CWU Music alum inducted into state Hall of Fame for decades of service

  • February 19, 2024
  • David Leder

A CWU music education alumnus received a prestigious honor last Friday when he was inducted into the Washington Music Education Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame.

James Bennett (’93 and ’95), the band teacher at McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco, was recognized for his three decades of work as an educator, according to a post on the Pasco School District website.

"This honor is for the many fabulous students I’ve taught, their families, my colleagues, and my family. Thank you!" said Bennett, whose name will be are engraved on a plaque that will appear in the WMEA Hall of Fame, housed in the McIntyre Music Building on CWU's campus.

The WMEA Hall of Fame reserves such recognitions for educators who have exhibited exceptional support, inspiration, and outstanding contributions to the growth and development of music education in the state of Washington.

The induction of new Hall of Fame members occurs during the WMEA State Conference in even-numbered years, with up to 10 inductees selected per biennium. Lake Stevens High School band director Brian Koreski ('83) and Wenatchee School District music teacher Tamera Lopushinsky ('87) also were inducted as part of the 2024 class.

Bennett's career in music education includes roles as a percussionist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra from the early 1990s to 2021. He graduated from Shorecrest High School in Seattle in 1988 before earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree at CWU. Bennett served in the Selah School District in 1995 before becoming an integral part of the Pasco School District in 1997.

McLoughlin Middle School Principal Julia Dudley expressed her admiration for Bennett by saying he “radiates contagious optimism that uplifts his students and colleagues, making him a natural leader within the school community. He goes above and beyond to build lasting relationships and support his students' musical growth, fostering an environment of enthusiasm, fun, and positivity that resonates throughout the entire band program.”

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