MACON – Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music today announced that Blake Garcia has been appointed director of athletic bands, effective July 1.
Garcia, who most recently served as a doctoral conducting associate at the University of Kentucky, will be responsible for directing Mercer’s marching band and basketball pep band, as well as serving as a guest conductor of the wind ensemble.
“We are extremely excited to have Blake Garcia joining the Townsend School of Music as director of athletic bands,” said Dr. C. David Keith, dean of the School. “Mr. Garcia has had exceptional experience at Florida State, the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky. Having trained and been in leadership at an ACC school and two SEC schools will give Mr. Garcia a wide range of gameday atmosphere experiences that can be brought to Mercer.”
Since 2016, Garcia has worked with the Wildcat Marching Band as well as the football, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics pep bands at the University of Kentucky, where he continues to pursue his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He also served as co-director of the concert band and guest conductor of the wind symphony and symphony band.
In 2015, he earned his Master of Music in instrumental conducting from the University of Florida. As a graduate teaching assistant, his assistantship duties included teaching the Gator Marching Band and pep band, mentoring undergraduate conducting students, and conducting many of the university’s concert bands and chamber ensembles.
Garcia received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Florida State University in 2008, where he studied conducting, trumpet performance and music education. During his time at Florida State, he held principal chairs in many of the top ensembles, and also played lead trumpet with Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps and the world-renowned Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps.
In addition to his experience at the collegiate level, Garcia also has extensive experience as a high school music educator. He was director of bands at West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the 2015-2016 academic year, during which he developed the county’s first guitar curriculum and organized and directed the first jazz big band in school history.
He also previously served as associate director of bands at J.M. Tate High School in Cantonment, Florida, and director of music at Pensacola High School in Pensacola, Florida. During these tenures, his marching and concert ensembles were consistently awarded the highest ratings at festivals and competitions.
Throughout his teaching career, Garcia has been recognized for his dedication and excellence on the concert podium and on the marching field. As a result, every program he has led has experienced significant growth in membership, as well as overall quality.
In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Tom Bishop Award by the Florida Bandmasters Association for the remarkable positive impact made on his program and students.
“My passion and goal are to instill the same love of music that brought me to this profession, and my focus is always on a well-rounded, diverse music education,” said Garcia. “A student-centered approach to teaching and decision-making has consistently created a positive learning experience for my students: one that promotes student ownership and value.”
Garcia and his wife, Lauren, have a nine-month-old daughter, Jade Olivia.