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School of Music

Instructional and Operations Staff

J.D. Shaw

J.D. Shaw

J.D. Shaw, Carolina Band staff arranger, is associate professor of horn at University of South Carolina and was formerly the French hornist with the internationally acclaimed Boston Brass where he was creative director, music arranger and co-owner of the ensemble. J.D. is an active solo artist and travels extensively throughout the United States and many countries in North America, Europe and Asia. In addition, J.D. has also been a featured performer on National Public Radio's Performance Today and the CBS Morning Show. J.D. received his Masters of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he was awarded the performer's certificate under the tutelage of horn pedagogue Verne Reynolds. Hailing from Hutchinson, Kansas, he earned his degree of Bachelors of Music at the Wichita State University studying with Dr. Nicholas E. Smith. Prior to his position at University of South Carolina, Professor Shaw has held teaching posts at Boston College, University of New Mexico and University of Miami. As an active performer and prolific arranger, J.D. has recorded over 15 albums encompassing diverse musical styles from the Classical, Jazz, and Latin genres. As a prolific arranger, Professor Shaw writes music for many orchestras, bands, and chamber ensembles. His arrangements are featured with several publishers and can be heard on many recording labels and performance stages across the world. Currently, he is the music arranger for the world champion Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps.

Clark Bagwell headshot

Clark Bagwell

Clark Bagwell is a senior at the University of South Carolina pursuing a degree in Music Education. He is from Inman, South Carolina and attended Landrum High School. He is excited to be a member of the Senior Staff with the Carolina Band this season!  While at USC, Clark has enjoyed performing with the Carolina Band, the Volleyball and Basketball Bands, Carolina Sound, and the Symphony Orchestra, of which he was principal chair. Clark is a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and enjoys camping, hiking, and golfing. 

Brenna Curtis photo

Brenna Curtis

Brenna Curtis is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting from the University of South Carolina. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Curtis taught in the Chicago Public School system for three years where she held the position of Arts Department Chair and Director of Music at Crane Medical Preparatory High School, and was an acting member on the Chicago Teachers Union Arts Committee. During her time in CPS, Curtis cultivated a music program to fit the needs of the city’s youth, forming the school’s first marching and pep bands and offering both performance and non-performance based classes to engage a wider pool of students. Curtis earned her Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2018) studying under John Gaudette (bassoon) and José O. Riojas (conducting). During her time at UIC, Curtis was granted the position of the School of Music’s first research assistant, allowing her to lead the University’s wind ensemble in several concerts, including the premier of John Hennecken’s “The Athen’s Concerto.” Curtis also saw several of her arrangements for band, orchestra, and chamber ensembles come to life, including a performance of her arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” performed by the UIC Wind Ensemble under her direction. After graduation, Curtis went on to pursue her music teaching licensure from DePaul University (2019), where she learned the ins and outs of music education from Dr. Sara Jones and Dr. Jacqueline Kelly-McHale, teaching kindergarten music lessons at a local elementary school and through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s youth outreach program “Once Upon a Symphony.” In addition to her passions for music and education, Curtis also enjoys biking, hiking, rock climbing, snowboarding, rollerblading, cooking, and baking. She is sad to leave behind her loved ones and the city of Chicago, but is looking forward to discovering what South Carolina has to offer.

Cameron Duncan photo

Cameron Duncan

Cameron will be attending USC in the Fall to begin his MM in Trombone Performance. Currently, Cameron is completing a BSE in Music Education at the University of Alabama, where he has performed with various ensembles including the Million Dollar Band, Huxford Symphony Orchestra, and the UA Trombone Choir. Cameron also played Euphonium as a member of the 2023 Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps. During his undergraduate studies, Cameron has worked with several middle and high school band programs in Alabama, and he aspires to one day become a band director. Originally from Chapin, South Carolina, Cameron is very excited to be returning home to be a part of the Carolina Bands.

