Kathryn Jurado – Candidate for President-Elect

A musician with over 30 years of performance experience, 20 years of non-profit volunteer work, and lifelong church music ministry service, Kathryn Jurado has quickly gained prominence in the handbell community. Currently, she is Vice President and Event Coordinator, as well as one of the music directors, with Magic of Bronze, the community handbell ensemble in the Orlando area, which was one of the featured choirs at the 2020 National Seminar, and is a ringer with the Suncoast Bronze Ringers, a community handbell ensemble based in the Tampa area, where she just finished a term as Associate Director. Kathryn is also serving her second elected 2-year term as Treasurer of Handbell Musicians of America, Area 4. Kathryn recently accepted the position as director of the Lake Magdalene Ringers at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church in Tampa, where she has served for many years. She is a Province Officer with Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity, and has been an educator for over a decade with Hillsborough County Public Schools, the 7th largest school district in the nation.

Last February, Kathryn had the privilege of being the clinician for Reaching for Bronze 2022, at Distinctly Bronze East alongside Brian Childers. The July before that, she was one of the participants in HMA’s Conducting Masterclass under Dr. William Payn. Recently Kathryn has rung at both Distinctly Bronze East and West events, has been selected for the National Seminar All-Star Choirs since 2018, and was honored to have been chosen for Virtuoso 2019 and 2022.

Born in Puerto Rico, Kathryn started her music studies at a young age. By age 15, she was playing the oboe with The Florida Orchestra and began free-lancing in the Tampa Bay area. Some of these performances have been with Opera Tampa under the late Anton Coppola, the Venice Symphony, The Tampa Bay Symphony, and La La Land Live, as well as with musicians such as Ray Charles, the Irish Tenors, and pop superstars Hanson. Kathryn attended the University of South Florida and received a Bachelor of Music Studies degree with concentrations in education and performance. Her time in college was when she was inducted into Sigma Alpha Iota, where she held various leadership positions including President and Vice President.

While working with Hillsborough County Public Schools, Kathryn has led many ensembles in singing, handbells, percussion, and modern band. She had the privilege of directing the Hillsborough All-County Handbell Ensemble four times and has had many students selected for the All-State Elementary Choir and Orff Ensembles. During her work with Handbell Musicians of America, Area 4, she has been a faculty member for state festivals, the Area 4 National Seminar Scholarship Coordinator, and the Event Coordinator for Bronze Under the Sun 2021. Kathryn has served as the Treasurer, President, and most recently the Vice President of Ritual for the Sigma Alpha Iota Tampa Alumnae Chapter, where she was awarded the Rose of Honor in 2021. She has also held the position of President-Elect and President of the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Educators Council.

Kathryn lives in Seffner, Florida with her son, Daniel, her husband and fellow musician, William J. Murphy, and their 4 cats.

What past work experience(s), education and/or leadership position(s) have you had that you would bring to the National Board?

Through my many years of service, along with the numerous leadership positions I have held, the skills I would bring to the National Board would be professional and diverse. I strive to make decisions that are business-minded, financially sound, forward thinking, and inclusive. I know that the hard work I have done with other organizations and my experiences have given me the tools and resources to make Handbell Musicians of America the best organization it can be.

First, my time as a two-term Area 4 Treasurer and member of the elected Executive Committee has made me aware of the inner workings and relationships between Area leadership and the National organization. As Treasurer, I instituted a scholarship to encourage Area 4 first-time attendees of National Seminar and served as head of the committee to choose the recipients of said award. I have also begun a project for Area 4 to co-sponsor a clinician to present at the Florida Music Educators Association’s annual clinic-conference (the largest MEA east of the Mississippi) along with 2 other sponsors to continue to bring handbells and handchime education to music educators for the 2024 conference.

As a musician, I bring experience and leadership in church ministry, having first served my church by playing oboe in my church orchestra starting at the age of 12, becoming the contemporary music leader in college, and then a staff member at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church as Children’s Music Director. Recently, I have accepted the position of handbell director, also at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church. I bring experience as a community ensemble ringer, as I play in the Suncoast Bronze Ringers of the greater Tampa Bay area and Magic of Bronze of the greater Orlando area, directing as co-director of Magic of Bronze, Associate Conductor of Suncoast Bronze Ringers, and board leadership as Vice President and Event Coordinator of Magic of Bronze. As a professional freelance oboist and private music teacher, I am constantly bringing awareness of the art of handbell ringing to all musicians I encounter and teach.

