Clark Atlanta University (CAU) has named Tomisha Brock as Director of University Bands and Assistant Professor of Music. This historic announcement makes Brock the first woman to serve as band director and the first female director in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
Brock replaces Dr. Forrest Watkins, a CAU alumnus who had been band director since 2014.
“I am truly honored and excited to make history at CAU,” says Brock. “In a male dominated profession, it is a privilege for female directors to show that we are just as qualified, we can compete and produce on a large scale, as with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),” she adds. According to the HBCU National Band Directors Consortium, there are only five female band directors serving HBCUs across the nation serving as head director or as assistant/ associate director.
When asked what made her apply for the job at CAU, Brock stated “the location of the university, and the vision of the administration attracted me to Clark Atlanta University. I’ve always dreamed of living and working in either Atlanta, Georgia, or Houston, Texas, and to have that dream finally come true is amazing.”
Brock said that she intends to use her experience and skills to help revitalize and rebrand the CAU Band Program, as well as increase membership, recruitment, and marketing of the program. “With the assistance of my staff and our students, we intend to make the CAU Band Program the flagship program in the Atlanta Metro area, and restore the program as of the top programs not only in the state of Georgia, but regionally and nationally,” she adds.
The new director held a meet & greet forum in June to share her vision for the program with alumni, parents, students, and community supporters and at each of the CAU freshmen summer orientation sessions she gave short presentations, to recruit for the program.
Not only will Brock be in charge of the Mighty Marching Panthers but she will also head the Pep Band and the Concert Band. “It is my goal to also establish a Symphonic Wind Ensemble within the next two years. The marching band also encompasses our Dance Squad (Essence) and Flag Team (Silver Breeze). We also intend to bring back majorettes or a featured twirler (Star Twirler) and Bannerettes (Banner Girls) over the next two years.”
Brock recently served as associate director of bands and assistant professor at Mississippi Valley State. Previously she served as director of university bands at Elizabeth City State University. “My goal is to provide holistic education through music, as well as excitement, creativity, and revitalization to the CAU band program,” says the 35-year-old. “Our students will understand the importance of music in their lives and the contributions music education has in creating the ‘total person.’ When students leave my program, they will possess valuable skills that will help market them in their careers wherever they go.”
Brock, who began singing in the church choir at six-years-old and playing the clarinet by age ten, has immersed herself in music her entire life. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Virginia State University and a Master of Music Education degree from Norfolk State University. She is pursuing her PhD in music education at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2016 Brock was named Spectacular Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year’, in the education category.
“Students who are involved in music and the marching band develop solid social skills. It provides them an avenue to express themselves, free from judgment,’ says the Virginia native. “It teaches and enhances the concepts of self-discipline, accountability, and team work.”