OMEA 2015 Conference

Medina Community Band to Appear at 2015 Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference – Friday, February 6th, Cleveland Convention Center – Grand Ballroom  

Medina:  The Medina Community Band, under the baton of Marcus Neiman, has been selected to perform as a featured ensemble at the 2015 Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Professional Conference to be held in Cleveland on Friday, February 6th, at 3:45p in the Cleveland Convention Center Ballroom “C.”

Mark Hensler, director of professional development for the OMEA conference said, Medina Community Band has been selected to appear at the conference as our featured community band offering.  They will be the only community band to perform at the conference from the state of Ohio. Over 130 CDs were submitted through “blind” audition by each of the sub-committees (band, choral, orchestra, and jazz).  Hensler continued, we can assure you that great care was taken to listen to each CD and to select groups that will represent not only quality, but also the great diversity of performing ensembles in our state.

Conductor Neiman said, We are honored and excited to be selected to perform at the OMEA conference.  Having been a member of OMEA since the 1960s, and having attended yearly conferences, I realize not only what a great honor it is to be selected to perform, but also what an honor it is for our community band members, the city of Medina, and Medina County!  This will be our first appearance as a featured ensemble at the conference!

Performing groups are permitted approximately 30 to 35 minutes of music to be performed during each of the concert hours.  Wadsworth resident and a featured favorite vocal soloist with Medina Community Band, Denise Milner-Howell will be featured mezzo-soprano, singing Rossini’s Barber of Seville: Una Voce Poco Fa.  Flutist Amy Muhl, from Wadsworth, will be joined by clarinetist Mary Ann Grof-Neiman, from Medina, as featured instrumental ensemble performing Delibes Flower Song from Lakmé.  Guest conductors who will join Maestro Neiman will be Frank Cosenza, from Mentor, associate conductor of Medina Community Band, conducting Galante’s Cry of the Last Unicorn and Gene Milford, senior lecturer in music education at The University of Akron, conducting his own arrangement of the Karl King march The Huntress.

Neiman will conduct the Dale Grotenhuis arrangement of Franz von Suppé’s overture Tantalusqualen; clarinet feature Pie in the Face Polka by Mancini from the movie The Great Race; and Lovrien’s Minor Alterations, in addition to the Rossini and Delibes.

Former Medina County Commissioner and newly elected Ohio House of Representative The Honorable Steve Hambley commented: Medina County has every reason to be proud that the Medina Community Band has been selected to perform at the 2015 OMEA Professional Development Conference. Summers in Medina would not be the same without the band’s Friday night concerts in Medina’s Uptown Park Square.  The band’s hard work, patience and practice required to make such cultural contributions to the performing arts are of immeasurable importance to the very life in our community. The immense crowds that always form in attendance of their various concerts are indeed a testament to the talent and vision of the Medina Community Band and supporting association.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said: When I was doing the welcome to guests for the summer concerts on our Square, I was stopped by a retired couple who lived in Pennsylvania, but stopped in Medina for dinner. They observed people bringing their lawn chairs and blankets to sit on the Square. They came over after dinner to see what the gathering was about. The man told me the two of them have travelled across the country and have never seen such a hometown event as the Friday night band concerts and were very complimentary of the community and band for continuing to promote and host such events.

I have personally witnessed the dedication, commitment, and preparation the individual band members undertake weekly to prepare for their performances. I want to express my thanks, appreciation, and gratitude for all the events the band presents in our fine community, and especially thank Conductor Marcus Neiman for his leadership. We are truly blessed to have such a talented group of musicians among us.

Medina Community Band Association president and bass clarinet player in the community band, Dr. Thomas Kenat said: The Medina Community Band is living proof that there IS life after high school and college band!  As a 30+ year member of the band, Kenat continued; Our members come from a great variety of vocations, including quite a few music professionals, ranging from outstanding high school students to those of us seniors who have been playing for most of our lives.  We look forward to our weekly rehearsals, where we come together to rehearse a wide variety of challenging wind band music to perform before our very loyal and appreciative audience, who see us as their “home town band.”  We have weekly summer concerts on Medina’s Town Square, continuing a tradition that began in 1859, and also present indoor concerts through the rest of the year.

For many of us, rehearsal is the high point of our week, and most of us have been with the band not for years, but for decades!  Our band is family, and we share a lot of our lives with fellow band members.  We also have multiple members of many families in our band, and provide life-long playing opportunities for the students that you inspire.

