l-r: Mr. James McLeod and Dr. Virgil Goodwine bring music back to the nation’s first, private HBCU! Wilberforce University gears up for a musical rebirth.
A talented addition to the WU faculty is Mr. James McLeod, who brings a 27 year career in instrumental education to WU. His history of building music and band programs is matched only by his successful recruitment of students – growing one college program exponentially within a short period of time.
Mr. McLeod will serve as the chair of the WU music department, which means he will hire music teachers and redesign and develop the music curriculum for the degrees of: bachelor of arts in music performance for instrumental vocal music, and bachelor of science in music business (with a technology component).
“We are starting with the building of a marching band, marked by the hiring of our director of instrumental music, Dr. Virgil Goodwine. Consequently, we will soon be accepting auditions for band scholarships to join the Wilberforce University marching band. Next, we will be accepting auditions and offering scholarships to join the university choir. It is truly an exciting time here at Wilberforce!” – James McLeod, Chair, WU Music Department
James McLeod received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s in music education from Jackson State University, and a master’s of science in entertainment business from Full Sail University. In between teaching applied music, music appreciation and theory, writing music, directing videos, and creating graphic designs, Mr. McLeod is presently working on his Ph.D. in music education.
But interesting facts about him don’t end there. Not only does he boast being able to play every instrument except the harmonica and the harp, but he is proud that his grandfather’s aunt is the historic stateswoman, presidential advisor (to Franklin D. Roosevelt) and civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune. Also, Mr. McLeod is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
The Wilberforce University music renaissance also brings Dr. Virgil Goodwine back to his roots. The Colonel White School of the Performing Arts (Dayton Public Schools) graduate returns to the Greater Miami Valley to serve as the new assistant professor of music, and director of musical instruments and ensembles at Wilberforce. Most recently, Dr. Goodwine comes to WU with an extensive background as a director of instrumental music for the Oak Park, Michigan (suburban Detroit) School District. He will soon bring the legacy of the historically Black colleges/universities (HBCU) marching band soundscape to Wilberforce University.
“I am here to cultivate an innovative culture of excellence in music.” – Dr. Virgil Goodwine, Asst. Professor of Music, Wilberforce University
Historically, the HBCU marching band style has been copied, but supporters say it has never been replicated. The halftime shows at HBCU athletic events feature student musicians who, as they are playing popular music, create spirited, high stepping convergences of sharp, but smooth, soulful, gravity defying geometric patterns. These performances have become so popular since their inception in the 1940s, casual surveys reveal a greater percentage of spectators actually attend HBCU sporting events to see the intermission entertainment rather than the games.
Dr. Goodwine received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Central State University, his master’s of science degree in music from the University of Dayton, and his doctorate with a concentration in leadership in higher education research from Capella University.
- The goal of the new music program is to provide students with co-curricular experiences through vocal and instrumental ensembles (choir and band)
- To work closely with the Ray Charles Foundation to continue the study of music in higher education to make our students job-ready and prepared for further study in graduate school
- To hire and retain qualified and talented faculty in the field of music to provide students with quality music and performing arts education
- Rebuild the university choir and provide performance opportunities for additional ensembles such as a marching band, jazz band, and various combos for exposure in the community to assist with student engagement and institutional advancement
Wilberforce University eagerly welcomes Mr. McLeod and Dr. Goodwine.
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