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Mathews named director of bands
Change to be effective July 1
By David West

NATCHITOCHES – Jeffrey C. Mathews has been named director of bands at Northwestern State University effective July 1. His appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Mathews will replace Bill Brent who has been director of bands since 1983, building the band from one with 48 members to one with approximately 300. Brent will remain as director of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts, focusing on observation of student teachers, student recruitment and fundraising.

Mathews has been at Northwestern State since 1998 as associate director of bands/associate professor of music, director of student activities and organizations and director of athletic bands/assistant professor of music.

“Becoming director of bands at NSU represents the pinnacle of my 28-year relationship with the band program that began when Mr. Brent recruited me to be a member of the band out of Bossier High School in 1985,” said Mathews. “I had the good fortune to be on hand to watch Mr. Brent build the Spirit of Northwestern into what it is today.  Mr. Brent and I have worked closely to maintain the size and quality of the SON together for the last 14 years and I look forward to continuing that work moving forward.  Fans of the SON can rest assured that they will continue to see great half times shows, great pep band support at basketball games and professional level concerts.” 

The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band was a finalist for the 2011 Sudler Trophy, an award to identify and recognize collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life. NSU’s band participated in the 2011 New Year’s Day Parade and Festival in London. Northwestern State’s band was named one of the top eight in the country by the Web site in 2008.

“After 30 years of serving as the director of bands at Northwestern State, I feel it is time to hand the podium of this incredible organization to the next generation,” said Brent. “Jeff Mathews has been a loyal and dedicated colleague and associate for nearly 14 years and I know that he will continue the 100+year tradition of excellence with the band program at Northwestern. He, along with Associate Director of Bands Kenneth Green and Assistant Director of Bands Steve McKeithen, will work closely with the music faculty and the administration to ensure that the Spirit of Northwestern continues to be a focal of pride for the University, our alumni and the Natchitoches community.”

Brent said Northwestern’s administration has helped the marching band gain national acclaim. 

“I want to sincerely thank Dr. Randall Webb and his administration for their support for the past 17 years and Dr. Robert Alost who was my boss prior to Dr. Webb, for his support as well,” said Brent. “It has been a wonderful time for me and I feel that the program will continue to thrive under the leadership of Dr. Mathews.”

As associate director of bands and an associate professor of music since 2008, Mathews conducts the NSU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band and serves as director of summer music classes. He is part of a recruiting team that brings in 85 to 100 new band students annually. Mathews held the Magale Endowed Professorship at Northwestern State in 2008-09.

Mathews serves part-time as Chief of Air National Guard Bands. He is the functional manager of the Air National Guard band program nationwide and principal advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Division and National Guard Bureau Public Affairs on matters pertaining to Air National Guard Bands.

From 2004 to 2008, Mathews was director of student activities and organizations and lead a department in the Division of Student Affairs. He coordinated facility use at Northwestern State and managed day-to-day operations of the Friedman Student Union. Mathews advised the Student Government Association and oversaw the Recognized Student Organization program.

Mathews was director of athletic bands/assistant professor of music from 1998 to 2004, managing and directing all aspects of the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band.

Mathews earned a Bachelor of Music Education at Northwestern State, a Master of Music Education at the University of North Texas and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting pedagogy at the University of Southern Mississippi.

An article by Mathews, “A Descriptive Analysis of Martin Ellerby’s ‘Paris Sketches,’’’ was published in the Fall 2011 issue of the Journal of Band Research. He presented a lecture, “Air Force Bands in the 21st Century: A New Mission in the Global War on Terror,” at The Martin Institute of Stonehill College, Music and War Conference in 2008.