Marcus Neiman has been our conductor for over 40 years, Kenat continued.  He is honored to be called our maestro by many in our community.  He is a bandmaster in the classical tradition of Sousa, Goldman and Bourgeois, and frequently conducts concerts in the style of Sousa, in costume.  As our maestro, he is a true music educator and a demanding taskmaster, and constantly inspires to do our best with challenging music that will be appreciated by both our audiences and those of us who perform it.  This season, we have also welcomed our new associate conductor Frank Cosenza to our musical family.  We have quickly grown to appreciate him as a great addition to our band.

The 60 member musical ensemble has twice performed at Severance Music Hall; annually performs at the EHOVE Career Center in Milan, in addition their Winter, Spring, and Summer concerts in Medina.

The concert is free and open to the public.  For additional information on the OMEA conference, visit their website at:  For additional information about Medina Community Band visit their website at:

Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association composed of members of Medina Community Band proudly supports the community band.  The board of directors for the association consists of Dr. Thomas Kenat, president; Gail Sigmund, vice-president; Amy Muhl, treasurer; Sue McLaughlin, secretary; Lee Harper, financial secretary; directors Lu Ann Gresh, Alan Parkhurst, Paul Rocco, and, Kyle Snyder.  

Membership is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance.  The band rehearses on Wednesday evening from 7p through 9p in the band room of the Highland High School (4150 Ridge Road, Medina) September through the end of July; providing three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road.  The band also presents their popular summer series every Friday, June through July, in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo.  Each year the band presents at a holiday season concert, spring concert, and the popular "Sousa Concert" at EHOVE Career Center (Milan, OH).

For additional information on the 2015 concert season or Medina Community Band, contact Neiman at 330.725.8198 or

Conducting Staff & Guest Conductor

Marcus L. Neiman has been conductor of Medina Community Band since the Fall of 1972 and has served as conductor of the ensemble longer than any previous conductor in the ensemble’s history.  He attended the Akron Public Schools, received his bachelor of science in music education degree from The University of Akron, master of music in music education degree from The University of Michigan, postgraduate hours at The Kent State University, and The University of Akron.

Neiman retired from posts held with the Medina County Schools Educational Service Center in 2010 (1980 through 2000 as fine arts consultant and 2000 through 2010 as director of fine arts tours and festivals). He was formerly director of bands at Medina High School (1972 through 1980).  He was appointed as the interim assistant director of bands and administrator for the division of bands at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University in May of 2010 and held that position through May of 2011. Currently, he teaches their “Music Teaching as a Profession,” “Instrumental Methods for Choral and General Music Majors,” and, “Instrumental Methods II” courses, and supervises music education student teachers. In addition, he has chaired the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) district six junior high-middle school large group adjudicated event for the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Kent State.  Prior to his arrival at Kent State University, Neiman was a part-time lecturer for the music department at Case Western Reserve University with major responsibilities of teaching their “Foundations of Music Education” course and supervising music education student teachers from April 2004 through May of 2010.  He also supervised visual arts education student teachers for The University of Akron.

Neiman is a founding trustee and past president of both the Medina County Arts Council and Medina County Performing Arts Foundation and has served as music director for productions by both Medina County Show Biz Company and Brunswick Entertainment Company.  He has served as a committee member on the City of Medina Uptown Park Committee and Arts Under the Stars committee.  A past member of Medina Noon Kiwanis Club he was a member of the class of ’94 Leadership Medina County.  He was awarded the Leadership Medina County “Excellence in Education Leadership” in June of 2014, the sixth recipient of the award in Leadership Medina County’s history and the only recipient not a superintendent of a school district.

Neiman has served OMEA as a member of the adjudicated events flute solo and ensemble required list selection committee, communications, governmental relations, music in our schools, and public relations committees, district president, vice-president, state chair for Music In Our Schools and public relations, state editor of their professional journal TRIAD, and state chair for their council of supervisors.  He was elected by OMEAs membership to serve as state president from July 1, 1998 through July 1, 2000, and is currently OMEAs state historian.  He was awarded OMEAs highest honor, the “Distinguished Service Award” on January 29th, 2010 at the Professional Development Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Neiman has been published in Music Educators National Conference journal MEJ, The Instrumentalist, The School Musician, The Music Educator, OMEAs TRIAD, FANFARE magazine, and Bands of America Newsletter.  His first book, edited for MENC, entitled Life in the Music Classroom, was published by MENC in April 1992.  He is listed in Marquis “Who’s Who in America” (58th Edition).

