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MC Alumnus Employed as the New Director of Bands
After going two years without a permeant band director, MC has hired Duval "Duvy" Salvant to fill the position.
Last week, the MC marching band made their debut at several performances, including the pep rally on Friday, Sept. 15th and the first home football game halftime show the following day. These performances were of the first to be led by MC’s new director of bands, Mr. Duval “Duvy” Salvant.
During the Spring 2021 semester, Dr. Craig Young, former director of bands, said his goodbyes to MC and announced his resignation from the MC Department of Music.
The department’s many instrumental ensembles have been overseen by temporary band directors Mr. Duncan Goff and Mr. David White, the adjunct staff for the MC marching band, and Dr. Renee Wilson, an assistant professor for the Department of Music.
It was not until the spring of 2023 that Salvant, Dr. Young’s former student, was contacted about taking over the role for his former band director.
Salvant was first connected to MC when he attended Summer Music Camp at Mississippi College (also known as MC to MC), which was recommended to him by his former piano teacher, who was based in Clinton. The event targeted students who were interested in piano, organ, and vocal performance. Salvant participated in MC to MC for approximately six years before choosing to attend Mississippi College as a student.
Originally from Metairie, Louisiana, Salvant’s roots helped him establish his love for music.
“Growing up in New Orleans, it’s just a culture of music,” said Salvant, “Everybody down there loves music. You go to other places in the country, and music can be seen as just a pastime or a hobby, but in New Orleans, everybody is accepting of all styles of music and all cultures of life.”
As a student, Salvant always felt drawn to pursuing a music career. After switching between different fields of musical study, he chose a degree in music education.
Salvant was also a part of the MC band under the direction of Dr. Young. For all four years of his college career, Salvant was involved in the marching band, symphonic winds, and jazz band.
“When you first get under Dr. Young as a conductor and a band director, you have to learn his style first,” said Salvant, “He did all these things musically that the longer you were under his instruction, the more you realized how good he was at what he’s doing.”
Salvant learned many lessons from his former college band director about being a music educator. Several of Salvant’s students have pointed out that his methods in teaching and conducting music are similar to Dr. Young’s.
When Salvant learned of Dr. Young’s resignation, Salvant was shocked, but he also saw it as an opportunity to work at MC. Salvant revealed what ultimately made him choose to work at MC — the professors of the music department.
“[It’s] so awesome that one of my students can be the leader of the band after me,” said Young. “He’s going to do a great job. Obviously, he will, because I trained him.”
Salvant’s aspirations as director of bands include playing new music and having bigger crowds. Salvant hopes to not only draw in a bigger audience for all bands, but he also encourages students who did band in high school to join the band.
“It’s going to be more audience-driven performances,” Salvant said. He also hinted at a more well-rounded music selection, hoping to appeal to more of the people who have attended the performances.
Salvant’s philosophy as a music educator involves “growing good musicians as well as good human beings.” Salvant expresses the importance of instilling good disciplines in his students that are not only beneficial to them as a band member but also for their futures.
“In the workforce, no matter what job you are doing, if you don’t show up on time, if you don’t have the stuff you are supposed to have, you didn’t do your projects, you didn’t do your reading, you didn’t do your assignments — anything — you’re not going to excel in your field,” Salvant said.
“I felt that under the direction of Salvant, the college marching band has been fun and I have learned a lot,” said freshman band member Zachary Austin Gilmore, “I did not know what to expect when I started, but the three weeks I have been here has been a blast, and I plan to learn much more in the coming years.
The MC marching band has already finished their annual band camp, played and performed at their first Choctaw Fanfare, and begun to prepare for the upcoming spring semester: auditions for the Symphonic Winds ensemble took place Monday, Aug. 28 and Wednesday, Aug. 30. Salvant plans to expand the band's reach by having both the marching and symphonic bands travel, pursuing performances beyond MC’s campus.
“I have high hopes for the band under [Salvant’s] direction,” said junior band member Claire Copeland. "It has been such a different experience than my previous years in the band program. I am really looking forward to seeing how the band will grow and change under his direction.”
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