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Chipman Named FAMU Director Of Bands

Dr. Shelby Chipman conducts the Marching 100 in this undated photo

Shelby Chipman is the new Director of Bands at Florida A&M University. FAMU President Elmira Mangum announced the promotion during the school' National Alumni Association's annual alumni awards gala Friday evening.

Chipman replaces Dr. Sylvester Young in the role as Director of Bands. He is a FAMU almnus, and presently serves as associate music professor and director of symphonic bands. Chipman has been with the music department for about 15 years. Prior to his arrival at FAMU, he taught music in the Miami-Dade school system. Chipman was named Teacher of the Year during the 1993-94 school year. During his undergraduate career at Florida A&M Chipman studied under the university's legendary director, Dr. William P. Foster.

"There is no question that FAMU is the home of the most innovative and imitated band program in the world. So it's only fitting that an innovator and visionary like Dr. Chipman became the next leader to take our program to even greater heights," said FAMU President Elmira Mangum in a prepared statement.

Chipman had widely been considered to be next in line to take over the program after Julian White, who retired in 2012. However, the hazing death of a drum major and subsequent suspension of the band forced White into an early retirement. There was even a change.org petition for Chipman to take over the job. Dr. Sylvester Young was named band director in 2013 to rebuild the organization.

"I am proud to say that we were able to restructure the program and grow it to more than 200 members after starting anew," Young said in a statement. "I am also very proud of the students for stepping up to the plate to change the culture and for working together to eradicate hazing."

Young plans to return to the classroom. His original contract was for three years.

Chipman is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Music Educators National Conference , Florida Music Educators Association , Florida Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Conference, FMEA Black Caucus, and Bethel AME Church. He is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the Southeastern United States and currently serves as Conductor of the Tallahassee Big Bend Community Orchestra.

He received Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Music Education from Florida A&M University, where he was conducting student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White.  Chipman completed his Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois and received his Ph.D. degree from The Florida State University School of Music in Music Education.

"We are going to continue the tradition of being a role model of excellence in musicianship and pageantry," said Chipman. "I am looking forward to building upon such a creative legacy and ensuring that the program remains on the cutting edge."

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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