North Central College has announced the hiring of Langston Hemenway as its new Director of Pep Bands.
Hemenway will manage all aspects of the Cardinals’ pep band, the Red Noise, and will also teach courses in North Central’s music department, primarily in the area of instrumental music.
“This position, and the cooperative relationship between music and athletics, will make both areas better,” said Laurie Hamen, North Central’s vice president for enrollment management, athletics and student affairs. “In the process of putting the search together, there was a lot of excitement about this. Many of our music education students will work with pep bands and marching bands after graduation, and this provides them with an opportunity to gain some background in that area. Because Langston is such an excellent musician, it affords us a great opportunity to try and make that a high quality experience.”
“I could tell, even in the interview process, that the administration at North Central had the back of whomever they were going to hire,” Hemenway said. “One nice thing about North Central has been the level of communicability between the music and athletic departments. A big part of that is because they all want it to succeed so much. They’re all on the same side and they really want this to work.”
Hemenway has an extensive background in musical performance, education and conducting. He attended the University of Oklahoma on a performance scholarship, graduating in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. After graduation, he served as the Assistant Director of Bands at Mexia High School and Brenham Junior High School, both located in Texas.
He then moved on to the University of Kansas, where he was a Graduate Conducting Associate for two years and earned a master’s degree in wind conducting in 2005. Hemenway then spent four years as the Associate Director of Bands at Derby High School (Kan.) before accepting a position as a Graduate Student Instructor at the University of Michigan, from which he earned a doctorate degree in band conducting this past spring.
“Langston comes to us with excellent academic credentials,” Hamen said. “We have found him to be enthusiastic, a great conductor, and excited about working with our pep band and about teaching. He conducted a group of our students in a rehearsal as part of the interview process, and the students really liked him and thought he was a great conductor.”
Hemenway has several years of experience conducting pep bands and marching bands, including the volleyball pep band and Marching Jayhawks at Kansas and the volleyball pep band at Michigan. He also has been the graduate conductor and minister of information for Michigan’s Symphony Band and Concert Band.
“What really appeals to me about this opportunity is the chance to build something great,” he said. “I’m a builder, and I like to leave things better than I found them. The athletics at North Central are so great, and it’s exciting to have the chance to build something that rivals that athletic tradition.
“The best thing we can do right away is just create buzz and get people interested in what we’re doing. We’re going to bring in quality people and keep them here, not only through quality teaching, but in the atmosphere of fun that we’re going to be able to offer.”
A member of the College Band Director’s National Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society, Hemenway also received a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Michigan Band Alumni Association in 2011. He served as the conductor for Michigan’s Band Alumni Association Concert Band for two years.
Hemenway will take charge of his new duties on August 1.