Neiman has appeared with junior high/middle and high school, college and university, community bands, and American Federation of Musicians union professional bands as a guest conductor and in his characterization of famed bandmaster John Philip Sousa in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, (state of) Washington, and Wisconsin.  On October 15, 2004, Neiman conducted the Volga Concert Band in Saratov, Russia in a Sousa-style concert following a week’s residence in Moscow and Saratov.  In addition to conducting the Medina Community Band (since 1972), he formed his own professional touring band -- The Sounds of Sousa Band -- (in 1992) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the formation of Sousa's first non-military band.  To this date he has performed for over 200,000 people in the role of Sousa.  

Neiman’s goal has always been to preserve the presence and character of the traditional “town-band.”  In addition, Neiman has encouraged composers to write for the band.  Over the years the band has commissioned works by Douglas Court, Robert Feldbush, Stuart Ling, Edmund J. Siennicki, Tadd Russo, and David Shaffer. Neiman is a member of numerous professional organizations including the National Association for Music Education and Ohio Music Education Association, National Band Association, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Neiman is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi (University of Michigan Nu chapter, and honorary Beta Pi at Kent State University).  He is also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership society – The University of Akron - Theta Circle). He and his wife Mary Ann, who is a professional clarinetist and program administrator - preparatory and continuing education department for the Cleveland Institute of Music, reside in Medina with their two cats Sasha and Dmitri.

Frank T. Cosenza, associate conductor, received a bachelor of music from Bowling Green State University and a master of music from The University of Akron. He is a veteran band director of 32 years and retired from the West Geauga Local Schools where he was a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Education Award. He was called from retirement to serve as interim director of Athletic Bands/Concert Band at Kent State University for the 2012-2013 academic year where the Marching Golden Flashes performed in the MAC Conference Championship and the Go Bowl.

His groups have performed at Severance Hall for the Northeast Ohio Wind Band Invitational, the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference, the American School Band Directors Association State Conference, Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Ohio School Boards Association Conference. Additionally, his groups have performed at The University of Akron Band Clinic, Hiram College, Cleveland Browns halftime, the Cleveland Indians and performances in Florida, Michigan, Georgia a

nd Canada. Concert bands under his direction have received consistent superior ratings at large group contests. He has served on the Content Validation Panel for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and has been on the staff of American Music Abroad taking student musicians to Europe and performing in numerous countries.

Mr. Cosenza is an elected member of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity and the American School Band Director’s Association. As a member of the Ohio Music Education Association, he has served as state treasurer/trustee, district president, 2015 professional conference all-state coordinator; member of music selection committees, contest chairman and current adjudicator for large group and solo & ensemble events. Additionally, he is an adjudicator for Music in the Parks.  He has served as a clinician in Nevada and throughout Ohio and is currently an assistant director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band, Sounds of Sousa Band, Medina Community Band.  Mr. Cosenza is co-principal trumpet with the W.D. Packard Concert Band and Big Band Sound of Warren, and has played with many artists including Frankie Avalon, The Manhattan Transfer, Wayne Newton, Johnny Math

is, Holiday On Ice, and the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. He is a Conn-Selmer artist and maintains a private brass studio.

Gene F. Milford, a native of Canton, Ohio, is a senior lecturer in music education at The University of Akron. An instrumental music teacher with over 30 years of experience including 23 at Edgewood High School in Ashtabula, Ohio, he conducted bands which consistently received superior ratings at Ohio Music Education Association sponsored events and performed at state and national professional conferences. Dr. Milford earned his Ph.D. in music education from Kent State University and was the recipient of a University Fellowship (1998). He has served as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the state, and his articles on music education have appeared in Triad, Dialogues in Instrumental Music Education and Contributions to Music Education. As a composer and arranger Dr. Milford has received numerous commissions, was the recipient of a grant from the Ohio Arts Council (1995) and an ASCAP award. Several of his compositions are currently on state required lists. He was the 2006 inductee to the Ohio Band Director’s Hall of Fame.


Featured Soloists

Mary Ann Grof-Neiman, clarinetist is currently the program administrator of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education Division. She received her bachelor of science in music education degree from the Bowling Green State University. Ms. Grof-Neiman has served as clarinetist for the Blossom Festival Band, Lakeland Civic Band, Lakeside Symphony Orchestra, Youngstown Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and currently performs with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Lakewood Home Town Band, Medina Community Band, the Cleveland Winds, and is principal clarinetist with the Sounds of Sousa Band. She maintains private studios at Baldwin Wallace College through their Conservatory Outreach Program as well as her home in Medina. She has served the Ohio Music Education Association as a Woodwind Adjudicator for the last 25 years and is a member of AFM Local 4. She resides in Medina with her husband Marcus and their cats Dmitri and Sasha.

