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University of Kentucky Announces First Woman Director of Wildcat Marching Band

Frank Hammel • News • May 7, 2021

LEXINGTON, KY – The University of Kentucky announced May 7 that Shayna Stahl had been named director of Athletic Bands and assistant director of Bands in the School of Music. Stahl will become the first woman to serve as the director of the Wildcat Marching Band. Stahl will also serve as director of the UK Pep Bands and as the conductor of the UK Concert Band.

More details from the University of Kentucky (www.uky.edu):

“I am very pleased that Dr. Stahl will be joining us at the UK School of Music this summer,” said Stan Pelkey, director of the UK School of Music. “Dr. Stahl is an experienced director of athletic bands who has worked with Division I athletic bands for the past 15 years. She will be ready from her first day on campus to guide the Wildcat Marching Band toward a successful fall season.

“Dr. Stahl also impressed me, members of the search committee, and our students with her ability to connect quickly and authentically with students as a teacher and conductor. Because of that, I anticipate that she will also make significant contributions to our instrumental music education program. Dr. Stahl is a scholar of women composers and their works for chamber wind ensembles, regularly performs music composed by musicians from underrepresented communities, and possesses a record of intentionally nurturing the social, emotional and mental well-being of her marching band students. Those commitments and experiences will reinforce current efforts in the UK School of Music to foster a more diverse, inclusive and equitable musical community.”

Stahl previously served as associate director of Bands and director of Athletic Bands at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She was also the conductor of the Symphonic Band and taught courses in conducting and marching band techniques. Prior to UNC Charlotte, Stahl served for three years as the director of Athletic Bands at Stony Brook University and seven years as the coordinator of Athletic Bands. While serving as the coordinator of Athletic Bands, she also taught for seven years as a music educator in the Middle Country Central School District where she taught wind ensemble, concert band and jazz band.

“It is a tremendous honor to be invited to join the faculty as the assistant director of Bands/director of Athletic Bands,” Stahl said. “This position has always been a dream of mine since I started my journey working with college athletic bands. I had always been impressed that you could see and hear the energy that the students brought to each marching and pep band performance. I said to myself, I would love the chance to work with this group, be a part of the traditions and history while creating new traditions together. I am excited about this opportunity and truly look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky.

Stahl holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Temple University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree in music education/wind band conducting from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and a doctoral degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, she served as the graduate assistant director of the Husky Marching Band, conductor of the Concert Band and assistant conductor of the Wind Ensemble. In addition to conducting, she also served as a teaching assistant for the marching band techniques and introductory music methods courses.

While at the University of Washington, Stahl was awarded first prize in the American Prize in Conducting – Band/Wind Ensemble (Community Division) in 2017 and 2018. Stahl is a member of the National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors National Association, Women Band Directors International, Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Iota and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi.

The University of Kentucky Bands are an integral part of the School of Music, offering three concert bands, the Wildcat Marching Band and Basketball Pep Band. The Wildcat Marching Band enjoys a reputation as one of the finest collegiate marching bands in the country. The Wildcat Marching Band provides a pep band for every away game in the Southeastern Conference and travels with the full band to one away game each year. In addition, the Wildcat Marching Band has participated in numerous post-season bowl games, BOA Regional Championships, a Presidential Inauguration, a World Series, and the 2008 Ryder Cup.

The School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.” We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.

 

 

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