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My Manchester Story

Scott Humphries

by Marie Fisher | Dec 01, 2021

Tell us about yourself and your musical background.

I had a high school band director who was phenomenal. I was inspired by him to become a band director myself. I was always into music. I had taken piano lessons since the third grade, then in middle school band, I started the saxophone, which set the tone for my music career. I went to James-Madison University for my undergrad, where I majored in both piano and saxophone. After I graduated, I taught band in a very rural area for five years. I decided I wanted to go back to school and was a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech, where I worked with the marching band. After my master’s, I went back to teaching – one of the schools being in my hometown. I had always wanted to make the leap to university teaching.

Why do you teach at Manchester?

When I found the opening for my position at Manchester, I knew it fit my skill set. I could be the band director and teach the music education courses that are a part of the job description. It seemed like a good fit. It felt like home here. Training the future generations of music educators is the reason why I teach at Manchester. The students here want to experience as much as they can.

Can you tell us what your day-to-day looks like?

The fall semester is always packed. Marching band takes up a lot of time with rehearsal and administrative work. We perform at all the home games and for area high schools, which is extra commitment. Last year they canceled football season the week before band camp, so this is our first full season.. It was interesting starting a band without having a performing season, but we ended up playing for some high schools in the area.

I also teach a few music education courses. I teach saxophone lessons, jazz band and one of the new experience courses for first year students. So, I stay pretty busy! Second semester is a little less intense. Symphonic band meets in the spring and marching band meets in the fall. Symphonic is not as rigorous as far as time commitment, which gives me time to actively recruit. I’ve contacted several prospective students by text or email, and I’ve judged about 30 bands this fall.

 

The Spartan Pride Marching Band, which is under your direction, is in its second year. How’s that going?

For the past two years, our numbers have been in the mid-20s for band members. I’d like to see those numbers go to about 50 in the next five years once the word gets out and people start to learn more about the Spartan Pride Marching Band. I want color guard a part of it as well. It’s been a struggle getting this off the ground because not many incoming students know we have it. We’ve done a lot of advertising this past year, so we’re hoping to see more growth in the next few years.

Is there anything you’d like to add regarding the music program at Manchester?

We have a well-rounded music program here including all performance areas, music education, music theory and composition, and music performance. We have great faculty who care about each individual. I went to a huge school with over 20,000 students in attendance, and the fact that you get individual attention from the music faculty is a benefit that encourages growth for each student.

For prospective students, take time to understand what it takes to be a music major. Talk to current students who are studying music or your band or choir director. It’s a very intense major.