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O'Neill Sanford

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O'Neill Sanford


O’Neill Sanford (b. 1943) is an American conductor, educator and composer.

Mr. Sanford earned his Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.; Master of Music degree in education at the Vandercook College of Music, Chicago, Ill.; and studied jazz composition with composer and arranger Thad Jones at the Conservatory of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark. He received an honorary doctorate from the Conservatory of Music, Mexico City, Mexico; has served as conductor of “The Youth All-American Band” in Spain, England and Greece as well as serving as a guest conductor, clinician, and has performed on tours throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Since becoming a music educator in 1965, Mr. Sanford had held a number of positions to include the following: director of bands, Sevier High School, Ferriday, La.; director of bands, marching band arranger, and trombone instructor, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Miss; director of bands, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va.; symphonic band and marching dand director, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.; director of bands, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn.; and director of bands at Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Va. While at Norfolk State, Mr. Sanford also served as the chairman of the Department of Music.

Sanford’s works for the marching band, jazz ensemble and concert band are performed throughout the United States and Europe. The St. Paul Civic Orchestra commissioned his work for orchestra and choir, Lift Every Voice. He wrote The Bicentennial Fanfare for the University of Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial; Pitt is It!- a spirit song; The Chancellors March and his 1991 composition, The President’s March, which was performed by the United States Navy Band, and is currently performed throughout the United States.

He currently [2021] serves as president of the HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] National Band Directors’ Consortium, and is founder and Chief Organizer of the HBCU “Battle Fest” Battle of the Bands. He also currently [2021] serves as a visiting assistant professor of music, principal recruiter for the Department of Music and director of bands at Jackson State University.

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