TI:ME Remembers John Dunphy, Founding Executive Director

I first crossed paths with John Dunphy through a phone call I initiated shortly after becoming acquainted with the organization and its inception. This endeavor had been funded by The NAMM Foundation’s inaugural grant proposal. At that juncture, I held the role of publisher at MIXBooks. It struck me that, had such a mission as TI:ME’s been available during my own student days, it might well have altered the trajectory of my youthful passions and musical fervor.

With the intent of introducing myself, delving deeper into the organization’s mission, and exploring potential avenues of contribution, I placed the call. Fast forward a few months to the summer of 1998, a pivotal juncture when I became an advisory board member for the inaugural in-person gathering. This assembly took place at Nashville, Tennessee’s Renaissance Hotel, directly following the Summer NAMM Show. My involvement deepened as I joined the publications committee, actively participating in the publication of multiple works by the committee’s members and TI:ME-affiliated educators.

Sustaining this commitment over the course of several years, I eventually found myself in 2011 entrusted with the role of executive director. This invitation to serve proved both an immense challenge and a profound honor. Upon accepting the position, John was my first point of contact. During the initial years, I frequently sought John’s counsel, even prior to his formal retirement from teaching. He assumed a role akin to my mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi. Among the many pearls of wisdom he shared, one that consistently resounded was that “the foremost agenda item at any board meeting involves confirming the executive director’s continued tenure; only then does the true session commence.”

John’s wealth of insights was indispensable in navigating the diverse personalities within the organization. His sagacious guidance proved invaluable as we steered TI:ME through the uncharted waters he helped chart in the late 1990s. This was a time when elucidating the concept of a computer mouse, instructing on dot matrix printer connections, and clarifying the nature of MIDI were pressing tasks.

Having reached the remarkable age of 87, John’s life was a tapestry woven with extraordinary experiences. His legacy as the founding executive director is indelibly etched in the annals of this organization. Colleagues and collaborators alike harbor warm recollections of their interactions with him. Thanks to the collective vision he shared with fellow founders and the resolute actions he undertook, the foundation of TI:ME was laid. Subsequently, it has imparted countless hours of professional development to music educators nationwide, fundamentally reshaping music pedagogy in the 21st century.

In perpetuity, we will remain profoundly indebted and will continue to honor the legacy of giants like John Dunphy. They are the pillars upon which TI:ME stands, and their contributions are the bedrock of our endeavors.

Mike Lawson, Executive Director

Obituary. from The Philadelphia Inquirer – August 13, 2023

John Paul Dunphy, Age 87, of Rydal, PA, passed away on August 10, 2023. John was born on January 24, 1936 to Anna (Edelmayer) Dunphy and Joseph P. Dunphy in Philadelphia, PA. He lived a full and well lived life and touched the lives of an incalculable number of people. No better way to spend a lifetime. John is predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Monica Liggins; his siblings, Joseph; Patricia, Kathleen (Jay) and Margaret/Mike, his eight children, Anne Marie, John, Mark, Thomas, Mary Clare (Sadruddin), Marguerite, Christina and Johanna, 16 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Funeral Service Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023 at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, 2119 Old Welsh Rd., Abington, PA 19001. Visitation from 9 A.M. to 10 A.M. followed by Funeral Service at 10 A.M. www.mayfuneralhome.com

“What TI:ME Has Meant To Me” by John Dunphy 

When Villanova began the Summer Music Program for In-Service Music Educators in the 1990, no one could have imagined the impact of bringing outstanding Music Education Instructors and The Music Industry together with In-Service Music Educators and where that would all lead. I think it was an idea that was right “on time”.  Teachers needed training to maintain their certification. That was a known. The big unknown was how much and to what degree the new music technology was going to be accepted. Music Technology was the next big thing that Music Teachers needed to make their teaching more effective. It was obvious from the beginning that this new and different approach to Music Education excited the imaginations of our summer students. It was clear that need for a more concentrated educational platform was needed, one that would focus on the use of computer technology in the classroom. In the next 20 plus years, more than 1000 in-service music teachers learned how to use these new tools in their classrooms. The need to know was there, the classes were available, what was needed was a duplication of this on a larger, more focused scale. TI:ME answered that need. 

            On a personal level, the creation of TI:ME opened a new world for me. I found myself among the most intense dreamers of dreams, teachers who saw in technology a new possibility. As “the least of the brethren”, the aggiornamento guy, with a foot on both sides of technology divide, I was constantly amazed at the depth of knowledge, the creative thinking, and the sheer determination of those who understood the possibilities of computer technology in music classrooms. It made me smile to think how smart I was to choose Music Education as a vocation.

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