Mr. Smith honored for his passion & non-stop devotion to music instruction
"Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul." --Plato
No one understands or appreciates that more than music teachers, and the Wahoo Public Schools are blessed to have some of the best!
Each year the Nebraska Music Educators Association (NMEA) presents several awards at their annual banquet. One of these awards recognizes one Nebraska teacher as the "Outstanding Music Educator" of the year. Nominations for this award, which was first presented back in 1989, are based upon outstanding service and unselfish devotion to interscholastic music by high school or collegiate music educators.
For 2021 the winner is our very own WPS Instrumental Music Director Jason Smith!
Smith will receive his award at an upcoming banquet, as part of the NMEA annual Conference/Clinic in Lincoln in November.
"During his time in Wahoo, Jason has focused on developing a band program that implements foundational skills in the later elementary grades, builds upon these skills in the middle school program, and showcases these skills in the high school," WPS Director of Learning Dr. Josh Snyder said. "Mr. Smith develops these skills through a commitment to growth and development of each band member. This growth and development is nurtured through his interactions with families and helping them acquire instruments, through individualized instrumental lessons, and through helping students expand their instrumental repertoire in the later years."
Snyder added that the positive connections Smith makes with both students and families last far beyond their time at Wahoo Public Schools. The energy, encouragement and enthusiasm he brings to the band room and Performance-Learning Center for each performance is positive and focused. All members of the band share in the success of the performance and each member knows they are an important part of that overall success.
Former WPS Creative Services Director John Harris, who nominated Smith for this award, agrees.
"Mr. Smith empowers his students to lead, to take musical risks and to grow in the understanding that successful participation in music isn’t just for those who can play all of the notes on the score correctly," Harris commented. "I often have students tell me that he is a teacher whom they can trust to help them, listen to a personal concern or just someone who can laugh with them. His bands are like a second family to many of our students."
Smith's commitment to music advocacy and his invaluable contribution to the Wahoo Music Program make him an ideal candidate for this award, and while receiving accolades from the NMEA, the administration, and peer educators is certainly worthy of a press release, it's the praise of his students that stands out above all else . . . and there is no shortage of that.
“Mr. Smith is never short on advice, whether it be about higher education, health or just life. We have a saying in the band program - ’That’s not just a band thing, that’s a life thing.’ - and I never fail to remember that," said WHS senior Maya Foxworthy.
"One of Mr. Smith’s best strengths is his ability to communicate complex music theory in an easy-to-understand and fun way for students," WHS Alum Katie Pace commented. "The one that comes to mind is the time he taught us about Lydian scales by using the Simpson’s theme song. The concepts I learned in high school band have helped me succeed as a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band."
Smith is now in his tenth year of teaching at WPS, and taught for two years prior at Bancroft-Rosalie. A native of Ashland, he completed his bachelors degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2009, and received his masters degree from Wayne State College this past May. His 2021-2022 school year is off to a great start, as his Warrior Marching Band has brought home a "Superior" rating from every competition so far this semester!
Smith's NMEA award comes on the heels of another prestigious award from April, when the NAMM Foundation awarded the entire WPS Music program with the designation of a 2021 "Best Community for Music Education." An article about that honor is posted at https://www.wahooschools.org/vnews/display.v/ART/60706239b7bee.
Reflecting on the award, Smith shared: "I am beyond grateful for the numerous mentors and experiences I have had in music education. I am thankful to have worked in districts and communities that are incredibly supportive. Over the years I have had outstanding students that were willing to take risks and do incredible things."
Congratulations Mr. Smith on this well-deserved honor!
District's music program earns NAMM Foundation's distinction for second straight year
"The community of Wahoo and Wahoo Public Schools are extremely proud of our fine arts programs," commented WPS Superintendent Brandon Lavaley. "The time invested by staff and students is reflected in the quality of the . . .
WHS students chosen via audition to perform among Nebraska's top musicians on Nov. 19 @ the Lied Center
For three days (November 17-19), students from all over Nebraska will gather in Lincoln for All-State Music and the Nebraska Music Education Association ’s ( NMEA ) yearly conference. Students are selected for this yearly . . .
District earns NAMM Foundation distinction as a 2021 "Best Community for Music Education"
Aristotle once wrote that "Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it." . . .
This year's event scheduled for March 9 @ Fort Calhoun; concluding concert at 6:30 p.m. free & open to public
On Monday, March 9, the Nebraska Capitol Conference will host its 2020 All-Conference Honor Band at Fort Calhoun High School. Students from across the conference will rehearse throughout the day under the direction of guest clinician . . .
