Frost School of Music Hires New Director of Athletic Bands

Mike Lawson • News • September 3, 2014

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Jay Rees returns home to direct the athletic bands for his alma mater


The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has appointed Jay C. Rees as the new director of Athletic Bands. Rees previously served as director of Athletic Bands at The University of Arizona in Tucson. Jay Rees will lead the Frost Band of the Hour, the marching and pep bands of the University of Miami, at UM sporting events such as nationally televised Miami Hurricanes football and basketball games – as well as expand the band’s reach and reputation throughout the region.

Rees takes over a band program with an 86-year history that includes performing at national bowl games and international competitions and events. He is charged by the Frost School’s Dean Shelton G. Berg to achieve prominence in three distinctive areas:

to invigorate the athletic band program so it provides modern, outstanding time-of-life experiences for its student members including brass and wind musicians, percussionists, dancers, and more; to build the Frost Band of the Hour to become a top source of pride for the entire university community and a prominent leader in the marching band world; and to establish a fresh and distinctive musical performance and field style that reflects the musical and cultural diversity of the City of Miami while projecting it to the world.

Rees credits the University of Miami’s reputation for athletic excellence as well as the Frost School of Music’s innovative music curriculum for his decision to join UM, beginning July 1.

“Every person wants to be excellent at what they do, but not all are successful. The key is who’s willing to do the work, to make the sacrifices, to become truly great at something,” said Rees. “I look forward to ‘pushing the envelope’ with the outstanding students of the University of Miami and the Frost School of Music. What I bring to The Band of the Hour will not only shape and define the student experience at UM, but also prepare them for life beyond their college years.”

In addition to his 21-year tenure at The University of Arizona serving as director of Athletic Bands and professor of Music, Rees is an accomplished musician in jazz performance, having appeared throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan. He toured with the international recording act The Lettermen as bassist and musical director and still actively performs.

An alumnus of the University of Miami Frost School of Music (BM ‘84), Rees has a large catalog of published original music written for jazz, wind ensemble, concert bands, and athletic bands that is commissioned and performed by major universities and high schools nationwide. Rees teaches undergraduate music education, jazz studies, and leadership courses. He also travels as a clinician, guest speaker, adjudicator, and conductor for band programs across the country.

Rees is listed in Who’s Who In America for the 21st Century as well as Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. He is a member of ASCAP, The Recording Academy, and CBDNA. A native of Detroit, Rees lived in Miami and Los Angeles before making his home in Tucson with his wife Wendy Rees, and their two sons.



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