A Festival for Band, Orchestra, and Choral Ensembles

Band and Orchestra Festival is April 21-22, 2023

Wando High School

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About the Festival

The Charleston Music Festival was founded in 2013 by music educators whose goal was to provide a rewarding and educational experience for middle and high school ensembles. Groups will perform a typical CPA-type program for three adjudicators who will provide ratings and recorded feedback. Immediately following the stage performance, one of the adjudicators will give a playing/singing clinic to the group.

Charleston was chosen for its prestige as a historic city with so many opportunities for student group fun and exploration. Beyond the musical experience the festival provides, groups gain knowledge and experience through educational activities like the SC Aquarium, various tours and harbor cruises, visiting historic markers and buildings, and even going to the beach. Some groups make it a day trip, while others stay for two or three days. The Charleston Music Festival staff can help make arrangements for lodging, food, and any activities available.

Band and Orchestra

The Charleston Music Festival will be held in one of Charleston County Schools’ performing arts centers. In addition to performing in a fine music hall, your band or orchestra will receive a beautiful wall plaque and rating trophy, recorded comments, and a full 30-minute playing clinic from one of our nation's top adjudicators and clinicians.

Band Adjudicators

Clinicians who will be evaluating your ensemble

event-speaker

John Culvahouse

Professor of Music (Retired)

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event-speaker

Sue Samuels

Furman University

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event-speaker

Joel Denton

Ooltewah High School (Retired)

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event-speaker

Andrew Gowan

University of South Carolina

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about

Returning for 2023

We are excited to announce that Bobby Lambert, Director of Bands at Wando HS and nationally recognized Student Leadership Clinician, will be returning to hold a Leadership Workshop for student leaders to be followed by a workshop for directors and parents. This workshop will be open to any group, regardless if they have an ensemble performing during the day.

  • Student Leadership Workshop Fee is $35.00 per student
    (includes lunch)

Registration Information

The Registration Fee of $75 is due by November 15. The fee increases to $100 after November 15. There is no guarantee of performance times after November 15. Priority scheduling is based on postmark of the received registration and deposit.

Performance Fee

$44.95/ Per Person
  • Participation in Festival
  • Private Clinic Following Performance
  • Written and Taped Comments Provided on Flash Drive
  • Participation Plaque
  • Awards
  • Directors and Chaperones FREE

Hotels, meals, and sightseeing activities are available upon request. Sightseeing activities include historic and ghost tours, harbor cruises, private BBQ dinner cruise, aquarium, museums, sporting events, local theater and ballet companies, beautiful beaches, and many wonderful restaurants that cater to large groups. Premium downtown or beach front hotels are also available. Call us at (803) 239-6595 for additional information.

Performance Site

Wando High School
1000 Warrior Way
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

John Culvahouse

John Culvahouse

Dr. John N. Culvahouse recently retired as Professor of Music Education from Kennesaw State University. From 1991 until 2007, he served on the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he was a tenured Associate Professor and member of the Graduate Faculty. Prior to his appointment at UGA in 1991, Dr. Culvahouse taught in the public schools in South Carolina and Tennessee for 17 years, where he directed high school, middle school, and elementary school bands. He received the Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from the University of Tennessee and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of South Carolina. Mentors and major professors include Stanley Barnes, WJ Julian, William J. Moody, and James Copenhaver.

Dr. Culvahouse has served as a conductor, adjudicator, and clinician in several states, Canada, and Western Europe. Professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association (past Georgia State Chair), Georgia Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (former Epsilon Lambda Chapter Advisor), Phi Beta Mu (Tennessee Chapter Past-President and South Carolina Past-Vice-President), Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi (Honorary), and National Band Association where he served on the Board of Directors on four occasions. As a long time NBA member, he conducted bands at the 1980, 1988, and 1994 conventions, including a 1988 performance by the Sumter, SC High School Symphonic Band. His NBA service began as Tennessee State Chair in the late 1970's, continued as an elected High School Representative, elected Representative At-Large, and Southern Division Chair. He served as President from 2009-2012. In 2014, he was elected to the membership of the American Bandmasters Association.

Dr. Culvahouse was appointed Associate Conductor of Tara Winds Community Band in the fall of 2011. He serves on the Board of Directors of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. He is a Sudler Flag of Honor and Sudler Trophy Laureate. He was presented the coveted Orpheus Award by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity in 2006 and the National Band Association has presented him the Citation of Excellence on six occasions.

