June 13, 2012 - Bill Milicevic is the new orchestra director at Oxford High School and K-12 Coordinator of Orchestras.
Bill Milicevic is the new Orchestra Director for Oxford High School. Photo by Mary Keck. (click for larger version)
Milicevic sums up his identity in three parts: "I'm a public school educator, a professional violinist, and a professional conductor."
"I think music is essential for everybody," the new orchestra director said. "They may be proficient, they may not know a thing about it, but everybody is at a point on a continuum of their experience with it. . . . I like taking them where they're at and moving them forward. That process really engages me."
Milicevic leaves a position as the orchestra director at Farmington Public Schools. Milicevic has over 22 years of high school orchestra conductor experience, including stints at Utica Community Schools, Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools, and the Flint Institute of Music. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan along with a B.A. in music education and violin performance from Wayne State University. Milicevic also has been awarded a Certificate in Orchestral Studies from Wayne State.
Milicevic said he passed up many job offers while at Farmington, and that he actually "vowed that (he) would never leave Farmington." But then Oxford Schools came calling. "Every thing was going really well (at Farmington) and then I found out about the exciting things that were happening here at Oxford and realized that I'd be very foolish not to look into this a little deeper," the new Orchestra director said.
Superintendent Dr. William Skilling confirmed that he "went after Milicevic for quite a while," and thus welcomes the new addition to the fine arts faculty. "I wanted somebody who's been involved in building orchestra programs and who is very well recognized by those in orchestra," Skilling said.
He is confident about the Board's selection and anticipates great success from Milicevic and the burgeoning orchestra program. "We don't have any contrived timelines, but I know that four years from now there is going to be a dramatic difference in the program from what it is today."
Approached by Oxford, Milicevic said he "started asking a lot of questions and quickly realized the indelible support that (Oxford Schools has) for students at every level of interest; whether in the arts, academics or athletics, they truly are trying to put the kids first in terms of giving them every advantage possible."
But then again, that can be said for many top-tier schools, so what about Oxford drew him?
Milicevic said that Oxford doesn't just want to be good, they "want to be fantastic, they want to be excellent, to be noticed in a different way, and they want to stand out. They want people to look at them and say 'we want to be like Oxford' as opposed to just trying to get a job done."
"What they're trying to do (at Oxford) is to create a very comprehensive arts experience for all kids– that is unique, Milicevic continued. "Everyone allows certain programs to thrive, but they don't go beyond as a school district to make sure that everything can be to the best potential that it can achieve-and that's different in Oxford . . . and, honestly, that's being noticed by other communities now too."
Milicevic said that in his capacity as associate concertmaster of the Flint symphony, he's driven through Oxford many times, and "always thought it was really cool little town." He's been missing the "personal feel," so he's pleased with what he's seen so far in Oxford township.
"Once you've had (the personal feel) you miss it, you end up wishing you had it again, (but) once I went through the interview process . . . and met some of people I'd be working with, I quickly realized that that's gonna come back. I'm very glad about that, and I personally can't wait to get started."
He's excited about the opportunity and praised the foundational work done by immediate predecessor Valerie Palmieri.
She "has done a lot of things to activate awakening toward getting the kids focused on working hard and seeing the benefits of pushing, pushing, harder and harder, Milicevic concluded, "and I think that with what's she's already started if I can dovetail into that . . . hopefully the adjustment will happen really fast."
Milicevic is already hard at work, so if you'd like to meet him or have questions about joining the OHS orchestra, you may contact him at the high school.