“Shenandoah helped me to reach my career goals by giving me the tools and experience necessary to succeed in the classroom and in performance in various musical ensembles,” states David J. Apple ’89. When asked why he was interested in getting involved again with his alma mater, Apple replied that, “it is not getting involved again, but rather getting involved more!”
Apple decided to pursue music education at Shenandoah University in no small part due to the vast exposure to diverse forms of music he received while growing up in western Pennsylvania. Living in an area where band, drama, music and the arts were appreciated and supported, Apple saw how his music teachers had fun, all while working hard and maintaining a high commitment to excellence in every performance. In addition, Apple’s father recreationally played the clarinet and shared stories from his time in high school band, marching band and drama productions.
One of Apple’s fondest SU memories is taking an evening graduate music education class with Dr. Charlotte Collins. At the mid-point of every class session, Dr. Collins would pause the class and ask if the students would like some tea. Apple remembers this ritual lasted the entire semester. “The four of us in the class met in Dr. Collins’ office in Armstrong and every week during class we had ‘tea’ with Dean Collins. I knew right then that this is what a true caring educator was all about.”
After graduating from Shenandoah University in 1989 with a Masters of Music Education, Apple was hired by Baltimore County as a long-term substitute director for a middle school band. During this time, he also taught elementary school band/orchestra and was a grade level classroom teacher. In 1991, Apple transitioned to teaching band at Glenwood Middle School, located in Howard County. This is a position he has retained for the last 25 years.
When looking back at his career to date, Apple remembers the time he spent teaching in Baltimore County as being particularly influential. He recalls, “It was a school in need of music and a band teacher who could rejuvenate and build a band program.” Not daunted by this challenge, Apple not only rejuvenated the program, but was also rewarded several years later when two of his former students approached him at an All-State Music Conference. Now pursuing musical educations themselves, the students credited Apple with fostering their musical educations and keeping the band program going so that they had the opportunity to pursue music.
Apple’s encounter with his former students at the All-State Music Conference is not the only time he has come across past charges. In fact, he says some of his most rewarding experiences as a teacher are when he hears back from former students and they thank him for encouraging them to stay in music. Many of Apple’s students have gone into music education and are now successful teachers themselves. Apple states, “They have told me I was one of the biggest influences on their career choice. That really makes me feel proud and a bit humble, because I know some of these former students have out done their teacher.”
When not teaching music, Apple enjoys spending time with his wife, Susan. Also a fellow teacher, Susan is a Master Teacher, a published Master Historian and the Social Studies Department Leader at the same school as Apple. In his free time, he teaches SCUBA diving and enjoys taking dive trips to exotic, tropical locations with his wife. Apple also plays tennis and bike rides.
Through his work with the Alumni Board of Directors, Apple looks forward to “working with fantastic like-minded people who love Shenandoah as much as I do.” After everything he feels that Shenandoah has given to him, Apple hopes, “I can give back to Shenandoah as much as it gave me, and encourage others to do the same.”