Frost School Selects New Director For Athletic Bands

June 16, 2014 — Coral Gables, FL — The esteemed Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has appointed Jay C. Rees as the new Director of Athletic Bands. Rees currently serves as Director of Athletic Bands at The University of Arizona in Tucson.

Jay Rees will lead the Frost Band of the Hour, the marching and pep bands of the University of Miami, at UM sporting events such as nationally televised Miami Hurricanes football and basketball games – as well as expand the band’s reach and reputation throughout the region.

Rees takes over a band program with an 86-year history that includes performing at national bowl games and international competitions and events. He is charged by the Frost School’s Dean Shelton G. Berg to achieve prominence in three distinctive areas: to invigorate the athletic band program so it provides modern, outstanding time-of-life experiences for its student members including brass and wind musicians, percussionists, dancers, and more; to build the Frost Band of the Hour to become a top source of pride for the entire university community and a prominent leader in the marching band world; and to establish a fresh and distinctive musical performance and field style that reflects the musical and cultural diversity of the City of Miami while projecting it to the world.

“The Frost School is very excited to welcome Jay Rees as the Director of Athletic Bands. He is universally regarded as one of the most excellent and innovative musicians in this field,” said Dean Berg. “Professor Rees has worked at the highest levels in classical, jazz and popular music as a performer, composer and arranger, which fits in perfectly with the ‘cross-training’ of musicians that the Frost School is known for. I have no doubt that the ‘Rees Era’ will be a golden age for the Frost Band of the Hour and the athletic band program.”

Rees credits the University of Miami’s reputation for athletic excellence as well as the Frost School of Music’s innovative music curriculum for his decision to join UM, beginning July 1.

“Every person wants to be excellent at what they do, but not all are successful. The key is who’s willing to do the work, to make the sacrifices, to become truly great at something,” said Rees. “I look forward to ‘pushing the envelope’ with the outstanding students of the University of Miami and the Frost School of Music. What I bring to The Band of the Hour will not only shape and define the student experience at UM, but also prepare them for life beyond their college years.”

In addition to his 21-year tenure at The University of Arizona serving as Director of Athletic Bands and Professor of Music, Rees is an accomplished musician in jazz performance, having appeared throughout the U.S., Canada and Japan. He toured with the international recording act The Lettermen as bassist and musical director and still actively performs.

An alumnus of the University of Miami Frost School of Music (BM ‘84), Rees has a large catalog of published original music written for jazz, wind ensemble, concert bands, and athletic bands that is commissioned and performed by major universities and high schools nationwide. Rees teaches undergraduate music education, jazz studies, and leadership courses. He also travels as a clinician, guest speaker, adjudicator, and conductor for band programs across the country.

As Director of The University of Arizona marching and pep bands, Rees' contemporary arrangements and inventive drill design have gained national presence. His inspired leadership helped transform the medium and is referenced extensively in the book "Marching Bands and Drumlines: Secrets of Success from the Best of the Best." In 2009, the prestigious College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) named UA’s "Pride of Arizona" one of the top marching bands in the country. Rees’ bands have released CD recordings and appeared in numerous television features including NBC-TV's Today Show and Fox Sports.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jay Rees back to the U,” Director of Athletics Blake James said. “His musical reputation speaks for itself and we are confident that under his direction the Band of the Hour will continue to make a positive impact on our events, helping to create a first-rate gameday experience.”

In 2001, Rees choreographed a live "human flag" for the Tucson community in response to the events of 9/11. His iconic design incorporated 10,000 citizens and became a national symbol. The image appeared on CNN and was published in a special issue of Sports Illustrated.

Rees is listed in Who's Who In America for the 21st Century as well as Who's Who Among America's Teachers. He is a member of ASCAP, The Recording Academy, and CBDNA. A native of Detroit, Rees lived in Miami and Los Angeles before making his home in Tucson with his wife Wendy Rees, and their two sons.

The University of Miami Band of the Hour, named in 1948 after a Henry Fillmore march, “The Man of the Hour,” has existed in one form or another since 1928. Along with its commitment to musical and artistic excellence, the Band of the Hour has maintained a long tradition of service to the University. It is now referred to as the Frost Band of the Hour, in honor of Dr. Phillip Frost and Patricia Frost, generous donors to the marching band program who established an endowment to support its operations, and who are naming donors of the University of Miami’s groundbreaking Frost School of Music.

The Frost Band of the Hour is the largest and one of the most spirited student organizations on the UM campus. The band draws its membership from the entire student body, representing all of the states and almost every major.

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Jay Rees, University of Miami Frost School of Music's newly selected Director of Athletic Bands, returns ‘home’ to direct the athletic bands for his alma mater.