UK announces first woman director of Wildcat Marching Band

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Shayna Stahl will be the first woman director of UK Athletic Bands.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Stahl will be joining us at the UK School of Music this summer,” said Stan Pelkey, director of the UK School of Music. “Dr. Stahl is an experienced director of athletic bands who has worked with Division I athletic bands for the past 15 years. She will be ready from her first day on campus to guide the Wildcat Marching Band toward a successful fall season.

“Dr. Stahl also impressed me, members of the search committee, and our students with her ability to connect quickly and authentically with students as a teacher and conductor. Because of that, I anticipate that she will also make significant contributions to our instrumental music education program. Dr. Stahl is a scholar of women composers and their works for chamber wind ensembles, regularly performs music composed by musicians from underrepresented communities, and possesses a record of intentionally nurturing the social, emotional and mental well-being of her marching band students. Those commitments and experiences will reinforce current efforts in the UK School of Music to foster a more diverse, inclusive and equitable musical community,” Pelkey added.

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Stahl previously served as associate director of Bands and director of Athletic Bands at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

She was also the conductor of the Symphonic Band and taught courses in conducting and marching band techniques.

Prior to UNC Charlotte, Stahl served for three years as the director of Athletic Bands at Stony Brook University and seven years as the coordinator of Athletic Bands. While serving as the coordinator of Athletic Bands, she also taught for seven years as a music educator in the Middle Country Central School District where she taught wind ensemble, concert band and jazz band.

“It is a tremendous honor to be invited to join the faculty as the assistant director of Bands/director of Athletic Bands,” Stahl said. “This position has always been a dream of mine since I started my journey working with college athletic bands. I had always been impressed that you could see and hear the energy that the students brought to each marching and pep band performance. I said to myself, I would love the chance to work with this group, be a part of the traditions and history while creating new traditions together. I am excited about this opportunity and truly look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky.

Stahl holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Temple University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree in music education/wind band conducting from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and a doctoral degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Washington.

At the University of Washington, she served as the graduate assistant director of the Husky Marching Band, conductor of the Concert Band and assistant conductor of the Wind Ensemble. In addition to conducting, she also served as a teaching assistant for the marching band techniques and introductory music methods courses.

While at the University of Washington, Stahl was awarded first prize in the American Prize in Conducting – Band/Wind Ensemble (Community Division) in 2017 and 2018.

Stahl is a member of the National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors National Association, Women Band Directors International, Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Iota and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi.

The University of Kentucky Bands are an integral part of the School of Music, offering three concert bands, the Wildcat Marching Band and Basketball Pep Band.

The Wildcat Marching Band enjoys a reputation as one of the finest collegiate marching bands in the country. The Wildcat Marching Band provides a pep band for every away game in the Southeastern Conference and travels with the full band to one away game each year.

In addition, the Wildcat Marching Band has participated in numerous post-season bowl games, BOA Regional Championships, a Presidential Inauguration, a World Series, and the 2008 Ryder Cup.