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 fifteenth year as the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Mississippi. He 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, originally from Olive Branch, MS, is in his eighth year as the Assistant Director of Bands The University of Mississippi. Mr. Dale is the Director of Athletic Bands, 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
Tracee Brooks – Ripley, MS.
Tracee attended Itawamba Community College for two years where she was a member of the All-American Marching Band. Tracee received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (cum laude) from the University of Mississippi in May, 2017. During her time at Ole Miss, she was a member of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society, the LOU Symphony Orchestra, the Student Woodwind Quintet, the UM Wind Ensemble, the Basketball Pep Band, and the Pride of the South Marching Band. During her time as a member of the Pride of the South, she played the mellophone for two years and served as one of the drum majors for one year. Tracee participated with Music City Drum and Bugle Corps (2013) and was a member of both Impact of ICC and Magnolia Independent (2013-2015) as a member of the color guard. Tracee is an alumnus of the Alpha Omega chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. Tracee is currently 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.
Raven Gordon – Senatobia, MS.
Raven graduated from Senatobia High School in 2013, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (magna cum laude) from the University of Mississippi in 2017. During her time at Ole Miss, she was a member of the Pride of the South Marching Band, the UM Wind Ensemble, the LOU Symphony Orchestra, the Collegians Jazz Ensemble, and various trumpet ensembles. She also remained active in organizations on campus, including Sigma Alpha Iota and the National Association for Music Education. Currently, Raven 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 – Michael Swann, Gabe Ackermann
Color Guard – Megan Walls
Rebelettes – Rachel Levetzow
Arrangers – Ryan Todd, Randy Dale, Tom Wallace, and Courtney Mosley
Visual Designers – Alan Alexander, Alan Temby
Band Secretary – Kristi Boggan