A New Music Duo

Andrews Academy and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School are collaborating in a reinvented music education program. Following a nationwide search, Hector Flores of Blue Mountain Adventist Academy and Byron Graves of Great Lakes Adventist Academy have been selected to lead this new integrated program between the University-owned elementary and secondary schools. Flores will lead the choirs and orchestras while Graves will lead the bands and bell choirs.

“I am pleased that we have been able to attract two of the best and brightest music educators in the nation to come to Berrien Springs,” says Brent Geraty, Andrews Academy Board chair. “Both Andrews Academy and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School have invested more resources in the music programs than in recent years and are committed to providing a high-quality music education for students. Our students, our schools and our community are going to benefit from Mr. Flores and Mr. Graves’s musicianship.”

This will be a homecoming for Hector Flores, who brings 32 years of teaching and conducting experience to this new role. Flores holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, both from Andrews University. He has taught at Montemorelos University in Mexico, Antillean Adventist University in Puerto Rico and, most recently, Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania. He has conducted a number of orchestras, including the San German Symphony Orchestra and the Mayaguez Symphony Orchestra, both in Puerto Rico, to name a few. In addition, Flores has either led or participated in a dozen tours or music festivals, both domestic and international.

Byron Graves will be returning to schools, both Andrews Academy and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, where he already has previous teaching experience. Most recently, Graves has worked as the band director for Cedar Lake Elementary School in Cedar Lake, Mich. while concurrently working as chair of the Music Department and a director/instructor for Great Lakes Adventist Academy, also located in Cedar Lake, Mich. His professional background includes expertise in teaching music theory, history and appreciation courses, as well as years of experience providing private music lessons. He is an accomplished clarinet player.

“Music education in elementary school develops students’ minds and abilities, and puts students on a path towards success in high school and college,” says David Waller, principal of Ruth Murdoch Elementary School. “This new collaboration with Andrews Academy and Andrews University makes use of the combined resources of both institutions to give added strength to our program at RMES. I am looking forward to a great year next year as we continually look to improve our students’ education and experience.”
—Keri Suarez, media relations specialist, IMC