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VSU Appoints James Holden as Interim Director of Bands

Published date: March 21, 2013

Virginia State University has appointed James Holden as Interim Director of Bands. He previously served as Assistant Director of Bands and will retain his academic rank of Assistant Professor of Music. As Interim Director of Bands, Holden will lead VSU’s renowned Trojan Explosion Marching Band.

The band’s previous Director, Dr. Mark Phillips, recently stepped down after leading the band for more than a decade. During that time, the Trojan Explosion received national acclaim, including nine consecutive invitations to the Honda Battle of the Bands Classic and a White House performance for the VSU drum-line. In 2009 renowned director Claude Miller featured the Trojan Explosion in the international documentary Marching Band.

“We are grateful to Dr. Phillips for his service to the band and the visibility it gave Virginia State University,” said President Keith T. Miller. “Under Mark’s leadership, the band was a source of pride to students and alumni.”

Holden’s musical leadership includes Director of VSU’s Jazz Ensemble and Chamber Woodwind Ensemble. He served as advisor to VSU’s award winning Gospel Chorale and the HBCU IAJE All Star Jazz Ensemble. He has also served as a faculty member at Virginia Union University and Jackson State University

Holden, a Mississippi native, received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Education from Jackson State University.  He did post-graduate studies at North Texas State University and Berklee School of Music.  A world-class educator/musician, Holden has performed with B.B. King, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michael Bolton and Solomon Burke for the Pope Benedict Christmas Concert.

Holden continues to perform as a member of the Virginia Saxophone Quartet, the Renaissance Big Band, the Richmond Symphony Pops and the Holden/Thomas Saxophone Duo. He serves on the Petersburg Symphony Board and is active in the arts and music education throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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