Rob Westerberg ’87
From Shy First-Year Student to Distinguished Alumni Award Winner
Rob Westerberg ‘87 worked with administrators at York High School, where he’s choral director, to establish a music graduation requirement – that’s how strongly he feels that music education is essential for all students. On a larger scale, he’s helped define performing arts goals for the Maine Department of Education and works with the Arts Are Basic Coalition to promote arts education in Maine.
A music education major who played trumpet in the jazz ensemble at Keene State, Westerberg landed a job teaching music at Bellows Falls Union High School in Vermont shortly after graduation. He moved from there to Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., before settling in at York High School 13 years ago. He also serves as director of the Portland Community Chorus and senior high choral director for the University of Maine’s Summer Youth Music Program, and has guest conducted throughout New England.
“My career has gone beyond what I could have hoped for,” says Westerberg. “I feel very blessed for a lot of the people and circumstances in my life, not the least of which is Keene State’s music program.”
The music faculty, he says, took “a very shy, very tepid freshman who did not have the training to go on in music” and gave him the opportunity to grow as a musician and as a person. He recalls the atmosphere as “supportive and fostering,” and also remembers being encouraged to exceed expectations.
At Keene State, Westerberg had his first experiences working with an organization for student musicians; in the years since, he’s served as president of the Maine and Vermont Music Educators Associations as well as the Vermont Choral Directors Association.
In 2010, the College’s Music Department honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award.
Westerberg adds that he’s proud to have been a Keene State student, proud of being an alumnus, and proud of the Music Department. “It helped me become the person I wanted to be as well as the teacher I wanted to be,” he says.