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The Kennedy Center

VSA Award for Achievement in Instrument Adaptation

VSA is pleased to announce the recipients of the first-ever VSA Award for Achievement in Instrument Adaptation: saxophonist David Nabb and technician Jeff Stelling. Nabb and Stelling are being honored for their pioneering work in adaptation of woodwind instruments for people with disabilities.

This award, which is made possible by a grant from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and presented in conjunction with the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT), will be presented at the VSA International Young Soloists Concert on May 5, 2011. More information about the concert is available here.

Photo of David Nabb

David Nabb is a Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He holds both B.M. and M.M. degrees in Multiple Woodwind Performance from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of North Texas. Nabb served as Associate Instructor of Saxophone at Indiana University, and was selected to be a member of the Teaching Excellency Fellowship Program at the University of North Texas. Many of his students have gained state, regional, and national recognition. Nabb has had articles accepted for publication in a number of national publications, including Medical Problems of Performing Artists, The Flutist Quarterly, and the Journal of Research in Music Education.

Since surviving a stroke in 2000, Nabb has worked with Jeff Stelling to develop a saxophone that can be played with the right hand only. He has demonstrated his toggle-key saxophone at World Saxophone Congresses in Minneapolis, Slovenia, and Thailand. Nabb, who is a Yamaha Performing Artist, has performed professionally on all of the woodwind instruments throughout the United States and Europe, in the Middle East, and in Asia.

Photo of Picture of Jeff Stelling

Jeff Stelling is the owner of Stelling Brass & Winds, a complete musical instrument repair and custom horn building shop located in Kearney, Neb. Stelling started repairing instruments part-time in 1989 while he attended University of Nebraska Kearney (UNK) as a music business major. In 1993, he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Music Business and completed an internship with a local repair technician. Stelling began repairing and building instruments on a full-time basis in the spring of 1997 and is a member of NAPBIRT. He is regularly asked to present repair and customizing clinics and is working to promote the UNK One-Handed Woodwinds Program with Dr. David Nabb. Stelling has been featured in Saxophone Journal as well as numerous radio, television, and newspapers outlets for his work on one-handed instruments.