Johnson C. Smith announces band staff ahead of homecoming

The International Institution of Sound looks to regain its prominence under new leadership.

Courtesy of JCSU communications

Charlotte, N.C. – Following a national search, Johnson C. Smith is pleased to announce the appointment of its band staff. 

The Johnson C. Smith band staff will be led by Dr. Tomisha Brock, director of Bands and assistant professor of Music. She will be assisted by Justin Hubbard, assistant director; Aja McAllister, dance instructor; Dairon McGraw, flag coordinator; and Ronnie Freeman, percussion instructor.

“The International Institution of Sound (IIOS) is the heartbeat – and some would even say the soul – of JCSU and is a frontline brand ambassador for the University,” said Dr. Karen D. Morgan, senior vice president of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. “It is a cultural staple and has a legacy that should be honored and upheld. I am confident that under Dr. Brock’s leadership, the IIOS will continue to grow and regain both national and international prominence.”

Brock has led superior instrumental and vocal ensembles in both public-school systems and institutions of higher education in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Washington and Nevada. 

In recent years, Brock has served as the director of Bands at Clark Atlanta University and Elizabeth City State University, and served as assistant director at Mississippi Valley State University. She is the owner of Prodigious Music Concepts, LLC; Fuel Your Dreams Foundation; and the HBCU Recruitment Center, PSC.

Johnson C. Smith

She currently serves as the president of the HBCU National Band and Orchestra Directors’ Consortium and maintains active professional memberships in the Intercollegiate Music Association, College Band Directors National Association, Association of Black Women Band Directors, American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, National Association for Music Educators, Women Band Directors International, National Band Association and the National Black Musicians’ Coalition.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Virginia State University and a master’s degree from Norfolk State. She received her doctoral degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

“The search committee unanimously agreed that Dr. Brock was the right person at this inflection point in the storied history of our great institution,” said Dr. Thierno Thiam, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “She has the vision and the energy to lead our band into the next phase and turn it once again into a force to be reckoned with.”

Brock says the students and alumni who have been involved in the band at JCSU have a lot of heart and are truly dedicated to their craft.

She said she is looking forward to enhancing the legacy of the program while forging new paths aligned with President Valerie Kinloch’s vision for a “New Era of Excellence.”

 “As a two-time HBCU graduate, a product of the CIAA and a longtime fan of the JCSU Band, I am honored to be at the helm of this program and to provide access to valuable resources and partnerships locally, nationally and internationally for our students and staff,” Brock said. “Our success is critical to the overarching mission of contributing to the culture and maintaining the passion, pride, discipline and ambassadorship our band programs bring to our nation’s HBCU.”

JUSTIN HUBBARD, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF BANDSHubbard has more than 10 years of experience teaching in the K-12 band setting. He spent the majority of his career in South Carolina teaching middle and high school bands. He cultivated a knack for rebuilding and repairing bands as well as establishing a standard of musical excellence within the ensembles he’s worked with.Hubbard earned a bachelor’s degree in Music from Benedict College and a master’s degree from Tennessee State University. He is a lifetime member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
 Aja McAllister
AJA MCALLISTER, DANCE INSTRUCTORMcAllister has more than 10 years of experience in performance, teaching and creative direction. She has lent her creativity to multiple artistic projects, music videos, music and dance festivals and dance teams.She graduated in 2013 from E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville and is excited to start her career as a collegiate dance instructor at JCSU.
Mcgraw has more than 10 years of experience in auxiliary coordination but has also distinguished himself as a performer. After college, he moved to New York, where he performed in numerous shows at the Apollo Theatre, embarked on a European tour with Harlem Gospel and landed the principal role as Gabriel in the production of Gloria during the Christmastown season at Busch Gardens in Virginia. Mcgraw holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and continues to thrive in his entertainment career. Of all the roles he has played, he says his greatest role is being a father to his daughter.
Freeman brings more than 20 years of combined experience as a collegiate instructor, and volunteer helping schools in the Charlotte community rebuild and strengthen their drumlines. He has served as a member of the Carolina Panthers Percussion Line and values any opportunity to lead and mentor young percussionists. He is a member of the House of Prayer.
Johnson C. Smith announces band staff ahead of homecoming
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