William Grant Still, Sr (Bandmaster – not pictured)
The father of the renowned American composer William Grant Still, Jr.
(William Grant Still Jr. Pictured to the right)
William C. Handy, widely known as the “Father of the Blues”
William Christopher Handy was an American blues composer and musician. Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters
The first black to be appointed as Chief Musician Band Master in the United Stated Army
Barney Smart, Sr.
Before Hampton, Smart’s collegiate experiences included being Director of Bands at Alabama A&M University. While at Alabama A&M, he was selected twice as the College Band Director of the Year by the Birmingham Grid Forecasters.
Arthur B. Wesley, II
Arthur Bernell Wesley, II attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida where he performed with the “Marching 100” under the direction of Dr. William Foster, and studied percussion with Dr. Samuel Floyd, Director of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois. Later, Wesley attended Mississippi Valley State University as a music major and performed as a percussionist with the Marching Band, Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Russell Boone.
He has performed on drum set with many Rhythm & Blues stars such as Al Green, Denise LaSalle, Bill Coday, Major Lance, Jean Knight, Betty Wright, Little Milton Campbell, “Nate” Allen & Dr. Vickie Allen, “Mac” Brown & the Soul Crusaders, the Ikettes, and the Kelly Brothers. Wesley has performed with many jazz and gospel groups such as the Afro Jazz Quartet, the A’la Turks Quartet, the University of Alabama in Huntsville Lab Big Band, Dr. Horace Carney & Omni, the Delta Gospel Choir, the Alpha Ensemble, the Greater Huntsville Inter-Denominational Choir, the Huntsville Community Chorus and many others.
Since 1974, Wesley has been a member of the faculty at Alabama A&M University in the area of Band and instrumental music
Under Wesley’s direction , the Alabama A&M University “Marching Maroon & White” Band has revived an astounding sense of pride at the institution through the student body, faculty, alumni and general public. This renewed sense of excellent musical showmanship prompted the Birmingham Grid Forecasters to select Arthur B. Wesley as the “TOP COLLEGE BAND DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR” for the years 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 1998, and 1999. Wesley was selected for inclusion in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers”, 1998. He has also been nominated to “Who’s Who In America, 2002.”
Interim Director of Bands Derrick K. Yates
Derrick K. Yates was the Assistant Director of Bands since 2000. He was the former Assistant Coordinator of Band Logistics since 1995. Bandmaster Yates assisted the University Marching Band and directed the University’s Concert, Brass Ensemble, and Pep Bands.
Prior to his appointment at Alabama A&M University, Mr. Yates was Band Director at Oakwood Academy in 1995. In 1997, he became the Band Director of Chapman Middle School. During his tenure, these band programs received superior ratings on the district, state, and national levels. These programs produced some of the finest musicians in the country. Mr. Yates is a graduate of Alabama A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He later received his Master’s degree in Music Education from Alabama A&M University.
Yates was inducted into the 2003 (57th edition) and the 2004 (58th edition) of Who’s Who in America. He was also inducted into the 1998 (31st edition) of Outstanding Young Americans, just to name a few. In the Fall of 2001, he worked with the Director of Marketing and Community Relations and his staff to become the premier Pep Band for the Huntsville Flight Semi Pro Basketball League (NBDL).
Mr. Yates is a member of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National conference, College Band Directors National Association, the International Trumpet Guild, Phi Mu Alpha Professional Music Fraternity, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He also served on the Executive Board for HBCU National Band Director Consortium.
Mr. Yates is currently the Band Director at Stillman College.