John Bell | Palen Music

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John Bell

Educational Representative

Phone: (816) 729-3933


Since retiring as a public school music educator in 2008, John Bell has held positions at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), Missouri Western State University, and Northwest Missouri State University. He is currently Artist-in-Residence – Director of Wind Symphony at Northwest Missouri State University.

John completed his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) and received his Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois. Post-graduate work includes extensive hours toward the DMA in Conducting at The University of Iowa. His conducting mentors include Harry Begian, Glenn Block, Russell Coleman, James Dixon, Paul Vermel, and Myron Welch.

Ensembles under John’s direction received consistent superior ratings at regional and national music festivals and have been invited to perform at state (MMEA & NMEA), national (Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic & a National MMEA), and European (Vienna International Youth & Music Festival) conferences.

A recipient of the John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor, he has also received recognition from students and parents on numerous occasions for inclusion in Who’s Who in America and from colleagues as the Park Hill School District Teacher of the Year. He is a recipient of the UCM Music Department’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Missouri chapter of Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Band Director Award, and the MoASTA Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award.  During his tenure at Northwest the band program has been recognized among the first of ten small college band programs across the United States to receive exemplary status by the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) through peer review.

Active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the Midwest, John has served as Band Vice President of the Missouri Music Educators Association; President and High School Band Vice President of MMEA KC District #3; the MSHSAA District 11 State Large Group Music Festival Manager; a member of the MSHSAA Music Advisory Committee; Co-Coordinator and Conductor of the annual Northwest Honor Music Festival; Co-Director of the Northwest Summer Music Camp. He was a staff member of the Missouri Ambassadors of Music Biennial European Tour from 1996 to 2014, conducting and performing in both the concert band and string orchestra, and is currently honored to serve as a city coordinator in Rothenburg, Germany from mid-June through July for visiting Music Ambassador groups from across the country. He has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Medical Arts Symphony of Kansas City, and is a Co-Conductor of the NorthWinds Symphonic Band of Kansas City. His memberships include MMEA, NAfME, Phi Beta Mu, CBDNA, CODA, NBA, MBA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and he is an honorary member of Phi Delta Kappa.

John’s wife, Valerie, is Past President of the Missouri division of the American String Teachers Association. She retired from public school teaching after serving as Director of Orchestras at Park Hill South High School and Lakeview Middle School in the Park Hill School District. Their son, Nick, is an aspiring orchestral conductor in the Master’s Orchestral Conducting Program at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and daughter Alyssa (viola) is a free-lance violist in the Kansas City area, teaches violin and viola at Northwest Missouri State, and received her Master’s Degree in Viola Performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.