L. Richmond Sparks
Associate Professor, ConductingDirector of Bands Wind & Percussion Division
B.M., Illinois State University; M.M, D.M.A., Arizona State University
Dr. L. Richmond Sparks, born in Mattoon, Illinois, completed his undergraduate studies at Illinois State University. He served as Director of Bands for Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe Illinois from 1977-1981, where his bands received numerous awards in jazz, concert, and marching settings. The Illinois High School Association and the Illinois Music Educators' Association rated his music program in the top ten of the class 'A' Illinois High schools. While teaching in Illinois, Sparks served as adjunct Tuba Professor at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. At that time he performed with the Peoria Symphony and the Prairie Wind Ensemble, made up of professional musicians in the Peoria area. Later, Sparks became a charter member of the Side Street Strutters Dixieland Band. That band is still performing after two decades of employment at Disneyland in California. Sparks also performed as a tuba/electric bass player in Walt Disney World, Florida.
Dr. Sparks continued his education through the University of Wisconsin and Illinois Central College while teaching in Illinois. He completed his Masters of Music degree at Arizona State University after which he held a teaching assistantship with the bands and the music education program while working toward his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree. He has been a leader in the American marching band movement from the time he served as Associate Director of the 1984 XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles. Dr. Sparks has helped organize subsequent all-American bands for national and international events, such as the 50th Presidential Inauguration; the unveiling of the renovated Statue of Liberty during Liberty Weekend; the Centennial Celebration of the United Way at the Rose Bowl and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the nationally televised Special Olympics at Notre Dame Stadium; numerous bowl games across America; and the NFL Europe Super Bowl Games in Scotland, Germany, France and Spain.
Dr. Sparks is the conductor of the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble and directs the UM Marching Band and Pep Band programs. He has served on the board of the Council of Higher Education in Music for the state of Maryland, and also serves as President of the Atlantic Coast Conference Band Directors Association. He continues to be active in CBDNA and MENC, and serves on the board for Sudler Foundation, which recognizes outstanding high school bands across America.