The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Music has named Dr. Travis Higa interim director of The Pride of Mississippi Marching Band. He moves from his position as associate director to replace Dr. Colin McKenzie, who was recently named Director of the School of Music.
Higa is completing his second year at USM as the assistant director of bands and associate director of the Pride of Mississippi. Prior to USM, he studied wind conducting at Michigan State University while also serving on faculty at Oakland University where he conducted the Symphonic Band and taught course work in music education.
Before studying at Michigan State, Higa taught instrumental and general music in the Longmeadow Public Schools in western Massachusetts, as well as served as music director and founder of the Youth Wind Ensemble of Springfield at the Community Music School of Springfield, Mass.
“I have a great respect for the Pride of Mississippi and the long-standing tradition and excellence that this organization exemplifies within the School of Music, the University, and the community,” said Higa. “I am extremely fortunate to have spent the past two seasons with The Pride and am eager to continue collaborating with our outstanding students and establish a strong sense of community within our family of students, alumni, and directors.”
A native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, Higa holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from Michigan State University, a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Montana, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Since its founding in 1920 as a 20-piece brass ensemble, the Pride of Mississippi Marching Band has evolved into a boastful organization of more than 300. The band performs at all home football games, numerous away games, and high school marching band contests and festivals during the football season. The band has performed before presidents, governors, and even the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland twice (1993 and 1997), having toured throughout the United States and to England and Ireland.
Performing for such events as the F.D.R. inaugural parade in the 1930s, the Senior Bowl, and professional and collegiate bowl games including a performance with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in 2006. The Pride has enjoyed more television and national audience exposure than any other band in the South. The program at Southern Miss is regarded throughout the nation as one of the finest band programs.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 131 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit usm.edu.