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Normandy Band Director Selected as Salute to Excellence Honoree

ST. LOUIS, MO -- Bernard Long Jr., band director at Normandy High School, is one of eight St. Louis area educators to be recognized at the 2018 St. Louis American Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship and Awards Gala.

     Long has led the Normandy Vikings Marching Band since 2014. Since taking the helm of the high school’s band program, Long has worked to ensure his students are exposed and involved in a variety of experiences to help expand their musical knowledge and personal accomplishments. Under Long, the band has participated in a variety of events including the grand openings for the National Blues Museum, Tim Horton’s Cafe, and re-opening of the Gateway Arch. In 2016, the marching band participated in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., where one of the members received MVP honors. Mr. Long also oversees the school’s concert and jazz bands.

     Long, who is a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High, has also brought in respected musicians such as bass player Rodney Whitaker, pianist and composer Lawrence Fields, and trumpeter/composer Keyon Harrold to conduct free music workshops to help his students perfect their craft and also learn more about the musicians themselves. Earlier this year, two of Long’s students were selected to participate in a question-and-answer session with music legend Wynton Marsalis.

     Long earned his bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Northern Illinois University where he studied under, and performed with, legendary music educator Ronald Carter. He went on to earn a master’s degree, also in Jazz Studies, from Michigan State University. He is currently studying for his Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration at Lindenwood University, where he also serves as an adjunct professor in the Music Education department.

    Prior to joining Normandy, Long was the percussion instructor and assistant band director at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was also selected to perform in the 2018 St. Louis Symphony Orchestra EXTRA CREDIT concert at Powell Symphony Hall.

     The Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship and Awards Gala will be held Saturday, September 29 at the America’s Center downtown St. Louis. For tickets, please contact the St. Louis American at 314-533-8000.