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Joseph Wilson 1
Name: Joseph Wilson '09
Residence: Martinez, Georgia
Occupation: Band director

In a small town in McCormick County, South Carolina, Joseph Wilson ’09 leads “the little monster with the big sound.”

The moniker refers to the McCormick Marching Chiefs, a marching band comprised of students from McCormick Middle and McCormick High School. Wilson, a Winthrop University music education graduate, took over as band director in 2009 and has brought a refined, yet modern, approach to the music. He said the Marching Chiefs stand out from other bands because they are a more traditional, show-style band.

“By default, we're known to play current modern and/or contemporary music that you may hear on the radio or television,” he explained. “But I take my band a step further and reach to all genres of music, along with giving my kids full ownership of the program and allowing them to make decisions for performances; sometimes even submitting or arranging music or routines that we perform.”

People state-wide are taking notice. At halftime of each McCormick football game, the crowd remains in its seat, excited to see what the Marching Chiefs have in store. Greenville County also invited the Marching Chiefs to participate in its Battle of the Bands, which is where the band earned the “little monster with the big sound” nickname.

But for Wilson, it’s not just about acclaim and awards. Although he said winning multiple first-place trophies is one goal, another goal takes precedence: “to give my students a quality music education and teach them something that will positively impact and influence their lives, so that they're able to touch other lives by something that I've taught them along the way,” he said.

It’s similar to how Wilson felt about his Winthrop experience.

His own high school band director, Eric Harris ’90, gave Wilson a personal tour of campus and introduced him to faculty in the Department of Music, which he said “sealed his decision” to attend Winthrop.

“I also knew that Winthrop was one of, if not the top school, in education for South Carolina,” said Wilson, a Charlotte, North Carolina, native. “That also appealed to me as well as it not being too far away from home.”

He dove deep into his field, studying the tuba and performing with the Winthrop Tuba-Euphonium Choir, the Screamin’ Eagles Pep Band, the Winthrop Wind Symphony and the Winthrop Symphonic Band. (He never sat below second chair on any ensemble, a huge accomplishment for any musician.) He also excelled in extracurriculars, spending his summers between classes helping with programs at Sullivan Middle School and Northwestern, Rock Hill and South Pointe high schools.

Wilson applies this same enthusiasm to the Marching Chiefs.

“The most rewarding aspect of being an educator is being able to experience happiness off of your students' successes from something that you've taught them,” he said. “That was my entire philosophy for wanting to become an educator. At a young age, while giving music lessons to other children, I enjoyed the way it felt when they would receive joy or thank me for something that I was able to teach them. That aspect of teaching is priceless.”

Wilson won Teacher of the Year for McCormick High School in 2018. 

Last updated 4/3/18 by NC

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