conductors including Frank L. Battisti, Alfred Fabrizio, Col. Lowell Graham, Lowell Lieberman, Edward Lisk, Gregory Rudgers, and Stephen Shewan. In March of 2009, the Houghton College Symphonic Winds were featured in performance at the New York State Band Directors Association Symposium in Syracuse. They also issued a CD recording that year on the Mark Recording label.

From 1979-93, his Williamsville East High School Wind Ensemble received consistent 6A and 6A+ New York State School Music Association ratings, won nine superior “gold” ratings at national music festivals across the northeastern U.S, worked with an impressive list of guest conductors, composers and performers, and made various major state and national convention appearances.  From 1993-2002, he served as Instructional Specialist for the Fine and Performing Arts in the Williamsville Central Schools during which he formed the Williamsville Concert  (Community) Band and established the Williamsville National Commissioning Consortium that resulted in the premiere of major works for wind ensemble by composers Augusta Read Thomas and Lowell Lieberman.

Past President of both the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education (NYSCAME) and the New York State Band Directors Association (NYSBDA), he served a total eighteen years on the faculties of the Bristol Hills Music Camp and the Csehy Summer School of Music. He has been the recipient of a number of awards including the 1976 Northeast Regional American School Band Directors Association-Stanbury Award, the 1976 Holland (NY) “Citizen of the Year” Award, the 1993 “Outstanding Music Educator Award” at the World of Music Festival in Chicago, the 1998 New York State Band Directors Association “Outstanding Service Award,” the 2003 Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra “Award for Excellence in Music Education,” and the 2010-11 Houghton College “Excellence in Teaching Award.”

He has authored articles which have appeared in numerous professional journals and served as Consulting Editor for a compilation entitled Classic Beginning Solos for the Complete Percussionist, published by Kendor Music. He also authored chapters in the New Conductors Anthology and The Drum and Percussion Cookbook. He most recent publications are textbooks entitled Score & Rehearsal Preparation: A Realistic Approach for Instrumental Conductors and The Conductor’s Companion: 100 Rehearsal Techniques, Imaginative Ideas, Quotes and Facts both published by Meredith Music Publications.

A frequent clinician, he has presented sessions on music education, percussion and conducting at state conferences and conventions throughout the country, and in December of 2012 and again in 2018, he was a featured clinician at the Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

Professor Stith also remains a frequent guest conductor at county and regional band festivals and serves regularly as a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) percussion adjudicator.

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