Virginian William Pease To Lead U.Va.’s New Marching Band
August 20, 2003 --
The University of Virginia has selected William E. Pease, a Virginia
Beach native and associate director of bands at Western Michigan
University in Kalamazoo, as its new band director.
is a great moment for music at the University of Virginia,” said
Craig Littlepage, director of athletics and search committee
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 and head
of the search committee, said Pease’s 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
impressed with what he can bring to U.Va.”
music program was altered dramatically in April when long-time
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
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 won’t
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 assumes his official duties Nov. 25, he will begin
drumming up interest and excitement about
on a 10-day
visit to Charlottesville in September. At that time,
Pease will start to recruit his student staff and band
to have a band of 50 to100 students ready to perform
and women’s 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
procedures, designing uniforms, writing music, helping
develop drills and generating
ideas for shows.
leadership and a team effort will be key to accomplishing
Pease’s vision of entertaining
fans with a band that is musically sound and an integral
part of the game-day atmosphere.
Plans include developing a pre-game tradition — an opening
act that will help generate crowd enthusiasm and
create a home-field advantage.
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 band’s
responsibility. That won’t 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
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
among the highest academic achievers
in the country.
means a lot to me. I’m a Virginian, and this is the
premier school. It can’t get better than
this,” said Pease, who still
sports Virginia plates on his car.
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
schools for nine years, which included leading
the Kempsville High School Band to receive numerous
honors in national and international competitions.
he received a master of music degree in wind
conducting at James Madison University in Harrisonburg and
became director of athletic bands at Western
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
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
a black box theater,
rehearsal rooms, support
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
to design the new space.
Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298