Mr. David Willson is in his twenty-sixth year as Director of Bands at the University of Mississippi. Under his leadership the band has developed into a truly outstanding university band and has doubled in membership. A Jackson, MS native who attended Provine High School and the University of Mississippi, Mr. Willson has directed bands in Mississippi at Independence, Columbus and Clinton. His bands have consistently won awards at the state and national level. Mr. Willson was awarded the A.S.B.D.A. Outstanding Young Band Director Award in 1985 and in 1990 the Mississippi Bandmasters Outstanding Band Director of the Year. Willson worked on the Mississippi Lions All-State Band Staff five times including serving as head director in 1995 when the All-State Band won the international parade in Seoul, Korea. He has served as president of the Mississippi Bandmasters, Mississippi Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the state chair of C.B.D.N.A., and served four years on the N.F.I.M.A. national board. He is now currently serving as the International President of Phi Beta Mu. Willson is active nationally as a conductor, adjudicator and speaker. Mr. Willson conducts the UM Wind Ensemble and instructs music education and various courses within the music department. His “Band Calisthenics” and “Starting Beginning Bands” books are used extensively throughout the Mid-South. Mr. Willson was the 2005-2006 recipient of the Frist award for outstanding service to students and is the 2006-2007 recipient of the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award for the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Bill DeJournett is in his fourteenth year as the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Mississippi. He directs the “Pride of the South” marching band, conducts the UM Symphonic band, and teaches courses within the music department. Prior to coming to Ole Miss, Dr. DeJournett was Director of Athletic Bands at Colorado State University and at Elon University in North Carolina. Dr. DeJournett has also taught in the public schools of Alabama and Georgia. He possesses degrees from the David L. Walters Department of Music at Jacksonville State University, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Mississippi.
Dr. DeJournett is the author of “Brass Secrets”, and his articles have appeared in the Instrumentalist, Fanfare, the NFIMA Journal and the NACWPI Journal. He has presented his research at professional conferences throughout the Southeast and in Seattle, Washington. His professional associations include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, Omicron Delta Kappa, the Mississippi Bandmaster Association, Music Educators’ National Conference, the College Music Society and the College Band Directors’ National Association, and has served as state chair for the National Band Association. Dr. DeJournett has conducted honor bands and adjudicated concert festivals in Mississippi, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, West Virginia and Saskatchewan. He has earned a reputation as a respected marching band adjudicator having judged numerous contests in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado, Mississippi and Arkansas and is currently sanctioned by the USSBA. Dr. DeJournett is a former member of the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps and a former member of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps of Rockford/Loves Park, Illinois, and has instructed various drum corps at the Open Class and World Class levels.
Mr. Randy Dale is in his seventh year as the Assistant Director of Bands The University of Mississippi. Mr. Dale assists with the marching band, directs the basketball pep bands, directs the UM Concert Band, and is responsible for all on-line communications for the Ole Miss Band. Mr. Dale also teaches courses within the music department, including Instrumental Arranging, Percussion Methods, and Fundamentals of Conducting.
Mr. Dale earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from The University of Mississippi in 2001. He served with the Ole Miss Band as a graduate assistant for one year before becoming the Director of Bands at Northpoint Christian School (NCS), formerly known as Southern Baptist Educational Center (SBEC) in Southaven, Mississippi in 2002. Mr. Dale continued studying through the University of Mississippi to earn his Master’s degree in Music Education in 2005. He is a proficient music arranger for Marching and Concert Bands, and arranges for band programs throughout the mid-south area. Mr. Dale serves as an adjudicator for marching band competitions and indoor percussion competitions throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. He holds memberships in The Mississippi Bandmasters Association, The College Band Directors National Association, The Music Educators National Conference, The Percussive Arts Society, and The Texas Music Educators Association.
In eight years as the Director of Bands at NCS, Mr. Dale was able to produce outstanding results that were unprecedented for the program. Under his direction the band tripled in size and won numerous awards and superior ratings at marching contests throughout Mississippi and Tennessee. Mr. Dale has produced students that have made the Mississippi Lions All-State Band and who have participated in World Class drum and bugle corps. In 2005 Mr. Dale was awarded SBEC Teacher of the Year by the Staff and Administration.
UM Band Graduate Assistants
Tara Chaffin – Tupelo, MS.
Tara attended Saltillo High School, and graduated in 2011. She participated in the Mississippi All-State “Lion’s Band.” She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from The University of Mississippi in 2015. She was a member of the Wind Ensemble and The Pride of the South Marching Band. She is an active member of Sigma Phi Lambda and Sigma Alpha Iota. Tara is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education.
David Cuevas – Pass Christian, MS.
David graduated from Long Beach High School in 2011, where he was a member of the Long Beach Bearcat Band and the Long Beach Indoor Ensemble. He attended MS Gulf Coast Community College where he was a member of the Band of Gold and the Gulf Coast Independent Percussion Ensemble. He received his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Mississippi in 2016. While he was at Ole Miss, he was a member of the Pride of the South Marching Band, the Symphonic Band, the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, the Trombone Ensemble, and The Basketball Pep Band. He is also an active member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity. David is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Music Education.
Ben Ratliff – Jesup, GA.
Ben received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (magna cum laude) from Georgia Southern University in December, 2014. While at GSU, Ben was a member of The Southern Pride Marching Band, The Hoop Troop Pep Band, The Wind Symphony, and The Trumpet Ensemble. Ben also participated in the all-age drum corps, Atlanta CV, as a lead trumpet. He remained active in many organizations, including Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and The National Association for Music Education collegiate chapter as vice president. In 2013, he won the statewide music education scholarship from GMEA. Outside of school, Ben has conducted the BPM Summer Community Band of Jesup, Georgia since 2011. He also arranges and composes music. He has had compositions performed from the middle school to collegiate level, frequently guest conducting. Ben is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education.
Patrick Smith – Jesup, GA.
Patrick received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Georgia Southern University in December, 2014. At GSU, Patrick was a member of The Southern Pride Marching Band, The Symphonic Wind Ensemble, The Wind Symphony, and The Percussion Ensemble. Outside of school, Patrick has assisted the BPM Summer Community Band of Jesup, GA since 2011. He also arranges and composes music at the high school and collegiate levels. He has worked with several high school percussion groups across Southeast Georgia. Patrick is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education.
Michael Swann – Olive Branch, MS.
Michael received his undergraduate degree in Music Education with an emphasis in percussion at the University of Mississippi. He has participated in many different ensembles as an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi which include Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, University Orchestra, University Chorus (Men’s Glee), Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and The Pride of the South Marching Band. During his time as a member of the Pride of the South, he was center snare for three years. Michael participated with Music City Drum and Bugle Corps (2012) and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (2014) as a snare drummer. Michael is an alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha’s Lambda Xi chapter. Michael is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Music Education.
Percussion – Randy Dale, Patrick Smith, Michael Swann
Color Guard – Tiffany Priewe
Rebelettes – Carley Cryer
Arrangers – Ryan Todd, Randy Dale, Tom Wallace, and Courtney Mosley
Visual Designers – Alan Alexander, Alan Temby
Band Secretary – Kristi Boggan