Kevin Mills has been let go starting next fall semester. He speaks about his plans for the future.
Kevin Mills, a North Central professor for 13 years, will be losing his position as a member of the music faculty with the coming of significant department changes for the 2015 Fall Semester. Along with this change, the concert band and jazz band will be eliminated.
Mills was informed of the elimination of his position on Jan. 13. It was announced to the students of the music department on Jan. 24. “It’s certainly a bitter pill to swallow,” Mills said. “It did take me aback.” Mills has served a major role in the Secondary Instrumental Music Education Program, a major that will no longer be available after this semester.
“The main thing, as I understand it, is that vocal music education continues to grow, while instrumental education hasn’t taken root,” Mills said. With the elimination of instrumental programs, the music department will have funds to hire a full time vocal music education professor. While Mills was surprised at the elimination of instrumental ensembles, he sees it as a “response to the way it is already leaning.” Interest is booming for vocal instruction, while wind players are not as prevalent within the school. Mills regarding the termination of his position, it “made sense from the position of an administrator,” but “it sure stings.”
The effects of the programming modifications will be noticeable among the student body. Current students and incoming wind players will no longer have opportunity to participate in wind ensembles, but will have the prospect to be involved in jazz workshops, Soulful Praize and Worship Live World. Methods classes, some of which Mills teaches, will continue for vocal music education majors.
Mills is now applying for director of bands positions across the country. A lifelong Minnesotan, the thought of uprooting is less than appealing, but necessary. “It’ll be weird if I have to start over,” Mills said. “Very interesting life changes could be at my door step.” As Mills looks to the future, he sees realms of possibility, but a world of unknowns.
Looking back over his time at North Central, Mills is pleased with what he has experienced. “The interpersonal thing we’ve got going on here in the College of Fine Arts really is beautiful,” Mills reminisces. “It’ll be very interesting to see if another place can compare in terms of being edifying and in quality interpersonal relationships throughout the faculty.”