Gary Brandes, director of bands at UMSL, leads the University Symphonic Orchestra. He was recently named president-elect of the Missouri Music Educators Association. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Gary Brandes’ calendar for the next six years just got fuller.

The associate professor of music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis has won a statewide election to be president-elect of the Missouri Music Educators Association. The honor is a six year commitment. Brandes will serve two years as president-elect, two years as president and two years as past president. The organization encompasses all music educators in Missouri, from public and private schools to colleges and universities.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve Missouri music education,” said Brandes, who is also director of bands at UMSL. Brandes has served two years as the college and university vice president of MMEA.

He said his term as president-elect will include “being part of some legislative and political things that might impact education.”

“I’ll do what I can to advocate for music education in the state,” said Brandes.

In his role as president, he said he’ll oversee and advocate for the music education needs for the state. He said it’s important to keep music education as current as possible.

“There’s constantly something going on,” said Brandes.

Brandes sees his ties to MMEA and UMSL as a bonus for prospective teachers on campus. He hopes it’ll help him prepare teachers for success.

“I do hope that I’m able to get a better insight as to what’s needed and to help them prepare better for their careers,” Brandes said.

Robert W. Nordman, chair of the music department at UMSL and an MMEA Hall of Fame member said Brandes’ election “is an unprecedented recognition” of UMSL music at the state level.

“The election represents a strong trust in this UMSL music educator and conductor among the K-12 and college-university music teachers of Missouri,” said Nordman, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Music Education and director of the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative. “The entire Department of Music is delighted with his success and supports associate professor Brandes in his MMEA work across the state.”

Prior to his appointment at UMSL, Brandes taught for 28 years in Missouri public schools, most recently as director of bands at Fort Zumwalt South High School in St. Peters. Prior to South High, he taught at Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, Hazelwood East High School in Florissant and Warren County R-II in Wright City. He grew up in Wright City. He attended UMSL and graduated with a bachelor‘s degree in music education in 1978. He completed his master’s degree in 1992.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez