Congratulations to Brother Colin McKenzie on being named as the next Director of the School of Music at The University of Southern Mississippi!

Currently, Brother McKenzie serves as Associate Director of Bands, Associate Professor of Music, and Director of the Pride of Mississippi at the University of Southern Mississippi.  At The University of Southern Mississippi, he conducts the Symphonic Winds, administers all facets of the comprehensive athletic band program, teaches course work in conducting, and assists in student-teacher preparation and observation.

Dr. McKenzie (Zeta Gamma Chapter – 2002) will assume the role on July 1, 2021, from Dr. Jay Dean (Eta Phi Chapter – 1999) who will be retiring from full-time employment after 33 years of service at the University’s School of Music.

“I am simultaneously thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and world-class faculty of the School of Music as director,” says Brother McKenzie.  “There is no better place to study music in the country than within the walls of The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music. World-class faculty, dedicated staff, and an environment which is ripe with opportunity for students at all levels are hallmarks of what makes our school so great.”

Prior to his appointment at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. McKenzie served as Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at Georgia Southern University.  At Georgia Southern, he directed and administered all facets of the Southern Pride Marching Band and Hoop Troop Athletic Bands.  He also served as conductor of the Georgia Southern University Wind Symphony, founding conductor of the University Band, and taught graduate conducting and marching band techniques within the Department of Music.

Before teaching at Georgia Southern, McKenzie was on the faculty at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he was assistant director and, later, acting director of the Golden Wave Band, conducted the concert band, co-conducted the symphonic band, and taught undergraduate courses in music education and conducting.  In addition to his duties within the University Bands, McKenzie also served as Associate Conductor of the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Dr. McKenzie holds a Bachelor in Music Education from Valdosta State University. In 2002, during his studies at Valdosta, he was initiated by the Zeta Gamma Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha.  He received his Master of Music in Conducting from Baylor University and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Michigan State University.  His primary conducting teachers are Dr. Kevin Sedatole and Dr. Joe Brashier (Rho Tau Chapter – 1987).  His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, the Mississippi Bandmasters Association, honorary membership in Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi,  and he was elected into Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster’s Fraternity.

Dr. Jay Dean became Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Miss in 1988. With his appointment, the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra grew significantly, and with each year, it reached a higher level of artistry. The orchestra includes over 80 musicians from the U.S. and 14 other countries. As the Director of Orchestral Activities, Dr. Dean selected works for each program with the aim that they are educationally and technically purposeful for the musicians and aesthetically pleasing and interesting for audiences. Programs with a wide variety of artists from myriad backgrounds and nationalities were the main goal of Dr. Dean and the SMSO. Children’s concerts, ballet, opera, and pops concerts round out the repertoire of the SMSO.

“The Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the Brahms Symphony No. 4, played with such precision, commitment and energy, followed by a superlative rendition of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1, was absolutely remarkable. Congratulations to you, the orchestra, and the institution for the achievements of the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and of your key work in its formation.”

—Yo-Yo Ma

Brother Dean received his DMA in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to The University of Southern Mississippi, he was Music Director of Dekalb Youth Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta, the Mercer University/Atlanta Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus State University Orchestra, the Atlanta Festival Orchestra and Chorus, the Austin Civic Orchestra, and the Southwest Chamber Orchestra. He also served as assistant conductor for the Austin Lyric Opera.

He has conducted concerts featuring world-renown soloists such as Plácido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sir James Galway, Joshua Bell, Denyce Graves, Nadja Salerno-Sonenberg, Jean Pierre Rampal, Christopher Parkening, Edgar Meyer, Roberta Peters, Doc Severinsen (Eta Lambda – 1965), Ray Charles, and Ricky Skaggs. He has also guest conducted many orchestras in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

We wish you the best in your retirement, Brother!