Veteran music educator John Eckstine has been named director of the Monmouth College athletic bands.
Eckstine brings more than three decades of experience and awards to the position, most recently serving as athletic director/dean of students at Pendleton County Middle/High School in Franklin, W. Va.
Eckstine’s career includes serving as director of bands and instrumental music specialist with the nationally recognized Spring-Ford Area High School Band in Montgomery County, Pa., where the band was five-time Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Group IV Champions and three-time Cavalcade of Bands Yankee Open Class Champions.
After an award-winning career on the high school level, Eckstine said he wanted to direct a band program on the collegiate level.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of success with high school bands, and I am excited about getting started at Monmouth and bringing a high level of excellence to the Monmouth athletic bands,” he said in a Friday release. “I love conducting bands and working with students to create something special for a school, and Monmouth has all of the tools it needs to make that a reality.”
Monmouth Associate Vice President for Student Life and Co-Dean of Students Michelle Merritt said the college community is excited that Eckstine will lead its athletic bands.
“John brings an impressive resume and a record of success to Monmouth,” Merritt said in the release. “We look forward to seeing him lead our athletics bands and help our students grow.”
Eckstine said the current members of the Fighting Scots Marching Band, which numbered about three dozen at this year’s Monmouth home football games, are a committed and talented group of students.
“I have been very impressed with the members of the Fighting Scots Marching Band when I met with them,” he said. “They form the core of what can evolve into a much larger presence on campus.”
Eckstine has led marching bands in the Hollywood Christmas Parade in California, the Miracle Mile Holiday Parade in Chicago and the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Spring-Ford’s wind ensemble performed at the 2009 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association annual in-service convention. His jazz ensemble was a two-time Tournament Indoor Association Atlantic Coast Open Class Champion.
Eckstine, who started playing trombone in the 4th grade, was a member of marching bands in high school and in college, where he said he loved being part of marching band culture.
“In college, I almost ran from the fine arts building to the practice field, because I couldn’t wait to get to practice,” he said. “The culture, the people, the friendships you make with people and, of course, the activity all really stuck with me.”
Eckstine holds a master’s degree from Messiah (Pennsylvania) University in instrumental wind conducting and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Frostburg State (Maryland) University. He has served as a brass instructor with the Drum Corps International Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, and the Drum Corps Association Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps. In addition, he’s been associated with the Stevenson (Maryland) University marching band.