Denise Milner Howell, mezzo-soprano, is equally at home on the opera, musical theatre or concert stage.  Her solo engagements include performances with Opera Cleveland, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Per Tutti, Red {an orchestra}, Akron Lyric Opera Theatre, Tanglewood Festival, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Carousel Dinner Theatre, Sounds of Sousa Band, and Buffalo Philharmonic.  Additionally, Ms. Howell is a founding member of the vocal chamber music ensemble “Red Campion”, performing concerts and offering outreach into schools.  She can be heard in a CD release on the North/South recording label singing “Sappho Songs”, composed by Ira-Paul Schwarz.   

In addition to performing, Ms. Howell is an active voice teacher.  She currently teaches at Ashland University, and has served on the voice faculties of the University of Akron School of Music, and the State University of New York College at Fredonia.  Ms. Howell earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music education from Long Island University/CW Post College, and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music.  She lives in Sharon Township, Ohio with her husband, Gregg, and their three children.

Amy Muhl
, flute soloist, originally from Lyme, Connecticut, moved to Ohio to study music education at Oberlin Conservatory in 1991.  She graduated in 1995 and taught orchestra for two years at Willard City Schools.  Amy received her masters of music education from Kent State University on a scholarship, in 1998.  She then taught instrumental music at Buckeye High School, in Medina (OH) and in the fall of 1999, became the elementary band teacher for Buckeye Local Schools.  In the fall of 2001, she began teaching elementary instrumental music at Central Intermediate School in Wadsworth.  Amy also plays flute/piccolo and piano and teaches private lessons, in addition to being a member of Medina Community Band and Sounds of Sousa Band.  Amy resides in Wadsworth with her husband Frank, and two children Kenneth and Eva.

Medina Community Band

Banding together to celebrate a new land. The Medina Community Band traces its beginnings back to 1859, when a group of local people got together (some with formal training - others without) to perform music for the community.  That first "community band" was called The Medina Silver Cornet Band, probably since the instruments the musicians used were primarily "silver" cornets or percussion. Then, as now, the band performed on the public square.  Medina's uptown park was set aside in 1817 and cleared in 1819.  

During the next two decades, the park was used as a parade ground for local militia and for town celebrations.  In the 1840s, the square was enclosed with a white picket fence to keep cattle being driven to market off the square.During the 136-years that the band has been in existence there have been 20 directors.  The band probably existed at the pleasure of the square's business community, who often funded the season and encouraged patrons to attend the concerts.  The performance night has changed over the years, in most cases at the urging of the business community, and season concerts have been given on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

It should be stated that the Medina Community Band was only one of many bands in Medina Community. Almost every town had its own band, and a just a few to mention were the Litchfield, Lodi, Seville, Spencer, and Wadsworth bands. There were also school bands (from both the city and county districts) and even a Boy Scout band (in Westfield Center). The Medina Community Band’s name evolved over the years as the Medina Silver Cornet Band, Medina Band, Grand Army of the Republic Band, Knights of Pythias Band, and now the Medina Community Band.

The size of the band varied from 15 to 20 musicians through the end of last century, into the 50 and 60s through the 1940-1960s, and now boasts almost 100 members on its personnel roster. It should be understood that the "band" did not always perform in the Gazebo. During those early years, the band played on various corners of the square. There was for a few years a band stand, which was destroyed by fire. The "bandstand" on the north side of the square was large enough to seat a 100 piece band (somewhat tightly, but would accommodate that size group), which the current Gazebo will only allow 30 to 35 players. The band itself determines "who will play" based on attendance at practice or business and vacation schedules.

It is interesting to note that members of the band travel from all parts of Northeastern Ohio to play with the group. Entire families (from grandparents to grandchildren are members of the band and it is most common to find husbands and wives, or parents and children playing in the group. The Medina Community Band's membership is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance. The band rehearses on Wednesday evenings September through July, providing three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road. The band also presents an 8 to 10 concert summer season in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo.

Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association composed of members of The Medina Community Band proudly supports the community band.  Membership in Medina Community Band is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance.  The band rehearses on Wednesday evening from 7p until 9p in the band room of the Medina High School (777 East Union Street, Medina) during the summer (June through July) and from 7p until 9p in the band room of the Highland High School (4150 Ridge Road, Medina) September through the end of May; providing three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road.  The band also presents their popular summer series every Friday, June through July, in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo.  Each year the band presents at a winter and spring concert, and the popular "Sousa Concert" at EHOVE Career Center (Milan, OH).