For his outstanding service in the field of instrumental music education, Luther College has named James Ripley '81 of Kenosha, Wis. the 2012 recipient of the Carlo A. Sperati Award.
The award is the namesake of Carlo Sperati, 1888 Luther graduate, professor emeritus, founder of the Luther College Concert Band and the driving force behind all music touring at Luther College.
Ripley grew up in Lime Springs, Iowa and attended high school in Cresco, Iowa. His teachers in these locations were both previous Sperati Award recipients, Leonard Upham and Tom Haugen.
Ripley's involvement with Luther College began at an early age as a participant in the junior high and high school Dorian Music Festival held at the Luther campus. He went from being a Dorian participant to a counselor and was eventually selected as a Dorian Honor Band conductor.
Following graduation from Luther College in 1981, Ripley earned the Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music.
Ripley began his instrumental teaching experience as a band director at various schools throughout Iowa and Minnesota including Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn. and Crestwood High School in Cresco, Iowa. He went on to hold faculty positions at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.
Ripley has served as a faculty member at Carthage College in Kenosha since 2001. He is currently the Director of Instrumental Music Activities, conducts the concert band and wind orchestra and teaches instrumental conducting.
Additonally, Ripley serves as principal guest conductor of the Sakuyo Wind
Philharmony of Sakuyo University, Japan. The Carthage Wind Orchestra has completed three tours of Japan and is now anticipating its fourth. The Wind Orchestra has also appeared on numerous occasions at the Wisconsin Music Educators annual meetings and the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Band Association annual conventions.
Ripley has written countless articles for professional publications, has presented papers at professional meetings, been guest conductor at a variety of locations, served as secretary for the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and has been an active arranger and composer.
According to his colleagues, Ripley has led a life that is everything and more than that expected of those following in the footsteps of Carlo Sperati.