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Meet David Leach

David A. Leach has been Director of Bands at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School since 2002. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education at Eastern Michigan University. He began his teaching career at Ypsilanti High School?in 1988 and spent fourteen years there before coming?to Ann Arbor. He was appointed Chair of the Pioneer High School Performing Arts Department in 2006, and Fine Arts Department Chair in 2013.

Leach sustains the long tradition of quality performance and repertoire in the Pioneer Bands. During his 17 years at Pioneer, his Concert and Jazz Bands have received consistent top ratings at district, state, and national festivals. His Symphony, Concert, and Jazz Bands have won overall festival championships at every national event entered. Leach wrote curriculum for and introduced a ninth-grade Jazz Lab, increased student numbers, and enhanced his students’ personal success in music with a high percentage of his graduates going on to study for careers in music education and performance. Under his baton, the Pioneer Symphony Band has performed three times at Carnegie Hall, twice at the Mid-Europe Music Conference in Schladming, Austria and performed on tour in China. In 2014 and 2016 the Pioneer Symphony was selected a New Music National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors project.

Mr. Leach has served on the executive board of MSBOA’s District XII as Secretary, Vice-President of Adjudication, Vice-President of Band & Orchestra, President, and is currently serving as 1st past-President; He has been an active member of MSBOA since 1988. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and The American School Band Director’s Association. He has been included five times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. The University of Michigan chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia honored him in 2000 with the Pendleton Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in music education. He has been nominated four times for Disney’s American Teacher Award, and has received honors from the United States Marine Corps for sending his students to the Marine bands, including two to the Commandant’s Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C. He was the 2006 and 2010 MSBOA District XII Band Teacher of the Year, and in 2014 and 2017 was a GRAMMY Foundation Music Educator of the Year quarter-finalists. In 2016 the Michigan Chapter of the ASBDA presented Pioneer High School Bands the Award of Excellence award for its continued commitment to excellence. Mr. Leach is currently the winds and percussion coach for the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra, and has directed the Festival (faculty) Winds at the Southampton Summer Music Camp since 2013. 

Mr. Leach has won the praise of international composers such as Michael Daugherty, John Mackey, Thomas Duffy, Alfred Reed, Jan Van der Roost and others for his insightful conducting of their compositions. Mr. Leach has attended the Wind Conducting Symposium with John L. Whitwell and studied conducting with the University of Michigan Director of Bands Michael Haithcock, and Maestro Michael Adleson; former conductor with the New York Philharmonic.

 Mr. Leach is a proud member of the Pioneer High School Music Department, which has earned GRAMMY Signature School honors during his tenure there. In 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2015 the department achieved GRAMMY Signature School Gold status as one of the top two public high school music programs in the nation. In 2006 and 2011 the Pioneer Music Department was named the National GRAMMY Signature School as the top public?high school music program in the nation, making it the first program ever honored twice by the GRAMMY Foundation. Currently, Mr. Leach is a member of the GRAMMY Museums Music Educator Award screening panel; tasked with selecting candidates for the GRAMMY Teacher of the Year finalists.

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