Samford Honor Band Festival

The Annual Honor Band Festival will be held Jan. 9-11, 2020.

Each year, Samford University's Division of Music hosts its Annual Honor Band Festival and Concert. This year's festival will celebrate women conductors and composers in music. Middle and high school students from across the region are invited to register. This event is great way to experience Samford's music program and see the campus.

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Highlights of Schedule 

  • Thursday, Jan. 9, Check-in and Auditions
  • Friday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m., Alabama Winds Concert, Wright Center
  • Saturday, Jan. 11, 2 p.m. Concert, Wright Center
  • Deadline for application Dec. 15, 2019. 

View the Schedule

Middle School Conductors

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Mrs. Suzanne Kerr Reed received her Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) with a Performance Certificate from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. Mrs. Reed has performed at the Kennedy Center with members of the National Symphony, the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. After graduation, she returned home, became a member of the Charleston Symphony and taught band at Bishop England High School, Holly Hill Primary School, and Moultrie Middle School. She currently teaches band at the Charleston Catholic School and the Charleston County School of the Arts.

Mrs. Reed started her private studio in 1991, which has produced over $1,000,000.00 in Scholarship monies for her French horn students (not all majoring in music). Her students have been first chair at AllState 7 times, 30 unique All-State horn players, 90+ unique students in region bands and received numerous superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble festival. She enjoys private teaching and helping students secure college scholarships through music. Mrs. Reed is a very active musician performing professionally with the Charleston Symphony, the Long Bay Symphony and the Hilton Head Orchestra. She has been a featured performer several times during Piccolo Spoleto.

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Mrs. Taylor Keeton Nails is the new Band Director of Fayette Middle School. Mrs. Nails graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Music in 2006 and she received her Master of Arts in Music in 2011. She comes to FMS with a remarkable record of accomplishments and experiences, which include the position of Band Director for the 2017-2019 academic years at Northridge Middle School; Adjunct Teacher in 2010 at Nashville State Community College; Graduate Teaching Assistant (2009-2011) for Auburn University Bands; and Band Director at Phenix City Intermediate School for the 2006-2009 academic years. 

High School Conductors

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Susan L. Smith is Instructor of Music Education and Applied Horn at Troy University. She was formerly the Director of Bands at Saint James School in Montgomery, AL. Smith received her Bachelor’s of Music Education from James Madison University and taught in the Virginia public schools shortly after. Her responsibilities included the direction of elementary and secondary instrumental music programs, as well as teaching other arts-related courses. Her ensembles consistently received superior ratings from the Virginia Band and Orchestra Director Association festivals during her tenure. After receiving her Master’s Degree of Music Education from Troy State University, she taught as a Adjunct Professor of Music and served as the Executive Director of the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic and Honor Bands. In addition, she coordinated the visual program for the Sound of South Marching Band. Her professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Alpha Iota, and the National Band Association. She is the immediate past president of the AMEA. 

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Leigh Thomas received an undergraduate degree in 2010 and a graduate degree in 2012 from the University of Alabama.  During her time at UA, she participated in the Million Dollar Band (where she was drum major), Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Campus Band, Percussion Ensemble, Mallet Ensemble, Volleyball Pep Band, and Women’s Basketball Pep Band.  She has served as a private conducting teacher, percussion instructor and arranger, and graduate teaching assistant.

She joined BJHS staff for the 2012-13 school year as assistant-director of the Marching Band and in June 2015 was named director. She instructs the football marching band, competition marching band, jazz bands, and wind ensemble.  She assists with winter guard, indoor drumline, and concert band.