Flores, Foxworthy, Nelson, and Polacek honored among students state-wide
Four Wahoo High School band students were accepted into the 2020 Underclassmen Honor Band at Kearney High School. This annual honor band is comprised of excellent freshman and sophomore band students from programs all across the state . . .
16-day, 7-country Summer 2021 NAM trip now being planned; Contact Mr. Smith for more information
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta This past June, 13 Wahoo students performed for hundreds of world travelers on their 16-day tour of Europe. The tour . . .
Students witness excellence of "Pride of Nebraska"
On Friday, August 23, WMS/WHS Band Director Jason Smith took 50 students to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thousands of excited fans traveled to hear the pride of all Nebraska! The Cornhusker Marching Band put on their . . .
City honors Mr. Boe for his dedication and commitment to the cultural and performing arts
Wahoo native and famous composer Howard Hanson has a lasting legacy for his commitment to the cultural and performing arts. Luckily, Wahoo is blessed to have had many community members who, over the years, have worked non-stop and devoted . . .
Royalty takes 1st place (small schools) @ Midwest Cup & Roosevelt competitions; Legacy takes 4th in Sioux Falls
On Saturday, January 12, Royalty, the WHS varsity show choir, opened their competition season by performing at the Lied Center in Lincoln for UNL’s Midwest Cup. In a field of almost all AA schools and huge programs, Royalty gave a . . .
At least 20 WHS graduates currently play in college/university vocal & band groups
All the way from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee to just next door at Midland University in Fremont, Wahoo High School alumni are making themselves heard in concert halls and stadiums across the nation! . . .
WHS Concert Choir featured in Oct. 11 performance with UNL All-Collegiate Choir & University Singers
Special event at UNL Newman Center showcases premiere of piece written by local composer David von Kampen
On Thursday, October 11, the Wahoo High School Concert Choir traveled to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to perform as featured guests with the University Singers and the All-Collegiate Choir from UNL. Wahoo was the only . . .
Wahoo also wins award for 'Best Choreography' and completes best season in school history
March 3, 2018 (Lincoln Northeast Competition) The Wahoo show choirs wrapped up their competition season on Saturday, March 3, at Lincoln Northeast. Though Wahoo was the smallest school in the competition, Royalty went on to . . .
Brabec, Bittleston, and Spicka perform among best in the state
Three Wahoo High School band students were accepted into the 2018 Underclassmen Honor Band at Kearney High School. This annual honor band is comprised of excellent freshman and sophomore band students from programs all across the . . .
WHS senior earns All-State honor for 3rd straight year in alto sax
For three days, students from all over Nebraska gathered in Lincoln for All-State Music and the Nebraska Music Education Association ’s ( NMEA ) yearly conference. Students are selected for this yearly event based off of a . . .
Redding & Pace to join Cornhusker Marching Band for Sept. 16 halftime performance
Wahoo High School is blessed with a very talented Warrior Band, and their halftime performances are a highlight at numerous Warrior athletic competitions. On Sept. 16, some of that talent will be on display at Memorial Stadium in . . .
12 Wahoo students among 250 on 16-day, 7-country European tour
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories." --Ray Bradbury This past June, 12 Wahoo students crossed . . .
UNL Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts recognizes area students at Nebraska Young Artist Awards Day
WHS junior Sydney Holdsworth honored for her talents in music
Lincoln, Neb.-- The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts held its Nebraska Young Artist Awards on April 5. The Nebraska Young Artist Awards annually recognize 11th grade students . . .
Celesky, Groff, Knowlton, Polacek, Redding x 2, and Reyes identified among best in Nebraska
Congratulations to the following Warrior Choir Students for their selection into two area Honor Choirs: Wayne State College Congratulations to Lara Celesky, Isaac Redding, Aaron Redding, Caleb Reyes, Caleb Groff, Hannah . . .
Holdsworth selected for All-State Band; Callan, Redding & Redding for Choir (school record!)
For three days, students from all over Nebraska gathered in Lincoln for All-State Music and the Nebraska Music Education Association ’s ( NMEA ) yearly conference. Students are selected for this yearly event based off of a . . .
Students share their talents in nation's 3rd largest city
The Wahoo High School Band and Choir had the opportunity to share their musical talents with a new community May 24 through 26 during their trip to Chicago . “I think it’s important that our students have opportunities . . .
WHS junior performs solo and interviewed about Feb. Honors Choir experience at Carnegie Hall in NYC
WHS junior Tylie Tingelhoff recently spent a week in New York City for the 2016 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall . Tingelhoff was chosen to perform soprano during Carnegie 's 125th anniversary season in February . . .
