SC State’s Director of Bands Receives Distinguished Achievement in Music Award

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eddie EllisEddie Ellis, director of Bands at SC State University, was recently awarded the Dr. G. Johnson Hubert and Cleophus Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Music. This award is given to persons who have demonstrated creativity and artistic excellence in music. The following areas were considered: music educators, choral and band directors whose inspirational teaching has made a positive impact on the lives of their students, musicians or vocalists who have achieved exceptional distinction in their field over his/her lifetime, or successful producers and other music business leaders who have enhanced the appreciation of music. Ellis is ecstatic about receiving this prestigious award. “While attending Morris Brown College, under the direction of Dr. Cleophus Johnson, the instruction received from him helped develop my philosophical views on music and music education. This is an absolute honor and I owe it to him,” said Ellis.

Ellis is a 1975 graduate of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Ga. with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public school of music and a minor in education. In 1986, he obtained a Master of Music Education degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga. Prior to working at Morris Brown College in 1996, Ellis conducted bands at Randolph County Comprehensive High School in Cuthbert, Ga. and Ronald E. McNair Senior High School in Atlanta, Ga. As the director of Bands at Ronald E. McNair High School, he taught percussion, jazz band, beginning, intermediate and advanced bands, as well as marching band. As a result of his teaching, students achieved advanced musical proficiency which was demonstrated by their participation in solo and ensemble festivals and knowledge of repertoire, which proved indispensible. The skills they acquired were also evident during festival competitions where the students were consistently awarded superior ratings in concert and jazz band.

After working as the director of Bands at Ronald E. Mc Nair High School, Ellis assumed the position of director of Bands at Morris Brown College upon the retirement of professor Cleophus Johnson. His duties at the College included teaching music humanities, conducting, methods and materials for teaching high school band, drill design and supervising instrumental student teachers. He also conducted the Symphonic Band and the famed Marching Wolverine Band. He introduced the music honors program, consistent with the requirements of the National Association for Music Education. While working with the Marching Wolverine Band, Ellis initiated change. A major accomplishment for him was during the 1999-2002 school years when approximately 40 percent of band students made the Dean’s List. In 2000, the Morris Brown College Symphonic Band was the first African-American College band to perform for the Georgia Music Educators Association.

Ellis is currently the director of Bands at SC State University where he is responsible for all band programs and activities. He has conducted the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and the Marching 101 Band. The Marching 101 Band has performed for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Band Directors Consortium. The students have also attended the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic and the Conn-Selmer Summer Institute for music majors. In addition, the Marching 101 Band has performed for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons and numerous community parades and civic functions. Most recently, the Marching 101 band was selected to participate in the 2011 Honda Battle of the Bands. The honor now makes Ellis the first director to have taken two different university bands to this prestigious event. Ellis holds membership in the Georgia Music Educators Association, the College Band of Directors National Association and The South Carolina Music Educators Association. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.