SC State’s Director of Bands Receives Palmetto Patriot Award

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eddie EllisEddie Ellis, director of Bands at SC State University, was recently awarded the Palmetto Patriot Award. The Palmetto Patriot Program was established by Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer. The Palmetto Patriot Award is given for one's commitment to public service within their state and community. The award is the highest civilian honor that the lieutenant governor can bestow.

An enthusiastic Ellis was very appreciative of receiving the award. “When I first received the news, I experienced so many feelings. I was surprised, thankful and deeply humbled. I also felt a sense of honor to be recognized from the state of South Carolina for my commitment to the community of Orangeburg and SC State University,” 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. He has also studied at Florida State University, the Cincinnati Conservatory and The University of Texas at Austin.

Ellis has been in education for 36 years. His first teaching position was at Randolph County Comprehensive High School in Cuthbert, Ga. from 1975 until 1977. In 1980, he assumed the position of director of Bands at Walker High School which was later changed to 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 consecutive superior ratings for participation in Jazz band, Concert Band and marching band.  In addition, Ellis and his students received numerous accolades for community involvement in the Atlanta area. This can be evidenced by their many accomplishments, including proclamation of “Ronald E. McNair Band Day” by Mayor William “Bill” Campbell; Ellis’ portrait display in the APEZ Museum in Atlanta, Ga.; Ellis named one of the   “13 Outstanding African American Educators,” recognized by The Bell South Corporation in 1993; his appointment as a “Star Teacher” at McNair High School in 1989 and 1991; and his recognition as “Co-Teacher of the Year” at McNair High School and Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 1995.  

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 death of professor Cleophus Johnson. Ellis’ 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. While working with the Marching Wolverine Band, Ellis initiated change.  Major accomplishments included his students being featured in the movie, “Drumline,” and the Morris Brown College Symphonic Band named the first African-American College band to perform for the Georgia Music Educators Association. Forty percent of the students in the bands also made the Dean’s List from 1999 to 2002.

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, the Wind Ensemble and the Marching 101 Band. He has also received the Key to the City of Anderson, S.C. 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 in numerous community parades and civic functions.

In January, Ellis led the Marching 101 Band to the Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB), an annual marching band exhibition which features performances by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., SC State won first place during the “Best Band Section Winner” contest, which consisted of texting a message for your favorite band. The Marching 101 Band was the number one twitter trending topic of the evening.

In addition to his current duties at SC State, Ellis holds memberships in the Georgia Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association and The South Carolina Music Educators Association.  He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.