Former Baylor Director to Lead Revamped Stanford Band

Russell Gavin


by Kate Chesley



Russell Gavin, associate professor of music education/band at Baylor University, has been named director of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, the university and the Department of Athletics announced today.

He begins at Stanford May 8 as the Dr. Arthur P. Barnes Director of Band.

As director, Gavin will offer musical leadership and instruction to the Band members and support the group during rehearsals and performances. Gavin, whose position will be housed in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, will also serve as a lecturer in the Graduate School of Education.

“I want to thank the Band’s student and alumni leadership teams for their collaboration throughout this process,” said Bernard Muir, director of Stanford athletics. “We are thrilled to welcome Russ into the Stanford community.”

Gavin was selected by a search committee that included student leaders from the Stanford Band, members of the Band’s alumni board and staff from Student Affairs and Stanford Athletics.


Band gusto

Gavin’s appointment is viewed by Band members with anticipation, according to Band manager Cassidy Forler, a junior majoring in biomechanical engineering.

“We are all very excited to be hiring Russ as our new band director,” said Forler. “He has just the right amount of gusto for the position and his enthusiasm for music and music education has me eager to see him working more closely with our members, advanced and beginner players alike.”

She added, “We know that the students and new director will have a lot to learn from and about each other, but I think we are starting off on a very good foot.”

Gavin said that he, too, is eager to work with the Stanford Band.

“I am excited to join the Stanford Band in embracing the uniqueness that is the Stanford community,” said Gavin. “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.”

He added, “The collaborative spirit I witnessed between Band students, alumni, athletics and student affairs was inspirational. It is clear the Band is a very special organization, supported by very special people, at a very special place.”


Progress made

Gavin’s appointment is among several changes for the renowned scatter band, which eschews marching and specializes in irreverent humor. In January, former Provost John Etchemendy lifted a suspension on the Band that was imposed after an investigation revealed violations of university policy, including hazing, sexual harassment and alcohol abuse.

In his letter lifting the suspension, Etchemendy noted that the Band has redesigned its management system and taken steps to reset the Band culture, working, for instance, with the university’s Title IX Office, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education and a Band Oversight Committee.

“I’m pleased with how hard the Band student leaders and membership have worked over the past several months, and I know Russ Gavin will be an immense help as they continue to improve their musicality and organizational culture,” said Etchemendy. “I’m confident that the Band can be up and running before long, providing the campus with its incomparable entertainment.”

At Baylor, Gavin’s duties have included teaching undergraduate and graduate music education courses, supervising student teachers and assisting with the university bands. The Baylor University Band program includes five performing ensembles, including the 300-member Golden Wave Marching Band.

Gavin has also held performance- and teaching-related positions with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps in LaCrosse, Wisconsin; the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra; Florida State University; Eufaula High School in Alabama; the University of Notre Dame; South Girard Middle School in Alabama; Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lakes, Michigan; and Auburn University Summer Honor Band Camp.

Gavin holds a PhD in music education from Florida State University, a Master of Music in euphonium performance from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University.

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