Gary Stewart-School of Arts and Letters Spring 2019 Spotlight on Faculty Success

Gary StewartMr. Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Music. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Music from Marshall University in Huntington WV.  Following many years of teaching at the high school level, Mr. Stewart joined the Rio faculty, where he teaches coursework in Music, Music Education, and conducts the Symphonic Band. He has taught at Rio since the fall of 2001.

How did you choose a career in your Music?  I have always loved music and had success playing the trumpet. My mother played piano and my older brother and sister were both in the band so I was exposed to music all my life. I had recordings of the band and would stand in front of a mirror and conduct what I heard at an early age. The local band director was a mentor to me and encouraged my talents.

What’s your favorite memory of your career as a student?  As a student I was promoted to first chair/soloist early in Junior/ Senior High School and while a senior at Wahama High School, was selected as a first chair trumpet in the WV All-State Band. The band per-formed not only throughout WV but went on tour during the summer months performing in many surrounding states.

What are your research or professional interests?  My professional interests are all centered on Music Education and Instrument Music. I have always served on adjudication panels in WV and OH spending most of my fall weekends judging Marching Band Festivals in both states.

What was your first “big break”?  I have had many big breaks in my teaching career and seemed to have been in the right place at the right time. My first teaching job at Hannan High School in Mason County came to me during my senior year in college and after one year was promoted to the largest school in the county, Point Pleasant High School. Upon retirement, 34 years later, the University of Rio Grande approached me and needed a band director, assistant professor in the music department, a brass teacher, and supervisor for summer band camps.

What are some of your greatest or most recent professional achievements?  The greatest achievement in my career was being inducted in the WV Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2000.

What subjects do you teach?  I teach Music Appreciation, Music in the Classroom for the Early Childhood Education students, Brass Methods, Marching Band Techniques, Private Trumpet lessons, AYA Instrumental Music Methods, Instrument Literature, Conducting], Experiencing Music for Graduate Students, Direct the Symphonic Band and supervise student teachers.

What is your favorite course to teach at Rio…and why?  Directing the Symphonic Band is the most rewarding because of past experience in the field. It is second nature to me, I can’t remember when I have not had a band to conduct daily and it gives me pleasure.

What’s the best part of teaching?  The best part of teaching is to see students grow in their abilities to see a new piece of music and help them figure it out and perform the piece. It is like a farmer planting a seed and watching it grow.

What is your:

Favorite movie: Mr. Holland’s Opus

Favorite musician: Wynton Marsalis, Maynard Ferguson and Doc Severinsen

Favorite food: Seafood, especially salmon, lobster and Alaskan crab legs

If you could move anywhere, where would you go? Myrtle Beach or Key West, FL

Favorite quote: “Choose a career you love and you will never work a day in your life”

If you couldn’t have a career in your discipline, what would you do for a living?  I would have a full time career in real estate.

What are your hobbies (outside your professional activity)? Performing with my quintet for Latin dance clubs and managing my rental apartments, following and caring for my five grandchildren ages 5-27.

Do you share your home with family or pets? I live with my wife Linda and a small shih-tzu dog, Angel.

What’s the one thing that most people don’t know about you? I teach for the fun of it, and I invest in real estate to make money!

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