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2015 Lifetime Achievement in Education Award Recipients

by PAS | Sep 22, 2015

PAS is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Percussive Arts Society Lifetime Achievement in Education Award: Garwood Whaley and Robert McCormick.


The Percussive Arts Society Lifetime Achievement in Education Award was established in 2002 and recognizes the contributions of the most highly regarded leaders in percussion education.

The recipients of this award have demonstrated the highest ideals and professional integrity in percussion education and pedagogy with a significant history of exceptional and/or innovative teaching practices. They have strong reputations in areas such as (but not limited to) private teaching, ensemble directing, presentation of workshops, and pedagogical publications. Those awarded the PAS Lifetime Achievement in Education Award have a record of sustained contributions to the field and supportive of the philosophy and objectives of the Percussive Arts Society.

Garwood Whaley

Garwood WhaleyGarwood Whaley received degrees from the Juilliard School–where he studied with Morris Goldenberg and Saul Goodman as a scholarship student–and, The Catholic University of America where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree while performing with the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.” He is conductor emeritus of the Bishop Ireton Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Alexandria, Virginia, former adjunct professor of music at The Catholic University of America, two-term past president of the Percussive Arts Society, former curriculum coordinator of instrumental music for the Diocese of Arlington Schools and president and founder of Meredith Music Publications. As director of Meredith Music, he has been responsible for the publication of some of the most exceptional performance and educational materials available today. More than 400 composers and authors are included in the Meredith catalog.

Doctoral studies in music education and full-time teaching at the high school level brought Whaley the realization that serious teaching texts dealing with often-neglected topics including score study, comprehensive musicianship and ensemble rhythm training were missing from the literature. With several new titles in this category including “Guide to Score Study” by Frank Battisti and Robert Garofalo, “Note Grouping” by James Thurmond, “The Art of Elementary Band Directing” by Eileen Fraedrich, and Edward Lisk’s “Creative Director” series, the company began receiving national attention as a serious contender in the music education book trade. The company now had two major focus areas: percussion pedagogical materials and music education/performance reference books.

In 2000, the Hal Leonard Corporation became the company’s exclusive distributor of worldwide sales. Since that time, Meredith Music has grown in both size and stature bringing with it international acclaim. The imprint found new praise with its series in five volumes “A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band”, Peter Boonshaft’s four-volume set beginning with “Teaching Music with Passion,” an autobiography by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass and its multi-volume Cookbook series for strings, voice, percussion and wind instruments. In 2004, Anthony J. Cirone joined Meredith as executive editor of percussion publications adding depth to this genre by creating the “Meredith Music Master Class Series” and the “Symphonic Repertoire Series.”

Gar wrote his first book in 1965 and since then has become one of the best known and best selling writers of percussion method books of all time with more than 400,000 copies of his books sold worldwide. He is the author of two of the most popular music method books of the past two decades, Basics in Rhythm and Primary Handbook for Snare Drum and has written many other best sellers. He has been included in Who’s Who in American Music; Who’s Who in America and the International Who’s Who in Music and is the recipient of numerous awards in the field of music and music education including the 2004 Alumni Achievement Award in the field of Education from Catholic University and the 2011 Midwest Clinic’s prestigious Music Industry Award. For five years he received a Grant in the Arts from the Washington Post Newspaper’s Educational Foundation for his "Commissioned Work and Composer-In-The School Project." He continues to present clinic/workshops throughout the United States and Canada including the Midwest Clinic, The Juilliard School Conducting Workshop for Music Educators and the Kennedy Center Professional Teacher Outreach Program. In 1998, Bishop Ireton High School named its new performance hall the “Garwood Whaley Auditorium” in recognition of his long-term contributions to the school’s fine arts program. His charities, both personal and corporate—through Meredith Music Publications—have provided thousands of dollars to individuals and organizations that promote music and provide music education opportunities. He lives with his wife Adele in Delray Beach, Florida. Gar’s hobbies include scuba diving and working out at Crossfit Delray Beach

Robert McCormick

Robert McCormick

Robert McCormick is currently Professor of Music and director of the percussion program at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He served as principal percussionist/assistant timpanist with the Florida Orchestra for 20 seasons. He is a former member of the Harry Partch Ensemble and often performs with high profile artists of all genres. In 2010, he conducted the premiere performance of Chan Hae Lee’s Korean folk opera Simcheongga at the National Center of Performing Arts in Seoul. In March 2014 Robert performed the world premiere of Baljinder Sekhon’s Double Percussion Concerto at Carnegie Hall with percussionist Lee Hinkle. His recordings with the McCormick Percussion Group and the McCormick Duo have achieved high critical acclaim from composers and scholars in leading journals. Robert is the host of the McCormick Marimba Festival which attracts university marimba ensembles and performers from around the world each year. Robert was the 2006 recipient of the Florida Music Educator of the Year Award; the 2007 Grand Prize in the Keystone Percussion Composition Award, and the 2010 Jerome Krivanek University Distinguished Teacher Award. He has also received several Global Music Awards for his CD recordings, many published on the Ravello label and distributed by Naxos. Bob is especially proud of the many successful alumni that he has had the honor to teach. Bob would like to express his appreciation to his former teachers Anthony Cirone and Danlee Mitchell.

Visit his website.

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