Wahoo Royalty visits USD's National Music Museum; competes in 'Rhythm in Red' show choir invitational
Wahoo crowned Division A Grand Champions!
On Saturday, February 27, 2016, Wahoo’s high school show choir Royalty traveled to Vermillion, SD to compete in the Rhythm in Red Show Choir Invitational. Prior to their eventful afternoon, the team made a stop at the . . .
Holdsworth, Edmonds, Carstens, Moore & Pace's ratings lead Wahoo to 3rd place team trophy
On Saturday, February 20, 2016, five Wahoo band students traveled to Elkhorn South High school to compete in the Elkhorn South Band Olympics. The Band Olympics is a solo and small ensemble competition for band students in 9th and . . .
WHS sophomore's instrumental talents continue to pay dividends
Last weekend, WHS sophomore Sydney Holdsworth was a participant in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s Winter Festival for Winds and Percussion . The Winter Festival is a unique concert band and chamber ensemble festival . . .
WHS sophomore's audition earns her 1 of 8 saxophone seats
Big congratulations to WHS sophomore Sydney Holdsworth for making it into the 2015 All-State Band ! Students from across the state auditioned for an opportunity to perform in Nebraska’s most prestigious honor band. . . .
WHS jr. chosen from over 18,000 int'l nominations for 2016 High School Honors Performance Series in NYC
Tylie Tingelhoff, a junior at Wahoo High School, has been selected for the 2016 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall . She will perform soprano during Carnegie Hall ’s 125 th anniversary season in February with . . .
WHS senior selected among state-wide auditions to rehearse with Husker Marching Band & perform at Memorial Stadium halftime show
Tuba Day 2015 Follow Up: At last Friday’s UNL Football Game, 50 high school tuba players from five states joined the Cornhusker Marching Band for their halftime show. One student traveled as far as from Maryland! . . .
Cornhusker Marching Band continues its tradition of excellence
On Friday, August 21, WMS/WHS Band Director Jason Smith took 38 students to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thousands of excited fans traveled to hear the pride of all Nebraska! The Cornhusker Marching Band put on their annual . . .
2015 NAM trip takes 249 Nebraska student musicians/adults to 7 countries
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the . . .
Students join Nebraska's best for Mar. 28 concert @ Norfolk's Johnny Carson Theater
Six Wahoo High School band students auditioned and were accepted into the 2015 Class B All-State Band! This annual honor band is comprised of excellent band students from Class B programs all across the state of Nebraska. . . .
Groff, Holdsworth & Pfeiffer chosen from over 600 statewide auditions!
Congratulations to the following WPS students, selected for the 2015 Wayne State College Honor Band: Caleb Groff - trumpet Sydney Holdsworth - alto saxophone Mattie Pfeiffer - trombone On January 31, Groff, . . .
Warrior flutist receives scolarship and soloist opportunity
Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce the selection of flutist Lukas McIlhaney as the LSO Young Artist for the 2014-15 season. Lukas, a native of Wahoo, NE, is currently a senior enrolled in Wahoo High School and studies . . .
WHS 'Royalty' selected from numerous entries to accompany famous band in Nov. 14 performance @ Lied
After they took a little time, a little time to think things over , a Lied Center for the Performing Arts panel on Friday found a local choir to back Foreigner during the band’s performance of “ I Want to Know What Love Is . . .
Public encouraged to attend Oct. 18 competition at Ashland
On Saturday, October 11, the Wahoo High School Marching Band performed at the first ever Bennington Marching Competition. This was the second time the Wahoo Marching Band has performed in field competition since reinstating the . . .
Annual event held Aug. 22 at Memorial Stadium
On Friday, August 22, 40 students and teachers braved the Wahoo downpour and traveled to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although Wahoo was getting pummeled with rain, Lincoln was bright and sunny! The Cornhusker Marching Band . . .
WHS senior to perform Wahoo's own Howard Hanson in July 26 live podcast
WHS senior Lukas McIlhaney continues to impress! Of the 10 flutists in Interlochen's World Youth Wind Symphony (WYWS), McIlhaney has earned 1st chair! The 2014 WYWS consists of 75 high school students from 30 . . .
WHS senior performs self-composed songs to student body, along with noted Omaha musician mentor
A mother’s question back in August turned into a 20-minute rock concert on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 . . . the last day for seniors. Jennifer Leffler popped her head in WHS Language Arts Instructor Larry Fangman’s door a few . . .
Students join Nebraska's best for Mar. 29 performance in Norfolk
Six Wahoo High School band students have auditioned and have all been accepted into the Class B All-State Band! This honor band is comprised of band students from Class B programs all across the state of Nebraska. . . .
