Joliet, Ill. – Last September, the University of St. Francis (USF) announced that it was conducting a search for a new band director and was opening recruitment for students interested in playing in a university band that will help USF mark its centennial in 2020. USF is proud to announce that it has named the band’s director – Michael Compton, DMA.
Compton found interest in the opportunity at USF because of the unique opportunities it presents.
“Initially, it was the opportunity to start a band from the ground up and building it in such a way that it fits the ‘climate’ of the campus and the branding of the institution. Once I arrived at the University for my interview and started talking to the students, the staff, and the faculty, I found it to be a remarkably warm place. The sincerity of the people I met was the lingering impression I thought about on my drive home. It felt comfortable and I knew that I could build something genuine here,” he said.
Compton is now looking forward to getting started and finds inspiration in the potential the group has as it moves forward.
“If we can build a strong core of energetic, enthusiastic musicians interested in having fun making a bit of a musical ruckus at a football game or a basketball game, then I can call this a successful work in progress. I want student musicians that can play an instrument, shout a cheer (or twelve), and make some noise. Since we are starting with a clean slate, we can write our own cheers, arrange our own music, and build our own traditions starting right now. We are starting with a pep band and, over time, will build this into a full-fledged marching band,” he said.
USF is already in the process of recruiting members for its university band, but USF Vice President for Admissions and Marketing, Eric Wignall stresses that this is not merely a regional effort.
“We are looking forward to recruiting student musicians from a wide area of the country,” said USF Vice President for Admissions and Marketing, Eric Wignall. “We’ve always had students at college nights and high school visits ask about a band, and now we will be actively recruiting these talented students. We also plan to make band scholarships available alongside our already generous academic and need-based grants and scholarships.”
Compton received his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Arts degree in saxophone performance from California State University-Sacramento. He then earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia.
Prior to accepting his current position, Compton served as Director of Jazz and Woodwind Studies at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, Director of Bands at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota, and Director of Bands and Music Education at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. He also directed the instrumental program at Solon Middle School in Solon, Iowa. He began his career teaching instrumental and vocal music in grades 4 through 12 in the Sacramento, California region where he grew up.
As a performer, Compton has appeared with a variety of artists including Louis Bellson, Frank Mantooth, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Temptations, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Most recently, he has performed in local ensembles, including the Cedar Rapids Jazz Big Band, the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, and the Des Moines Metro Concert Band and Big Band. Compton also served as a guest conductor and directed honor bands throughout the Midwest including Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, and North Dakota.
Throughout his career, Compton has been a member of professional organizations, including the Iowa Bandmasters Association; the Jazz Educators of Iowa; the North American Saxophone Alliance; the Collegiate Band Directors National Association; and the National Association for Music Educators chapters in Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and California. He has served on state-level music education boards in Iowa and North Dakota and founded the Prairie Winds Concert Band, a regional concert band serving central and western Kansas.
He is married to Andrea, who is a literacy consultant with the Grant Wood Area Education Association in Cedar Rapids, and they have two sons, Ian and Nathan.
The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.
University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.
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