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Kuehn Wins National Essay Contest; Prize to Aid India Band Project

From left: Diane Hummon, senior vice president, marketing, MakeMusic, Inc.; Dr. John Kuehn; and Dr. Jack Stamp, chair, IUP Department of Music. (Keith Boyer photo)

Pictured, from left: Diane Hummon, senior vice president, marketing, MakeMusic, Inc.; Dr. John Kuehn; and Dr. Jack Stamp, chair, Department of Music. (Keith Boyer photo)

Dr. John Kuehn, a faculty member in the Department of Music, recently won the SmartMusic music education essay contest.

Kuehn will receive a prize of $2,000, which he will use to help establish a music program in India. He plans 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, southern India, to start a beginning band program there based on the typical model of programs in the United States.

“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.”

With the essay contest funds, Kuehn has raised $3,850 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.

Kuehn expressed his gratitude to the students, faculty, and friends who supported him and continue to be interested in the India project.

At IUP, Kuehn was named University Professor in 1992. The award and lifetime title are bestowed annually on a faculty member who demonstrates an outstanding record of teaching, research and scholarly activity, as well as service.