November 28, 2023

Local teacher awarded Young Band Director Award

A local band teacher is setting the bar for a harmonious learning atmosphere in Creston.

On Jan. 16, Creston middle school band teacher Audrey Linke was awarded the Young Band Director Award by the Southwest Iowa Bandmasters Association for “her positive impact on students, continued development as a teacher, and excellence in the field of music education.”

According to her husband and fellow band director Ryan Linke, Audrey has been passionate about music since a young age.

“She really enjoyed being in band all through middle school and high school,” Ryan said. “I know that she had some really good band teachers when she was young that got her excited about music and passionate about learning.”

Audrey first started playing flute in sixth grade, a music journey that would bring her to where she is today.

“I absolutely loved it,” Audrey said. “I was one of those kids that just practiced all the time. I stuck with it all the way through high school and continued into college.”

Originally, Audrey went to Northwest Missouri State to be a fifth-grade teacher. However, since she was already continuing her own music education, she decided to switch to a music education major. She was inspired by past band directors, but she was afraid she couldn’t live up to them.

“My high school director, she was so great that I didn’t think that I could do what she did,” Audrey said. “But once I started, I knew that it was the perfect fit for me.”

Audrey and Ryan ended up in Creston after being told by a local Reiman Music professional there were two middle school band teacher positions open at the same time. Ryan enjoys watching Audrey in her element as they teach together.

“Her passion for music and her ability to connect with students [makes her stand out],” Ryan said. “If kids want help after school, she’s always willing to stick around and give more one-on-one time. She very dedicated to honing her craft and making sure the kids in our band program are getting all the help they want.”

He, along with many other local band directors, shared these sentiments with the Southwest Iowa Bandmasters Association. Presented at the Southwest Iowa Bandmasters Association High School Honor Band Festival in Atlantic, Audrey had no idea she would be receiving the award, instead simply being at the festival to watch a past student.

“I was not expecting it at all,” Audrey said. “I was super shocked. All of our colleagues are the ones that vote on that and those are the people that you respect and look up to. It was really cool to know that they recognized me for all of these positive things.”

This experience gave Audrey encouragement that she is in the right place.

“It was a nice reminder that there are things that I’m doing well,” Audrey said. “It really allows me to keep going and keep striving to be even better and keep learning. I think that was the biggest thing to take away, just alway pushing myself to do even better and to be better.”

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.