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John Bell

John Bell



235 Fine Arts



Joined Northwest in 2012


Director of Bands


  • M.S.M.E.; University of Illinois
  • B.M.E.; University of Central Missouri

Courses Taught

  • Wind Symphony
  • Methods in Secondary School Instrumental Music
  • Instrumental Conducting
  • String Methods I & II
  • Student Teaching Supervision
  • Co-Director, Northwest Summer Music Camp

Academic Interests

  • Music Performance
  • Music Education

Scholarly Activity

Ensembles under John’s direction received consistent superior ratings at regional and national music festivals, and have been invited to perform at state, national, and European conferences, including the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Since he started teaching at Northwest the Wind Symphony has achieved local, regional, and national recognition by professional organizations’ peer reviews including the College Band Directors Association (CBDNA), the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the Nebraska Music Educators Association (NMEA). A recipient of the John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor, John also received recognition from students and parents on numerous occasions for inclusion in Who’s Who in America and from colleagues as the Park Hill School District Teacher of the Year. He is a recipient of the University of Central Missouri Music Department’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Missouri chapter of Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Band Director Award, the MoASTA Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award, the Northwest Award of Excellence, and most recently the Missouri Music Educators Association Outstanding Educator award.

Other Professional Experiences

John has served as one of the co-conductors of the NorthWinds Symphonic Band of Kansas City since its inception and as Conductor and Music Director of the Medical Arts Symphony of Kansas City for two years. Active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the Midwest, he has served as Band Vice President of the MMEA, President and High School Band Vice President of MMEA Kansas City District #3, a State Large Group Music Festival Manager for the Missouri State High School Activities Association, and as a member of the MSHSAA Music Advisory Committee. John was a staff member of the Missouri Ambassadors of Music Biennial European Tour from 1996 to 2014, conducting and performing in both the concert band and string orchestra. Memberships include MMEA, NMEA, NAfME, Phi Beta Mu, ASTA/MoASTA, CBDNA, NBA, MBA, Phi Delta Kappa, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and he is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi.


John’s wife, Valerie, retired from public school teaching after serving as Director of Orchestras at Park Hill South High School and Lakeview Middle School in the Park Hill School District. She is a Past-President of the Missouri division of the American String Teachers Association (MoASTA), serves as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Midwest, and is a staff member with Harmony Project KC. John and Valerie’s son, Nicholas and daughter, Alyssa are active musicians as well. Nick is currently a graduate conducting major at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Alyssa (Master’s degree in Viola performance from Peabody) is the Violin/Viola instructor at Northwest, a free-lance musician/teacher in the Kansas City area and staff member with Harmony Project KC.