Director Of Bands Makes "50 Most Influential" List

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 11:30am

The latest list of the “50 Most Influential Band Directors” is out, and Limestone College’s Assistant Director of Bands Ryan Williams made the cut.

The 18th annual directory was recently published by School Band & Orchestra (SBO), a magazine dedicated to providing practical and informative content for school music teachers. School Band & Orchestra debuted in 1998 and published monthly for the nation's elementary, middle, and high school band and orchestra directors. The magazine provides insight into the latest trends and best practices regarding music education technology, pedagogy, advocacy, repertoire, program management, travel, and more.

Williams was nominated during his time at Middletown High School in Middletown, Delaware.

“The students there nominated me, and I received a phone call last November informing me of my selection,” Williams explained. “I was just floored to be nominated and even more blown away to be selected. It’s such an honor. This is never the type of thing that I go after. I love doing what I do but I am not in it for the recognition. All I ever want is to see music students improve day after day.”

Williams, who earned his master’s in Music Theory and Composition from West Chester University, served as Middletown’s Music Director from 2011 through 2014. He continues to serve as the school’s music arranger and consultant. Williams accepted his position at Limestone in the fall of 2015.

“There are so many moments where, as an educator, I’ve seen my students succeed in performance – be it at football games, in competition, or other events where they’re in the public eye,” Williams is quoted in the magazine. “Where I find my greatest source of pride is seeing my students in rehearsal, succeeding and growing. The most important lesson I want every student to walk away with is responsibility, and that’s something that is a huge topic of conversation among educators all across the country.”

Those ideals have carried over to his time at Limestone, where he directs the athletics marching band, known as The Marching Saints.

“How I do things has not changed since coming to Limestone,” he explained. “I am all about giving students responsibility so that they feel ownership in the process. That is the way we recruit students to our program. We don’t go in with a big sales pitch. We simply create an environment that students want to be a part of. With the awesome support we have from our administration, we’re going to build this into something great.”

Williams was recently selected to teach The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, a world-class competitive junior drum and bugle corps based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Williams will be on the brass staff for The Cadets, which won the Best Brass Line award last year.

“This will be teaching at the very upper echelon of the marching arts,” said Williams, who earned a bachelor’s in Music from West Chester and a bachelor’s in Music Education from York College. “Imagine a small college football coach being asked to join the coaching staff of the Carolina Panthers or some other National Football League team. That’s how significant this is, and I am thrilled to be part of it.”

Williams will help direct rehearsals this spring for the 150-member group comprised of students from all over the world. The Cadets will then perform across the United States for two months this summer.

“My work with The Cadets should help Limestone get students from some of the best high school music programs in the nation,” Williams noted. “We certainly want the top-level students to take a look at what Limestone College has to offer.”