Blake Fowler headshot

Blake Fowler

Blake Fowler is pursuing a M.M. in Band Conducting at the University of South Carolina, where he serves as a graduate assistant. Prior to starting at USC, Blake was the Director of Bands at Chapin High School, and was responsible for conducting the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Percussion Ensemble; as well as directing the "Pride of the Midlands" Marching Band and the Chapin High School Jazz Band. Prior to his appointment at CHS, he was the associate band director at North Augusta High School. Under Blake’s direction, the Chapin High School Symphonic Band was invited to perform at the 2022 South Carolina Music Educators Association and the 2022 Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival as a featured performing ensemble. Bands under Blake’s direction consistently scored Superior ratings at festival events, and received accolades for diverse and exciting programming. In 2022 the “Pride of the Midlands” Marching Band was crowned the 4A SCBDA Lower State Champion. In 2021 the CHS Symphonic Band gave the world premiere of “Dream” by Kyle W. Brown. Blake views student leadership as a cornerstone of the modern day band program and teaches students to become servant-based leaders. Blake graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Performance Certificate in 2015. He is currently on the board of the Palmetto Concert Band and is a performing member/guest conductor of the Carolina Wind Symphony. With a firm belief that continuing education is the cornerstone of being a fresh and exciting conductor, Blake has attended many band directing and conducting symposia throughout the Nation. His professional affiliations include the SCMEA, SCBDA, and the National Band Association. Outside of teaching Blake enjoys cooking, video games, reading, spending time with his partner Aaron, and his dog Bela “Bark”tok. 

Angelina Lanza photo

Angelina Lanza

Angelina Lanza, originally from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a K-12 Instrumental Music Education Major and Flute Performance Certificate candidate at the University of South Carolina where she studies under Dr. Jennifer Parker-Harley. Currently, she serves as a Production Assistant for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. As an avid advocate for Elementary Music Education, Angelina has served as a student teacher at both the Elementary and Middle School levels throughout South Carolina. In her studies at the University of South Carolina, Angelina currently holds positions in many music organizations. She is The Teaching Fellows Secretary, the Vice President for the South Carolina Flute Society, and the 650 Lincoln Music Community RA. Angelina is looking forward to taking on the new role of Senior Staff and is excited to build connections and community in a historic year for the Carolina Band. Following graduation, Angelina plans to attend graduate school for Arts Administration and teach at the Elementary level. Outside of music, Angelina loves enjoying local coffee shops around Columbia and spending time with her family.

Ben Pouncey headshot

Ben Pouncey

Benjamin Pouncey, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, is a graduate assistant pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting from the University of South Carolina. Mr. Pouncey received the Master of Music degree in wind conducting from Colorado State University, and earned the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of South Carolina. While attending Colorado State, Mr. Pouncey received the 2023 School of Music, Theatre, and Dance Faculty Award for Outstanding Graduate Student (Music) and was recognized as the Performing Arts Top Scholar (Undergraduate Choice) at the 2022 Colorado State Graduate Showcase. Mr. Pouncey was selected to participate in the 2022 National Band Association Young Composer and Conductor Mentor Project, during which he rehearsed and conducted the United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) in a world premiere of composer Trevor Smith’s Palette and Spectrum. Mr. Pouncey served as Director of Bands at Ashley Ridge High School (Summerville, SC) from 2018 to 2021, where he directed all aspects of a comprehensive high school band program. Prior to Ashley Ridge, Mr. Pouncey was co-Director of Bands at DuBose Middle School (Summerville, SC) from 2013 to 2018. During this time, the DuBose Symphonic Band was a featured ensemble at the 2018 South Carolina Music Educators Association Conference. An alumnus of The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, Mr. Pouncey was a member of the trumpet section in 2007 and 2008 and served as the corps’ drum major from 2009 to 2011. Mr. Pouncey was the World Class recipient of the 2011 Drum Corps International (DCI) Jim Jones Leadership Award, and has been an instructor for the University of South Carolina Drum Major Clinic, the Music for All Drum Major Institute, the Western Carolina University Summer Symposium, and the DCI Drum Major Leadership Seminar. Mr. Pouncey has been published in the National Band Association Journal and holds membership in the College Band Directors National Association, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity (alumnus), the National Band Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Chase Sawyer headshot

