Title: Professor of Music Education Emeritus
Company: Gardner-Webb University
Location: Shelby, North Carolina, United States
C. Oland Summers, DA, Retired Full Professor of Music Education at Gardner-Webb University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in music and higher education.
Delving into the field of music due to the influence of his parents, who were a semi-professional trombonist and church pianist, Dr. Summers spent his formative years singing in church choirs and playing in bands and orchestras. Upon pursuing higher education, he received a Bachelor of Arts in music education, instrumentals and vocals from Indiana State University in 1956, and won the Sinfonia Outstanding Freshman Music Award and the Harold Bright Outstanding Music Senior Award during this time. He elected to remain with the university, receiving a Master of Arts in music education and vocals in 1969. Upon gaining prominence in the field, he attended Ball State University, where he earned a Specialist in Education in music administration and Doctor of Arts in music performance and conducting in 1984 and 1986, respectively. He is a licensed music teacher for kindergarten through 12th grade in the states of North Carolina, Illinois and Indiana. Furthermore, Dr. Summers spent eight years in Army Bands, spending a significant amount of time with the “Caribbean Command Band,” an military good-will group representing the United States.
Commencing his career as a high school band and choir director and chair of the music department at Rochester Community School Corporation in Indiana in 1959, Dr. Summers subsequently served the Vandalia Community Unit Schools #203 in Illinois as supervisor of music and director of bands for eight years, during which time his band was selected through contests as the “Governor’s Band” for two years. He has also served Muncie Community Schools in Indiana as chairman of the music department and director of bands for three years, and Ball State University as the assistant director of bands for one year. Transferring to Gardner-Webb University soon thereafter, he acted as a professor of music education and director of bands for 13 years and a professor and program director of music education for 35 years prior to attaining emeritus status. Subsequent to his retirement, he briefly taught courses at the university for five years until 2017.
A former four-time keynote speaker for the North Carolina Music Educators Association, Dr. Summers was named Music Teacher of the Year by Gardner-Webb University in 1981. Prior to this achievement, he was honored as an Outstanding Postgraduate by Ball State University in 1976, Outstanding Layman of the Year by the Delaware County Council of Churches in 1973, and an Outstanding Educator of Fayette County by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1970. Earlier in his career, he received the Governor’s Band Award from the State of Illinois in 1962. In addition to teaching, Dr. Summers participated in 35 Broadway musicals either on stage, or in the pit as the music director. He also is still actively working as a church musician, as he has done for over 68 years, and enjoys woodworking in his shop. Notably, he has been highlighted in the seventh edition of Who’s Who in American Education and the 60th edition of Who’s Who in America.
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