Directors Icons Panel - Reflections on the Past; Thoughts About the Future
- Alfred Watkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 12/14/2016 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
- Alfred L. Watkins was Director of Bands at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia for 31 years. For six years prior to joining Lassiter, Watkins served as Director of Bands at Murphy High School in the Atlanta Public Schools. Bands and ensembles under Watkins’ direction have performed six times at the Midwest Band Clinic, eight performances at the Bands Of America National Concert Band Festival, seven performances at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and three times at the NBA/CBDNA Southern Division Conference. The symphonic band has performed on the college campuses of the University of Georgia (5), Florida State University, the University of South Carolina and Troy State University. The Lassiter Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Trumpet Ensemble, Trombone Choir, Percussion Ensemble and Marching Trojan Band have all performed on the national stage. The Lassiter Percussion Ensemble has performed twice at the Midwest Clinic, three times at the National Percussion Festival, four times at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).
The Lassiter Marching Band was the 1998 and 2002 Bands of America Grand National Champion and the band also won nine BOA Regional Championships, winning music in 14 of their 18 BOA marching events. Under Watkins’ leadership, the band also participated in four Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parades, three times in NY’s Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, twice in the Orange Bowl Parade and once in the Florida Citrus Bowl Parade. During Mr. Watkins’ Lassiter tenure, all four (or five) Lassiter concert bands received consecutive Superior Ratings from 1993 until his retirement in 2013, with the top two bands performing in Grade VI for seventeen consecutive years. The band program is one of only sixteen high bands in America to have received both the Sudler Flag of Honor for concert and the Sudler Shield for marching. The Lassiter Winter Color Guard was named 1996 and 1997 Winter Guard International World Champions in Scholastic “A” and Scholastic “Open.”
Mr. Watkins is a member of the Florida A & M University Gallery of Distinguished Alumni, the American Bandmasters Association, the Georgia Chapter of the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame and the Bands of America Hall of Fame. He has received seventeen Certificates of Excellence from the National Band Association, the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the Band World Magazine Legion of Honor. In 2002, he was honored in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record for outstanding achievement. Mr. Watkins is Co-Founder, Conductor and Musical Director of the Cobb Wind Symphony, an all-adult community band based in the Atlanta area, which in 2009, earned the Sudler Silver Scroll Award presented to outstanding community bands in America and has performed twice at the Midwest Clinic. In 1996, Mr. Watkins was Associate Director for the Atlanta Olympic Marching Band that performed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 2008, Mr. Watkins was nominated to receive the prestigious Turknett Leadership Character Award from the Turknett Leadership Group, a Metro Atlanta Leadership Consultant firm. He was the first public school educator to have been nominated for this award. In 2009 and 2010, two doctoral dissertations were written (Sue Samuels, Auburn University and Matt Thomas, FSU) centered around his life and work surrounding the Lassiter Band Program. In 2013, he was awarded the Distinguished Career Award from GMEA. In 2013, Mr. Watkins was selected by a panel almost a thousand band directors in an online poll as “One of the Admired Band Directors in America.” In 2013, he was a recipient of the Image Award by the 100 Black Men Organization of North Atlanta and the Flourish Award sponsored by Kennesaw State University. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Minority Band Directors National Association, an organization formed in the summer of 2011, whose purpose is to serve, promote, celebrate and mentor minority band directors throughout America. The $1.5 million Alfred L. Watkins Band Building at Lassiter High School bears his name. In 2014, and as a retirement gift for 37 years of teaching, Watkins’ former students and friends commissioned composers Mark Camphouse and James Curnow to write works honoring Mr. Watkins and his career: “Second Essay for Symphonic Band” and “Lexus for Solo Trumpet, Winds and Percussion.” In 2014, Watkins received the Edwin Franko Goldman Award from the American School Band Directors Association for outstanding contribution to the advancement of school bands. He and his wife for 32 years, Rita, live in Marietta. They have two adult sons, Chris, a trumpeter in The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” and Jonathan, a businessman living in San Diego.