Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music welcomed Blake Garcia as the newly appointed Director of Athletic Bands in 2018. Mr. Garcia, who most recently served as a doctoral conducting associate at the University of Kentucky, is responsible for directing Mercer’s marching band and basketball pep band, as well as serving as a guest conductor of the Wind Ensemble.
Since 2016, Mr. Garcia has worked with the Wildcat Marching Band as well as the football, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics pep bands at the University of Kentucky, where he continues to pursue his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He also served as co-director of the Concert Band, and guest conductor of the Wind Symphony and Symphony Band.
In 2015, he earned his Master of Music in instrumental conducting from the University of Florida. As a graduate teaching assistant, his assistantship duties included teaching the Gator Marching Band and pep band, mentoring undergraduate conducting students, and conducting many of the university’s concert bands and chamber ensembles.
Mr. Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Florida State University in 2008, where he studied conducting, trumpet performance, and music education. During his time at Florida State University, he held principal chairs in many of the top ensembles, and also played lead trumpet with Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, and the world renowned Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps.
In addition to his experience at the collegiate level, Mr. Garcia also has extensive experience as a high school music educator. Mr. Garcia served as Director of Bands at West High School (Knoxville, Tennessee) for the 2015-2016 academic year, during which he developed the county’s first guitar curriculum and organized and directed the first jazz big band in school history. He also previously served as Associate Director of Bands at J.M. Tate High School (Cantonment, Florida) and Director of Music at Pensacola High School (Pensacola, Florida). During these tenures, Mr. Garcia’s marching and concert ensembles were consistently awarded the highest ratings at festivals and competitions.
Throughout his teaching career, Mr. Garcia has been recognized for his dedication and excellence on the concert podium and on the marching field. As a result, every program that he has been honored to lead has experienced significant growth in membership, as well as overall quality. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Tom Bishop Award by the Florida Bandmasters Association for the remarkable positive impact made on his program and students.
Mr. Garcia lives in Macon with his lovely wife Lauren and their daughters Jade and Ava.