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I was excited this summer to sit down with Scott Casagrande, Director of Bands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL. Scott has some fantastic sounding ensembles, and has been a great help to me when I've reached out with questions about literature selection and teaching techniques.
On this episode, Scott discusses his musical upbringing, resources for selecting literature, and assessment in music. Scott also talks about the many resources we have as music teachers, including the National Band Association, which is a particular passion of his. You can find out more about the National Band Association by visiting their website at https://nationalbandassociation.org/. Their recommended music list is especially helpful, and as soon as I said goodbye to Scott after our recording, I started combing through it again in anticipation of next school year.
I hope you enjoy and learn from this episode with Scott Casagrande!
Scott J. Casagrande has been Director of Bands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL since 1999. He was previously Director of Bands at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, IL and Stephen Decatur High School in Decatur, IL. A native of Fairfax County, VA, Mr. Casagrande received his B.S. and M.S. in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Ensembles under Mr. Casagrande’s direction have been selected to perform at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic (concert and jazz), 19 of the last 20 Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festivals (Honor Band three times) and four National Concert Band Festivals. His bands have been consistent winners in all marching and jazz contests including the Governor’s Cup and Field Show Champion at the University of Illinois Marching Festival (45+ bands), Grand Champion at Jazz in the Meadows (90+ bands) and Honor Band at the Purdue Jazz Festival (90+ bands). In 2007, the John Hersey band program was awarded the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. His ensembles have performed at the French Reeds Festival in the French Riviera, in the Chicago Jazz Festival, at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase, at Orchestra Hall in the Chicago Symphony Center (three times) and at Carnegie Hall in NYC (two times). This winter the John Hersey Symphonic Band was selected to perform at the College Band Directors National Association North Central Division Conference.
Mr. Casagrande has received 20 Citation of Excellence Awards from the National Band Association, and he has been recognized by Former President Barack Obama, the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the Illinois Senate, School District 214, Plainfield HS, Stephen Decatur HS, Illinois Chapter of Phi Beta Mu Band Fraternity (2016-2017 Bandmaster of the Year), Quinlan and Fabish Music and Bob Rogers Travel. Mr. Casagrande has the privilege of currently serving the National Band Association as President and has served the NBA as 2nd Vice-President, First Vice-President, High School Representative (twice) and as a member of the Revelli Composition Contest Committee. In 2004, he was one of three conductors in the United States chosen to participate in the NBA International Conducting Symposium in Rome, Italy, conducting the Italian National Army Band. He serves Music for All/Bands of America as a Music Education Consultant and he has served three terms as the Illinois Music Education Association District 7 Jazz Representative. Mr. Casagrande was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2009. He has been published in The Instrumentalist and the National Band Association Journal.
Students in the John Hersey program are very active in IMEA All-District and All-State bands and most Hersey band graduates continue to perform in their college ensembles and beyond. Mr. Casagrande lives in Arlington Heights with his wife, Janice and daughters Mary and Julia.