Guest Conductor

Capt Walden
 Capt. Brian Walden, US Navy Band (Ret)
Captain Brian O. Walden, a native of Trenton, South Carolina joined Samford University in August 2018 as Instrumental Studies Area Coordinator and Conductor of the Wind Ensemble. Additionally, he currently teaches Graduate Conducting, Instrumental Conducting, Basic Conducting, and Brass Performance Lab. He also performs on trumpet with the Alabama Winds and maintains an active trumpet studio, teaching trumpet students throughout the state of Alabama. Active as a guest conductor, Captain Walden conducted the top band at the University of Alabama 2019 High School Honor Band and is scheduled to conduct the East Tennessee Senior All State High School Band in 2020 and the Troy University Southeastern U.S. (SEUSical) Honor Band Festival in 2020. He continues a busy schedule of guest conducting All County Middle and High School Bands throughout the United States. Previously he was on faculty at Marshall University where he was the Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education following his 2015 retirement as Commanding Officer/Conductor of the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC. At Marshall, Captain Walden was Music Director/Conductor of the Wind Symphony and was Program Coordinator of the Graduate Conducting Program. He also guest conducted the Marshall University Orchestra and various choral and chamber groups. He graduated from Strom Thurmond High School and earned a bachelor's degree in music with a double major in religious studies from Saint Leo University in Florida and a master's degree in wind ensemble conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award by the Alumni Council in 2012. He also holds a graduate diploma in national security strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Brian studied music education at the doctoral level at Boston University and is currently completing his dissertation in the doctoral program (Ph.D) for music education at George Mason University where he was formerly on faculty teaching and conducting the Symphonic Band. He has an extensive recording resume’ as a conductor and has commissioned and premiered important works for the wind ensemble medium. He has conducted international recording artists live and for television performances with Neil Patrick Harris and other artists such as Jason Mraz, James Taylor, Colbie Caillat, Take 6, Phillip Phillips (American Idol winner), Isaac Slade of the rock band “The Fray,” Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and conducted concerti with Branford Marsalis (former Director of The Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno), Charlie Vernon (Bass Trombone Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Charles Lazarus (Trumpet Minnesota Orchestra), Vince Dimartino (Trumpet Recording Artist), Joey Tartell (Trumpet Indiana University), Tromba Mundi, Otis Murphy (Saxophone Indiana University), Chien-Kwan Lin (Saxophone Eastman School of Music), and many other artists. He has guest-conducted ensembles and performed as a trumpet instrumentalist in more than 74 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. As a trumpet instrumentalist, in addition to much freelance work as a multi-instrumentalist, he has performed in the Marshall University Faculty Brass Quintet and has previously been a performing member of the Virginia Wind Symphony, the Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra and La Orquesta Salsa y Mas, a touring Latin salsa ensemble. As a choral conductor he has conducted the Marshall University Choral Union and has previously served as Director of Music at Saint Paul's UMC in Cambridge, MD., and St. Andrews UMC in Virginia Beach, VA. Additionally he was the orchestral brass instructor for the Virginia Beach Public Schools Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. His current research project is centered on improving student teachers’ confidence to teach from the podium while managing the classroom. He is also working on a research project based on the music and literature of composer and music theorist George Thaddeus Jones. At the time of his retirement from active duty, Captain Walden was the senior musician/conductor in the Department of Defense and President Barack H. Obama awarded Captain Walden the distinguished Legion of Merit for his 35 years of service to the nation. His additional awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Meritorious Unit Award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps
Achievement Medal (seven awards) and many others. Brian is an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and served on the Ostwald Award Committee for New Music, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Colonel George S. Howard Award Committee, the National Band Association’s Merrill Jones Award for Young Composers, and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education, Alabama Music Educators Association, Alabama Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Brian is married to Staci Harris Walden (35 years!) and has two sons, Zach (professional volleyball player, paramedic, fireman) and Chase (WKA U.S. National and World Champion Muay Thai kickboxer). Brian and Staci have one grandson, Maverick, who continues to bring joy into their lives!