2018 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Arts Education

Tim McKay is an educator who wears many hats in the Flagstaff music community. He works as  a teacher, director and performer in various capacities. Tim is the director of bands at Mount Elden Middle school, and is in his fourth year as the Director of the Flagstaff Community Band and Flagstaff Junior Band. As a performer himself, he is in his 11th season playing trombone with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

Under Tim’s direction, the Flagstaff Community Band has doubled in size to 63 members, and he has been instrumental in the creation of the Flagstaff Junior Band. This growth is largely due to Tim’s passion for community outreach and increased exposure. In recent years he has made an effort to increase the number of performances, and the number of community connections. The Flagstaff Community Band often performs in outdoor, and/or public spaces and often at no cost to audience members. This accessibility helps foster an appreciation of music for a wider audience, and helps attract more potential members.

Musicians of all ages, abilities and interests can find a place in the Flagstaff Community Band. Members range from professional musicians to people who are picking up an instrument again for the first time in 30 years – anyone is welcome to join, all they need is a desire to play! Those who work with Tim applaud him for his ability to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere, while also inspiring quality work and musicality. Chair of the Flagstaff Community Band, Tiffany Redies says of Tim, “McKay’s ability to assess the mood and emotional needs of a group or individual, and know how to motivate in a way that keeps things light but achieves a high standard, is a gift that the people he directs are well aware of.”

Tim has worked hard to establish connections between the Community Band and other organizations in Flagstaff, promoting collaboration between different groups, performers and community leaders. The Flagstaff Community Band lends its talents to a variety of events throughout the year. They have played at many patriotic ceremonies, such as the Armed Forces Day Parade, and at the National Night Out, an event supporting local first responders. In December, 2017 they partnered with NAU’s Tuba/Euphonium studio to host a worldwide musical event called “TubaChristmas”. During that same holiday season, they partnered with the Orpheum Theater and a local food bank to put on a family, sing-a-long concert, followed by a screening of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Admission to the event was 2 non-perishable food items, to be donated to the food bank. Under Tim’s leadership, the Flagstaff Community Band demonstrates a spirit of support, giving and collaboration with both music and non-music organizations in Flagstaff.

Tim’s efforts do not stop with the Flagstaff Community Band. He has also done much to guide younger generations of musicians in the city of Flagstaff. He does exceptional work as the Director of Bands at Mount Elden Middle School (MEMS), fostering a passion for music that many students have carried into their high school and college careers. His work as an educator also extends beyond his classroom and his school. Tim’s vision with the Flagstaff Junior Band is to create a space where students can practice their skills outside of the classroom and over the summer. It also provides an opportunity for students from different schools to practice and perform together, again promoting collaboration between different music communities in Flagstaff. Through the Junior Band, Tim has worked with students from every charter, public and private middle school in the region.

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