WHS junior performs his concerto on Feb. 16 in Papillion (free & open to public)
'O! What a Sound!' Orchestra Omaha holds a Young Artists Competition during the fall of each concert season. The competition is open to all wind, brass, string, percussion, piano and harp students who reside in the state of Nebraska . . .
Holdsworth performs in ensemble of 350+ of Nebraska's finest
On Saturday, January 18, Wahoo Middle School student Sydney Holdsworth traveled to the University of Nebaska at Kearney to perform with the 8th Grade All-State Honor Band. Holdsworth was one of 82 students from all over the state that . . .
"The Little Mermaid Jr." slated for Nov. 1-3; Tickets on sale now!
The Middle School Choir students are embarking on another exciting adventure as they prepare for their fall production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” The cast list has been posted and rehearsals will begin as soon as next . . .
Students learning marching band fundamentals at Memorial Stadium
On Friday, August 23, 41 students traveled to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhusker Marching Band put on their annual free exhibition for the public. This is the second consecutive year that Wahoo band . . .
Rachael Meyer & Mr. Smith travel/perform with NE Ambassadors of Music
This past June, WHS junior Rachael Meyer went on a 16-day journey across Europe performing with the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music. The trip consisted of 200 students from all over Nebraska, accompanied by 60 adults. . . .
Schwimmer Named "Top Male Soloist"
Last weekend both the middle school and high school show choirs brought home top awards and some hardware! The middle school brought home a gold trophy from the NCDA Show Choir Festival, while the high school brought home first place . . .
WHS Sophomore Earns Flute 1 Part for Nov. 16 Honor Band Performance
Big congratulations to WHS sophomore Lukas McIlhaney for making it into the 2012 All State Band! Students from across the state auditioned for an opportunity to perform in Nebraska’s most prestigious honor band. McIlhaney is among . . .
Warriors Bring Home 1st Place Trophy in Class B2
The Marching Warriors made their way to Wayne, NE early on Saturday, September 29 for the annual Wayne State College Band Day Parade. It was a brisk morning for a parade, but in band uniforms it quickly warmed up. Despite . . .
Alumni Forward Remaining Reunion Funds to WHS Music Program
A generous donation was recently given to the music department by the WHS Class of 1948. After deciding they would no longer hold regular reunions, the Class of 1948 decided that the remaining balance in their reunion fund should be . . .
Fine Arts Programs Now Enjoy Benefits of New Performance-Learning Center; Nov. 6 Open House Video Posted
Wahoo Public Schools celebrated its new Performance-Learning Center with a community open house on Sunday, November 6, 2011. Please click HERE to view the open house program. If you weren't able to attend the open . . .
New Grand Piano Delivered Sept. 21 for Learning & Performing Arts Center
On Wednesday, September 21, a wonderful new addition was added to the Wahoo Performing Arts Center Stage: a beautiful brand new Yamaha concert grand piano! WHS Music Teachers Tim Rischling and Julie Baker-Anderson were there to meet . . .
Band to Perform in May 30 National Memorial Day Parade
The Wahoo High School Marching Band will be traveling to Washington D.C. on Friday, May 27 to march in the National Memorial Day Parade. The parade will take place on Monday, May 30 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time. We will march . . .
Video of March 30 Event Posted
Music filled the air on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 as the Wahoo Public Schools' Music Department celebrated “Music In Our Schools Month” with a special performance. The program was held in the high school gym . . .
Both Groups Come Out on Top at 2011 NCDA Festival in Elkhorn
It was a great day to be a Warrior and a member of the show choir!! On Thursday, February 17, both the middle school and high school groups brought home gold trophies from the Nebraska Choral Directors Association (NCDA) Show Choir . . .
Ceremony Also Includes Open House for New Fitness Center
The Wahoo Public Schools held a ground breaking ceremony on June 16 for the new Performing Arts Center, which is projected to be completed by September 2011. The new 750-seat facility will be the first of its kind in Saunders County. In . . .
WMS 7th grader named Omaha's 90.7 KVNO Classical Kid for April!
It all started with a piano piece played by Lukas McIlhaney’s second grade teacher. Deb Rubesh, a Wahoo Elementary School second grade teacher, played “Canon in D” for Lukas’s class and he fell in love with it. . . .
Two-Hour Event Showcased Talents of Students & UNK Show Choir "Nebraskats"
On March 30, Wahoo High school celebrated music in a big way! The student body, teachers and community witnessed the talent and dedication of the Wahoo music students. March was officially “Music In Our Schools Month,” and . . .
