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About the Directors
About the Directors

Welcome to the Website of the University High School Band Boosters, Morgantown, WV! Announcements from the director may be found below. Use the above menu to navigate the website.

About Our Directors

Mark S. Palmer, Director of Bands

Mark S. Palmer has been at University High School since 2000. Prior to coming to UHS, he was the director of bands at Cameron High School in Marshall County, WV from 1995-1999, and also served as adjunct director of bands at Waynesburg College in Waynesburg, PA in 1998-99.

Mr. Palmer holds a bachelors degree in advertising and bachelors and masters degrees in music education from West Virginia University. He graduated from John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, WV.

Under Mr. Palmer's direction, the UHS symphonic winds was named a 2014 West Virginia Music Educators Association Honor Ensemble. The symphonic winds and jazz ensemble have each received superior (I) ratings every year since his arrival, and the concert band has received superior (I) ratings fourteen times during the same span. More recently, under the direction of former UHS Assistant Director of Bands Neil King, the jazz ensemble was named the WVMEA High School Honor Jazz Ensemble in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and the jazz combo was named WVMEA's first "X" Honor Ensemble in 2016.

Additionally, the marching band has been highly successful, winning numerous awards throughout the years, including Grand Champion of the 2008 Ritchie County USSBA Competition, runner-up Grand Champion at the 2008 WV Oil and Gas Festival Competition, first place Group IV at the 2008 Preston "Music In the Mountains" Tournament of Bands Competition, first place Group IV and overall at the 2009 Northern Garrett (MD) TOB Competition, first place Group IV at the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 Preston "Music In the Mountains" TOB Competitions, and first place Group IV, first place guard, first place percussion, and first place field commander at the 2013 Baldwin (PA) TOB Competition.

His bands at Cameron High School also consistently received superior ratings and high scores.

Mr. Palmer worked as a graduate assistant in the WVU Division of Music during the 1999-2000 school year, teaching guitar and working as a university supervisor for student teachers. He has continued a close relationship with the WVU Division of Music, hosting over 50 student teachers at UHS.

Mr. Palmer was named the Phi Beta Mu (National Bandmasters Honorary) West Virginia Bandmaster of the Year for 2014-2015, and the University High School Teacher of the Year in 2014. He was elected to Phi Beta Mu in 2008, and served as president of the West Virginia Bandmasters Association from 2009-2015. He also served on the West Virginia Music Educators Association Executive Board during that same span.

He performs as a singer/guitarist around the Morgantown area, and has performed as both a trumpeter and guitarist with West Virginia Public Theater.

Mr. Palmer, his wife Jen, and their sons Max and Sam live in Morgantown.



Curtis E. Johnson, Asst. Director of Bands

Curtis Johnson is a renowned R&B and jazz performer. He has backed and recorded with such star performers as Christian McBride, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Benny Golson, Ahmad Jamal, Freddy Cole, Anne Hampton Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Isaac Hayes, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves, and many others. He is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, and tours with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.

Classically, Johnson has performed on numerous North American Saxophone Alliance Conference programs, World Saxophone Congress programs, and national Saxophone Symposium programs. He has performed as a soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Johnson, former Associate Professor of Music at West Virginia University, had been on the WVU faculty for more than twenty years. Johnson is currently an adjunct faculty member at West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Most recently, he was twice selected as one of 200 music teachers from 195 cities across 45 states announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. On total, more than 30,000 nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

Johnson has conducted numerous all-star high school and college jazz bands and All-State Jazz Ensembles and has served as Artistic Director for the Krakow (Poland) Summer Jazz Academy. He is featured in the book “Legendary Locals of Wheeling” as an artist and as an expert on the career of Leon “Chu” Berry. The PBS special “They Died Before 40” includes Johnson speaking about the life of “Chu” Berry.

Curtis Johnson has toured and performed all over the United States and in Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, The Czech Republic, Northern Africa, and Russia. Johnson is an Artist/Clinician for the Yamaha Corporation of America.



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