School of Music Alumnus Named New Mexico Music Educator of the Year
The New Mexico Music Educators Association announced that Stetson alumnus Jason Paulk, DMA, has been awarded the 2024 New Mexico Music Educator of the Year.
A 1997 graduate in Music Education, Paulk is now a professor of Music and director of Choral Activities at Eastern New Mexico University.
“I’m very humbled and appreciative of the recognition from NMMEA, and it has given me the opportunity to pause to reflect on the incredible mentors I have had throughout my life,” Paulk said about the honor. “Similarly, it has been nice to reflect on all the great students I’ve had the opportunity to teach in New Mexico since 2005, many of whom are now in classrooms throughout the Southwest and who have gone on to do some wonderful performances.
“There are too many to name individually, but one of my most enjoyable activities yearly is visiting with them and their students and hearing their progress with their choirs. It’s incredible to work in a field where you can continue to have contact with your students, and they continue to send their students to ENMU. And so it is that the proverbial “song” never ends — it just continues on through the lives of so many. I think that keeps me going: It feels good to know my work has an impact and will continue to inspire and shape others for many years.”
Paulk, who has been with Eastern New Mexico University since 2005, conducts the University Singers, Chamber Singers and Swanee Singers ensembles, and teaches beginning and advanced conducting and choral methods courses.
“I’m constantly encouraged and inspired by my colleagues and students in the Music Department,” he added. “We share the important common goal of “student-centeredness,” which galvanizes our philosophy and mission for the department.”
Choirs under Paulk’s direction have performed by invitation at state music conventions in Florida and New Mexico, and at national conferences such as the 2009 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Oklahoma City and the 2018 NAfME Conference in Dallas. ENMU Choirs have performed numerous world premieres of significant choral compositions; prepared and performed many major works for choir/orchestral collaboration; and performed for audiences throughout the United States, Europe and China. Last year, the ENMU Chamber Singers performed a solo concert in Carnegie Hall, and ENMU singers are excited to be part of the 2024 Global Ambassador Choir in London and Paris.
Paulk has dozens of published articles in scholarly journals, along with one published book, “Handel’s Messiah: Warm-ups for Successful Performance” (2016), and another book to be released shortly, “A Choral Style Guide with Warm-ups for Successful Performance” (2024).
“The ENMU Music Department has a long legacy of excellence through the extraordinary talent and work of faculty like Dr. Paulk that continue that legacy,” commented James Johnston, ENMU Chancellor. “On behalf of ENMU, we congratulate Dr. Paulk on this honor and say, ‘Well deserved!’”
Paulk will be officially recognized at the NMMEA Business and Awards Luncheon on Jan. 12, 2024, at the University of New Mexico.