St. Andrew's instrumental music teacher and School Orchestra Director Dr. Fred Geiersbach (seen here playing the viola with students) attended the 2017 College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) Conference, held at George Mason University in February. CODA is, according to its website, the world's largest service organization dedicated exclusively to collegiate orchestral conductors.
"Thanks to St. Andrew's professional development funding, I attended five orchestra performances in three days and attended panel discussions on a wide range of topics pertinent to my work at St. Andrew's," Geiersbach said. "I also met many directors from a variety of colleges and universities, both large and small, many of which our students go on to attend. It was great to hear what the current thinking is at the college level as far as orchestra curriculum and to make the acquaintance of so many interesting colleagues."
While in D.C., Geiersbach also had a chance to tour the Library of Congress and learn about a joint project being undertaken by the Library of Congress and CODA to unearth America's hidden music treasures; using Library of Congress resources, CODA members are working to edit and perform "lost works" of American musical history. "It was startling to learn how much music remains unperformed and unpublished, some by composers as famous as Copland and Bernstein," Geiersbach said. "It would be a fun project for the St. Andrew's Orchestra to have the chance to premiere a hidden gem!"
Geiersbach notes that, due to his busy St. Andrew's schedule—which includes teaching music classes, giving one-on-one instrumental lessons, directing both the School Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, and advising students—he rarely has time to attend concerts himself. "So it was great to hear three very good university orchestras perform at the conference," he said. "I also heard two evening concerts, by the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony, that were fantastic. Two of highlights that will stay with me were hearing the U.S. Air Force Strings perform their strolling strings set, and seeing 92 year-old Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel conduct Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherazade."
To learn more about St. Andrew's Instrumental Music program, visit