Dr. Kenneth G. Bodiford has served as Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Jacksonville State University since 1994. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education degree from Jacksonville State University, his Master of Arts in Music Education and Instrumental Conducting from East Carolina University and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Alabama. Under his leadership, The Marching Southerners have grown from a membership of 120 members in 1994 to more than 500 members today. In addition to directing The Marching Southerners, Dr. Bodiford is the conductor of the JSU Chamber Winds and teaches all advanced instrumental conducting classes. He has also served as the director of Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps (2001-2007) and was appointed as the director of the United States Army All American Marching Band (2016-17).
Under Dr. Bodiford’s direction, The Marching Southerners have performed at several Bands of America Regionals and Grand National Championships, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (1996), the London New Year’s Day Parade (2012), the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Commemoration in Oahu, Hawaii (2016), and the World Peace Parade in Rome, Italy (2019).
Dr. Bodiford is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Alabama Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu International Band Master’s Fraternity, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Sigma Alpha Iota fraternities. He is an active adjudicator, clinician, and conductor well-respected throughout the country for both concert band and marching band events. In addition, he has served as an adjudicator for Winter Guard International. Most recently, Dr. Bodiford received the McWhorter Outstanding Teacher Award.
Clint Gillespie is the Associate Director of Bands and an Instructor of Percussion at Jacksonville State University where he has been on faculty since 1999. Mr. Gillespie currently teaches the JSU Wind Ensemble, the Marching Southerners, the JSU Drumline, and courses in applied percussion. In addition to his current duties, Mr. Gillespie has also taught music theory, music appreciation, and concert percussion ensembles.
Under Mr. Gillespie’s guidance, the JSU drumline is consistently one of the strongest drumlines in the country. During his tenure at JSU, the drumline is a former Percussive Arts Society International Competition winner and has placed in the top three consistently at the same competition. The Marching Southerners have also grown to over 450 hundred members during his time at JSU and performed all across the United States, in Rome, Italy, and in London, England.
Mr. Gillespie has over 18 years of experience teaching in Drum Corps International. He is a former percussion instructor for Spirit of Atlanta / Spirit of JSU Drum and Bugle Corps, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, and Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps. He was the percussion caption head caption head of Spirit of Atlanta in 1999. He was the percussion arranger and caption head for Spirit of Atlanta/JSU from 2000 to 2008.
Mr. Gillespie is highly sought after as an arranger, clinician, and adjudicator. He has written for several universities and dozens of high schools across the southeast. He has given numerous clinics on marching and concert percussion at schools and PAS days of percussion across the United State. He has also served as an adjudicator for numerous band and percussion events across the U.S, including many WGI circuit championships.
Mr. Gillespie’s students have performed with and/or served as instructors for many Drum Corps throughout the United States. His former students have been winners of individual competitions, symphony performers, and teach at all levels of percussion throughout the U.S. He proudly endorses Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums, and Evans Drumheads. He resides in Jacksonville, AL with his wife Lisa, and his son William.
Dr. Jeremy Stovall is the Assistant Director of Bands and Assistant Professor at Jacksonville State University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and his Master of Arts degrees at Jacksonville State University and his DMA in Wind Conducting from the University of Alabama. In addition to instructing the Marching Southerners, Dr. Stovall conducts the Symphonic Band, the JSU Pep Band: Hardcorps, and teaches courses in Conducting and Marching Band Techniques. He has also served as the Music Director and Pit Orchestra Conductor for the Drama Department’s Musicals and Jacksonville Opera Theatre.
Dr. Stovall has led the Marching Southerners in performances at the Bands of America Grand National Championships (2019), the World Peace Parade in Rome, Italy (2019), the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Commemoration (2016), and the London New Year’s Day Parade (2012). Recently, Dr. Stovall was awarded the 2020 JSU National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year.
Jeremy is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Kappa Phi, College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society. Dr. Stovall was a member of the Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps visual staff from 2002-2007, serving as the Visual Caption Head. He also was a member of the instructional staff for the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in 2016-2017. Jeremy is sought out as an adjudicator, consultant, and drill designer for marching bands throughout the Southeast. He currently lives in Jacksonville, AL with his wife Noelle Millirons Stovall and daughter Audrey.