As an educator, I have served in multiple leadership positions at the school and district levels. At the school level, I am often the go-to person to serve on the School Advisory Board as the Special Areas Leadership Chair representing the Music, Art, and Physical Education teachers on campus. I have served as the Professional Development Chair, President-Elect, and President of the Hillsborough County Music Educators Council which represents the elementary music educators in the 7th largest school district in the nation. While serving on the Council, I would contract clinicians from all over the country to present professional development workshops for our teachers, planned our annual awards banquet which included school administrators, elected school board members, and our superintendent as special guests, chaired the committee to award professional development and equipment grants totaling over $6000 yearly to our teachers and was a part of the executive committee that applied as was granted non-profit status for our council. I am also a four-time clinician/conductor for the Hillsborough County All-County Handbell Ensemble.

As a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity, another non-profit, 120-year-old music organization, I have served in many leadership positions at the collegiate, alumnae and now national level. I have served as President of the Delta Chi Chapter at the University of South Florida and was honored to represent my chapter at our triennial national conference in 2000 in Dallas, Texas and served as President of the Tampa Alumnae Chapter and again represented the chapter at the 2015 triennial conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Most recently, I presented a handbell workshop, “First Encounters of the Bell-kind: Instant Instrumental Success” at the 2022 Triennial Convention in Greenboro, North Carolina and was elected Province Officer for the Lambda D Province. I now oversee the fraternity activities of 6 chapters: Gainesville, Sarasota/Manatee and Tampa Alumnae Chapters, as well as the Collegiate Chapters of Beta Sigma at the University of Tampa, Delta Gamma at the University of Florida, and Delta Chi at the University of South Florida. As the Lambda D Province Officer, I am part of the National Officers Conference who, along with delegates from each collegiate and alumnae chapter, are the decision makers and leaders who decide the direction of the fraternity as a whole for the 3 year-term for which we are elected.

As a Florida-licensed Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, I have taken advantage of the many workshops and clinics offered to learn more about marketing, communication, and general business acumen. Two phrases that have stuck with me are the following: “The fortune is in the follow-up” and “you must stay front-of-mind”. Both of which I believe are applicable to our organization.

How do I view the present status of HMA and what are my thoughts on the future?

As we all know, membership in HMA has declined over the years and even more so post-pandemic. It is trickling down and affecting our areas like never before. Attendance has declined at local, state, and area events as disposable income has greatly declined. We must follow-up with lapsed members, reach out to music ministry leaders, communicate with our community ensemble directors and leaders and show them the value and investment they make with their membership in HMA and attendance at festivals and workshops, enhance their music programs. The fortune is in the follow-up.

I am so encouraged and excited with the current direction of the National Board where education is concerned. Area 4 is proud to be present at the FMEA conference in Florida, GMEA conference in Georgia, and SCMEA conference in South Carolina. We are fortunate to have leaders and volunteers who dedicate their time to bringing awareness of HMA and their Area Leadership who are here to support K-12 Music Education programs. HMA’s Handbell Playground is going to be an exciting new addition to the FMEA conference this year! I hope to be able to continue it year after year in order to stay front-of-mind with music educators. In addition to K-12 education, my vision for HMA is to extend into post-secondary education. We need to bring more awareness to the existing college handbell programs, and I would like to be a part of a group of handbell directors to create a ‘business plan’ of sorts for others to propose new handbell programs/ensembles at more colleges and universities across the country. This would continue the articulation plan and allow more of these K-12 students, who are participating in handbell and handchime programs, the ability to continue their playing beyond their K-12 education. At the same time, it would create and allow those new music educators to have the experience and pedagogy needed to continue the K-12 handbell programs that are currently in existence and plant even more programs as they go out in the music education job market.

Why do you want to be President-elect of HMA and, if elected how would you lead the organization?

I want to be President-elect of HMA because I believe I am a well-rounded professional with experience in music education, performing arts, and non-profit leadership who is business-minded, practical, a go-getter, and dedicated person who brings passion and vision for the future to the art form. As President-elect, I want area leadership to know they are supported by bringing more encouragement and resources to these leaders who volunteer so much of their time. I want to continue the articulation piece that has already begun at the K-12 education level and take it to the post-secondary/collegiate level. I want to find innovative ways to support our community groups. Many thanks to our new Executive Director, Linda Onorevole, who has brought awareness of the new arts funding that has become available. Research needs to be done to see how that funding can help and support our community groups. I am so pleased with the work Linda has already done and I hope to continue to support her in this role. I also want to ensure continued support to our long-time members by adding value to their membership and the continuation of events and workshops that meet their needs, especially at the church music ministry level. Last, but certainly not least, I want to elevate the art of handbell ringing and work with those who have already done so with their collaborations with other performing ensembles and taking their handbell musicians to the stages and concert halls across the country. I came late to the art of handbell ringing having only begun in 2015. But in that short amount of time, I have fallen head-over-heals for handbells and want nothing more than to see Handbell Musicians of America continue to grow and even flourish for the future generations of handbell ringers.

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We will announce the results soon.
Thank you!