By Wanting Zhu | September 19, 2022
New Director of Marching and Pep Bands, Justin Miller
Photo Credit: University at Albany
The career of Justin Miller, UAlbany’s new marching band conductor, has taken him across the country to six different states, and such a life is one of his favorite things about the euphonium instrument he plays – flexibility.
After working and studying in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, and now New York, Miller arrived in the Capital Region this academic year with his wife, Leah, who is also a music educator, to be the new conductor of the UAlbany Marching and Incentive Band.
“I hope to grow the band by providing engaging performances to audiences and recruiting new students,” Miller said. "My primary goal for the bands this year is to make sure that our performances are energetic and engaging to our audience.”
Miller has performed with several orchestras. He was a featured performer at GMU’s Honors Recital in 2018 and at the U.S. Army Band Tuba and Euphonium Conference with the George Mason Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble in 2019.
The euphonium, which resembles a small tuba and is played mainly in military and brass bands, blends in well with its tenor pitch with almost any other instrument, including marching bands.
“I love working with the university's marching and pep bands,” he said. “As I researched UAlbany's program, it was easy for me to see how much the students enjoyed working in the band from their feedback on the band and their passion for performing. And during the interview process, it became clear to me that UAlbany supported the band and wanted to see them grow, which drew me to accept the position,” Miller said.
Miller replaced Kevin Champagne, who was the orchestra's previous conductor and still holds the position of leader of the UAlbany Symphony Orchestra.
“Welcome to Justin Miller,” Champagne said. “Miller is very qualified to take the Bands to the next level. I will still direct the Concert Band and help out as needed with the athletic bands.”
Champagne has been at the University at Albany since 2003. The marching band was launched in 2013.
“When it was announced that my part time UAlbany position was going to become a full-time position, I thought about applying for that, but I decided it was time for me to pursue other aspects of music,” Champagne said.
Champagne has written music for school bands of all levels as well as many small ensemble pieces. He said he is rearranging those pieces so that they can be published. On the non-musical side, he said he plans to do more traveling.
The band is open to all University at Albany students, even those who do not play an instrument. In addition to music and performances, membership is a front-row seat to Division I athletic competitions. For more information, or to submit an interest form, visit the band’s official page.