2020 All-State Small Schools Orchestra Conductor
Steve Olson, a native of Belt, Montana, began his musical journey at the age of ten when his parents enrolled him in private piano lessons. From then on, music became be a continuous focus and driving force behind everything Steve did. While attending Belt Public Schools, Steve explored all of the different band instruments, sang in the choir, and accompanied numerous students at music festivals. During his eighth grade year, he began taking violin lessons and quickly fell in love with orchestral music.
While in high school, Steve played violin in the Great Falls Youth Orchestra, bass clarinet the North-Central Montana Honor Band and also sang in the Honor Choir, played oboe with the University of Great Falls Symphonic Band and the Winds of Montana, sang with Bacchanalia (a Great Falls adult chamber choir), and during his senior year, played violin in the 2005 Montana All-State Orchestra, became a violinist in the Butte Symphony, and placed first in the 2005 Montana Music Teachers Association fall piano competition.
After graduating as Salutatorian from Belt High School, Steve moved to Missoula and attended the University of Montana (GO GRIZ!!!) to study music performance and music education. While at the University, Steve studied under the direction of Prof. Steve Hesla (piano), Dr. Margaret Baldridge (violin), Prof. Fern Glass (cello/chamber music), and Dr. Luis Millan (orchestra). While in college, Steve became a violinist in the Helena Symphony, Glacier Symphony, Great Falls Symphony, and Missoula Symphony, and also sang in the Missoula Symphony Chorale. Steve also participated in numerous chamber ensembles at the University, playing both piano and violin.
In August 2010, Steve moved to Great Falls and began student teaching with Ruth Johnson at Great Falls High School, and Linda Lydiard at Loy and Lewis & Clark Elementary Schools. His entire student teaching experience revolved around string teaching, which is where Steve eventually wanted to find himself. In December 2010, Steve completed his studies and graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Music Performance in Piano, and a Bachelor of Music Education.
After graduating, Steve worked as a substitute teacher in Great Falls and added the Billings Symphony to his list of orchestras. He also dabbled in creating music arrangements and original compositions. In June 2012, Steve was hired as the new orchestra director of Charles M. Russell High School in Great Falls.
He is now in his third year of teaching at CMR and loves every moment of it!Steve also has a love for musical theatre. In the summer of 2004, Steve worked as rehearsal accompanist on his first show, Footloose, where he first met Joel Corda. That same summer he played violin for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The next year he played violin for Two by Two, and at the end of his senior year, Steve was the rehearsal accompanist and played violin in the pit for Beauty and the Beast. During college, Steve played in the pits for Into the Woods and Peter Pan. After moving back to Great Falls, Steve’s musical theatre experience ramped up when he sat as rehearsal accompanist, lead keyboard, and orchestra director of The Wiz (July 2012). After that, Steve played lead keyboard for CMR’s production of The 1940’s Radio Hour (December 2012), and revisited Footloose (November 2013), only this time as lead keyboardist. In June 2014, Steve was the rehearsal accompanist, vocal director and orchestra director for a production of The Sound of Music, where he worked closely with the show’s director, Joel Corda! Two months later he did the same jobs for a production of The Wizard of Oz.
In December, Steve will be orchestra director and keyboardist for CMR’s production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Steve is currently working as rehearsal accompanist for Act I Theatre Company, a branch of Miss Linda’s Dance Studio in Great Falls.
Steve is also the founder and music director of The Big Sky Telemann Players, a local Great Falls baroque music ensemble. Since it’s founding, the ensemble has produced three successful summer festivals, totaling nine performances of non-repeated repertoire. In addition to summer events, the Telemann Players also perform an annual baroque Christmas concert, and in 2015, they will be adding a Good Friday event.
Steve never imagined he would be a member of a band like the No Account! It has been a crazy experiencee and completely taken him out of his comfort zone of “classical music.” However, it is truly one of Steve’s most exciting and rewarding experiences. Steve couldn’t be more blessed to be able to create music with such an amazing group of musicians.
2020 All-State Small Schools Band Conductor
John Miller recently retired as the Director of Bands at American Fork High School where he taught for the past 30 years. The American Fork Bands have received many honors under his direction. In recent years, the marching band has performed in the Fiesta bowl, twice in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, twice in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, a finalist and six times Semi-finalist at the Bands of America National Marching Band Championships, the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington DC and has placed first in the Bands of America Western Regionals 9 times. In 2010 the band was a recipient of the John Philip Sousa “Sudler Shield”. The AF Wind Symphony performed at the 2004 Bands of America National Concert Band Festival and has performed twice at the Utah Music Educators State Conference. His Jazz band has twice placed runner-up at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival and placed first seven times at the Peaks Jazz Festival.
Mr. Miller was selected as Teacher of The Year for the Alpine School District. He has received ten Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association. In 2009 and 2016 he received the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the National Federation of High School Activities Association for the Western States. In 2016 he received the Sorenson “Lifetime Achievement in Arts Education” Award, the National Band Associations National Blue Ribbon Award for a complete and balanced long-term Band Program and he received the Band Worlds “Legion of Honor”. Mr. Miller was a staff member for this past years BOA Honor Band performing in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. In 2017 Mr. Miller was inducted into the Music for All “Hall of Fame”.
Holding a Master’s degree in Music Education from Brigham Young University, he is the past Band Vice-President of the Utah Music Educators, served 10 years as chairman of the Utah All-State Band, 6 years as Marching Band Chairman and has served as the Treasurer for the Utah Music Educators Association for the past 17 years and currently serves as the Western Regional Chair of the National Band Association and Board Member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Band Council. He is a frequent adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States. In 2012, he presented a session at the MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago on “Achieving Longevity as a Music Director”. In 2006 Mr. Miller became the founding director of the Wasatch Winds Symphonic Band, an adult community band. Under his direction, the band has grown to over 85 members and already has an established concert series in the community. In 2017 he started the Wasatch Show Band, a jazz rock big band with 4 front singers.
After retiring as Director of Band at American Fork HS, Mr. Miller became the VP of Education for Musician’s Toolkit, a Salt Lake City based company developing thousands of videos to assist music educators around the world. He is currently the Executive Director of the Western Regional “Music for All” Concert Band Festival. He is the past Director of the Nauvoo Brass Band for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Mr. Miller believes strongly in the development of student leaders and the growth of the students in all areas of their lives including their musical development and believes that every student should experience the joy of music performance.