Alfred L. Watkins, 2018 Guest Conductor
Alfred L. Watkins served as a high school band director for 37 years, retiring in 2013. He was Director of Bands at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia for 31 years. For six years prior to joining Lassiter, Watkins served as Director of Bands at Murphy High School in the Atlanta Public Schools. Mr. Watkins is a graduate of Florida A & M University where he was a conducting and music education student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White. He is in high demand throughout the country serving as guest conductor and lecturer in more than 35 states and is the innovator of the Symphonic Band Camp, a three-day intense student of concert band and chamber literature held during the winter months. The camp is now implemented in over 30 states in America. His Lassiter bands under Watkins’ direction have performed twice at the prestigious Midwest Band Clinic, six performances at the Bands Of America National Concert Band Festival and four performances at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference. The symphonic band has performed on the college campuses of the University of Georgia (4), Florida State University, the University of South Carolina and Troy State University. The Lassiter Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Trumpet Ensemble, Trombone Choir, and Percussion Ensemble have all performed on the national stage. The Lassiter Percussion Ensemble has performed twice at the Midwest Clinic, PASIC, three times at the National Percussion Festival and four times at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference.
The award-winning Lassiter Marching Band was the 1998 and 2002 Bands of America Grand National Champion and the band also won nine BOA Regional Championships. The marching band also participated in four Tournament of Roses Parades, three times in the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, twice in the Orange Bowl Parade and once in the Florida Citrus Bowl Parade representing an international television viewing audience of over two billion people. During Mr. Watkins’ Lassiter tenure, all four (or five) Lassiter concert bands received consecutive Superior Ratings from 1993 until his retirement in 2013, with the top two bands earning consistent superior ratings in Grade VI for his last 24 years. The band program is one of only fourteen high bands in America to have received both the Sudler Flag of Honor for concert and the Sudler Shield for marching. The Lassiter Winter Color Guard was named 1996 and 1997 Winter Guard International World Champions. For over twenty years, Mr. Watkins served Bands of America and an adjudicator, judging Finals of their championships for many years.
Mr. Watkins has been selected as a member of the Florida A & M University Gallery of Distinguished Alumni, the American Bandmasters Association, the Georgia Chapter of the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame and the Bands of America Hall of Fame. He has received seventeen Certificates of Excellence from the National Band Association, the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the Band World Magazine Legion of Honor. In 2002, he was honored in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record for his outstanding achievement. Mr. Watkins is Co-Founder, Conductor and Musical Director of the Cobb Wind Symphony, an all-adult community band based in the Atlanta area, which in 2009, earned the Sudler Silver Scroll Award presented to outstanding community bands in America and has performed twice at the Midwest Clinic. The $1.5 million Alfred L. Watkins Band Building at Lassiter High School bears his name. In 2009 and 2010, two doctoral dissertations were written (Sue Samuels, Auburn University and Matt Thomas, FSU) centered around his life and work surrounding the Lassiter Band Program. In 2013, he was awarded the Distinguished Career Award from GMEA. In 2014, Watkins’ former students and friends commissioned composers Mark Camphouse and James Curnow to write works honoring Mr. Watkins and his career: “Second Essay for Symphonic Band” and “Lexus for Solo Trumpet, Winds and Percussion.” In 2014, Watkins received the Edwin Franko Goldman Award from the American School Band Directors Association for outstanding contribution to the advancement of school bands. Currently, Mr. Watkins serves on the Midwest Clinic Advisory Committee and will receive the “Medal of Honor” from the Midwest Clinic in December, 2018. He is also employed as a Conn-Selmer Clinician. He and his wife for 33 years, Rita, live in Marietta and have two adult sons.