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KU and Owen J. Roberts to Honor Longtime Music Educator

Richard G. and Elizabeth J. WellsSept. 18, 2017

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - The Owen J. Roberts High School Marching Band (OJRMB) will welcome the Kutztown University Marching Unit (KUMU) as the feature band in the 47th Annual Cavalcade of Bands on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.  The cavalcade begins at 7 p.m. in Wildcat Stadium on the campus of Owen J. Roberts High School, 981 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, Pa.  Gates open at 6 p.m.

KUMU, like OJRMB, is a large ensemble composed of winds, brass, percussion and color guard members who bring with them a wide variety of talents and experiences. In a unique display, KUMU and OJRMB will converge on the field to play "America, the Beautiful" under the direction of Mr. Richard Wells.

Wells, an Owen J. Roberts alumnus, is a graduate of West Chester University, West Chester, Pa., and Columbia University, New York, N.Y.  He served as band director with Kutztown Area Schools for three years and then with Owen J. Roberts from 1961-1968 when he was named an associate professor in the Department of Music at Kutztown University.  Wells retired from KU in 1997 after 29 years of teaching and was named professor emeritus the same year. 

Wells is credited with establishing the jazz studies program at KU and he continues to direct the alumni jazz ensembles.  The large ensemble rehearsal space at Kutztown University was named for Wells in 2013 as part of a $20 million renovation and expansion of Schaeffer Auditorium.  KU alumni, students, faculty and staff raised more than $500,000 to honor Wells with the naming rights. 

At the cavalcade show, Owen J. Roberts and Kutztown University will honor Wells' 36 years as a music educator.  He has influenced scores of students to aspire to excellence in music performance. A resident of the Owen J. Roberts School District, Wells remains loyal to the ideals and benefits of music and education and may be seen at both high school and college events. Displaying both discipline and joy in music education, the 2017 Cavalcade of Music event which will operate as a "showcase" event rather than a competition.

Owen J. Roberts Marching Band has recently become a member of the Lancaster County Marching Band Coalition which gives high school bands adjudicated (judged) opportunities to receive professional feedback rather than rankings or numerical scores. Part of the energy of the event comes from the fact that all spectators, including students from other performing bands, are seated on the home sideline, so that everyone can listen, observe, and enjoy the performances as they were intended...from the front. This method of engagement allows performers the ability to relax and have fun while providing a peer learning opportunity for student spectators.

In lieu of an awards ceremony, the audience can be prepared for a super, grand finale of music and visual energy.

Founded in 1934, the Kutztown University Marching Unit is comprised of 150 students under the direction of Professor Dan Neuenschwander.  The marching unit is open to any KU student, regardless of their field of study.