Symphonic Band Director Dr. Moore changes positions after 32 years

The band surprised Dr. Moore with a cake and an arrangement of Percy Grainger compositions. This surprise tune included former band members who came to the stage. Photo by Brad Crofford

Brad  Crofford, Editor-In-Chief

Dr. Phil Moore will be stepping down as director of the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. Dr. Rich Cantwell will direct the Symphonic Band, and Prof. Chris White will take over the Jazz Band.

Moore has directed the Symphonic Band for 32 years. He conducted them in the final concert of the year on Thursday, April 25.

“This concert [featured]  a couple of our outstanding players (solos with band for Cameron Taylor, saxophone, and Dillan Francis, clarinet), and also a medley from Phantom of the Opera,” Moore wrote in response to an email from The Echo. “We typically end the year with lighter repertoire.  There was not any difference in selecting this program from all the preceding 32 years.”

Moore will continue to be active in the music department. He will teach all the Music History courses, in addition to the courses he currently teaches, such as conducting, music methods and church music.

Cameron Taylor, senior music education major, has played under Moore’s direction since coming as a freshman four years ago.

“Dr. Cantwell and Dr. Moore have very different styles,” Taylor said. “Over the years with Dr. Moore it’s been more a thing of feeling you’re always welcome, and what you have to offer matters to him. Whether you’re the best player or not, he enjoys having you and will always work with you to help you get better.”

Sophomore music education/trombone performance major Andrew Sharp agrees that Cantwell and Moore have differing styles.

“I think it is going to be an interesting change in leadership to say the least,” Sharp said. “Dr. Moore and Dr. Cantwell have two completely different personalities and teaching styles. Regardless, next year is going to be a crucial year in both the Symphonic Band and the whole department.”

The word to describe Cantwell that many of the students interviewed for this story used was “energetic.”

Erin McGarry, senior science education major, said she is excited to see some of the changes that Cantwell has planned for the band.

“He has already promised the band that he will have us travel more, and that could be a good recruiting tool for the music program,” McGarry said.

Current band members say they will miss Moore.

“I am sad to see Dr. Moore go because hes done so much for me personally and the band program as a whole,” Erin Hicks, senior instrumental music education major, said.  “But I know that he feels this change is for the best and I’m really glad that students will still get to learn from this sweet man in the classroom!”

Moore spoke highly of Cantwell and what he will bring to the Symphonic Band.

“I believe Dr. Cantwell will bring fresh ideas and tons of energy,” Moore said. “I have complete confidence in his experience and ability to take the band on from here.  I just thought it was time for me to make this change.  I look forward to hearing both the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band next year and the years to come.”

What do you think?