Mr. Rodney Bailey has served as the Colorguard Coordinator for the Marching Southerners Colorguard for the past 25 years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and his Master of Science in Education from Jacksonville State University. He is an instructor in the department of English as well as the Coordinator for Social Media and Marketing and Technology Coordinator for the JSU School of Arts and Humanities. Mr. Bailey has won several teaching awards which include the McWhorter Outstanding Teacher Award, The Dr. George Mehaffy Excellence in Learning Technology Award and the JSU Technology Leadership Grant. In addition to his teaching awards, Mr. Bailey is a Southeastern Colorguard Circuit Hall of Fame inductee and the recipient of The Southern Association for Performance Arts Lifetime Achievement Award
Under his leadership, the Marching Southerners Colorguard has become one of the best collegiate colorguards in the Southeast. The Marching Southerner’s indoor colorguard, (JSU Center Stage Performance Ensemble) is a 6-time Winterguard International Sport of the Arts finalist, has received top honors on the local and regional level, received the bronze medal at the Winterguard International “Sport of the Arts” World Championships (2006) and became a Winterguard International “Sport of the Arts” World class finalist in 2007. Mr. Bailey also works with several high school and independent colorguards across the country.
Mr. Bailey is the president-elect of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, a member of the Phi Mu Alpha International Band Master’s Fraternity, National Conference of Teachers of English, Winterguard International “Sport of the Arts” Diversity and Inclusion committee, Committee Chair for the JSU English Department Diversity and Inclusion committee, the Co-Creator of “LEAN IN”- A virtual platform for Pageantry People of Color: Designers, Instructors, Directors, and Choreographers, and is an active winterguard adjudicator for the Gulf Coast Judges Association.
Noelle Millirons Stovall has been the Coordinator of the Marching Ballerinas since 2012. In her time as Coordinator, she has implemented several elements that have continued the success and honored the tradition of Marching Ballerinas, including starting the annual Marching Ballerina showcase – featuring the debut of the line each season in group and solo routines in both traditional and exhibition styles –and the continuation of yearly “traditional” routines preserving the traditional style of dance the Marching Ballerinas have been known for since 1956. Over her seasons as Coordinator, she has also placed more emphasis on the season experience beyond performing. Beyond the choreography, administration, and teaching involved in serving as Coordinator, Noelle feels the most important part of her job is to support and encourage the young women who join the Marching Ballerinas. The most important thing to her at the end of the season is that the women on the line feel like they have been loved, encouraged, and supported for who they are in addition to performing at their highest level and growing as dancers.
Prior to becoming Coordinator, Noelle was a Marching Ballerina (08 – 11), serving as Head Ballerina and Group Leader. While at JSU, she was also a student Ambassador, Gamecock Orientation Leader, Patrons Director at 91.9 WLJS, Chanticleer contributor, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications in 2012 and a Masters of Public Administration in 2015. While in graduate school, she served as the Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Life (now Dean of Students Office). Noelle began her career in Higher Education as a Career Coach and Enrollment Specialist at Gadsden State Community College, before returning ‘home” to JSU in 2018 as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment. Noelle was promoted to Associate Director in 2019 and loves serving as the team leader for the JSU Admissions Counselors, planning recruitment events, and recruiting students herself in Calhoun County. Noelle is also enlisted to serve as choreographer, adjudicator, and consultant for dance and baton programs across Alabama and Georgia.
Noelle credits Southerners for the fact that she married her partner, Dr. Jeremy Stovall two years after first being named Coordinator. They have one daughter, Audrey. The verdict is out on whether she is a future Marching Ballerina or future Drum Major, as she seems to love both.
Dr. Matthew Jordan currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He is also the front ensemble arranger for Music City Mystique, the Music Coordinator and Sound Designer for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, front ensemble arranger and sound designer for the “Commandant’s Own” United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and a Music Advisor for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps. Prior to starting at JSU, Matt was the Concert Percussion Marketing Manager for Pearl Corporation/Adams Musical Instruments, and Assistant Director of Bands/Instructor of Percussion at Middle Tennessee State University.
Matt has worked as a percussion instructor and arranger with a number of DCI and WGI groups, including the Phantom Regiment (2011-2014), Carolina Crown (2015), and Spirit of Atlanta (2007-2010, 2018). He is also very involved at the scholastic level as an arranger for indoor drumlines and marching bands, having written for groups such as Max Percussion (Bangkok, Thailand), Bangkok Society Drumline, Franklin High School, Science Hill High School, McGavock High School, Dobyns-Bennett High School, and Father Ryan High School, among others.
As a performer, Matt plays regularly with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the Alabama Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble, Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony, Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tennessee Philharmonic. While at North Texas, Matt performed with the UNT Wind Symphony, as well as the One o’Clock and Two o’Clock Lab Bands. Matt was the timpanist of The Cavaliers (2003-04) and Music City Mystique (2000-05) and in 2004, he received 1st place in both the DCI and PAS Timpani Individuals competitions. Matt has also been involved in commissioning or premiering works from numerous composers, including Nathan Daughtrey, Dave Hall, Evan Chapman, Caleb Pickering, Russell Wharton, Matt Filosa, Lucas Garner, Bill Hickok, Matt Ridge, and Greg Harrison.
