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Brent laid foundation for excellence at NSU
Jul 04, 2013 | 583 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The recent announcement that Bill Brent will step down as head of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University was a sharp blow to the university and community that have reaped enormous benefits from his dynamic leadership.

But the deep disappointment created on and off campus by his departure from the director’s position was offset some by both Brent’s decision to remain at the school in a different capacity and the selection of an outstanding NSU staff member as his successor.

Brent will remain active in his beloved Mrs. H.D. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts as director of operations and special projects. He will focus extensive attention on recruitment of students and fundraising, areas in which he excels.

The selection of Greg Handel to succeed Brent as director of Creative and Performing Arts will help assure a smooth transition in a prominent area of the university that includes the Department of Music, Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts.

Handel has served this year as associate director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts and has been a member of the music education faculty at NSU for five years. He has the skills, experience and expertise to maintain and expand the excellence of Northwestern’s creative and performing arts programs.

One of Brent’s major achievements at the university was the development of a world class marching band that has grown from just 48 members when he became director three decades ago to more than 300 performers.

The Northwestern band was selected on a national website in 2008 as one of the top eight bands in the nation along with bands from Texas A&M, Georgia, Michigan and other major universities. The band has also been a finalist for the Sudler Trophy that is the country’s highest honor for university marching bands.

Brent’s honors for his remarkable achievements include being selected for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame that has such renowned members as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Pete Fountain.

Music, theater, dance and visual arts programs at Northwestern have become nationally recognized for academic quality and outstanding performances and exhibitions under Brent’s guidance, and he has created the foundation and impetus for continued excellence in those programs.

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