Vote for the 2023 MASTA Teacher of the Year

It’s time to vote for the MASTA Teacher of the Year.  In 2014, our organization began alternating this award between studio teachers and classroom teachers each year, and this is the year to award a classroom teacher.  Voting will end on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Please read about each candidate below, and then cast your vote by following this link:

Teacher of the Year Voting

2023 Teacher of the Year Candidates

Director of Orchestras – Mona Shores High School

Kelly De Rose is the high school orchestra director for Mona Shores Public Schools in Norton Shores, Michigan, where she has taught for 20 of her 27 years as a music educator.  Under her direction, the Mona Shores Orchestras have participated in hundreds of performances not only in their own performance hall, but also at annual MSBOA festivals, the National Orchestra Festival (2017), and abroad in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria (2012) and Italy (2016). Kelly also directs the Mona Shores Fiddlers, an extra curricular Celtic music ensemble, which performs throughout West Michigan including summer festivals and local events. Active in both MASTA and MSBOA, Kelly has served both organizations in multiple capacities including as MASTA representative on the MMC planning committee, MMC Presenter, MASTA String Camp Music Director, Outreach Grant/National Honors Orchestra Chair, MSBOA District I Treasurer,  MSBOA District VII Vice-President of Orchestra Activities, District VII High School Honors Orchestra Chair, and as a Solo & Ensemble adjudicator. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Kelly is the manager and violinist in Lakeshore Strings, a string quartet that performs for special events in the Muskegon area.  Kelly is grateful for the love and support of her husband, Bob, and children, Parker and Carter, as well as for all she has learned from her students.

Nominator’s Statement of Support:

“Kelly is incredibly dedicated and spends countless hours working to the benefit of her students. She directs two high school string orchestras, as well as a full orchestra, and is involved in the 5th & 6th grade string programs. The Symphony Orchestra is an integral part of the annual Singing Christmas Tree production, preparing over 10 works each fall to perform for thousands. She also directs a thriving high school fiddle program, starting in July with Fiddle Camp, and participating in numerous performances throughout the year including the Feast of the Strawberry Moon, Holland Waterfront Celtic Festival, Muskegon Street Performers Event, the Sparta Celtic Festival, Roosevelt Park Days Parade, the annual Mona Shores Fiddle Festival, and numerous school events.

In addition, Kelly also leads the orchestra on an international trip every four years, as well as other domestic travel opportunities. She is active in commissioning new orchestra music, and regularly collaborates with area orchestra programs in addition to the Mona Shores Music Department. She is also chair of the MSBOA District VII High School Honors Orchestra, has been a MSBOA District VII Teacher of the Year, and has presented at the Michigan Music Conference. Kelly’s passion is evident in the impact she’s made on countless young people.”

Director of Orchestras – St. Joseph High School

Burke Lokey is the Orchestra Director for St. Joseph High School in St. Joseph, Michigan. Under his leadership, the orchestras have earned top ratings at Michigan school band and orchestra festivals, performed in New York City, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and the United Kingdom. In 2012, the SJHS Chamber Orchestra received third place at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival. This past summer, he led a group of over 100 students on a performance tour of Spain. Burke is also the treasurer for the Michigan Chapter of the American String Teacher Association. In 2014, Burke was appointed as the Director of the Lake Michigan Youth Orchestra and has grown the program into four ensembles, including the newly-added Wind Ensemble. He is also the Education Director for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, where he has helped to develop educational programs for the local community, and has organized master classes with such artists as Rachel Barton-Pine and Christopher O’Reilly.

Before coming to St. Joseph, Burke taught instrumental music in New York City and Rockland County, NY from 2002 to 2010. During that time, he arranged music for, and conducted ensembles that were showcased at such venues as the Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall and New York State Music Association Conferences. Burke has an extensive background in Music Education, having received a BA in Music and String Pedagogy from Arizona State University (¹01) and a MA in Music Education from Columbia University (¹08). He has led workshops and presentations on the use of music technology for education and music advocacy in the community. Burke shares his love of music with his wife, Becky and two sons, Ryan and Evan. He also enjoys cooking, sports, reading, and traveling.

Nominator’s Statement of Support:

“Burke Lokey is the definition of a MASTA Teacher of the Year. He continuously seeks out new and unique opportunities for his students and achieves the highest standards. In addition to performing at the Michigan Music Conference and the ASTA National Orchestra Festival, he tours with his orchestras both nationally and internationally performing in unique venues and acquiring amazing clinicians for his groups while on his tours. Burke’s leadership in Southwest Michigan has sustained the tradition of excellence in that area of the state created by the Reed family decades earlier.

His professional service is a gift to our organization in addition to his teaching excellence. He has sustained MASTA’s strong financial position through a pandemic and the changing environment of our activities and does it all with calm and professionalism.”

Director of Orchestras – Lowell High School

Wendy Tenney, passionate proponent of student leadership, is Lowell High School Director of Orchestras and co-teaches beginners at Lowell Middle School with her talented colleague, Joe Oprea. Tenney launched her career as cellist in the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. After graduating from Michigan State University, she began teaching in Lowell, MI where she developed the orchestra program from twelve students to around three hundred musicians. Tenney has served on the conducting faculty at Blue Lake and Interlochen Arts Camp, and taught cello for the MSU Community Music School, GR Youth Symphony and St. Cecilia Music Society. Tenney performs as a long-time substitute cellist for the Grand Rapids Symphony and Lansing Symphony. She maintains a thriving private studio with past students winning the Skip Gates Concerto Competition and music scholarships at colleges across Michigan. In 2011 Wendy Tenney was named Kent County Teacher-of the Year and in 2018 was Michigan’s Region 3 Teacher of the Year, serving also on the State Department of Education’s Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council. Tenney has a Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Valley State University. A dedicated believer in celebrating diversity, Tenney works to develop a diverse curriculum of styles and cultures in her concert repertoire. She collaborates regularly with composers and performers to develop her students work as creative musicians. Together with Tim Haan, LHS band director, she provides students the full symphony experience earning straight A’s at festivals. She serves on the ASTA national Eclectic Styles Committee and the MSBOA Festival Improvements Committee, and hosts State Orchestra Festivals. Her proudest accomplishments are the success of her former students who are now music educators, being named “Biggest Role Model” by Lowell Middle School students, creating the elite and student led “Fusion Rock Orchestra” and overseeing the MASTA student chapter “OLA” (Orchestra Leadership Association) at LHS. The OLA plans events such as a school-wide “Art of the Violin” competition, mock auditions, movie, karaoke and yoga parties. Fusion Rock Orchestra has performed at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, earned multiple grants including the State Farm Youth Advisory Board national grant for music advocacy, and performs regularly throughout the community. With her number one support, bass playing husband Aaron Tenney (Director of Arts and Music at NorthPointe Christian Schools) Wendy adores her three young children: Hannah (violin), Josiah (bass), Isaac (violin) as well as Bernese Mountain Dog Cello and Shetland Sheepdog James.

Nominator’s Statement of Support:

“Wendy started the orchestra program at Lowell area schools about 18 years ago and it has grown to approx 400 students. She also directs the Fusion Rock Orchestra which is an after school program that performs all types of music in the surrounding communities.”