Matt also travels abroad frequently, having performed in Mexico, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan. In the summer of 2010 he traveled to Ghana in West Africa to study Ewe drumming. Matt’s major influences include Dr. John W. Parks IV, Dr. Robert Schietroma, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Lalo Davila, Erik Johnson, Leigh Howard Stevens, Christopher Norton, John Feddersen, and Bill Wiggins.
Matt completed the Doctor of Music degree from the Florida State University, a Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Middle Tennessee State University. Matt is a proud artist and clinician for Pearl/Adams instruments, Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Evans Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, and Presonus Audio Electronics.
Originally from Cedartown, Georgia, Dr. Casey Thomas is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Jacksonville State University. Dr. Thomas completed both his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in trombone performance and pedagogy from The University of Iowa in Iowa City and his Bachelors degree in music education from Jacksonville State University. He has been a Brass Technician with “Spirit from JSU” and “Sprint of Atlanta” Drum and Bugle Corps and served as Assistant Director of Bands at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Dr. Thomas is a member of Resonant Projection, a professional trombone quartet dedicated to promoting new and undiscovered works, the Rome (GA) Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with various ensembles throughout the South and Midwest. He owns Just for Brass and Just for Winds (online sheet music and accessories) and Potenza Music (the publishing wing of Just for Brass and Winds). Previous academic appointments were at Berry College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Ouachita Baptist University, and Saint Ambrose University.
Randy Nelson is a Lifetime Member of the Florida Bandmasters Association after serving as the Director of Bands at Choctaw-hatchee HS in Fort Walton Beach for 26 years. He is a member of the Winter Guard International Hall of Fame and a Past President of the WGI Board of Directors. He currently serves on the WGI Color Guard Steering Committee as the A and Open Class Representative. Randy is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Marching Band Coalition. He has adjudicated for Music for All, WGI, DCI, ISSMA, CBA, FMBC and served as Chief Judge for the Western Band Association. Randy attended Jacksonville State University where is received his degree in Music Education and is also the visual designer for the 450 member Marching Southerners. Randy is currently a freelance designer, adjudicator and clinician for bands and winter guards in the United States and Internationally. He resides in Jacksonville, FL.
Devin Lentz currently serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Jacksonville State University Bands. Devin graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from JSU in the Spring of 2022 and immediately entered the Master of Arts in Music Education at JSU in the Fall of 2022. Devin studies trumpet with Dr. Christopher Probst and teaches trumpet lessons to elementary, middle, and high school students in the Alabama and Georgia area.
As an undergraduate student, Devin served as Head Section Leader of the Southerners Trumpet Line and principal trumpet in the Chamber Winds, Jazz 1, JSU Civic Symphony, and various pit orchestras for the JSU Drama Productions. He also played in the Trumpet Ensemble and Steel Band. As a graduate student, he is the principal trumpeter for the Chamber Winds and Brass Band, and continues to play in the Trumpet Ensemble and serve as Head Section Leader for the Southerners Trumpet Line.
Devin is from Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He expects to graduate with his Master of Arts in Music Education degree in May 2024.
Sawyer Strickland currently serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Jacksonville State University Bands. An Alabama native, Sawyer was raised in Morris, Alabama where he graduated from Mortimer Jordan High School. He then graduated Summa cum laude from Jacksonville State University with his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 2022. During his undergraduate degree, Sawyer studied French horn under Jeffrey Solomon. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Music Education at JSU while serving the band program with his assistantship.
In his undergraduate studies at JSU, Sawyer was involved with many ensembles and student organizations. These include: Head mellophone section leader for the Marching Southerners, principal hornist for Chamber Winds, Horn Choir, Brass Choir, Civic Symphony, Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, as well as several pit orchestras for the JSU Drama productions. Sawyer is also a member of the National Association for Music Education and the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society.
Aside from his school and work duties, Sawyer teaches lessons to local middle through high school students in French horn.
Cody Bray currently serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Jacksonville State University Bands. Cody graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from JSU, where he studied clarinet under Mr. Mark Brandon. He is currently working on his Masters of Music Education at JSU, while also assisting in the everyday operations of the band program.
Cody is from Cedartown, GA and graduated from Cedartown High School. During his time as an undergraduate student, Cody was involved in many different ensembles. This included: The Marching Southerners, Clarinet Studio, Civic Symphony, Chamber Winds, and Symphonic Band. He will be graduating with his Master’s in Music Education from JSU in Spring of 2024.