6066 High School Orchestra Directors Symposium: Pathways to Student Artistry

Beginning and experienced teachers will learn, reaffirm and reimagine the craft of teaching through this engaging symposium. Sessions focus on developing strategies to build and reinforce student artistry through technique, character building and literature selection.

Instructors: Frank Lestina, Gabriel Villasurda, Don Shupe, Lloyd Palmiter & David Eccles


Frank Lestina received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Roosevelt University and his master’s degree in administration from the University of Illinois. Lestina started his teaching career in Danville, IL, where he taught orchestra at Southview Middle School and Danville High School. In 1986, Lestina accepted the Orchestra Director position at Libertyville High School, where the program grew from one orchestra of 30 students to two orchestras with 90 string players. The orchestra was invited to perform at the Midwest Clinic in 1991 and again in 1996. In addition, the Libertyville orchestras traveled extensively, including three tours to Europe. In the fall of 2000, Lestina accepted the position of Fine Arts Supervisor and Orchestra Director at Vernon Hills High School in Illinois. The string enrollment there grew to 150 students in three orchestras, more than 10% of the total school enrollment.  Lestina and the Vernon Hills orchestras performed at the ILMEA All-State Conference in Peoria in 2004, the Music Educators National Conference in Milwaukee in 2008, and the Midwest Clinic in 2009, in addition to overseas tours to China in 2001, Spain in 2006, Italy in 2008, and Prague/Austria in 2012. Lestina retired from Vernon Hills High School in June of 2013. 
Lestina recently joined the part-time faculty of DePaul University, where he teaches bass pedagogy. He is a member of American String Teachers Association and was very active in the Illinois Music Educators Association where he served on the ILMEA State Board as the District 7 President for two terms. Lestina remains very active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, and has served as guest conductor for many of the ILMEA District Orchestras at both the middle and high school levels. He conducted the ILMEA All-State Orchestra for the 2014 Conference in Peoria, and most recently conducted the Southwest Regional Orchestra in Cincinnati.


A native of Detroit, Gabriel Villasurda earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music education with high honors from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he  studied violin with Gustave Rosseels and conducting with Elizabeth Green and Theo Alcantara. He later earned a master’s degree in music from UM. He has held teaching posts in Patchogue, NY (3 years), Ann Arbor Public Schools (16 years), the American School in London (5 years), the Park-Tudor School in Indianapolis (3 years), Oberlin College (1 year) and the Punahou School in Honolulu (12 years). He has also taught  at the Interlochen Arts Camp for over 35 years.
Villasurda is a fully certified Suzuki violin teacher, having finished the teacher training course laid down by the British Suzuki Institute, and taught the Suzuki method in England, Holland, Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana, Texas and Hawaii. In addition to numerous clinics and adjudications in Michigan and Hawaii, he served as an ASTA state officer, chair of the String Committee of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association,  and as president of the Hawaii chapter of the Music Educators National Conference.



Don Shupe received his bachelor's and master’s degrees from Northwestern University. He served as the Director of Bands at Libertyville High School from 1974 until 2010. Under his direction, the LHS Jazz Ensemble has won over 30 festival awards during his 36-year tenure. Shupe is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Phi Beta Mu, and the American Bandmasters Association. Among his many career accomplishments and awards, Libertyville High School honored Shupe with the Educator of the Year award for the 2001-\2002 school year. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Bandmaster Award from Phi Beta Mu professional Music Fraternity, and in 2010 was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame. Upon his retirement in June of 2010, he was honored with the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Quinlan and Fabish Music Company. Shupe is currently active as a guest conductor and clinician. 





Lloyd Palmiter is currently a string specialist for the Quinlan & Fabish Music Company, where he directs product development and program design for the stringed instrument division. This position follows his work as a clinician and product consultant for the string instrument division of Conn-Selmer, and from his previous work as an orchestra conductor of youth orchestras in many schools across the country. He has been a competition adjudicator and consultant for curriculum development for a number of arts education organizations in several capacities.
Palmiter is the founding conductor of the Rise and Shine Orchestra, which performs annually as part of the Make Music Chicago event sponsored by Rush Hour Concerts. A former cellist with the Elkhart County Symphony, the South Bend Symphony, the Evansville Philharmonic, and the Owensboro Kentucky Symphony, Palmiter has taught in public schools and privately for many years, and  his students and have consistently earned high praise for the level and quality of their performances. Having served as North Central Division Chairman of the National School Orchestra Association, Palmiter continues his active memberships in the American String Teachers Association in both Illinois and Indiana, and is a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the Illinois Council of Orchestras.
Palmiter holds a master’s degree in administration from the University of Notre Dame School of Business; a master’s in cello performance from Western Kentucky University, where he studied with Russian cellist Vsevolod Lezhnev; and a bachelor’s degree in string pedagogy from the University of Evansville. Palmiter also was honored with the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.


Eccles,_David_headshot_2015David F. Eccles is a native of Norfolk, VA, and the son of a music educator. Eccles comes to VanderCook following conducting and music director positions with the Florida State University Summer Music Camps, Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Jubilate Youth Orchestra, and Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra. Eccles is also a clinician for the Hal Leonard Corporation, and has served as a guest conductor for various state, county, regional and community orchestras. Eccles holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Music and Media degree from Norfolk State University. He is completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University. His principal teachers include Elizabeth Eccles, Laurien Laufman, Ross Harbaugh and Dr. Michael Allen. Eccles is a member of NAfME and serves as President of the Illinois Chapter of American String Teachers Association. He also serves as Administrative Vice President of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra Board.




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Course Information

6066 High School Orchestra Director's Symposium: Pathways to Student Artistry

July 11-15

3 graduate credits
Classroom: TBD

Click HERE for a campus map.

Tuition: $960
A $75 deposit is required at time of registration. Tuition balance is due in full by the first day of class.

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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