By Hank Bond
The Greenup Beacon
Marc Whitlock serves as the band director for Discovery Middle School in Canton, Michigan.
He is the son of Julie Goldcamp. He was born in 1966 and after high school, he left Greenup County.
Whitlock is a 1984 graduate of Russell High School.
Students have opportunities to perform in concert bands, chamber ensembles, percussion ensembles, and other small instrumental groups throughout the year. The Discovery Band has earned consistent superior ratings at district and state band festivals and chamber festivals during his tenure.
Most recently, the Discovery Symphonic Band premiered a musical work commissioned for Discovery MS entitled “Stone Gardens” by Robert W. Smith, which is a work that focuses on the iconic places of remembrance of the Arlington National Cemetery and the Armed Forces Memorial. This piece illustrates through optional narration and music the ultimate sacrifice our men and women of our military have made for the defense of our country. Students at Discovery went on a field trip to Washington, DC to learn about these national treasures and to hear the words of our military personnel and their families about the ultimate sacrifice many of our military have made for our freedom. This musical work is now available for all bands.
The Foundation of Music Education through its national wind honors project, The Mark of Excellence, has recognized the Discovery Middle School Band for their outstanding musical achievement. This is a recorded music contest offering bands, choirs, and orchestras the unprecedented opportunity to earn national recognition for their musical achievement. Discovery Middle School Band met their high-standard criteria and was selected as the winner from the state of Michigan.
Mr. Whitlock has also been a band director at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park in Michigan, Hebron High School in Texas, and Marian Catholic High School in Illinois. During his time as a high school band director, his bands earned consistent superior ratings at band festivals and chamber festivals, the UIL Sweepstakes Award, 14 state marching band championships, eight Bands of America national class championships, and three times was named the Bands of America Grand National Champion. His bands were also selected for the MFA National Concert Band Festival and the Presidential Inauguration.
Whitlock was formerly the music manager - supervisor for the Broadway production of Blast!, which won a Tony award and an Emmy award.
Other honors include being selected to represent the state of Michigan in the School Band and Orchestra magazine special edition, “50 Band Directors Who Make A Difference”, instructed select performers for the NBA All-Star game, the Olympics in Atlanta, was a founding staff member of the U.S. Army All-American Band, and has also performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
His articles have been published in publications such as School Band and Orchestra, Michigan Music Educator, and the Maine Music Educator Association, and he has also given webinars for several organizations including the National Association of Music Parents (AMP).
He has been actively involved in the drum corps activity since 1980 and has been in demand as a clinician/program consultant/designer for many corps, including the Blue Stars, Cadets, Carolina Crown, Cavaliers, Madison Scouts, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard, Star of Indiana, and the Troopers. Many of the drum corps he has worked with have been DCI Finalists, recipients of the Jim Ott High Brass Award and have been crowned the DCI World Champions.
Many of the marching bands he has worked with have been named State Champions, BOA class champions, and BOA National Finalists.
In addition he also serves as an adjudicator for marching bands, drum corps, percussion ensembles, winter drumlines, and for concert bands and orchestras. His affiliations include the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA), the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), the Michigan Competing Bands Association (MCBA), the Michigan Colorguard Circuit (MCGC), the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association (CWEA), Drum Corps International (DCI), Bands of America (BOA) and serves as the Chief Judge for WGI Winds. Besides adjudicating for invitational contests across the country, he has also served as an adjudicator for state championships in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and has also adjudicated for the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the WGI World Championships.
Whitlock is happily married to Rev. Kellie Whitlock, and they have three wonderful children, Rachel, Matt, and Macaylah.
After graduating from Russell he was a member of the Morehead State University Class of ’90 with bachelor degrees in Music Education and Performance with a major in brass instruments and a minor in percussion.
Next he attended the American Band College at Sam Houston State (Texas) University with a Master of Music graduate degree in Conducting
“My first year of public school teaching was 1992, but I began teaching students at band camps starting in 1986.
“The mentors and teachers in my life instilled in me a hunger for the relentless pursuit of excellence, a thirst for knowledge, but always putting people and their needs above all else.
“My first two band directors, Eddie Prichard and the late Ron Irwin (deceased) really sparked my interest in music, performing, and music education.
Both teachers were very different from each other with contrasting styles, but both were excellent teachers.
“I continually attend conferences and symposiums, both as a clinician and as a student,” he said.
“Graduate courses are wonderful, but conferences and symposiums allow you to communicate and collaborate with peers in their field, sharing ideas and pedagogy.
“Whether it be in a classroom or through online education, I enjoy being a student of my craft while endeavoring to be a master of it.”
Whitlock has a plan for the future.
“I have had great experiences and success teaching elementary, middle school, and high school levels, and my hope is to one day be able to teach full-time at the collegiate level.”
“There have been many people of great influence who helped me to plot my course.
“Ron Irwin (MS Band), Eddie Prichard (HS Band), Richard Miles (Collegiate Band), Earle Louder (Collegiate Brass), Frank Oddis (Collegiate Percussion), Gene Parr (my pastor in college), Greg Bimm (my first music supervisor and dear friend), Julie Kaminski (an incredibly supportive principal), Tina Ritchie (my best friend), and my wife Kellie (the best human being I have ever met).
“I am sure I have left a major influence off this list so I wish to thank all my friends and teachers over the years.
“I treasure my relationships with parents, students, and peers. I love how music can be a vehicle for life’s greatest lessons.
“Never give up!” – Winston Churchill
He holds a definite opinion on music in general.
“Let all students try Band or Choir or Orchestra. Music is much more than a “frill” subject in school.
“Please support arts education in your schools. Go to arts events that your children are involved in and perhaps even volunteer a time or two.
“Be involved with your school music program and support its teachers. Music and its students and teachers may be the one place that can help a struggling child deal with life’s problems.
“Music can literally reshape the brain to increase learning and retention in all areas of life.
“Music has the ability to energize students to be lifetime independent learners, and to instill traits of discipline, concentration, teamwork, and self-motivation skills to help people the rest of their lives.
“Music improves the quality of life. Try it, you just might like it,” concluded Whitlock.