No ‘mistake’ — Ivers named Music Educator of the Year

Submitted photo Marshall High School teacher Wayne Ivers holds his Minnesota Music Educator of the Year award.

MARSHALL — A popular veteran teacher has received statewide recognition.

Wayne Ivers, the band director at Marshall High School, has been named the Music Educator of the Year by the Minnesota Music Educators Association.

Upon learning of the award Ivers said he was “totally amazed. I received an email telling me that I had been selected as the 2019 Music Educator of the Year which I thought was a mistake or one of those annoying ‘congratulations you have been selected’ emails.”

After realizing that it was a legitimate letter, Ivers said he was “very surprised, overwhelmed and humbled” to receive the award.

Ivers has been employed at Marshall High School since 1983. Upon his arrival in Marshall the band program comprised 175 band members in two concert bands, one jazz band, one pep band, and a marching band that totaled 110 members.

Currently the band program comprises 225 members involved in four concert bands, two jazz bands, two pep bands, and a marching band that totals 180 members.

He is well-liked among his students.

“He’s a really good band teacher,” said Derek Holmgren, MHS sophomore. “He’s a fun guy and he jokes around. He’s good at what he does. I really like him as a band teacher. If someone else came, I don’t know if I’d stick with it because I really like him.”

Brock Schultz, an MHS sophomore, is in the drum line with Holmgren.

“He kind of makes band fun,” Schultz said. “Usually people think band can be boring, but he makes it fun. He keeps it serious on the same note, so people don’t mess around and take advantage of him. It’s a good balance. I love band.”

Ivers said he works with “really great students in the band program — kids who are willing to be stretched and pushed to accomplish really wonderful things.”

Under Ivers’ direction the band has become one of the top groups in the upper Midwest placing in the top of its class throughout Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The marching band has competed 10 times in Bands of America Competitions placing in the top five in Class, eight of those 10 times and top 3 in Class four times. In 2005 the band placed 2nd in Class AA and 12th in Open Class Finals. In 2012 they were the St. Louis Super Regional Class A Champion.

Ivers is one of the founders of the Pursuit of Excellence Marching Band Competition hosted in conjunction with the Marshall Music Boosters, Marshall Public Schools, and Southwest Minnesota State University. Pursuit of Excellence annually includes 18 of the best marching bands from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

Ivers said music is vital to a good education.

“I feel it is very important that we educate the whole child, that we help each student to be well-rounded,” he said. “Music is one piece of that well-rounded education. It is unique in that it can touch each individual in different and special ways. I always tell my band that they have a unique opportunity the night of a concert or performance to reach out to the people who hear them. To create emotions or express feelings to make someone feel happy or sad or excited or even evoke a memory in the listener.”

In 1995 the Marshall High School Music Department was recognized by the state of Minnesota as a Program of Excellence. In 2005, 2013, and 2017 Marshall was selected by the National Association of Music Merchants as one of the top 100 Communities in Music Education in the United States. In 2012 Ivers was named Minnesota’s representative to School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.”