Former Exeter teacher to head orchestra

A new orchestra teacher has been hired for the 2007-2008 school year. 

William McClain will oversee and conduct upper school orchestral programs and teach introductory music theory classes in addition to AP Music Theory, which he will teach with accompanist Mark Hilt. McClain will begin working at the end of the summer. 

McClain taught for two years at Phillips Exeter Academy, where, according to Performing Arts Chair Ted Walch, he received “rave reviews.” 

In addition McClain has a bachelor’s degree in viola performance from Ithaca College, two master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting, one from University of Texas in Austin and the other from Ithaca College, and he is finishing a doctoral degree.
“He was the best of the finalists,” Walch said.  “We like his spirit and his philosophy of music.  The students he conducted seemed also to like him and his approach.”

After receiving over 50 resumés in response to their national advertisements, the list of candidates was narrowed down to nine or 10 applicants, who were then interviewed over the phone by choral teacher Rodger Guerrero, jazz teacher Shawn Costantino and Walch.   

Three finalists came to the school for interviews with  Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts, Director of Studies Deborah Dowling and many members of the performing arts department, including Guerrero, Costantino, costumer Lisa Peters, choreographer Michelle Spears, performing arts teacher Christopher Moore, Hilt and Rees Pugh, next year’s performing arts chair.

The finalists were also required to conduct the first movement of Beethoven’s First Symphony, which the Symphony Orchestra students already knew, in addition to conducting a new piece.