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FAMU launches national search for band director


After the forced retirement of longtime FAMU Band Director Julian White in the aftermath of the hazing death of Marching 100 band drum major Robert Champion, the university is looking at the next step:  hiring White's replacement.

Here's the release from the university announcing the search:


The university started the process today by posting an advertisement on its website, soliciting candidates for the position.  The job description will also be posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.  The university’s goal is to hire a new band director before the end of the fall 2012 semester, said Larry Robinson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.  The new Director of Bands will play a lead role in implementing new policies and procedures that are critical to the future of the Marching “100,” which has been suspended for the 2012-13 academic year.

To head the nationwide search, Robinson appointed Rodner Wright, dean of the School of Architecture as chairman of the search committee, which will consist of 13 members and include faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“We want an individual with outstanding experience in band management, the proven ability to educate and inspire students to excel in the class room and in the traditions of FAMU’s renown performance style, and the capacity to lead and mentor faculty, staff and other colleagues,” said Robinson.  “We desire someone with unrelenting commitment to our core values, particularly those related to anti-hazing.  The ideal candidate would have the ability to promote the values of respect and dignity among all members of the Marching “100.”

The new director will report to the chairman of the FAMU Music Department.  That is a change from the previous director, who also served as department chairman.  Robinson explained that would add an extra layer of supervision.   Qualifications include a degree in music and a minimum of five years experience directing bands at the collegiate level.  It will be a full-time, tenure-track position and will be either an associate or full professor position, based on the person’s experience and expertise.

The new director will oversee all aspects of the marching and pep bands.  Specific duties and responsibilities include overseeing all activities of band student organizations and ensembles; providing creative direction; recruiting students for membership; teaching the marching band courses and other courses as needed; planning and directing the summer high school band camp; fund raising; planning and executing the band's travel to athletics events and other events that have been approved by the University and functioning as the liaison between the Athletics Department, the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Music.

The director will work closely with the Music Department Compliance Officer, a newly created position.  Together, they will ensure that staff and members of the Marching and Pep Bands are made aware of and comply with the University's policies and procedures regarding anti-hazing, academic requirements, rehearsal hours and travel.


The person who takes over the band director position will be only the sixth director in the band's history. Former director's include jazz legend Nat Adderly and the man credited with creating the band's signature style, Dr. William P. Foster.

Here's a list of past directors:

  • P.A. Van Weller, 1892–1898
  • Nathaniel C. Adderly, 1910–1918
  • Leander A. Kirksey, 1930–1946
  • Dr. William P. Foster, 1946–1998
  • Dr. Julian E. White, 1998–2012