Stephen Frederick

"To Steve Frederick, Lansdale's very own Music Man. The music he created continues, but we shall miss keeping time with the man and his baton."

Steve Frederick, lovingly known as "Fred" or "Maestro" to his family, friends and former students, spent the majority of his 35 years as a music educator and administrator in the North Penn School District, and most of his life as an active, valued and beloved member of the North Penn community. With abundant energy, an outstretched hand, and a joke on his lips, Steve was a commanding presence.

Born in Lock Haven, Steve graduated from Lock Haven High School in 1964. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education at West Chester University and earned his Master's degree in Secondary School Administration at Villanova University. He began his teaching career in the Colonial and Central Bucks school districts before becoming director of bands at North Penn High School in 1972. His various marching, concert, and jazz bands performed in concert and competitive settings locally and throughout the country on a regular basis including a favorite trip to Romania with the jazz band and his wife, Dot.

Steve was an instrumental paStephen Frederickrt of the North Penn High School Music Department. Under Steve's direction, the North Penn Marching Knights (NPMK) gained national status with competitions and performances at the Orange Bowl in Florida, two visits to the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona, the Festival of States competition in St. Petersburg, FL, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Virginia, the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby Festival, the Miss America Parade in New Jersey and Philadelphia 76ers, Phillies and Eagles games. The North Penn Marching Knights won Cavalcade of Band State Championships in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989. The Marching Knights also appeared in two films: John Travolta's Blowout and Sylvester Stallone'sRocky V.

"Steve was part of the building blocks of the NPHS Band Department," said Dot Frederick, Steve's wife. "The Marching Knights were his creation, though he was too humble to ever admit it. He was so proud to see how his kids grew and matured into productive members of society, a lot of it due to their time spent as members of the NPMK. His legacy continues through the students in the music program today."

Steve's connection with his students transcended concerts and competitions. He developed close relationships with his students, many becoming lifelong friends. Steve mentored and encouraged his students through their high school years, especially those interested in pursuing careers in music, education or both. Over 200 students participating in the North Penn music program during and since his tenure have become music educators. Others pursued different paths in education including many administrators and teachers currently employed in various disciplines, in addition to music, in the district. He also supervised teachers for West Chester University, further solidifying his legacy as an educator and his impact on music education for thousands of teachers and students.

In 1990, Steve began his 13 years in school administration as an assistant principal with Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. Within two years, he returned to the North Penn School District, first as Principal of the North Penn Junior High (now known as Penndale Middle School) from 1993-1995 and back to the high school in 1996 as assistant principal, then associate principal, and finally as Principal of North Penn High School in 2000. Steve retired in 2003, but remained a valued mentor and supporter to many in the school district and enjoyed several return engagements to schools during times of transition.

Fred Though an administrator by day, Steve never traveled far from his musical roots, accepting positions as a clinician, guest conductor, and judge for marching, concert, and jazz band events at the local, state, and national levels. He served as Executive Consultant to the Allentown based US Scholastic Band Association and was on the Board of Governors for the former Gibbs School. During the fall, Steve wrote weekly columns in local newspapers about various marching band activities and frequently hosted programs for WNPV radio (1440 AM) in Lansdale on music, the arts, and community events.

In November 2010, during Band Championships in Hersey, PA, Steve was inducted into the Cavalcade Hall of Fame for his distinguished career in music education, his commitment to the Cavalcade of Bands organization and his continued support of music in schools.

Steve was also a community leader for many organizations and events, many of which he founded and/or served on the Board of Directors. Closest to his heart was the Montgomery County Concert Band (MCCB), which he co-founded in 1995. MCCB gave him the opportunity to direct many former students, friends, and colleagues while delighting audiences across the county. He helped organize Tuba Christmas, an annual Christmas concert at the train station in Lansdale, the International Spring Festival celebrating the culture and diversity of the North Penn Community, Relay for Life annually raising money for cancer research, the Lansdale Community Concert Series hosting six professional artists and groups six times a year, and The Laymen Playmen Inc., a community theatre in Hatfield, PA for which he conducted the pit band for a number of years. Steve was also a member of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Valley of Allentown since 1971. He was also a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals for 13 years.

The list goes on for the community, arts, athletic and educational activities he avidly supported such as attending annual school band and choral concerts, theatre productions, band, and indoor guard competitions, football or baseball games or just popping in to check on the beloved music and theatre programs at NPHS. For his continued commitment and leadership, Steve was presented with the NPSD Educational Foundation Pillar Award in May 2013 for Excellence in Education.

Steve was a loving husband and proud father, grandfather, son, brother, and uncle. The North Penn School District reached each member of the Frederick family, as Dot was a district substitute, his daughter Stephanie is a '97 NPHS grad and his daughter Karen's husband Eric is a class of '91 North Penn alumnus. Throughout his illness, he and his family were touched and strengthened by the many visits and the outpouring of letters, cards, and email messages of support and love.

"Steve loved the interaction with his students, past and present. When he would run into his former students, he would remember everything about them... their names, what instrument they played in the band...everything. He saw himself as a father figure to so many of them," said Dot Frederick. "He made such a difference in so many lives. I always knew it, but it was made obvious at his memorial service and through the thousands and thousands of letters and care pages he received while he was in the hospital."

Steve's legacy is his unwavering support for the arts in education, his unfailing commitment to his students and colleagues, and for the enduring programs and organizations, he bequeaths to the North Penn School District and community, all of which resonate far beyond the boundaries on a map. He enriched the lives of all he touched.

Steve Frederick passed away in July of 2013. A memorial band of 120 members joined hundreds of friends, family, North Penn staff and community members to celebrate Steve's life on July 27, 2013, at North Penn High School through song and kind words.

"That says it all," notes Phil Hunt, North Penn alumnus, and friend of Steve's. "He truly was Lansdale's very own music man."