Directors

Conductor James Swearingen

James Swearingen’s talents as a performer, composer/arranger and educator include a background of extensive training and experience. He has earned degrees from Bowling Green State University and The Ohio State University. In recognition of distinguished contributions, Mr. Swearingen was recently accorded the title of Professor Emeritus from Capital University located in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to his appointment at Capital in 1987, he spent eighteen years teaching instrumental music in the public schools of central Ohio. His first teaching assignment took him to the community of Sunbury, Ohio. He then spent fourteen years as Director of Instrumental Music at Grove City High School, where his marching, concert, and jazz bands all received acclaim for their high standards of performing excellence.

Mr. Swearingen currently serves as a staff arranger for the famed Ohio State University Marching Band. In addition to his arranging responsibilities, Mr. Swearingen manages to be very active as a guest conductor, adjudicator and educational clinician. Appearances have included trips throughout the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Norway, the Republic of China and Singapore.

School directors, student performers and audiences worldwide have enthusiastically received Mr. Swearingen’s numerous contributions for band. With over 600 published works, he has written band compositions and arrangements that reflect a variety of musical forms and styles. Many of his pieces, including 116 commissioned works, have been chosen for contest and festival lists. He is a recipient of several ASCAP awards for published compositions and in 1992 was selected as an Accomplished Graduate of the Fine and Performing Arts from Bowling Green State University. In March of 2000, he was invited to join The American Bandmasters Association, considered to be the most prestigious bandmaster organization in the world. Mr. Swearingen received the 2002 Community Music Educator Award given annually by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In that same year, he became conductor of the Grove City Community Winds. This highly talented ensemble consists of many fine musicians from the central Ohio area. On June 20, 2009, The American School Band Directors Association, Inc., presented Mr. Swearingen with the A. Austin Harding Award. This prestigious award is presented annually by the organization and is reflective of valuable and dedicated service to the school bands of America. In 2011, he received the Hall of Fame Award presented by the Ohio Chapter (Mu) of Phi Beta Mu. The OMEA Distinguished Service Award was presented to him at the 2014 OMEA Professional Development Conference. Later that year, he was presented the Signature Sinfonian Award by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. On April 21, 2015, The Ohio State School of Music honored Mr. Swearingen with their Distinguished Alumnus Award. It should be noted that he is also a member of numerous professional and honorary organizations including NAfME, ASBDA, Phi Beta Mu and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Many of Mr. Swearingen’s most popular band compositions have been recorded by the prestigious Washington Winds and are available on Walking Frog Records compact discs: His recordings include In All Its Glory, Exaltation, Celebration For Winds And Percussion, The Light Of Dawn, and the newest release, Flight of Valor.

Associate Conductor Joseph Burke

Joe Burke began teaching in the Hilliard City School District in 1988 as an assistant band director at Hilliard High School and in 1997 became the Director of Bands at (the new) Hilliard Darby High School. The new school opened without a senior class and the first band had 89 members. Over the next 13 years, the band grew to over 240+ members and included a Wind Ensemble (Class AA), Symphonic Band (Class B), and Concert Band (Class C). Since 2010, Mr. Burke has been the Director of Bands at Hilliard Heritage Middle School where his responsibilities include instructing 4 concerts bands, jazz band, and assisting the directors at Darby High School.

Mr. Burke holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University and a Master of Music Education degree (with Instrumental Emphasis) from Capital University. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA), Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Honorary Fraternity, and the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA).

Joe has been a member of the Grove City Community Winds since 2012. He has also played cornet with the Brass Band of Columbus since 1992 and resides in Grove City with his wife, Miranda (also a GCCW member), their daughter Abbey (a horn player in the Grove City High School band program), and their dog Vaclav Nelhybel (aka Nellie).