College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Ole Miss Band Director Honored in National Magazine Cover Feature

David Willson, director of bands at the University of Mississippi, is featured in the cover story of the August edition of School Band and Orchestra magazine.

SBO debuted in 1998 and is published monthly and distributed to the nation’s elementary, middle and high school band and orchestra directors. The article, titled “Lessons in Conviction,” highlights Willson’s career and teaching philosophy, which, he says, is a challenge he gives to each of his students: “I won’t give up if you won’t.”

“Each student has taught me much more than I could ever hope to teach them,” said Willson, professor of music. “Young people know when you care about them and will go the extra mile when you sincerely project that care to them.”

Among Willson’s many admirers is Andy Sanders, director of bands at Southaven High School. When asked what David Willson has meant to him, Sanders said, “Mr. Willson has devoted his life toward making all of us better educators. His selfless devotion to young, and older, band directors has alleviated the ‘growing pains’ many of us would have endured. Without his sacrifice and assistance, I would not be the teacher I am today. I owe him the success of my career.”

Before joining the Ole Miss faculty in 1994, Willson spent 16 years directing bands in public high schools in Independence, Greenwood, Columbus (Caldwell High) and Clinton. He is a past president of the Mississippi Band Masters and Phi Beta Mu International Band Honorary.

He has received two coveted campuswide teaching awards at Ole Miss, including the 2007 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year and the 2005 Thomas Frist Student Service Award.

“Professor Willson is a committed educator, who is skilled in classroom instruction and ensemble leadership, and is dedicated to the personal growth and professional development of his students,” said Charles Gates, UM chair and professor of music.

View the August issue of SBO. For more information, visit the Department of Music.