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Gephart named KPB Artistic Director

posted Nov 12, 2014, 5:43 PM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 4:18 PM ]
Jay S. Gephart, Director of Purdue University’s Marching Band and Wind Ensemble, has accepted the position of Artistic Director of the Kokomo Park Band. The vacancy was the result of the recent passing of the previous Artistic Director, Steve Rhodes who conducted the band for over 24 years.  In his acceptance letter to the KPB Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Professor Gephart offered the following statement:
“It is with great pride and honor that I assume the role of Artistic Director of the Kokomo Park Band.  I have had the pleasure of guest conducting this fine group several times throughout my career and I knew, from the moment I stepped on the podium, the band was something very special.  I am convinced now, more than ever, the KPB is one of the most outstanding ensembles of its kind in the country.  I am sure the community of Kokomo takes great pride in the band and I will do everything in my power to provide leadership necessary to maintain a high standard of excellence. 
I want to continue fostering  an environment in which the highest caliber instrumentalists want to participate.  There is currently a wonderful “comradery” in the band and I want to see that grow and flourish.  Current members love playing in the band and you can tell. 
I have the privilege of leading the Department of Bands at Purdue University, where I run a program involving over 750 students each semester.  Our mission is very similar to that of the Kokomo Park Band.  We are keenly aware of the diverse nature of our audiences and program accordingly.  Our concerts at Purdue are very well attended for one simple reason….we play music people want to hear.  Feel confident  I will select music which will appeal to the diverse Kokomo audience just as I do at Purdue.
I am very excited to be part of the Kokomo Park Band family and look forward to our concert on February 22nd with great anticipation.”     
    Conductor Jay S. Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after having completed 12 years as a public school band director.  In 2006, he was appointed the Al G. Wright Chair of University Bands and Orchestras and currently serves as Director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band & the Purdue University Wind Ensemble.   Professor  Gephart received a Master of Music Degree in Performance with High Distinction from Indiana University in 1988. He has since served as a guest conductor, clinician, lecturer and adjudicator both nationally and internationally. 
    Professor Gephart has traveled most recently with his various Purdue ensembles to Beijing, China prior to the Olympics and to the  New York Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall.  He has conducted various All-State Bands and has served as a clinician at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.   In his career he has been the recipient of many awards and honors including the Indiana Outstanding Bandmaster Award and the Purdue University New Professional Award. Gephart has served as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association and currently holds the position of Treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation.   He is on the board of the National Band Association, was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association and has served as President of the Indiana Bandmaster’s Association.