William Pease to lead U.Va.s
band director William Pease will begin his duties later this
By Jane Ford
Pease gets a lot of ribbing from his Michigan friends. He still
sports Virginia plates on his car even though he has been associate
director of bands at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo
Pease, the drive from Michigan to Charlottesville, where he has
just been named U.Va.s new band director, will be longer
than the mental trip. When talking about U.Va., he already uses
the pronoun we.
a native of Virginia Beach, will begin his official duties at
the close of this years football season.
is a great moment for music at the University of Virginia,
said Craig Littlepage, director of athletics.
Bill Pease will be a wonderful director of bands based on
the work he has done at Western Michigan.
Hudson, chairwoman of the McIntire
Department of Music, said Peases success at Western
Michigan, coupled with his musical versatility, made him stand
out from the more than 30 excellent applicants.
a band program from the ground up is both a huge task and a unique
opportunity, Hudson said. His ability to work with
a diversity of musical styles will give him a chance to create
something new and innovative. The committee was unanimously impressed
with what he can bring to U.Va.
Universitys music program was altered dramatically in April
when longtime benefactors Carl and Hunter Smith pledged $22 million
toward a $47 million performing arts center and $1.5 million to
support a student marching and concert band. Creating the band,
which is a joint venture between the music and athletics departments,
was immediately put on a fast track.
has a Herculean task in front of him, but he wont be doing
it alone. He plans to build on a successful model of involving
students in leadership roles in W.M.U.s Bronco Marching
Band. A staff of 60 students helps Pease run the 350-piece band,
before he officially arrives on Grounds Nov. 25, Pease will begin
drumming up interest and excitement about the band on a 10-day
visit in September. At that time, Pease will start recruiting
his student staff and band members. He hopes to have a band of
50 to100 students ready to perform at mens and womens
basketball games in January. A band of about 200 members will
debut at the opening of the 2004 football season.
said his U.Va. student staff will be involved in all areas of
decision making, including setting up band guidelines and procedures,
designing uniforms, writing music, helping develop drills and
generating ideas for shows.
Student leadership and a team effort will be key to accomplishing
Peases vision of entertaining fans with a band that is musically
sound and an integral part of the game-day atmosphere.
include developing a pre-game tradition an opening act
that will help generate crowd enthusiasm and create a home-field
programs will change for each game and will include a variety
of musical styles classical, rock, swing, jazz and rap.
With a diverse audience, made up of students, fans and alumni
of all ages, the band will need to play music that fans recognize
and enjoy, Pease said.
focus will be to bring guest artists, including renowned Virginia
musical acts, to play with the band and to highlight faculty musicians,
composers and ensembles.
also considers community service a large part of the bands
responsibility. That wont be an issue at U.Va., with its
strong student ethic of giving back, he said.
is not unaware of the controversy surrounding U.Va.s Pep
Band, which for years performed at athletic events. The new band
will now serve as the official representative of the University
at athletic events, but Pease hopes to work with the student-run
Pep Band in an unofficial capacity. He said he was impressed with
the student musicians when he met with them during his interview
and would welcome them as members of the new band.
who puts that much time into what they do without pay cares a
lot about the University, he said.
is eager to begin working with all U.Va. students, whom he considers
among the highest academic achievers in the country.
means a lot to me. Im a Virginian, and this is the states
premier school, said Pease. It cant get better
strong ties to Virginia extend to his public school days in Virginia
Beach, where he graduated from Princess Anne High School. He went
on to earn a bachelor of science degree in music education in
1987 at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. He returned
to Virginia Beach, where he taught in public schools for nine
years, which included leading the Kempsville High School Band
to receive numerous honors in national and international competitions.
In 1998, he received a master of music degree in wind-conducting
at James Madison University in Harrisonburg and became director
of athletic bands at Western Michigan University. He anticipates
receiving a doctorate from Michigan State University, East Lansing,
in the near future.
also is excited about the new $47 million performing arts center,
which will serve as the home for the marching and concert band.
Located at the corner of Massie Road and Emmet Street, the 100,000-square-foot
facility will include space for a wide range of public and student
performance spaces, a concert hall of at least 1,200 seats, a
black box theater, rehearsal rooms, support offices and instrument
storage facilities. The center will provide needed space for a
range of performances, from soloists to large groups playing classical
music and jazz.
Myers Associates Inc. of Los Angeles, a leader in the design of
performance space and acoustics, was selected from more than 39
competing architects to design the new space.