About Us

About Kearney, NE

Kearney Nebraska, the county seat of Buffalo County, is located on the north bank of the southern most point of the Platte River and adjacent to Interstate 80. Kearney is home to over 28,000 people who enjoy an enviable balance of urban amenities and small town quality of life. It is home to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, two major hospitals, regional shopping and services, cultural and recreational attractions, excellent schools, numerous corporate headquarters and many other major employers. 

Kearney Public Schools is comprised of 10 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 senior high school. Over 4,500 students attend KPS, with instruction and services provided by 600+ full time and part-time faculty and staff.


About the Orchestras

The Kearney Public Schools Orchestra program offers seven different orchestras at three different levels. 

The entry level is provided for the fifth grade at all ten elementary schools. Each elementary string student receives a weekly thirty minute lesson. These students have the opportunity to meet twice a year to perform as a fifth grade orchestra.
The middle level program includes three different orchestras; sixth grade strings, seventh grade strings, and eighth grade strings. Each of the string orchestras meets separately in each of the two middle schools. Three times a year, these orchestras are combined at grade level for public performance. These orchestras have had the opportunity to perform for the Nebraska Legislature during the "Music In Our Schools" celebration in 1998, 2000, 2004 and again in 2010. In addition, the seventh grade orchestra was the only middle school selected to perform for the Nebraska Music Educators Conference in November 2007.
High school orchestra students are provided with two different orchestras to participate in: Symphonic Orchestra and the Select Camerata Orchestra. The Select Camerata Orchestra is an auditioned orchestra of the more advanced players. Symphonic Orchestra is a combination of the Symphonic Strings, wind and percussion players. All three groups have consistently received superior ratings at district contest. In 1999, the Symphonic Orchestra and Symphonic Strings received superior ratings as well as best in their division and best overall at the Festivals of Music-Music In The Park at Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2008, the students repeated their success with best in their division and best overall at the Festivals of Music-Music In The Park at St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Denver, Colorado. 2013, both the Symphonic Strings and the Select Camerata Orchestra received superiors and were division winners at the Winter Park Festival. The Select Camerata Orchestra completed the competition by winning the best overall for orchestras. The Symphonic Orchestra was the only Nebraska high school orchestra to be selected to perform for the Nebraska Music Educators Convention in 2003. In 2011, the Select Camerata Orchestra was chosen to perform for the Nebraska Music Educators Convention.

About the Directors
Dave Klein, Middle and High School Orchestra

Dave L. Klein is in his 34th year of teaching with the last 25 years as string specialist for Kearney Public Schools. Prior to teaching orchestra, he was a band director in Ewing, Valentine, and Norfolk. Dave attended Grand Island High School, and was a student of the late Larry Maupin, graduated from Hastings College and received his Masters in Music Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He has served as Chairman of Orchestra Affairs for Nebraska Music Educators Association, twice as well as past president of the Nebraska Chapter of American String Teachers Association. Dave was awarded “Outstanding Citizen” in Valentine, The Hastings Symphony “Jim Johnson Memorial Chair”, selected the "1999 Teacher of the Year" by the Nebraska Chapter of American String Teachers Association, the 2010-2011 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Outstanding Music Educator of the Year for Nebraska and in 2011 was inducted into the Nebraska Music Educators Hall of Fame. During his teaching career Dave’s ensembles and students have received consistent superior ratings both at the district and national level and constantly had impressive numbers in the Nebraska All-State Orchestra, State Honor Groups, and participated in National Select Orchestras. In 2003, the Kearney High School Orchestra was selected to perform for the Nebraska Music Educators’ convention. Dave is currently principal bass for the Hastings Symphony, and a freelance musician, as well as active clinician and adjudicator. Dave has played an assortment of instruments and genre as a semi and professional musician since he was thirteen years old.

Jeana Hafner, Elementary and Middle School Orchestra 

Jeana Hafner is in her second year of teaching at Kearney Public Schools. She graduated with a B.A. in Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Her current teaching assignment includes elementary orchestra (10 schools) and team teaching sixth and seventh grade orchestra at both middle schools. She is a member of the Hastings Symphony Orchestra and teaches private lessons in her free time. Professional organizations include Nebraska Music Educators Association, American String Teachers Association, and National Education Association.