St. Louis, Missouri
Beginning in 1991, Byron Grant chaired Webster University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and headed the musical theatre program. At Webster and through the Educational Theatre Association, he pursud the idea that the quality of American musical theatre can be sustained by nurturing young artists to meet the demands of evolving forms of theatre.
To do this, he selected non-traditional musicals for his students to study and perform. He led workshops with high school students in Missouri and around the country. At the International Thespian Festival, he regularly presented a workshop in auditioning for musical theatre and for many years served as accompanist for students auditioning for scholarships. He also presented workshops at various state Thespian conferences and at performing arts high schools.
Mr. Grant served two-year terms as president and vice president of the Educational Theatre Association and was a member of the task force to revise the Association’s constitution and by-laws.
In 1999, Mr. Grant received the William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching from his peers at Webster University. The same year, he was honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan. An endowed scholarship named for Mr. Grant was established for students in Webster’s musical theatre program.
Mr. Grant held a master’s degree in music from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Huntington College, and diplomas from the Conservatoire de Musique and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. He taught vocal music and was the director of musical productions at Baker High School in Columbus, Georgia, and a faculty member of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy before joining the faculty at Webster University.
In his letter of recommendation for Mr. Grant, Ronald L. Longstreth, former executive director of the Educational Theatre Association, wrote, “He is a great goodwill ambassador for EdTA and is constantly encouraging other universities to become acquainted with Thespians and EdTA. What is best for theatre students and teachers is his focus. EdTA is better as a result of his involvement.”