Millard South High School Music Teacher Receives 2009 Gary Thomas Distinguished Alumni Award at UNK

Ron Crocker
Fine Arts and Humanities associate dean, 308.865.8618

Rex Barker, a Millard South High School (Omaha) music teacher, received the 2009 Gary Thomas Distinguished Alumni Award at a luncheon on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus today (Friday, Oct. 16).

Barker has been a teacher for 28 years, with 22 years at Millard South where he heads the music department and is the band director. In addition, he is the instrumental music coordinator for Millard Public Schools, and teaches music theory, AP music theory and music consumer courses.

The Millard Public Schools have been named in the “Top 100 Places for Music Education” in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2006. In 1999, the Millard South music department was awarded a Grammy Signature School designation. The Millard South band received the 2009 Sweepstakes Award at the Orange Bowl field competition and parade, which earned them the opportunity to perform their pre-game show. They also placed first in the 2000 Holiday Bowl Parade in San Diego, Calif.

Currently, Barker is president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association. He formerly served as president, marching band chair, and A and AA class representative for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.

Barker has been a guest conductor for the Fort Kearny Conference Honor Bank, UNK Festival Band, Omaha Wind Symphony, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Honor Bands and the Pioneer Conference Honor Band.  He is a nationally registered music educator and was selected by “School Band and Orchestra” magazine as one of the “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” in 2001.

He earned a bachelor of arts in education from Kearney State College/UNK in 1981 and a master of music education from UNO in 1992.  Barker also studied at Vandercook College of Music, University of Miami and Illinois State University. While at KSC/UNK, Barker participated in marching, concert and symphonic bands, orchestra, college choir, the Choraleers and Jazz Rock Ensemble.