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Kuehn Looks to Essay Contest to Support India Music Program

John Kuehn

Just three clicks of the mouse can help a Department of Music professor to establish a music program in India.

Dr. John Kuehn, who was named University Professor in 1992, hopes to travel to Kollam, Kerala, India, in the Fall semester of 2012 to establish a wind band program.

Kuehn has nearly thirty years of experience as a public school band director. During a visit to India in 2007, he was invited by the principal of a school in the state of Kerala, in southern India, to start a beginning band program there based on the typical model of those in the United States.

To raise funds for the project, Kuehn entered a SmartMusic essay contest, in which the winning essay writer receives $2,000. Currently, Kuehn is one of eight finalists in the contest. The winner will be determined by the number of people who go to the SmartMusic website and vote for his essay.

“To establish a program like this in a country without a school band tradition is an enormous undertaking,” Kuehn said. “The total project will require $100,000 in funding, and the school is unable to contribute to the effort. All the instruments, teaching materials, music and equipment necessary to establish a band program will have to be purchased in the United States and shipped to India in advance. This opportunity is especially unique in that it may be one of the first wind band programs to be established in an indigenous Indian school.”

Kuehn has raised $1,850 so far for the project. In April 2009, $1,000 was raised by Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s music honor sorority within the Department of Music. The remaining funds have come from private contributions.