John Oelrich joined the faculty of The University of Tennessee at Martin's Music Department in 2012 as Director of Bands. His primary responsibilities include conducting the Wind Ensemble and University/Community Orchestra, assisting with the Skyhawk Marching Band, teaching instrumental conducting and rehearsal techniques, supervising student teachers and the oversight and continued development of the university bands. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Oelrich is highly active in the area of recruiting and retention, visiting approximately thirty schools each year. He is also the supervisor of the Department of Music’s Living Learning Community, a residential and academic cohort designed to increase student success and retention.
His recent engagements as a guest conductor and clinician include the UT Martin Honor Band Festival, Robertson County Honor Band, Gateway Music Association Honor Band, Kentucky All-District #1 Middle School Honor Band and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Concert Band. Active as a trumpeter, Dr. Oelrich regularly performs with the UT Martin Faculty Brass Quintet and substitutes with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.
Under Dr. Oelrich’s direction, the UT Martin Wind Ensemble has grown in quality and scope. In 2014, the ensemble was invited to perform a feature concert for the Tennessee Music Education Association’s State Conference for the first time. The ensemble has been active in commissioning and premiering new works for wind band, including a new symphony, Blue Marble, by Derek Jenkins in 2015 and a new work from Pennsylvania composer, Stephen Barr, in April of 2017. The Wind Ensemble is also active in artistic collaborations, most recently working with the UTM Dance Ensemble to present Gounod’s Ballet Music from Faust in the Spring of 2015.
In the summer of 2013, Dr. Oelrich founded the Martin Community Band, the first standing community band in Martin since 1915. Performing 4-5 concerts each summer, the ensemble has grown in quality, scope and size, involving more than 100 musicians each summer.
Prior to his appointment at UT-Martin, Dr. Oelrich was the Doctoral Conducting Associate at The Ohio State University. He taught at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa for several years, including seven years as an adjunct and one year full-time as Interim Director of Instrumental Music. Prior to his time at Loras, Oelrich spent ten years teaching middle school and high school band in Wisconsin and Iowa.
Dr. Oelrich is the founder and former conductor of the Dubuque Chamber Winds, a semi-professional chamber wind ensemble. Under Oelrich's leadership, the ensemble performed a wide variety of literature, including standard, lesser-known and newly edited historical works. The ensemble was selected to perform at the 2004 Iowa Bandmaster's Association Convention.
After growing up on a dairy farm near Spencer, Wisconsin, Dr. Oelrich earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumental and Vocal Music Education from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, a Master of Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from The Ohio State University. When not involved in music or teaching related activities, Oelrich enjoys spending time with his family, reading, hiking, motorcycling and amateur astronomy. He, his wife Ruth, children Owen and Lucy, and black Lab, Luna, reside in Martin, TN.