Band director Smith will leave TSU Sept. 1

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2001

Jan. 10, 2000 10 PM

Troy State University’s Sound of the South is losing its director.

Robert W. Smith, director of bands at Troy State University, will be leaving his position Sept. 1 to become a consulting director with Warner Bros. Publishing, one of the largest music publishers in the world.

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The TSU alumnus, who succeeded John M. Long as director of bands, will serve as a consulting editor for educational product development for Warner Bros. He has more than 350 publications, the majority of which were composed and arranged through his long-term association with Warner Bros.

"It was difficult to make the decision to leave Troy State University," Smith said. "I learned a great deal from Dr. Long as a student and I was honored to follow him as director. I will miss working with the students and the outstanding music faculty TSU has assembled."

Smith said he would not have left TSU for another academic post, but the position as Warner Bros. is the "opportunity of a lifetime."

Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of Troy State University, said Smith has been a valuable member of the music faculty. He added that a search to fill the director of bands position will begin immediately.

"Robert Smith had been a tremendous asset to his alma mater," Hawkins said. "Naturally, we wanted Robert to stay at TSU, but it’s gratifying to know that this university has produced one of the most outstanding composers in the world. This opportunity is a credit to Robert’s incredible talent and to Troy State University."

Hawkins said TSU is "exploring ways to continue a professional relationship" with Smith, perhaps as a visiting professor or part-time artist-in-residence.

In addition to his administrative duties and directing the Sound of the South Marching Band, Smith serves as conductor of the TSU Symphony Band and the TSU Chamber Winds.

Warner Bros. Publications recently released ­ under its CPP Media Records label "The Divine Comedy: The Symphonic Music of Robert W. Smith." "The Inferno" and "The Ascension" from that symphony have received worldwide critical acclaim.

His original works for winds and percussion have been performed by countless military, university, high school and middle school bands throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.

His compositions and arrangements have been used in a variety of situations, such as NBC’s coverage of the presidential inauguration, Walt Disney’s "American Teacher’s Awards," welcoming ceremonies in Japan honoring then-President Ronald Reagan, opening day at Dodger Stadium, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Olympic Games and television shows in the United States and Europe.

Smith and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Madison and Savannah.