CARLINVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois State Music Teachers Association announced Dr. Joseph Welch, Professor of Music at Blackburn College in Carlinville, as their 2023 Teacher of the Year.

Welch is the Department of Music and Theatre Chair and Director of the College Choir. In addition to these roles, he also teaches music theory, music history, aural skills, arts entrepreneurship, and provides piano lessons. Gillian Cerbin, President of The Gateway Arch East Chapter of ISMTA, nominated Welch for the award.

“Joe truly gives his time and expertise to the furtherment of music across the whole community,” Cerbin wrote. “Working tirelessly, he reaches across a diverse area both musically and demographically, always going beyond and always willing to step up for others. His style is understated, putting others first, never first to boast of his many achievements, but always looking to bring out the best in others with encouragement and skill. He is a true ambassador for the profession.”

Dr. Joseph Welch has made significant contributions to Blackburn College by reimagining the Music program. The refreshed program launched last year and involves mastery of performance, technical craft, and entrepreneurial knowledge. Students can be better prepared for successful music careers by developing personal brands, creating press materials, managing social media, and understanding financial aspects of freelancing and independent contracting.

Beyond Blackburn’s campus, Welch is an active member of the Southern Illinois community. He serves on the boards of the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization and the Bunker Hill Education Foundation. He also mentors young vocalists and artists through the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Artists-in-Training program, as well as in his role as Assistant Music Director for Variety Theatre.

Welch lends his own talents to performing in concert with Opera Edwardsville, and serving as their Artist-in-Residence as a choral accompanist. He is also a choral accompanist for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s IN UNISON Chorus and is the Founder and Artistic Director of St. Louis Art Song.

Welch previously earned Blackburn’s Faculty Diversity Award this year, and in 2017 he received the title of Gateway Arch East Member of the Year. The ISMTA will honor Welch’s achievement at their November conference.