MInden Teacher Receives UNK Music Award

Dr. Valerie Cisler
professor and chair, Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308.865.8118

Phil Fahrlander, Minden, has been named the 2007 Gary Thomas Distinguished Music Award recipient by the Department of Music at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.   

Fahrlander retired in 1997 after 38 years of teaching music. The last 29 were with the Minden Public Schools where he taught instrumental music for grades five through 12. He also taught humanities classes and the high school gifted program. Before that he taught at Diller and North Loup Scotia.  Minden concert bands received consistent superior ratings at district music contests, and the Minden marching band won more than 100 trophies and other awards.

Fahrlander served as president of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association and chairman of band affairs for the Nebraska Music Educators Association. An active member in both organizations, he chaired many committees for those groups.

Among his honors are the Nebraska State Bandmasters Distinguished Service Award, the Don Lentz Outstanding Band Director Award, the Nebraska Music Educators Distinguished Service Award, the Cooper Foundation Excellence in Education Award and the Minden Area Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award.

Fahrlander has played a key role in the performing arts in Minden. He was active in the planning of the restoration of the Minden Opera House. He established and coordinated the Minden Bandfest Marching Contest, and was a cast member and director of several community plays.

For more than 12 years, he wrote a humorous column for the Nebraska Music Educator magazine and provided artwork for the magazine covers. He designed logos for Nebraska Music Educators Association and Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.

The music award is named for Dr. Gary Thomas, a UNK music faculty member for 37 years and Department of Music chair for 34 years.