Derek Stratton, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is currently the Middle School Band Director for the Pella Community Schools. There, he is responsible for Seventh Grade Band, Seventh Grade and Eighth Grade Jazz Bands, and lessons for students in grades six through eight.
Mr. Stratton is considered one of the most versatile music educators in the state, having taught in all sizes of schools and situations. His experience includes the Perry Junior and Senior High Schools, Dowling High School, Indianola High School, Elk Horn-Kimballton Schools (5-12), and PCM High School. His Pella seventh grade concert band has received highly superior ratings at all large group festivals in his district as well as being chosen twice to perform at the Iowa Music Educators Conference. His eighth grade jazz band commissioned a work from composer/jazz educator Bob Washut and was invited to open for Washut’s “Jazz Panther” spring concert at the University of Northern Iowa in 2008.
In 1982, he received the ASBDA-Stanbury Award as Outstanding Young Band Director for the State of Iowa and also was awarded a Music Education Fellowship to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1986. He received a Bachelor of Music Education in 1977 and Master of Music Education in 1982 from Drake University in Des Moines.
In November of 2003, he became one of 8,195 elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide who achieved National Board Certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. His certificate is in Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood/Music.
An active trumpet player in the Des Moines area, he has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and Principal Trumpet since 1986. Described by the symphony’s conductor, Joseph Giunta, as “one of the best trumpet players in the state”, he can be heard as soloist on the symphony’s recording of Concerto in F by Gershwin with Earl Wild, piano, on the Chesky label. In October 2004, he performed Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto with the Des Moines Symphony. The Des Moines Register said “Stratton plays with poignant lyricism.” He also has performed with the Des Moines Municipal Band, the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Des Moines Choral Society, and the Des Moines Symphony Brass Quintet as well as numerous shows at the Des Moines Civic Center.
His wife, Julie, teaches art at Pella High School and they have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Rachael.
Member of the Orchestra since
Most memorable experience with the Orchestra
Soloing with orchestra (Trumpeter's Lullabye, Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto in 2004)
How I got started playing my instrument
I started taking lessons at Nottleman's Music Store on south Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis in 1970. I wanted to be Herb Alpert.
Favorite solo piece
Holst's The Planets
Watching movies and the St. Louis Cardinals