South Carolina State University's former director of bands has been hired to lead Allen University's new "Band of Gold" marching band in fall semester 2018. Expected to field 100 members, it will be the first marching band program at Allen in more than a half century.
Eminent bandmaster Eddie Ellis will join a host of talented musicians and professors engaged in public performances and leading student groups.
"I am delighted to become a part of the Allen University family and work with President Ernest McNealey in creating an exceptional marching band program that will help to grow Allen and instill spirit throughout Allen and beyond," Ellis said.
At South Carolina State, Ellis conducted the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and the Marching 101 Band. Under his leadership, the Marching 101's honors included three appearances in the Honda Battle of the Bands competition.
As band director at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia for more than a decade, Ellis conducted the Symphonic Band and the Marching Wolverines, leading the band to a featured role in the 2002 film "Drumline," which brought show-style marching bands to the big screen for the first time. The band also performed in numerous music videos, and in 2001, Ellis' symphonic unit was the first African-American band to be featured at the Georgia Music Educators Association.
Ellis holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Morris Brown College and a Master of Music in education from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has also studied at Florida State University, the Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin.
The Band of Gold will add to Allen University's existing roster of student performers comprised of a chamber ensemble, a concert choir, a jazz band and a gospel choir.
* This story has been changed from it's original version. Ellis was S.C. State's director of bands for 11 years, with his time there ending in 2015.