Mississippi State University Mississippi State University

Directors

Director of Bands

Elva Kaye Lance

Elva Kaye LanceElva Kaye Lance is Director of Bands at Mississippi State University. Her current responsibilities include conducting the Wind Ensemble, providing leadership for the Famous Maroon Band, and administering all aspects of the band program. Ms. Lance also teaches methods classes within the Department of Music and assist with student teacher supervision. A veteran music educator of forty years, she previously taught instrumental music in the public schools of Mississippi.

Now in her twenty-seventh year at Mississippi State, Ms. Lance has guided the band program through the completion of a multimillion-dollar rehearsal facility and construction of a new synthetic turf practice field. Under her leadership, the band program has seen the expansion of the band staff and a student enrollment that now includes five concert bands, jazz band, two basketball pep bands, and a marching band with an enrollment of more than 390 students.

As a conductor, she has led the Wind Ensemble in performances for international concert audiences during a 2008 tour of the British Isles, a 2011 tour in Austria and Germany, and an Italian tour in 2014 which included a performance at the International Music Meeting in Padova, Italy. In addition to an annual regional performance tour in the fall semester, in May of 2019 the Wind Ensemble will perform in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Ms. Lance maintains an active schedule as a clinician and adjudicator for both concert and marching band events throughout the country. Additionally, she is a frequent contributor to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series.

In 2011, she received the “State Pride” award from the College of Education for excellence in teaching, research, and service and the Edythe M. McArthur Outstanding Woman Band Director Award for the state of Mississippi. She was named Outstanding Bandmaster for Mississippi in 2015, and in 2017 was named Outstanding Contributor to Bands in Mississippi by the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. She was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2018.

Ms. Lance has served as the state chair for the College Band Directors National Association and is presently the state chair for the National Band Association. She has served on the Diversity Committee and as a member of the Athletic Band Committee for the College Band Directors National Association. She is President-Elect of the International Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu. Additional professional memberships include the Mississippi Bandmasters Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Sigma Alpha Iota, and the National Association for Music Education.

Associate Director of Bands

Clifton Taylor

Clifton TaylorDr. Clifton Taylor has served as Associate Director of Bands at Mississippi State University since 2005. At MSU, he co-directs the Famous Maroon Band and basketball pep bands, conducts the MSU Symphonic Band and the Jazz Ensembles, and teaches courses in the Department of Music. A native of Mississippi, he holds two music education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a DMA in wind conducting from the University of South Carolina. A veteran teacher, Dr. Taylor has taught instrumental music at every level, from the elementary school to the community college, and currently directs the band program for the Starkville Homeschool Music Cooperative.

Dr. Taylor is regularly engaged in composing and arranging for concert band, marching band, and other media. His original concert band works are published by Grand Mesa Music Publishers and Maroon Tune Publications. He is also the composer and publisher of Honor Band Sight Reading Etudes. Now in its 3rd edition, the collection contains 87 etudes written for all-district and all-state auditions in Mississippi and Louisiana. Dr. Taylor also maintains a steady schedule as a performing trombonist, playing in symphonic, chamber, and jazz settings. He has served as the principal trombonist of the Meridian Symphony since 2002.

Dr. Taylor is affiliated with the College Band Directors National Association; the National Band Association; the Mississippi Bandmasters Association; Phi Beta Mu; Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia; Kappa Kappa Psi; and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In addition to his work at MSU, he is the Director of Music at Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA), and serves as a leader of Trail Life USA Troop MS-0110.

Associate Director of Bands

Craig Aarhus

Craig AarhusDr. Craig Aarhus is Associate Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Mississippi State University. At MSU, he co-directs the Famous Maroon Band and basketball pep bands, conducts the Concert Band and Campus/Community Band, and teaches Conducting and Brass Techniques in the Department of Music. As a member of the band faculty, Dr. Aarhus has been part of a team that has helped lead the band program to unprecedented growth, making it currently one of the largest bands in the Southeast.

A native of Alabama, Dr. Aarhus received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Auburn University and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Conducting from The University of Iowa. While at Iowa, he was the recipient of the prestigious Iowa Performance Fellowship and was a conducting student of Dr. Myron Welch. He also served as a graduate conductor for all of the concert bands, arranged music and wrote drill for the Hawkeye Marching Band, and was co-director of the Iowa Pep Band. During this time, he was also the director of the Southeast Iowa Concert Band at Iowa Wesleyan College for one year. Prior to his appointment at MSU, Dr. Aarhus was a successful high school and middle band director in the public schools of Lanett, Tallassee, and Mobile, Alabama.

Dr. Aarhus is a member of several professional organizations including Phi Beta Mu, College Band Directors National Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha, Tau Beta Sigma and the Mississippi Bandmasters Association. He is currently serving as the College/University Representative on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association and as a Governor for the Southeast District of Kappa Kappa Psi. Dr. Aarhus has been an adjudicator and clinician throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and in Canada, and is a contributing author to five volumes of the popular Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series.

In the Spring of 2017, Dr. Aarhus received the A. Frank Martin Award from Kappa Kappa Psi for excellence in fraternity service, and in 2015, he received the Clyde Muse Service Award from the MSU College of Education and was a member of the George Duke Humphrey Faculty Leadership Program. In 2010 and 2011, he was a recipient of the “StatePride” Award for excellence in teaching, research, and service. He was a clinician/instructor at the Smith-Walbridge Drum Major Clinics for 17 years, and in that capacity had the opportunity to teach hundreds of high school and college drum majors from across the country. He and his family reside in Starkville and are members of First Presbyterian Church, where he has served as Music Director since 2007.