Bernard E. (Bernie) Potter
Bernard E. (Bernie) Potter has been a band director in Illinois for the past 39 years, retiring from public school education in 2004 after directing 3 years in Peoria District 150 with the Peoria Jazz All-Stars and the Roosevelt Fine Arts Magnet School Bands. During 16 years at Morton High School, 5 years at Farmington East, and 9 years at Sciota Northwestern, concert bands under his direction have received numerous 1st Division Ratings at IHSA Contest, have won the Illinois Superstate Contest at the University of Illinois and been selected to perform at the WIU Showcase of Bands. . His jazz bands have been trophy winners many times in every major festival in Illinois and were winners of The President's Cup at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia. His marching bands have won many competitions, been finalists at the State of Illinois Competition at ISU, Class Winners at U. of I. and competed regularly in the Bands of America Grand Nationals and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Virginia. All three high schools were consistently in the top levels of the IHSA Music Sweepstakes Contest.
Mr. Potter was named Fulton County Teacher of the Year in 1984 and a Governor's Master Teacher in 1985. He has been on the State Board of the Illinois Music Educators Association, is a past-president of District 4 of I.M.E.A., and served as Band Chairman. He is a founder of the District 4 Jazz Festival and served as Jazz Chairman of District 4 for many years as well as Organizing Chairman of the All-State Jazz Bands. He is currently an All-State Winds Auditioner.
Mr. Potter performs as principal tuba with the Prairie Wind Ensemble, plays tuba and euphonium with the River Valley Brass, and trombone with the Maple City Dixieland Jazz Band, and freelances with other ensembles in the Peoria area. He is active as an adjudicator for the I.H.S.A. and the I.G.S.M.A. at solo, ensemble, jazz, and concert organization contests and is a member of the Central States Judges Association, judging marching competitions throughout the Midwest. He also writes marching drill and musical arrangements for many school groups in Illinois, including Class Winners and Overall Winners at ISU and U of I. He has taught Marching Band Techniques, Conducting, and Instrumental Methods Knox College, Illinois Wesleyan University and Bradley. He directed the Knox Galesburg Community Band for many years as well as community bands in Macomb, Farmington, and Morton.. He has guest conducted many Illinois high school concert and jazz ensemble festivals, all-district festivals, the Prairie Wind Ensemble, as well as the summer camp concert and jazz bands at Illinois Wesleyan and Western Illinois University. He is currently the Director of the Middle School Band at Christ Lutheran Grade School in Peoria.
Mr. Potter received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Music Education degrees from Western Illinois University and has done advanced work at the University of Northern Colorado, University of Wisconsin, Vandercook College, and Illinois State University. He is a member of the M.E.N.C., I.M.E.A., T.U.B.A., A.F. of M., Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha.
Bernie Potter lives in Avon, IL with his wife Milinda. Fishing, hunting, traveling, learning to play guitar, and raising Brittany Spaniels are among his retirement activities.