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Scott Rikkers, Director

Music Building - Band Office Room 210
(540) 568-6033
rikkersd@jmu.edu

Scott Rikkers is the Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Marching Royal Dukes at James Madison University. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, he received his Bachelor of Music Education from Western Michigan University and Master of Music Education from James Madison University. At JMU Mr. Rikkers is the Director of the Marching Royal Dukes, coordinator of the basketball pep bands, directs the Concert Band, teaches Music Education courses, and supervises student teachers. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Rikkers was the Assistant Director of Bands at The University of Montana where he coordinated the athletic band program, conducted the University Concert Band, and assisted with the Music Education curriculum. He held a graduate assistantship with the James Madison University band program prior to which he taught k-12 music in Michigan, holding positions in General Music and Middle/High School Band.

During his time at James Madison, the marching band has traveled abroad to Ireland, Paris, London, and Italy.  Most recently, they toured Florence, Siena, and Rome, and performed in the Rome New Year’s Celebration with the highlight being a performance at the Pope’s New Year’s blessing in St. Peter’s Square amongst a crowd of over 85,000. Under his direction, the band has made two appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as traveled with the football team to capture two FCS Division National Championship titles (2004/2016). The band has been active in the USBands and Bands of America/Music For All circuits, and has an active performance schedule in the region and around the East Coast. 

Mr. Rikkers is a member of Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. In addition, he holds affiliation with the Virginia Music Education Association, Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, North American Brass Band Association, Collegiate Band Directors National Association, and the National Association for Music Education. He has been an active clinician for both marching and concert events in Maryland, Michigan, Montana, South Carolina, and Virginia. In 2010 he traveled to Venezuela with a group from JMU to study the Venezuelan Youth Symphony program, El Sistema. There he was a guest conductor with the Merida state Wind Ensemble.

Amy Birdsong, Assistant Director

Music Building - Room 211
(540) 568-2384
birdsoae@jmu.edu

Amy Birdsong will be joining our faculty starting this fall (2017) as the new Assistant Director of Bands.  Prof. Birdsong is a JMU alumna receiving her Bachelor of Music Education and minor in Jazz Studies in 2001.  She joins us after many years as a successful music educator in Virginia.  She began her professional career in Henrico County at Varina High School. She left Varina to open Hanover High School (HHS) in Midlothian, VA and has built a comprehensive and accomplished band program during her time there. Her concert ensembles consistently received Superior ratings at State Assessment, and combined with successful seasons in marching band, earned multiple Virginia Honor Band designations. In 2016 she was named “Teacher of the Year” for Hanover High School.

In addition to her responsibilities at HHS, Prof. Birdsong was also the Director of the Richmond Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra for six years and was a founding and performing member of the Commonwealth Winds in Central VA. Prof. Birdsong is an active member of V.B.O.D.A. and V.M.E.A., and helps chair the annual VMEA All-VA Jazz Ensemble Event. She is a member of the Alpha Chi chapter of the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity as well as the American School Band Directors Association.  In addition, she is an active clinician and adjudicator for both concert and marching venues, and was recently named a Conn-Selmer VIP Educator.

We are excited to welcome (back) Amy to JMU and look forward to having her as a member the JMU Band Program, School of Music, and the JMU Community. 

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