Former Lowry grad returning as conductor and composer for special band concert

During Lowry High School’s upcoming band performance on March 13 at 7 p.m. former Lowry band student Kelly Dugger will be conducting the concert as the students perform her composed works. 

The concert is free, although donations are accepted and greatly appreciated, and will take place in the old gym at Lowry.

The students in freshman band and high school band will be performing Dugger’s compositions "Tropical Winds", "Monsters Unite!" (both performed by the freshman band), "The Adventures of Daring Dog", and "The Ankh of Eternity” (both performed by the high school band).  

Lowry Band, Choir and Percussion Instructor David Munk explained that some of Dugger’s works are programmatic, meaning they tell a story. 

“Daring Dog” has a classic sounding super hero theme that sends our hero into exciting adventures. “The Ankh of Eternity” takes up to the sands of the Arabian Desert in search of eternal life and all the hazards that an epic quest brings.  "Monsters Unite!" and "Ankh" received the notable distinction of "Editor’s Choice" awards with J.W. Pepper Music, the largest music publication distributor in the country,” explained Munk. 

Dugger grew up in Winnemucca taking band class and fostering a love for music and singing since early elementary school and at home listening to her mother sing and play guitar. She attributed much of her success to her school music teachers growing up including: her elementary school teacher Wilbur Carlton at Sonoma Heights, Cheri Stingley at French Ford Middle School, Mike Gillen at French Ford and Winnemucca Junior High, Paul Criddle at Lowry, and piano lessons from Vi McMahon throughout her childhood. 

She said in an interview that “Music was my salvation growing up. The music rooms always felt like such a respite from the rest of school. I can’t imagine what growing up would’ve been like without those programs and great teachers.”

Dugger currently lives in Vegas, running her own business, and has a rich history in higher musical education.

“I majored in Music Education at UNR, and later got a master’s degree in band conducting at Sam Houston State University. I taught band for three years at a 7-12 school in Hawaii, and two years at a middle school in Portland, OR, and one year at an elementary school. Portland was cutting music programs and I was laid off. Rather than look for another district to teach in, I decided to change careers.”

“I went back to school to learn piano technology. After a few years of study and apprenticeship, I passed my tests to become a Registered Piano Technician. Now I’ve been running my piano business in Las Vegas for the last 11 years, tuning, repairing and rebuilding pianos,” she explained. 

Her work has been recognized by three Editor’s Choice Awards from JW Pepper and listed on the Top 100 Band Pieces. She has also had her music performed by the Air National Guard Band at the Midwest National Music Education Conference in Chicago, for an audience of hundreds of band directors.

“I’ve always written and improvised music, as soon as I could play an instrument. I started writing music more seriously a few years ago, and was surprised when my submissions were all accepted for publication,” said Dugger.   

Before the concert, Dugger is working in the classroom with students on a week-long clinic in preparation.

“I’m excited to spend a week in Winnemucca with the students. I’ll be helping out in classes and talking about composition. I’m thankful to Dave Munk for bringing me in and letting me share my music with the students and community,” said Dugger.