The College of Arts and Architecture

Kelly A. Detwiler

Kelly Detwiler and the Altoona Lion

Congratulations to Kelly A. Detwiler (B.S.-Music Education '90) who was named the 2014 Outstanding Music Education Alumni Award winner.

Detwiler serves as director of orchestras at Altoona Area High School and Altoona Area Junior High School. In addition her conducting work, she teaches AP Music Theory and Harmony, and conducts the Altoona Area High School pit orchestra. She has taught in Altoona since 1990. 

Since her arrival in Altoona in 1990, the orchestras have thrived and continued to build in both numbers and accomplishments.  Both the high school and junior high school orchestras have been honored with superior ratings during music festival competitions.  Each year, students from the high school orchestra are selected for the all-state orchestra level of the Pennsylvania Music Education Association.

She has received many grants throughout her years of teaching, including a grant from Sy Brandon for a commissioned work for full orchestra.  She has teamed with the Altoona Symphony on many projects including side-by-side concerts and apprenticeships, and she has been awarded a $5000 grant for a summer string camp program. Her smaller ensembles give back to the community each year with many performances for community events and causes. 

Kelly was deeply honored to be named the music education’s program outstanding alumni winner this year. She says, “I absolutely love going to work each day and I try each day to make a difference. Some days I walk away knowing I did and some days I walk away unsure. But, I love sharing my love of music and giving a gift that cannot be matched in any other way. I wouldn’t trade a minute of my career for anything!”

In addition to her teaching responsibilities at Altoona, she plays double bass with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, freelances in the community on double and electric bass, and teaches private bass lessons. She lives in Altoona with husband, Larry, and their two children.