18th Annual Conducting Symposium
Friday, January 17th – Saturday, January 18th, 2014
featuring guest clinicians
Colonel Michael J. Colburn & Alfred Watkins
UNC Symphonic Band
Colonel Michael J. Colburn is the 27th Director of The President’s Own United States Marine Band. During his twenty-five years with the President’s Own, Colonel Colburn has served as principal euphonium, Assistant Director, and since July 2004, the Director who is leading the Marine Band in its third century.
As Director of The President’s Own, Colonel Colburn is the music adviser to the White House. He regularly conducts the Marine Band at the Executive Mansion and at all Presidential Inaugurations. He also serves as music director of Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band Director since John Philip Sousa, and is a member of the Alfalfa Club and the American Bandmasters Association.
After joining The President’s Own in May 1987 as a euphonium player, Colonel Colburn regularly performed at the White House, in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, and throughout the country during the band’s annual concert tour. He quickly distinguished himself as a featured soloist, and in 1990 was appointed principal euphonium. In addition to his duties as a euphonium player, Colonel Colburn was active as a conductor for The President’s Own chamber music series. In 1996, he was appointed Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant. He accepted the position of Senior Assistant Director and Executive Officer in 2001 and in 2002 was promoted to the rank of major. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel one day before he assumed leadership of The President’s Own on July 17, 2004. He was promoted to colonel on July 3, 2007 by President George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony and awarded the Legion of Merit on July 11, 2008, the Marine Band’s 210th birthday, by Marine Corps Commandant General James T. Conway.
As Director, Colonel Colburn has welcomed prominent guest conductors to the podium of The President’s Own, including Leonard Slatkin, José Serebrier, Gerard Schwarz, and renowned film composer John Williams. Colonel Colburn is deeply committed to seeking new works for the Marine Band, and has been directly involved in commissions from composers David Rakowski, David Chaitkin, Melinda Wagner, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandolfi, and Laurence Bitensky. Colonel Colburn has worked to expand the Marine Band’s educational outreach efforts by increasing master classes at schools throughout the nation during the band’s annual concert tour, and by initiating Music in the High Schools, a program that sends musicians from The President’s Own to perform in Washington, D.C., area high schools.
Colonel Colburn graduated from Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Vt., in 1982. Following high school he attended the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York in Potsdam for two years. He continued his education at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he studied euphonium with Daniel Perantoni and earned a bachelors degree in music performance in 1986. In 1991, Colonel Colburn earned a masters degree in conducting from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where he studied with Anthony Maiello.
Mr. Alfred Watkins has been the Director of Bands at Lassiter High School since 1982. He has established a fine reputation as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States. Under his leadership, the Lassiter Band has grown from its original 78 members to its present size of 350 music students. The program now includes five symphonic bands, two separate marching bands, a jazz band and numerous performing chamber ensembles.
Mr. Watkins, a native of Jackson, Georgia, received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida A&M University, with honors in 1976 where he was a conducting student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White. Prior to his arrival at Lassiter, he served for six years as Director of Bands at Murphy High School in the Atlanta Public School System. While at Murphy, his symphonic bands earned consistent superior ratings in Grade VI. As much a teacher as he is a musician, Mr. Watkins was named “Teacher of the Year” in 1978 and Star Teacher in 1982, 1983, 1989, 1994 and l997.
Under Mr. Watkins’ leadership, the Lassiter Marching Band has performed for the following: President Ronald Reagan (twice), 1984 World’s Fair, 1986 and 1995 King Orange Jamboree Parade, the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade, and will perform in the 1997 Citrus Bowl Parade. The band was featured in the full length motion picture, “The Leader of the Band,” starring Steve Landesberg. The marching band placed 5th in the 1990 Bands of America Grand National Championships and third place in 1994. In the 1994 BOA National Championships, the band earned the Esprit de Corps Award and earned first place honors in Musical Performance.
Registration materials will be posted on the website in November.
Please contact the University Bands Office at (970) 351-2273 or
email Jennifer Beck, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions.