Brand new director of the SFA School of Music
July 2, 2013 - Robbie Goodrich
Dr. Manny Brand
"I remember as a seventh grader in beginning band, Mr. Martinez took 40 12-year-olds who hardly even knew how to open their instrument cases, and in three or four months, we were performing some simple tunes, on stage, at a Christmas concert to the applause from our parents," Brand recalled.
That teacher possessed what Brand believes are all the qualities of effective music teaching, such as strong musicality, effective communication, enthusiasm and frequent use of musical demonstrations, and also what Brand described as "sensitivity to the students' musical interests."
"Above all, I remember Mr. Martinez was committed to our musical success; he gave all of us in the junior high band the feeling that with hard work and practice, a higher level of musical accomplishment was near," Brand said.
Those same qualities, along with impressive university-level teaching and administrative experience, made Brand stand out above other music educators hoping to fill the position of director of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music, according to Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of the SFA College of Fine Arts. Brand is taking the place of Dr. Scott Harris, who served as interim director last year. Harris accepted a position this past spring as director of the Western Kentucky University School of Music.
"Dr. Brand is an amazing scholar with a record of research and publication that is truly rarefied," Himes said. "He also has a tremendous background in music administration that, combined with the excellence and potential of our music faculty, is certain to lead our School of Music to unprecedented heights of achievement in the future. I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Brand."
For the past 12 years, Brand has lived and worked in Hong Kong, serving as chairman of and professor in the Department of Music and Fine Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University. Prior to Hong Kong, Brand was director of the School of Music at Texas State University, a position he held for 12 years.
"While I enjoyed living in Asia, moving to Nacogdoches offers me this wonderful sense of coming home," Brand said. "So returning to my 'home' state to have a leadership role at one of the most renowned university music schools in the state is very attractive."
Brand said he chose a career in music education because it reflected his love of music and sense of satisfaction in participating in "the ancient and important art of music teaching."
Even as a newcomer to the SFA faculty and family, Brand is proud that SFA attracts some of the most outstanding music students and instructors from across the state and around the world.
"Our music faculty consists of nationally and internationally known artist-teachers who are exemplary music teachers and performers," he said.
"The SOM offers nearly 200 concerts and performances each year for SFA and the Nacogdoches community," Brand said. "Our summer music camps provide musical inspiration and training for thousands of young musicians, and our preparatory division provides a wide range of musical education for all members of the East Texas communities. Special events, like visiting guest artist performers, the Schmidbauer Competition, and East Texas Piano Solo Festival greatly enrich the cultural life of Nacogdoches. Our Friends of Music members offer both financial support and, even more importantly, the loudest applause at our many events.
"SFA's School of Music has a rich history and is known for legendary music professors like David Jones, Darrell Holt and Isidor Saslav," Brand said. "Remarkable and generous donors, like Tom and Peggy Wright, Ed and Gwen Cole and George and Peggy Schmidbauer, share our vision of creating a center of excellence in the musical arts here on the SFA campus.
"And from those roots, we now have a large, mature and accomplished School of Music - one that not only prepares the next generation of music performers and music teachers, but SFA's School of Music is a precious artistic and cultural resource for all of Texas and beyond," he said.