Chase Sawyer

Chase Sawyer is a senior at the University of South Carolina pursuing a major in Music Education, a minor in Spanish, and a Saxophone Performance Certificate. He is from Latta, South Carolina and attended Latta High School. Before the role of senior staff, Chase was a member of the tenor saxophone section in the Carolina Band for three years. He has enjoyed participating in not only the Carolina Band, but also the Volleyball and Basketball Bands. He is involved in various organizations at USC including the SC Teaching Fellows program and Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and spending time with friends. After graduation, Chase plans to teach band in South Carolina, and eventually attend graduate school for wind conducting. He is very excited for this upcoming season and eager to serve the Carolina Band!

Jensen Thomassie headshot

Jensen Thomassie

Jensen L. Thomassie is a percussionist, composer, and educator currently based in Columbia, South Carolina. Thomassie is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Percussion Performance at the University of South Carolina under the study of Scott Herring where he also serves as the Carolina Band Drumline Graduate Assistant. Thomassie holds a Bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance and Music Composition from Furman University where he studied percussion under Omar Carmenates and Justin Watt and composition under Mark Kilstofte, Peter B. Kay, and Jay Bocook. As a composer, Thomassie’s catalog includes over 30 works for percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, clarinet quartet, brass quintet, voice, string quartet, electronics, and more. His music has been performed across the United States, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea, and he is regularly commissioned by artists and ensembles including What Is Noise new music ensemble. As a performer, Thomassie has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention twice with the Furman University Percussion Ensemble, first in the new music research session in 2019, as well as performing as one of the winners of the International Percussion Ensemble Competition in 2022. Thomassie regularly performs as a section percussionist with the Poinsett Wind Symphony. An active member of the pageantry arts, Thomassie has marched with Music City Drum Corps, the Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, the Furman University Paladin Regiment, and the New Orleans Saints Drumline, where he also served as a music writer and arranger. Thomassie has previously served as Director of Percussion at J.L. Mann High School, where he won a state championship in CWEA Percussion Scholastic Novice with the J.L. Mann Indoor Percussion Ensemble. Thomassie also freelances as a percussion arranger and sound designer for multiple programs in Upstate South Carolina, including J.L. Mann High School, Greer High School, and Hillcrest High School.

Kirk Randazzo

Kirk Randazzo

Kirk Randazzo, “The Voice of the Carolina Band,” is a highly sought-after speaker and scholar, both internationally and across the United States. As a respected political scientist, he teaches and conducts research on constitutional law and judicial politics, the rule of law in emerging democracies, and judicial independence. Dr. Randazzo is the director of the Carolina Leadership Initiative, which seeks to promote, encourage, and facilitate leadership and its development across the University of South Carolina. As a public speaker, his presentations focus on developing fundamental leadership skills and strategies for successful conflict management, team motivation and public speaking. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina in 1994 and his Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University in 2003. From 2003–2008 he taught at the University of Kentucky and in 2008 returned to his alma mater as a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. He serves on various boards including the USC Alumni Band and the Friends of the USC School of Music.

Randy Herald

Randy Herald

Randy Herald, Carolina Band videographer, marched in the Carolina Band from 1970–72, and in 1973 he began videotaping the band performances. Randy graduated from USC with a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a master of media arts degree. He worked in various roles during his career at Carolina including television producer, production manager, university broadcast coordinator, media arts instructor and was USC’s first athletic video coordinator. He retired from USC in 2002 and started a new career as visual information manager at Fort Gordon. He retired again in 2011 and now serves on several nonprofit boards as well as playing in the Savannah River Winds and the Camden Community Concert Band.

Gordon Humphries in garnet polo

Gordon Humphries

Gordon Humphries joined the Carolina Band staff in 2015 as the band photographer. Gordon is a Columbia native and an adjunct instructor of photography in the School of Visual Art and Design at USC.



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