Meet one of Iowa’s longest-serving high school music judges – The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — After 10 years in the field as an adjudicator, an increasing number of people across the spectrum of high school performing arts are coming to learn one thing about Doug Krejci: he’ll be the judge of that.

After decades of experience in percussion instruction, performing arts education, theatrical productions and media work, Doug Krejci’s expertise in a broad range of arts is being sought out not just across the Midwest, but across the country for marching bands, theater, speech competitions and more.

An instructor in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City schools since 1988, the master adjudicator’s award-winning drumlines have participated in the Orange Bowl Parade, Fiesta Bowl Parade and Rose Bowl Parade. With over 150 local, regional and national awards to his name for production and creative excellence, he’s sought out for his expertise in stage, lighting and sound design, and he has had a hand in Emmy Award-winning productions across the country.

But now, as one of the longest continuous percussion adjudicators for the Iowa High School Music Association, the man who has helped others find the beat of their own drum for 35 years is getting bigger invitations. After countless hours spent judging competitions across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin, Krejci is going further from home for bigger festivals and competitions involving multiple states.

This fall, he will judge the first-ever Missouri State Marching Association State Championship. Soon, he hopes to start judging competitions in California, Texas and New York.

“It’s always a great compliment to be asked to help somebody,” Krejci said. “That’s our goal, to make them do better and propel them into the deeper waters of the arts they’re in.”

Using good judgment

When students hear the word “judge,” they’re intimidated. But being a good adjudicator is more than being judgmental.

For students still finding their way in the arts, giving critiques requires a careful balance to build the confidence they need to reach their full potential.

After talking down students too nervous to even talk or perform, he’s learned that being an effective judge means being both kind and honest. As a hired adjudicator, his voice provides a valuable new aspect that students can’t receive from their daily instructors and teachers.

“To be an effective judge, you have to be kind and positive, but also have to give the score that the school earns,” he said. “There’s nothing I’d enjoy more than to give a good score to everybody, but you have to give them the score they earn. You have to be a fair judge, but also a judge that inspires confidence and positivity.”

Often, that means offering criticism with an outlet or direction for improvement. If they’re playing too loudly, for example, tell them how they can play more softly.

In addition to his gigs as a judge, Krejci is called in by Iowa teachers and schools throughout the year to help students whose skills and needs have progressed beyond their scope.

Even for adjudicators, communication skills aren’t something taken for granted. Krejci’s clarity in conveying meaningful criticisms to students is what has garnered more and more invitations to judge other competitions.

“Doug is an outstanding communicator, and whether he instructs or judges, he knows how music and how the percussion section should contribute to a quality performance,” said Cliff St. Clair, director of the Sheldon High School Band and president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association. “He knows how to communicate with everyone to encourage their best efforts.”

Others bring him on because he’s not just a teacher — he’s a doer with a vast breadth of experience in the things he helps direct others in. Krejci continues to play in bands like the prestigious Karl King Band of Fort Dodge. His theatrical productions span virtually every well-known title on high school stages, from “The Music Man” and “Oklahoma” to “Sweeney Todd” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“He has a strong lens for how the various elements and areas of a production contribute to the overall effectiveness of the storytelling,” said Karoline Myers, director of education for Des Moines Performing Arts. “His background in technical theater and production brings extra insights to schools and students, as technical knowledge is often a bigger gap in directors’ knowledge than performance areas.”

And when the competitions are over, instructors and students contact him for more feedback, leading to lessons and workshops on theater lighting, radio announcing and percussion camps.

Why he does it

With a hand in the performing artists of the next generations, Krejci has more hope for the future of the arts than ever before.

“The (arts) continue to grow in ways that I never would’ve imagined as a student in the ‘80s,” he said. “Students are so tuned in and focused on their crafts.”

As he imparts his wisdom and criticisms, he’s learned one thing: never step on the powerful enthusiasm that can propel students to success. As they gain their confidence throughout elementary, middle and high school, he’s helped them learn that the thing they do after school is more than an extracurricular.

“What they’re doing now is something they can do for the rest of their life,” he said. “I want students to realize there’s always more, but as there’s more, it’s always more interesting.”

More simply: being a good artist means you will always be learning, whether it’s a new song or an old song you’re learn how to do new things with.

“I’m really flattered I can have a hand in helping students and programs grow and provide them a different perspective,” Krejci said. “As an instructor and educator, you have to be a giving person — giving what you know so the next generation can have the experience you had.”

Comments: (319) 398-8340;

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *