Roy Ernst, professor emeritus of music education, dedicated 25 years of teaching at Eastman School of Music and led the music education department as chair for 12 years. His significant contribution began in 1991 when he initiated the first New Horizons Band at Eastman. This program was designed to offer entry and reentry points to music-making for older adults.
As his vision expanded, Dr. Ernst took on the role of founding director for the New Horizons Music Project. This initiative gained support from the National Association of Music Merchants and the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers. Leveraging the success of the New Horizons Band, he replicated the model to establish over 200 similar programs across the United States and Canada.
Tracing back to his origins, Dr. Ernst was born in 1938 in Troy, Michigan. His academic journey led him to attain his BS and MS degrees from Wayne State University, followed by a PhD from the University of Michigan. He commenced his teaching career in Michigan's elementary and secondary schools and was a notable member of the performance faculty at Wayne State University from 1964 to 1968.
In 1971, Dr. Ernst's career progressed as he became an assistant professor of music at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Here, he was appointed chairman of the wind department and also served as the conductor of the university's wind ensemble. His international experience was further enriched by his tenure as a visiting professor at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia, in 1984.
Dr. Ernst's professional excellence has been recognized with several prestigious awards. He is the recipient of the President's Arts Achievement Award from his alma mater, the Outstanding Educator Award from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Richard Snook Educator Award from the Monroe County Music Educators, and he has been celebrated as a Grand Master of Music Education by the Music Educators National Conference.
An author and thought leader, Dr. Ernst has contributed numerous books and articles on conducting, flute performance, and music education. He is also the founding director of The Aesthetic Education Institute in Rochester, New York. His commitment to music education continues as he actively conducts at national and international events for New Horizons Band and orchestra members.
Contributions in memory of Sally Bowers will be used to start new music programs for veterans. The goal is to improve lives and prevent suicides for veterans who have difficulty readjusting to civilian life. The model program at The University of Texas in San Antonio is off to a great start.
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Former NHIMA Board Member
Rochester, NY; Phoenix, AZ; Orono, ME
First President NHIMA Board
Iowa City, IA; Phoenix, AZ;
Fort Smith, AK
Former NHIMA Board Member