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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Meet Morgan State University’s New Director of Bands

Dr. Jorim E. Reid Sr. was named Morgan State University’s (MSU) Director of Bands. He will also serve as assistant professor and the coordinator of instrumental music, according to a press release. Reid’s role entails working as the principal conductor who will oversee MSU’s Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo and “Magnificent Marching Machine.”

“Dr. Reid comes to the National Treasure after a nationwide search and an exacting selection process to name the successor to longtime MSU Director of Bands Melvin N. Miles Jr., who recently retired after 49 years of dedicated service to Morgan,” according to the announcement.  “An accomplished and highly regarded composer and musician, Dr. Reid has an extensive background, leadership expertise and a creative approach to instruction, education, recruitment and marching band ensemble conducting that left a profound impression on the five-person search committee and ultimately proved to be key factors in his selection.”

Dr. Jorim E. Reid Sr. is Morgan State University’s Director of Bands.
Photos courtesy of Morgan State University

Reid told The Baltimore Times that his musical journey officially began at MSU on July 25, 2022. Before joining the MSU community, Reid led the Marching Bronco ’Xpress as director of bands at Fayetteville State University.  While working as professor of music, he taught wind symphony, “symphonic band, elementary and advanced instrumental conducting, music literature and arranging,” according to a press release.

Reid’s path to teach music at the collegiate level dates to his college years. The piano major did not initially aspire to become a band director. While attending Florida A&M University to complete his undergraduate studies, then continue his higher education pursuit at Florida State University during graduate school, Reid studied to become a film composer. Even before he began writing music for the band in undergraduate school, Reid composed music in high school and as a church musician. He initially believed that his work would entail playing at churches and writing music for commercials. While Reid was attending graduate school, a few professors observed performances from one of his compositions. The professors knew an individual who was seeking an arranger, composer, and assistant director at one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Their observation of Reid changed his career path.

 “I interviewed and was offered the job there at North Carolina Central University where I was for 15 years,” Reid said.

 Reid has worked on small films. He also has written, recorded, and mixed music for local commercials. Additionally, writing music for other universities, professional organizations, and productions outside of classical music have been other facets of experience he gained.

Despite Reid’s eclectic musical background, his musical specialty is conducting and arranging music. While continuing Melvin Miles’ legacy at MSU, Reid strives to lobby for Miles to be recognized as Director of Bands Emeritus. This would enable Miles to receive the highest recognition.

Reid wants to keep relationships intact that Miles had and create some new ones, As MSU’s new Director of Bands settles into his new position, Reid is diving into the musical work at hand. One thing on Reid’s to-do list is preparing band students for preseason drills.  And while Reid works hands on with students, he mentioned that alumni and the community can support the band by donating for scholarships and operating costs, showing up at MSU games dressed in signature blue and orange university colors, and sharing any positive university news, including MSU president David Wilson’s tweets on Twitter.

Morgan State University’s Marching Band performs at the
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2019.

Reid pointed out that bands are important at HBCUs beyond their roles playing music at football games and parades.

 “Most of the time, over 95% of the band, they’re not music majors. The band program at any university, not just an HBCU, will represent pretty much every single major on campus,” Reid said.

He added that if students have a great experience in band while traveling to away games, across the country, or overseas to perform, these students will remember the undertaking for the rest of their lives. Giving back to the institution when they become professionals may be the result. Today’s band members are future lawyers, doctors, teachers, researchers or even the next producer, Reid reminded. While MSU’s band plays a role in entertaining the crowd in social environments, membership entails becoming a more well-rounded person. Achieving milestones as a group can be memorable and impactful.

“Band is big, but the outcome is bigger if the student experience is right, and the payback is immeasurable,” Reid also said.

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