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Dr. John Franklin, Interim Director of Bands
Conductor, Wind Ensemble

Coordinator, Graduate Wind Conducting Program

Dr. John Franklin joined the faculty of the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music at Georgia Southern University as the Interim Director of Bands in July 2023. A native of Jacksonville, FL, Dr. Franklin began his career as a music educator/band director in 1998 teaching middle and high school band and chorus in the citrus farm towns of central Florida. This was followed by graduate studies at Indiana University which led to teaching and conducting appointments at several universities including the University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA), East Carolina University (Greenville, NC), Duke University (Durham, NC), Kent State University (Kent, OH), and, most recently as the Interim Director of Bands at McMurry University (Abilene, TX).

Dr. Franklin’s scholarly work has been published in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series and he has been a regular presenter at the CBDNA Athletic Band Conference since 2011. Dr. Franklin’s programming reflects a commitment to authentic representation, diversity, and inclusiveness including recent collaborations with composers such as Jodie Blackshaw and Nubia Jaime Donjuan. He maintains a national presence in the areas of band leadership and culture training and remains in steady demand as a clinician and guest conductor. His catalogue of over 100 athletic and concert band arrangements have been performed by high school and university bands across the United States. He currently serves as a mentor, culture coach, and leadership and communication expert for middle, high school, and university band programs and directors as part of the Leaders Creating Leaders mentorship program.

Dr. Franklin completed his Doctor of Music in Wind Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN). He holds a Master of Music Education also from Indiana University and the Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL). Professional memberships include the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the National Band Association (NBA), and honorary memberships in Phi Mu Alpha (Zeta Psi chapter), Kappa Kappa Psi (Beta Psi chapter), and Tau Beta Sigma (Alpha Gamma chapter).

Michael Thomas Head Shot

Mr. Michael Thomas, Associate Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands
Director, Southern Pride Marching Band

Mr. Michael Thomas serves as the Associate Director of Bands and the Director of Athletic Bands at Georgia Southern University where he directs the Southern Pride Marching Band, Wind Symphony, and Pep Bands.  He also teaches marching band techniques and graduate level drill writing and arranging.

Mr. Thomas received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree and Master’s Degree in Conducting Performance from Georgia Southern University.

Mr. Thomas started his career in Drum and Bugle Corps at the early age of thirteen and spent four years marching with the Division 2 Phantom Regiment Cadets.  Shortly after moving to Georgia he joined the Army National Guard Band in Atlanta, GA in 1994.  The military band allowed him to attend Georgia Southern University in the fall of 1995 in pursuit of his Mechanical Engineering Degree. He marched with the Division I Champions, The Cadets in 1998.  After graduating in fall of 2000, Mr. Thomas spent the next eight years working at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, GA.

In 2001, he joined the Air Force National Guard Band of the South in Marietta, GA and in 2012 transferred to McGhee Tyson Air Base in Maryville, TN.  During his time in the Air Force, he has been deployed to serve in Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.  His deployment took him to seven different countries playing music for thousands of troops at several different bases.  Mr. Thomas is also the director of Sound Barrier, a twenty member performing ensemble that tours all over the southeast performing music ranging from classic rock to funk, Motown to today’s greatest hits.

Mr. Thomas is an accomplished trumpet and guitar player.  While in the Air Force Band, he performs regularly with the concert band, jazz ensemble, and also the brass quintet.  He also performed on guitar in the rock band, Space-A. During the summer of 2002, Mr. Thomas played trumpet with BLAST II, Shockwave, a product of the Tony and Emmy Award winning production, BLAST!

Mr. Thomas was previously the director of bands at East Paulding High School in Dallas, GA from 2014 to 2021. From 2003 to 2014, he designed and taught the marching band program at Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, GA, where they have won several competitions, including the Georgia Marching Series in 2014. The marching band also performed at Bands of America in Atlanta, GA in 2007.  Mr. Thomas is also an accomplished drill writer, music arranger, and show designer writing for hundreds of ensembles over the past sixteen years.

His professional affiliations include the National Band Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Georgia Music Educators Association.  Mr. Thomas is also an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternity.

Last updated: 7/28/2023