Fairchild named as 'Director Who Makes a Difference'

December 14, 2017
G. Daniel Fairchild

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – “You hope that you find a way to let each student know the everlasting joy that music brings to the world.”

These are the words of G. Daniel Fairchild, professor of music, who recently was selected by School Band and Orchestra Magazine to represent the state of Wisconsin as one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” More than 880 directors throughout the United States were nominated by students, colleagues, parents, administrators, band directors and friends.

“I am completing my 50th year as a professional music educator, and watching our students grow as individuals and musicians is truly a wonderful ongoing reward,” said Fairchild. “Receiving recognition from a national music education publisher is a great honor, and with this recognition comes the challenge to be even better at making a difference for every student I encounter. I cannot imagine a more exciting challenge.”

“I congratulate Dan on receiving this very special recognition,” said Dr. Melissa Gormley, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at UW-Platteville. “He is a gifted musician and director as well as a model professor who is deeply dedicated to his students and colleagues and the university. His work in the Department of Performing and Visual Arts is incredibly valuable, and there is no doubt that it will be an essential component of our institutional memory. It is wonderful that he has been recognized and honored in this way.”

School Band and Orchestra Magazine asked each award recipient about their proudest moments as educators, how they hope to make a difference in their students’ lives and the most important lesson that they try to teach their students.

In his response, Fairchild said his proudest moment was spending an afternoon with David McCormick, his high school band director and mentor, at the Mid-West Clinic in Chicago in December 2016. “He will always be the person who helped me grow the most as a person, musician and eventually a music educator,” said Fairchild.

In describing his hope for making a difference in his students’ lives, Fairchild said, “You treat students with respect, live as you ask them to live, guide them in the correct direction, help them to gain a positive work ethic, engage each student to go well beyond what is expected, listen to them, provide some gentle love and, when needed, add a dash of tough love.”

Fairchild also offered three important lessons that he tries to teach his students: begin each day with an attitude that it will be the best day ever, be a person who makes good things happen, and always remember that music is a precious gift that can help make any life fuller and richer.

“Dan Fairchild has dedicated his career to helping young musicians become outstanding music educators,” said Dr. Bob Demaree, director of choral activities at UW-Platteville. “His efforts have shaped multiple generations of music students in Wisconsin. It is a legacy built on love for the art.”

Originally from the Chicago, Illinois area, Fairchild earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since his arrival at UW-Platteville in 1970, Fairchild has taught almost every music course offered at UW-Platteville to students from a wide variety of disciplines.

Over the years, Fairchild has worked with the university’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra as well as served as director of the university’s Rountree Ensemble, the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin College Brass and Percussion Teachers Ensemble. As an active clinician and conductor, he works with thousands of middle level, high school and college musicians each year. 

Read more about Fairchild's work at UW-Platteville online

Read the article “SBO Presents the 20th Annual 50 Directors Who Make a Difference” online.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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