Russell Gavin, associate professor of music education at Baylor University, has officially been named the new director of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) as of Monday. Gavin, whose position will be officially housed in the department of athletics, physical education and recreation, will lead and support the Band throughout performances and rehearsals.
The director’s role is not new. Former director Art P. Barnes, who retired in 1997, charted more than 300 songs for the Band and was admired by other students and faculty. Following Barnes’ retirement, Scott Stanford ’92 M.S. ’98 served as interim director until Giancarlo Aquilanti took over the position for 14 years. Most recently, Michael Repper ’12 M.A. ’12 was interim director until Gavin’s hiring.
The return of the director position is welcomed by Band members.
“Having a director makes us musically stronger, takes pressure off the drum major as the solo musical leader and makes communication with the administration much easier,” wrote Samuel Weyen ’18 and former Stanford Tree in an email to The Daily. “It’s so much harder to function without one, as students (e.g. section leaders) have had to pick up the slack in the absence of a full-time musical teacher.”
Despite rumors that Band has not been in favor of appointing a new musical director, Band management, in collaboration with Student Affairs and Athletics, has been receiving and interviewing potential candidates beginning this past summer. Following the appeal of the Band suspension issued by Vice Provost Greg Boardman in January, Band continued to interview candidates until the search committee ultimately chose Gavin.
Band leadership has also come out in support of the new hire.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Russell Gavin as our new Band Director,” read an email statement issued by LSJUMB. “Through his experience and his interviews, he showed that he is the perfect candidate for the job: He understands LSJUMB’s culture, agrees with our goals and wants to work with us to continue our progress as an organization. We know he’ll fit right in with our special brand of funk!”
According to former Provost John Etchemendy, Gavin’s appointment is a mark of the collaboration between LSJUMB and the administration following the successful appeal. Etchemendy looks forward to Gavin’s contribution to the Band’s “musicality and organizational culture,” according to Stanford News.
“I am excited to join the Stanford Band in embracing the uniqueness that is the Stanford community,” Gavin said. “The opportunity to work alongside the Band students, staff and alumni in guiding the group into the next chapters of this famous organization’s history is exciting beyond words.”
Gavin will begin his new role on May 8.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Art Barnes was the Band’s most recent director. In fact, Barnes was followed by a series of interim and official directors. The Daily regrets this error.