Remembering Maestro Bruce Dinkins, 1951-2011 - Sewanee Summer Music Festival
With great sadness, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival announces the death of Maestro Bruce Dinkins, who conducted the Cumberland Orchestra and taught clarinet at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival for 27 years. Thousands of people have been shaped by Bruce’s extraordinary career as a musician and an educator, and we will deeply miss him as a colleague and friend. Our hearts go out to his wife Hildy and their children, Jordan and Adam. The 2011 Season of the Festival was dedicated to his memory, and we will announce additional ways to honor his memory during the upcoming year.
Bruce Dinkins served as conductor and director of bands at James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas, since 2001, during which time he added a significant list of accomplishments to the band’s accolades. They earned the “Sweepstakes” award from the University Interscholastic League in concert and marching every year since he arrived. The Bowie Band was the Grand National Champion at the Smokey Mountain Music Festival, the National Adjudicators Invitational, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona National Band Championship in Phoenix, and among the top twelve bands at the Bands of America Grand Nationals competition in Indianapolis. They also carry the elite honor of being a recipient of the coveted Sudler Shield awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
An educator for more than 30 years, Dinkins’ groups have been heard at the Southern Division Music Educators National Conference, the Southern Regional College Band Directors Association/National Band Association conference, the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Chicago and Indianapolis, and invitational music festivals at the University of Kentucky, the University of Florida, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of South Florida and the University of South Carolina. In 2000, his band performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and he had the distinction of being the only four time recipient of the honor band award for the National Adjudicators Invitational Festivals.
Dinkins attended the University of Tampa, the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the Florida State University, and the Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Bowie High School, he was a member of the faculties at Irmo High School in South Carolina, North Gwinnett High School, Emory University, Georgia State University in Georgia, and Florida Community College in Jacksonville. He has performed with the Atlanta Chamber Orchestra, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony and the Florida Orchestra. His orchestra conducting experience included Conductor/Music Director of the Memphis Youth Symphony, the South Carolina Youth Philharmonic and twenty seven years as Conductor of the Cumberland Orchestra at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
He was a member of the Phi Beta Mu American Bandmasters Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.