Eric Wells (B.Mus.Ed. 1995) has taught band in South Carolina for the past 26 years, most currently at Greenville High Academy. He has been the band director at Blue Ridge High School, Clover High School, Easley High School, Seneca High School, and Ragsdale High School.
He has been inducted into Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters’ Fraternity, received the National Citation of Excellence (2008, 2010), and his ensembles have received Grade VI Superior for fourteen consecutive years (2004-2017). For the South Carolina MEA, he has been Concert Performance Assessment Site Host and has served on the Solo & Ensemble, Concert, and All-State Committees.
Wells received his Bachelor in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Masters in Music Education from Winthrop University, and his Masters in Instrumental Conducting from the American band College of Sam Houston State University.
The Bandworld Legion of Honor was establlished in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.
Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high-quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.
Each is honored at the Annual Sousa Foundation Awards Ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University.
When asked what factors do you consider most important in shaping your career, Eric states, “The most important factor in shaping my career was being raised by two musicians. My mother and father met as freshman music majors at East Carolina University. Although my mom was only a chorus teacher for one year after college, she taught piano lessons for many years and sang in the church choir. In 2012, my dad retired after 43 years of being a highly successful high school band director. Music still plays a vital role in my parents’ lives.
“I have also been fortunate to have many musical mentors in my life. The most influential are: Elizabeth McCutchen (piano teacher), Mike Williams (middle school band director) Terry Holliday, Kirk Godbey, John Rhodes, Larry Wells (high school band directors), Jim Hile and Bill Malambri (college band directors).
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most influential person in shaping my career is my father, Larry Wells. Sharing the same home as my favorite musical giant was an extraordinary experience. To this day, Larry Wells is still my personal and musical compass. Whatever I have become as a band director, I owe mostly to him.”
His professional philosophy is, “The longer I teach, the more I believe that I have to understand the individual student on some level before I am allowed to be a stakeholder in their education. My job as an educator is to help students become lifelong learners, productive citizens, and champions of music.”