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School of Music announces UDMB director

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The University of Delaware School of Music is excited to announce that Brooke Johnson will join its faculty in fall 2024 as director of athletic bands. In this position, Johnson will serve as the director of the University of Delaware Marching Band and partner with Jim Ancona, associate professor of music and assistant director of the UD Marching Band, to continue its longstanding tradition of musical and marching excellence.

Johnson, an alumna of UD, returns to campus after having recently served as director of athletic bands at Miami University-Ohio. She holds advanced degrees in wind conducting and music education from the University of Kansas (DMA) and Appalachian State University (MME).

“The University of Delaware Marching Band represents the best qualities of the university community through its technical precision, artistry, innovation, collaboration and inclusivity, as well as through its broad engagement of students across campus, community members and supporters,” shares School of Music Interim Director Daniel Stevens. “Dr. Johnson leads with poise, artistry, creativity and vision, and I am excited that she will be taking the helm this fall!”

Chrissi Rawak, director of athletics, community, and campus recreation shares her enthusiasm for the appointment: "I am thrilled to welcome Brooke Johnson back to Delaware as the leader of our marching band. We look forward to working together to continue building on the incredible tradition of the marching band and all that it brings to our university."

When asked what excites her about serving as the director of athletic bands at the University of Delaware, Johnson responded, “As I step into the role of the director of athletic bands, I am most excited about giving back to a program that has given me so much by providing students with memorable and rewarding opportunities.”

Participating in marching band and other School of Music ensembles is an invaluable learning experience for students. Johnson notes that “playing in the marching band gives students the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In order for the group to perform successfully, every member has to commit to giving their absolute best in both rehearsal and performance. This dynamic creates an atmosphere of trust, vulnerability and family. I think one of the most impressive parts of the marching band is that it brings students from all over campus together to work toward a common goal.”

Johnson possesses a clear vision and infectious enthusiasm for the future of the marching band, along with an appreciation of UDMB traditions and how important it is to fans of the band and football programs. “I share your passion for the traditions of the UDMB and I hold those close to my heart. I also recognize the need for growth and evolution, so I hope to find a balance between respecting traditions of the past and looking ahead toward innovation and creativity.”

Heidi Sarver, who is stepping down after almost three decades leading UDMB, is thrilled to welcome Johnson back to UD. “When one has spent 29 years of their career developing a program such as the UDMB, it goes without saying how deeply personal every aspect of it becomes. When I learned that it was going to be Brooke — when she texted me and stated ‘We are signed, sealed, delivered!’ I let the tears fall because I knew the program was in excellent hands. The traditions of the band and the University of Delaware are part of the fabric of her soul.”

Johnson is a product of the UDMB, and before she joined the band herself, she watched halftime performances while growing up in Newark. “UDMB is a family,” she says. “And I'm just so grateful to be coming home.”

For more information about the University of Delaware Marching Band, including information for students who wish to join the band in fall 2024, please visit the University of Delaware Marching Band website. If you would like to support the University of Delaware Marching Band with a financial gift or pledge, visit the University of Delaware Marching Band gift page​.​​​​

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