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(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)—Moravian College announced that Neil Wetzel, applied music teacher, is the first recipient of the T. Edgar Shields Prize for Outstanding Studio Instruction. Wetzel, a teacher at Moravian College since 1989, teaches saxophone, jazz, diatonic harmony, chromatic harmony, musicianship I-IV, beginning woodwind techniques, jazz artists and epochs, and the Art of Music. In addition to teaching, Wetzel directs the Big Band and was recently appointed director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College. Wetzel is currently a doctoral candidate at Columbia University Teachers’ College.
The T. Edgar Shields Prize for Outstanding Studio Instruction was established by Moravian’s Music Department this year. Music majors were asked to nominate studio instructors based on quality studio teaching, contributions to the profession (recordings, performances, editions), and their interaction with students. Full-time members of the music faculty reviewed the nominations and awarded the prize to Wetzel.
The prize is named for T. Edgar Shields who taught music for 40 years at the Young Ladies' Seminary. Shields directed the choir at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He was also an organist for the Bach Choir. During his tenure, Shields was considered to be the leading American authority on the works of Bach. In addition to his duties at the Young Ladies’ Seminary, Shields also served as head of the music department at Lehigh University, before retiring in 1947.