March 29, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Hosts South Georgia Region Honor Band April 7-9

Dr. Benjamin Harper

vsu13423-wind-ensemble_51505986962_o.jpgVSU Wind Ensemble

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will welcome approximately 300 middle school and high school band students to campus on Thursday, April 7, for the 2022 South Georgia Region Honor Band weekend.

In addition to helping the students improve their musicality by partnering them with accomplished guest conductors and some of the areas most respected educators, Dr. Benjamin Harper, director of bands and assistant professor of music at VSU, said this event is an opportunity for the Department of Music to identify students who may be interested in joining Blazer Nation in the future and/or attending the university’s summer music camp program. It is also an opportunity to show off the highly talented musicians in VSU’s band program.

“The South Georgia Region Honor Band weekend is always great exposure for VSU,” he added. “We are excited to introduce these students to the VSU experience while they are here.”

Representing 52 schools from Macon to the Georgia-Florida line, the South Georgia Region Honor Band students will spend three days perfecting music for a free, public performance at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, in VSU’s Whitehead Auditorium. Rehearsals begin the first night they arrive on campus.

United States Army Colonel Timothy J. Holtan, who retired in 2017 as the senior military musician in the Department of Defense, will lead the region honor band for students in grades 11 and 12. After 28-plus years of service, his final command was as the 10th leader and commander of the U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own. He holds the distinction of being the only officer to command all three of the Army’s premier bands, which includes the U.S. Army Field Band and the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point.  

Dr. Quincy C. Hilliard, composer in residence and the Heymann Endowed Professor of Music honoree at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, will lead the region honor band for students in grades nine and 10. His compositions for wind band are published by a variety of well-known publishers, and he is frequently commissioned to compose works for special events like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and for such films as The Texas Rangers documentary. This Grammy Award nominee is regularly invited to conduct, demonstrate effective techniques, and adjudicate festivals around the world.

Dr. Catheryn Shaw Foster, assistant professor of practice and director of the graduate students program in music education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, will lead the region honor band for middle school students. She earned a Master of Music Education from VSU in 2013 and has taught at the middle school, high school, and collegiate level in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. She enjoys conducting research and sharing it at state, regional, and national conferences. Her most recent topics include the faculty experience at historically black colleges and universities, growth mindset in music instruction, and music education in rural settings.

As a special treat for the South Georgia Region Honor Band students, the VSU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Harper, will perform live in concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 8. Admission is free of charge and open to the general public.

The 44-member Wind Ensemble will play the following:

• Slava! A Political Overture by Leonard Bernstein, featuring Foster as guest conductor;

• Sesenta by Quincy Hilliard, featuring Hilliard as guest conductor;

• American Overture by Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, featuring Holtan as guest conductor;

• Iron Majors by Major Scott McKenzie, featuring Holtan as guest conductor;

• Concerto Gaucho by Kevin Walczyk, featuring Dr. Javian Brabham, assistant professor of trumpet at VSU, as guest conductor; and

• Give Us This Day by David Maslanka.    

“It will be a memorable occasion for everyone,” Harper shared.

The Wind Ensemble concert will be livestreamed at

The South Georgia Region Honor Band concert will be livestreamed at

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