Sue Samuels

Sue Samuels

Dr. Samuels returned to her alma mater in 2019 as Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education Studies. Prior to Furman, she was Director of Visual and Performing Arts at Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama and served for 14 years as Director of Bands at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her responsibilities included teaching and administering the Marching Blazers, the Wind Symphony, the Symphony Band, and the Blazer Band, as well as teaching courses in conducting and music education. During her time at UAB, the Marching Blazers more than doubled in number, performed nationally and internationally before tens of thousands, and garnered a reputation as one of the outstanding college marching bands in the southeast. In addition, Dr. Samuels created the UAB All-Star Band Festival which served more than 300 high school students from Alabama each fall, and more than 600 young musicians were served at the annual Middle School and High School Honor Band festivals each December.

Under Dr. Samuels’ direction, the UAB Wind Symphony performed at local and regional festivals including the Alabama Music Educators State Conference, the Southern Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and the Grainger Festival in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Samuels’ teaching experience prior to her arrival at UAB includes 12 years at Lassiter High School in Marietta Georgia, 1 year as Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Georgia, and 2 years as Director of Bands at WT Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Under her direction, all bands she conducted received straight superior ratings at festivals over her 14-year career as a high school band director. In addition, the bands at both Lassiter and Woodson performed at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, and the Lassiter Band won the 1998 Marching Band Grand National Championships.

In addition to her work as a band director, Dr. Samuels enjoys being a mom to her beautiful son, Andrew, whom she adopted from Ethiopia in 2010.

Scott Weiss

Joel Denton

Mr. Joel L. Denton served as Director of Bands at Ooltewah High School for thirty-seven years. Mr. Denton is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has completed graduate studies at UT-Chattanooga. Mr. Denton currently serves as an adjunct instructor of Instrumental Music Education at Lee University. Prior to his retirement in 2018, he was recognized as a CMA Music Teacher of Excellence. At the 2015 Midwest Clinic, Mr. Denton was awarded the John Phillip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor for his contributions to band. Under his direction, the Ooltewah Band achieved a national reputation for musical excellence including performances in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013 and 2007, and as the only band in the 2011 Disney Christmas Parade on ABC. The Ooltewah Marching Band was a consistent finalist at Bands of America Regional Championships being awarded multiple class championships and placements, and was a national semi-finalist on multiple occasions with several class placements. The Ooltewah Concert Bands performed at the Music for All Southeast Regional Concert Festival in 2016, the TMEA (TN) State Music Conference in 2014 and 2010, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in 2011(Grand Concert Division Champions), and multiple other state, regional and national events through the years. He served as Chairman of Fine Arts at Ooltewah from 1982 until his retirement and was selected five times as the Ooltewah Teacher of the Year. The Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts has thrice honored him. Mr. Denton is an elected member of the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Bandmasters Hall of Fame. His professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Beta Mu, National Band Association, American School Band Director Association, and Tennessee Bandmasters Association. Mr. Denton currently serves as the Tennessee State Chair for the National Band Association and is a Past President of the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association and the Tennessee Bandmasters Association. He has served as the State Legislative Delegate and Advocacy Chair for Tennessee Music Education Association and served as a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s Fine Arts Student Growth Committee. He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and consultant working with Music for All/Bands of America, Drum Corps International, several universities and state organizations, as well as, many high school bands across the nation. Mr. Denton presents professional development sessions across the nation and also works with band programs and other organizations on developing leadership and teambuilding skills. Mr. Denton and Kerry, his wife of thirty-eight years, reside in Chattanooga and have two adult children, Alex and Caroline, who are both teachers.

Andrew Gowan

Andrew Gowan

Andrew Gowan is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. His experiences include successful teaching in the schools of Bolivar, TN, the Briarcrest Schools of Memphis, TN, and Lander University in Greenwood, SC.

Dr. Gowan joined the School of Music faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1984 and has been involved with the marching and concert bands, music education and conducting classes, and woodwind instruction. He has served as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator of bands, orchestras, and choirs in more than a dozen states. His articles have appeared in the Instrumentalist and the Journal of Band Research, and his compositions and arrangements for woodwinds are published by Roncorp, Inc. As a professional saxophonist he has performed with such entertainers as Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, Johnny Mathis, Les Elgart, the Four Tops, and the Temptations.

Dr. Gowan is presently serving as Executive Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies in the USC School of Music.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina was recently named the #1 tourist destination in the country by Travel & Leisure Magazine, and named by Conde Nast Traveler as the #1 city in the world.

Full of traditional Southern charm and hospitality, Charleston is known for its outstanding architecture with numerous antebellum houses and other notable colonial structures. The Charleston Historic District contains almost 1,500 significant buildings, many of which are listed as landmarks on the National Register.

Founded in 1670, Charleston is home to countless charming streets full of history, guided tours, and a host of tourist attractions. Nearby islands and beaches and a tropical climate make Charleston a particularly compelling city.

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