Founder, Director of Orchestras, and Performing Arts Department Chair
Dean Westman is the Performing Arts Department Chair and Orchestra Director at Avon High School in Avon, Indiana. Dean founded the Avon Orchestra program in the fall of 2007 with 40 6th grade beginners. Over the past 13 years, the Avon Orchestra has grown to over 600 students grades 6 through 12. The Avon High School Symphony Orchestra placed 3rd at the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Indiana State School Music Association State Orchestra Finals, was State Runner Up in 2017 and earned back-to-back Indiana State Orchestra Championships in 2018 and 2019. Mr. Westman also serves as a Program Coordinator for the 3-time Bands of America Grand National Champion and 13 Time Indiana State Champion Avon High School Marching Black and Gold. Prior to coming to Avon, Dean worked as the Educational Director for Music for All. He also served as Director of Bands at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land, Texas. Westman Co-Conducted the award winning SFA Symphony Orchestra. Under Dean’s leadership, the SFA Marching Band was named Bands of America Houston Regional Champion in 2002, 2003, and 2004. The SFA Band placed 5th at the 2002 Bands of America Grand National Championships and 4th at the 2004 Bands of America Grand National Championships, winning both Outstanding Music Performance and the Al Castronovo Memorial Esprit de Corps Award. Dean’s concert ensembles have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Skirball Center at NYU, the Moores Opera House, the Meyerson, and the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Mr. Westman has also held positions at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas and the Indian Prairie School District in Naperville, Illinois. Dean currently serves as a member of the Music for All Educational Steering Committee and a Board Member for the Avon Education Foundation.
In 2002, Dean was named the Texas Young Bandmaster of the Year at the Texas Bandmaster’s Association Convention. He has taught the Tenrikyo Aimaichi Marching Band from Nagoya, Japan, and has served on the teaching staff for Bands of America Rose Parade Honor Band of America. He continues to guest conduct and present clinics throughout the United States and Japan, including presentations at the Midwest Clinic, the Texas Bandmaster’s Association Convention, the Colorado Bandmaster’s Association Convention, the Texas Music Educator’s Association Convention, the DCI Judges and Instructor Clinic, and the Texas Dance Educator’s Association Convention. He is a proud member of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the American String Teacher’s Association, the Indiana State School Music Association, and proudly serves as an Educational Specialist for Conn-Selmer, Inc. Westman was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2018.
Westman has been an active designer, instructor, and arranger in the drum corps activity for 27 years. Westman served as Brass Caption Head for the ten-time Drum Corps International World Champion Cadets, Brass Arranger and instructor for the six-time Drum Corps International World Champion Santa Clara Vanguard, and taught on the brass staff for the seven-time Drum Corps International World Champion Cavaliers. He was a music consultant for Carolina Crown and Brass Arranger and Program Coordinator for the Troopers, leading America’s Corps to their first DCI Finals appearance in 23 years in 2009. In 2011, Dean instructed the Yokohama Scouts from Yokohama, Japan as they became the first Japanese Drum and Bugle Corps to ever perform at a DCI World Championship. Westman currently serves as Program Coordinator for the 2016 Drum Corps International World Champion Bluecoats from Canton, Ohio.
Dean is a native of Park Ridge, Illinois and a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois. His conducting and musical mentors include James F. Keene, Gary Smith, Thomas J. Wisniewski, Gordon Henderson, and Larry Livingston. He lives in Plainfield, Indiana with his wife Adrianna and their 21-year-old daughter Abigail, who is studying Art Education at Indiana State University.
Associate Director of Orchestras and Director of String Activities
JOEL POWELL is the Associate Director of Orchestras and Director of String Activities at Avon High School in Avon, IN. Mr. Powell previously served as the Director of Orchestras at Carmel Middle School in Carmel, IN and as the Concert Orchestra conductor of the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra of Indianapolis, IN. He began his career at Goshen Community Schools in Goshen, IN where he taught high school and middle school orchestra. Graduating magna cum laude with honors, he first earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and later his Master of Arts from Ball State University. He furthered his conducting studies with Kirk Trevor and Bohuslav Rattay and has participated in master classes with Kevin Noe.
Highly active as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Mr. Powell’s ensembles have consistently earned international recognition and honors. Mr. Powell frequently conducts all-state, honor, and regional orchestras throughout the United States and was named 2019 Orchestra Teacher of the Year by the Indiana chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Under his baton, two of his orchestras have been invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic Band and Orchestra Conference. The Avon High School Symphony Orchestra is also the two-time and back-to-back 2018 and 2019 Indiana state orchestra champion.
Additionally, Mr. Powell and his ensembles have been featured in The Instrumentalist, a music education magazine circulated around the world. As a leader in the field of music education, Mr. Powell regularly leads professional development sessions for music departments throughout the United States. Notably, he was invited to present a 2017 discussion topic at the Midwest Clinic Band and Orchestra Conference as an orchestra curriculum specialist.
Mr. Powell is an accomplished violinist and violist and began his studies on violin and viola with Dr. Caroline Card Wendt. He continued university studies with Mary Kothman and was a scholarship pupil of violinist Sherry Kloss, past teaching associate of Jascha Heifetz. Mr. Powell has also participated in master classes with Sidney Harth, Felicia Moye, David Holland, Roger Meyers, and Stephen Clapp, the late Dean of the Juilliard School of Music. He regularly performs with many Indiana orchestras as both a violinist and violist.
Mr. Powell’s wife, Madison Gren Powell, is an accomplished concert violinist and respected private teacher. She maintains a strong online presence with her successful YouTube violin channel, Play Violin. Mr. and Mrs. Powell also have a son, Gavin, and two daughters, Sabrina and Vanessa.