Now celebrating its 10th year, the band is celebrating another special milestone in 2016 – two new leaders on the podium. Following an in-depth search, the band selected a new conducting team to lead them into the next 10 years.
JEREMY KONDRAT, Artistic Director/Conductor
Jeremy Kondrat, MCB’s new artistic director and conductor, is currently the Coordinator of Instrumental Music in the Plano Independent School District. Prior to this position, he taught high school band programs in Plano, McKinney and Cudahy, Wisconsin. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in music education and trombone performance from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree in trombone performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Jeremy lives in Plano with his wife April and their three children. Music plays a major part in the lives of the Kondrat family—April, who met Jeremy while the two were students at Eastman, is the principal violist with the Plano Symphony Orchestra.
ELMER SCHENK, Associate Conductor
Fans of the McKinney Dance Band may already be familiar with Elmer Schenk, a trombone player in the group for several years. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Schenk was a music educator for 40 years before retiring, with most of that time spent at Howe and Princeton high schools. Despite his retirement, Elmer is still a much-sought-after band clinician and mentor. In addition to MCB’s Dance Band, Elmer is also a member of the Plano Community Band and the Frisco Jazz Band. He and his wife Anita call McKinney home.
“We began our search for a new music/artistic director late last fall, and auditioned candidates during our January rehearsals,” said Tom Evans, MCB president. “The board and band are so pleased to have found two such highly-esteemed music educators to lead our band into its next phase. They are both fine musicians in their own right and we look forward to the impact their knowledge and enthusiasm for music will bring to our organization.”
In their new positions, Kondrat and Schenk will work together on music selection and programming of the band’s performances while sharing time conducting. The band’s Director Emeritus and co-founder, Bill Sleeper, retired as the band’s music director/conductor a year ago and now performs in the band’s percussion section. He will return to the podium from time to time, too.
Kondrat was first introduced to the MCB, knowing the band was looking for a new conductor, when he attended their 2015 Christmas concert.
“I immediately fell in love with this wonderful group of people; they love to play heartfelt and exciting music together. From my first experience with the McKinney Community Band, I could tell there was something very special about this group,” Kondrat said. “I love the energy and vibe [of this band of volunteer musicians]. Their passion for the band itself and for creating meaningful and memorable musical experiences for each other and their audiences inspires me tremendously. This band displays a sincerity of music-making and heart-and-soul I’ve not found anywhere else.”
Please join us in welcoming these two marvelous leaders to the McKinney Community Band family.