All-State Concert Scheduled for March 27 at Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk
Three Wahoo High School students found out this past week that they have been accepted into the 2010 Nebraska Class B All-State Honor Band, to be held on March 26 and 27 at the Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk, Nebraska. Try-outs were . . .
Kayla Coffey Selected for 3-Day, "Extremely Selective" Event
Congratulations to Wahoo High School senior Kayla Coffey on being selected for the 2010 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Winter Winds Festival Honor Band! She will be playing clarinet in the honor band along with select students . . .
The WHS Senior Makes His 2nd All-State Festival Appearance in November!
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS goes out to WHS Senior Joseph Nabity, who was chosen for the 2009 Nebraska All-State Choir. Making All-State choir is one of the highest accomplishments a vocal music student can attain. This is Joe's second . . .
16 Boys/18 Girls Make the Cut
2009-2010 Show Choir List BOYS Jake Barry-B Josh Dewberry-T Christian Hohl-B Joe Nabity-T Brandon Gaunt-T Dustin Jaskulski-B Ty Kander-T Justin Lewandowski-B/T Sean Lindgren-B/T Kyle Willis-B Robert Wilson-B/T . . .
Student Production Dedicated to Friends Lost
On April 29, the WHS Music Tech students traveled to BASSLINE RECORDING STUDIO in Omaha to record the original song written by the class first semester. The song was written as a dedication to the class of 2009 and also served as a memorial . . .
Warriors Take 1st at Viking Cup; 2nd at NW Missouri State
The Wahoo High School Show Choir brought home the 1st place prize at the March 13 Viking Cup Show Choir Invitational at North High School and Omaha, and 2nd place at the February 7 Northwest Missouri State Show Choir Festival. WAY TO GO! . . .
March 13 Event Held at North High School in Omaha
The Wahoo Middle School show choir is all smiles as they display their 2nd place tropy. The show choir won the award at the March 13 Viking Cup Show Choir Festival at North High School in Omaha. Congratulations! Please click HERE to . . .
On Tuesday, December 16, the Wahoo Middle School Music Department performed its annual Holiday Concert before an audience that filled the Little Theatre to standing room only. It was great to see so many people include our . . .
It was Christmas in January as the Wahoo High School performing arts celebrated “A Musical Holiday Celebration.” The postponement of the program, due to a winter storm, caused over 70 performers, and more than 200 friends and parents, . . .
Marching Warriors Led to Victory by Senior Drum Major Janelle Jansa
When the WHS Marching Band sets their mind to something they really go for it, and that’s exactly what they did on Saturday, October 4. The high school band traveled to Wayne, Neb., to compete in the Wayne State College Band Day . . .
Joe Nabity Performs with U.S. Air Force Band and Accomplished New York Philharmonic Trombonist
Wahoo High School Junior Joseph Nabity was selected to be one of the “76” trombones to perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha on Monday, October 20, 2008. The “Brass in Blue” of the United States Air Force . . .
71-Year-Old Alumnus Rides a Bike to Atlantic City to Raise Funds for New Music Scholarship
On Friday, September 19, 2008, The Wahoo High School Music Department celebrated the departure of 71-year-old and Wahoo High alum, Patricia Eliason-Starr. Starr is representing the state of Nebraska in the annual Ms. Senior America pageant in . . .
All-State Concert Scheduled for March 15 at Johnny Carson Theater
Six Wahoo High School students found out this past week that they have been accepted into the 2008 Nebraska Class B All-State Honor Band to be held on March 14 and 15 at the Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk, Nebraska. Try-outs were recorded . . .
Marching Band Travels to Norfolk and Grand Island
The Wahoo High School band competed on September 22 in the Norfolk Lions Parade and on October 6 in the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce’s Harvest of Harmony Parade. “These parades are a great way for the band and the school . . .
Sandip Burman Breaks from Major U.S. City Tour for a Wahoo Stop
This year, WMS/WHS Band Director Eric Snyder is focusing on the phrase, “It is the Journey that matters in the end,” by Ursla Leguin. The experience of the journey is what students will always take with them the rest of their lives. On . . .
Alison Thomsen and Joy Nelson Selected among State-Wide Tryout
Wahoo High School Band Senior Joy Nelson and Sophomore Alison Thomsen performed with the 2007 Class B All-State Honor Band on the University of Nebraska at Omaha Campus on March 17. They were selected through a try out process of all . . .
Havelka Earns "Highest Musical Honor" in Nebraska
Each year, over 2,000 of the best high school musicians in the state audition for the Nebraska All-State Band, Chorus, Jazz Band, and Orchestra, which are sponsored by the Nebraska Music Educators Association. Selection as a member of . . .