Richard F. Dennis is known for his outstanding work as a teacher, violinist, conductor, and adjudicator on the local, state, national, and international level. He graduated with honors in his early education, then won scholarships to college and fellowships to further his studies. He won a Diploma in Violin from Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA. He then won a scholarship and his B. S. in Music Education from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. and then was awarded a Master of Music as a violin major at Butler University and did some doctoral work at Indiana University. His teachers include George Sheeder of the Brussels Conservatory, Lynn Bogart and Ferdinand Pranzatelli of Ithaca College, Eric Rosenblith at Butler University and Daniel Guilet and David Dawson of Indiana University.
Mr. Dennis conducted various musical organizations including many orchestra festivals and all-state orchestras in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Louisiana, Florida and in Japan for the Min-On Concert Association. He conducted the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indiana Opera Theater, was assistant conductor of Starlight Musicals for fifteen years, conducted the Indianapolis Civic orchestra for five years and the Circle City Youth Symphony for a number of years. He conducted movie personalities on tours here and in Japan.
Mr. Dennis served as concertmaster for Henry Mancini’s touring orchestra for 28 years, as well as tours as concertmaster for Julie Andrews, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams and others. His national and international work has included concerts, RCA recordings, movie and commercial soundtracks. He has performed as a violin soloist with a number of orchestras and was featured soloist on four tours of Japan sponsored by the Min-On Concert Association.
He worked with string groups at Indiana University, Indiana State University, Anderson University, Purdue University, University of Indianapolis, and served as adjunct instructor in String Pedagogy at Butler University. His orchestra work in music education brought many awards to North Central orchestras, which consistently won superior ratings, as well as several state championships in ISSMA competition.
Mr. Dennis’ honors include the Gold Award of Merit from the American String Teachers Association, Teacher of the Year twice in Washington Township, runner-up for Indiana Teacher of the Year in 1986, Outstanding Instrumental Teacher of the Year award from the Indiana Music Educators Association, and the Robert A. Phillips Service to Music Award. In 1990 former Governor Evan Bayh named Richard Dennis Sagamore of the Wabash for his work in music education.
In spite of many tempting offers from both coasts and in between, Mr. Dennis chose to spend his final 32 years before retirement, teaching in the Washington Township Schools, developing one of the premier orchestra programs in the country. It was in recognition of his great dedication and many significant achievements in music education that the North Central Orchestra parents, friends, colleagues, former students, relatives and music lovers of all varieties in 2005 established the scholarship program known as the Dick Dennis Endowment to enable young Washington Township string players, who might not otherwise be able to receive assistance in pursuing their love of orchestra, just that opportunity. And as the endowment grows, so too will the number of young string students who will benefit from it.
If you wish to donate please go to http://www.advancementcenterwts.org/.
2005 - Rachel Briskey
2006 - Devon McCoy
2007 - Jasmine Bass
2008 - Amber Franklin, Margaret Lorinczi, Antonio White Gonzalez
2009 - Nhyla Reid, Krista Johnson, Lizzy Gering
2010 - Allison Emata, Kaila Martin, Ben Valleskey, Jong Sun Mouton, Trey Roob
2011 - Steven Bartlett, Allison Emata, Krista Johnson, Evyon Lewis, Ben Valleskey
2012 - Shelene Baiyee, Allison Emata, John Michael Gage, Sachika Iwamoto, Kara Johnson, Evyon Lewis, Savanah McAuley, Rachel Purvis
2013 - Erin Elberfeld, Morgen Federspiel, Isra Haider, Rachel Hohe, Kara Johnson, Savanah McAuley, Camelia Manring, Rachel Purvis, Azuree Wynn
2014 - Jacob Gage, Isra Haider, Nadav Harper, Elyshayva Humphrey, Kara Johnson, Camelia Manring, Austin Sandoval, Jene Williams
2015 - Athenea Acosta, Rebecca Gore, Ciara Haskins, Ceclee Lunderman, Neva Price, Jada Ruffin, Mary Spalding, Aria Rice, Jama Witherspoon
2016 - Makai Brown, Easter Day, Ciara Haskins, Spencer Kutschera, Ian McMath, Noah Motter, Mariah Whitmoyer, Jama Witherspoon
2017 - Makai Brown, Emma Gage, Ciara Haskins, Ian McMath, Lily Whitmoyer
2018 - Windsor Bonds, Makai Brown, Ivory Gichohi, Ellie Harrison, Ciara Haskins, Anakin Morton, Lily Whitmoyer
2019 - Jenice Alexander, Windsor Bonds, Makai Brown, Ivory Gichohi, Grace Polak, Natalie Snyder, Lily Whitmoyer
2020 - Jenice Alexander, Daniela Flores Gonzalez, Anissah Levels, Alexis Patterson, Michelle Rodriguez, Natalie Snyder, Lily Whitmoyer
2021 - Sarah Akinterinwa, Jenice Alexander, Daniela Flores Gonzalez, Kenny Goldfinger, Natalie Snyder, claire Terew, Hayley Washington
2022 - Susie Akinterinwa, Jenice Alexander, Tim Cunningham, Riley Lopez-Shue, Toto Mbulabo, Jayla Jordan, Claire Terew, Hayley Washington