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Directors Circle

Jan 22, 2020

In the episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Todd Stefan from Wexford (a.k.a Pittsburgh), PA. Todd oversees a large high school band program in the North Allegheny School District that has featured ensembles at PMEA state conferences, NAfME All-Eastern conferences, and the inaugural parade for Barack Obama’s presidency. In this interview, we chat about a wide variety of topics including administrative tasks involved with a large music program, staying mentally healthy with the stresses of the profession, and quotes from the “Rocky” movie franchise!

Topics include:

(04:28) Todd talks about his life and professional background and his band program at North Allegheny Senior High School

(20:57) Building relationships with students in a large program

(25:00) Defining excellence in a music program

(31:22) Staying mentally healthy as a music educator

(54:28) Favorite rehearsal tactics

(56:09) Why do we teach music? 

(59:47) Todd discusses leaders that have made an impact on his life 

(1:04:15) Advice for music educators



Todd’s NASHS faculty page:

2019 NASHS Winter Concert:

2019 NASD Tiger Marching Band:

A 2016 interview featuring Todd in “The Instrumentalist” magazine:



Mr.Stefan is the Director of Bands at North Allegheny High School.  He earned a Bachelor of Music Education, Percussion Applied from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University (YSU).  Prior to his current position at North Allegheny, Mr. Stefan was the Director of Bands at Thomas Jefferson High School in Jefferson Hills, PA, Director of Bands at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, PA, Director of Bands at Sharpsville Area High School in Sharpsville, PA, and served on the faculty at Grove City College in Grove City, PA as a part-time applied Percussion Instructor.  At North Allegheny, Mr.Stefan teaches the Senior High School Honors Wind Ensemble, the Senior High School Symphonic Band, the Senior High School Concert Band, the Intermediate High School Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensembles 1 and 4, and the North Allegheny High School "Tiger" Marching Band.

Mr. Stefan has studied percussion with Mr. Joseph Parlink and conducting with Dr. Stephen Gage.  Mr.Stefan's bands have all been judged excellent and superior and have been awarded numerous first place trophies and best overall band awards at festivals and parades including, the MasterCard Alamo Bowl halftime show and band competition in San Antonio, TX, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Parade and band competitions in Atlanta, GA, the North American Music Festivals in Virginia Beach, VA, Festival Disney in Orlando, FL, the Windy City Classic in Chicago,IL, and Festivals of Music in Myrtle Beach, SC, Chicago, IL, Virginia Beach, VA, Cincinnati, OH, and Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA.

The Senior High School Honors Wind Ensemble has appeared in Downbeat Magazine twice; in 2008 and 2010 for winning the Best Overall High School Classical Group in the 31st and 33rd Annual Student Music Awards. The band has also appeared at the 2009 PMEA All-State Conference in Valley Forge, PA, at the 2012 PMEA All-State Conference in Lancaster, PA, and the 2015 PMEA All-State Conference in Hershey, PA. Both the Honors Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble I were selected to perform at the MENC All-Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore Maryland in 2011 and Jazz Ensemble I was selected to perform at the 2017 NAfME All-Eastern Division Conference held in Atlantic City.

The “Tiger”Marching Band has appeared in the Disney Spectro-Magic New Year's Eve Parade and the Disney Dreams Come True Parade in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World,has been awarded the Jack Shea President's trophy for “Best Overall Band” in the City of Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade for the past fifteen years, and has been winners of the Allegheny County trophy for the “Best Overall Band” in the City of Pittsburgh Veteran's Day Parade since 2003. In February of 2006 the Marching Band was honored to be the lead band in the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XL Victory Parade. The band also was invited to perform in the 2009, 2016, and 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Championship Parades. The 2009 Marching Band was also selected and honored to perform in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. In 2019 the Marching Band performed a pre-show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Finally the band was awarded the 2014 and 2018 Basil Caumissar Grand Champion Award; given to the Grand Champion of the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade.

Mr.Stefan in an active member of NAfME, PMEA, The National Band Association (NBA),The Percussive Arts Society (PAS). 

Mr.Stefan is a proud resident of the North Allegheny School District residing in Wexford, PA with his son Tyler.