WVU chooses new associate director of bands; will direct ‘Pride of West Virginia’


Williams will become the 13th director of the Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band, effective Aug.1. He will follow Stephen Lytle, who resigned from the position on May 1.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With more than a decade of experience as a secondary music educator, Cheldon Williams has been named the associate director of bands at West Virginia University. 

Williams will become the 13th director of the Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band, effective Aug. 1. He will follow Stephen Lytle, who resigned from the position May 1, according to a press release.

Williams comes to WVU from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a graduate teaching assistant for the Longhorn Band, the release states. Prior to his enrollment at The University of Texas at Austin, Williams served as an interim associate director of bands at New Mexico State University, director of bands and orchestras at J.P. Taravella High School and associate director of bands at Cypress Bay High School. 

“We are very excited to welcome Cheldon Williams to the School of Music,” said Director Michael Ibrahim. “I look forward to his energetic leadership and his breadth of experience being shared with our students.” 

In addition to directing the Pride, Williams will conduct the Symphonic Band and other athletic pep bands and teach courses in the School of Music. He will also assist Director of Bands Scott Tobias in the administration of the WVU Bands program, according to WVU.

“We look forward to having Dr. Williams join the WVU Bands faculty,” Tobias said. “He brings with him extensive experience working with both concert bands and marching bands.  

“Ensembles under his direction have demonstrated a high level of performance as evidenced by invitations to appear at significant events throughout the United States and Europe.  This breadth of experience in the areas of both athletic bands and concert bands will greatly benefit our program.” 

WVU said Williams graduated this year from The University of Texas with a doctor of musical arts degree in wind conducting. He is a two-time graduate of Florida State University, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education in 2004 and 2014, respectively.  With instrumental conducting as a focus, Williams has been trained by and has performed under the batons of musicians such as Jerry Junkin, André Thomas and James Croft, among many others. 

Williams conducted American students in China and served as a guest clinician to Chinese students at the Sichuan Conservatory during his time as the founding Program Director for the Jinsha Summer Music Festival 2009–2012. He is a nationally active educator and guest clinician in many areas pertaining to music education and conducting, according to the release.

“The history and tradition of excellence drew me to West Virginia University,” Williams said. “This new appointment will afford me the opportunity to contribute to the rich history of The Pride of West Virginia and join one of the country’s top music schools.”

According to Williams, he will focus on entertainment, quality and innovation as the three pillars of his vision for the Pride’s future.

“I intend for the West Virginia University Marching Band to serve as ambassadors for the heart and spirit of the university,” Williams said. “We will, of course, keep a very watchful eye on the past while forging ahead into an exciting future.

“I hope to infuse my love of people and music into a system that is already fully functional. Membership, audience and community will all participate by bringing their experiences to the table. This type of engagement will hopefully help everyone see themselves reflected in The Pride of West Virginia.”

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