May 16, 2019

Band Camp Director Stan Michalski Retires

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Since the creation of the Arts+ Concert and Jazz Band Camp in 2001, Stan Michalski has been at the helm as the program’s band director, leading the summer experience toward becoming a staple of the Charlotte summer music scene. This summer, after 19 years of teaching young musicians from across the greater Charlotte area, he has made the difficult decision to retire from instruction, and we’d like to take this time to honor his experience and legacy at Arts+.

Michalski was exposed to music from an early age since his father was a musician. He started out playing piano and became involved in band during high school where he played the tuba. His high school band director was a big influence on him pursuing music as a career.

After high school, Michalski attended Pennsylvania State University where he earned his BS in music education, Master's of Education, and Doctor of Education. He has had a distinguished career spanning 60 years as a conductor, educator, performer, and clinician-adjudicator throughout America, Asia, and Europe. He was the distinguished Emeritus Professor of Music and Conductor of Bands at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and Emeritus Conductor of the Winthrop University Carolina Wind Ensemble. Currently, Michalski serves as the Coordinator of Instrumental Music for the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.

When he first came to Charlotte, Michalski became acquainted with a local musician named Richard Waterman who invited him to direct the Arts+ Band Camp. He accepted, and the rest is history!

Michalski describes his directing and teaching style as regimented. He believes in filling the time with instruction, with little time to goof off and get in trouble. He doesn’t like a lot of fooling around and losing focus, yet he tempers that strictness with humor, something he hopes his students will remember about him. He also wants his students to remember that he challenged them by demanding good performances. He feels that the arts and arts education give students a sense of community. They learn to communicate and lean on each other to accomplish a goal, learn organization, and experience other people and cultures to measure their own lives against.

His goal in directing the Arts+ Band Camp was to challenge the students no matter their level. One of his favorite things about teaching is seeing the students’ progress. He loves the fact that he can give them new music on Monday and then watch them give a great concert on Friday. Michalski also likes to challenge the students with music they might never be exposed to otherwise. He especially likes to have the kids play overtures from operas, not something you normally hear from a band.

Stan Michalski has been such an integral part of the Arts+ Band Camp community for nearly two decades, and it is difficult to imagine camp without him. We are extremely grateful for his commitment and the way he has developed young musicians. Michalski’s dedication to teaching young people will be sorely missed, because as anyone who has worked with him knows, his care for students and their music education extends far past the week they share at camp.

Because of his years of service to Arts+, we have started the Stan Michalski Scholarship. This scholarship will provide full camp tuition to a talented young musician.