Spotlight on MCC’s new musical director

Pat Burr is the new Director of Musical Activities at Muscatine Community College in the Eastern Iowa Community College District. Born and raised in the Iowa Quad-Cities, he received a B.A. degree from Mount Mercy College with majors in Music and Piano Pedagogy, a M.M. degree from the University of Notre Dame, and a B. Ed. degree in Music Education from St. Ambrose University. He previously taught at North Scott High School, Northeast (Goose Lake) Middle/High School, and at the former Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa. He and his wife, Jolinda, live in DeWitt.

“I was interested in working at the college level again, because I had really enjoyed being in a situation where I was able to teach all the different subjects in a music program – theory, history, one-on-one lessons, group performance, and be involved with the musical theater,” Burr told the Voice of Muscatine.

Burr thinks that variety not only keeps a teacher interested in their field on a daily basis, but provides a wonderful incentive to continue their own professional education. A teacher who is excited about the subjects they teach and enthusiastic about improving themselves is enormously valuable in any field.

Burr chose MCC because of its long tradition of supporting arts education, a fact that is evident at the faculty level as well as the administrative one. That institutional support is well-reflected in the numbers and quality of students he has so far encountered in his music class.

“I find that it is incredibly gratifying to find an atmosphere like that, which made it easy to seamlessly insert myself into a program that was run so well by my predecessor here, Jan Phillips,” Burr said. “I simply could not have asked for a better reception from students or staff. I went into education because I couldn’t think of anything more interesting or important to do, and teaching students who are about to make some of the biggest educational decisions and investments in their lives is a very exciting prospect for me.”