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AU Director of Bands: Joseph Lewis Jr

Chante Rutherford

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Mr. Joseph Lewis Jr. is the new Ashland University Director of Bands. He was one of the many new faces to arrive on campus in 2017 and many students, faculty and Ashland natives say that are impressed with him.

Lewis is a 2006 graduate of The Ohio State University with a major in Music Education and performance. His first full-time teaching job was at Tinora High School in Defiance, Ohio in 2007 where he taught at for 4 years.

Lewis then went to Bowling Green University to receive his masters.

After Bowling Green, he looks towards the U.S. Army. Lewis then worked towards his position to become the commander of the band.

“I have been a part of the Army guard band for over 18 years. It is a big part of my life,” Lewis said.

Marching band and the military band are two completely different worlds Lewis said.

“It is a different take on how I do music,” Lewis said.

From the type of music to the final performance, the two are unique, he said.

“Besides music, I do on the side what is called aerial videography,” Lewis said.

Aerial videography is a type of filming that is common is selling real estate which he is apart of.

“I use drones to film, houses, property, and buildings for sale,” Lewis said. From those shots, he will create videos that his father-in-law uses to sell those properties.

At home, his family is always in the garden working.

“I have an outdoor garden and a hoop house so my wife and I can extend the growing season,” Lewis said.

Lewis has been married to his wife Lindsay for 10 years. His three children, 5-year-old Eleora, 1-year-old Odelia, and recent newborn Aviella are some of his biggest helpers. In his garden, they grow tomatoes, carrots and much more.

When looking back at other schools, Lewis sees the Ashland University Marching Band as a “gigantic megaphone.” Compared to public schools, Lewis enjoys the freedom that the college offers and respects the students for balancing their education with the band too, he said.

Many students have grown to love and appreciate Lewis as a director and a person they can to talk to they say.

Many of the band members new and old said they have grown a liking for Lewis. This is true for freshman and tuba player Brandi Wells. She sees Lewis as, “ a great director who is always trying to listen and trying to learn.” Color Guard member Emma Justice sees a little of her former band director in him.

“ From the way he runs practices to gameday, I see some of the shared qualities,” she said. “It’s also cool how he has military experience since my school did that same type of marching at Worthington Kilbourne.”

For senior and field commander Erika Stevens, she appreciated Lewis for, “keeping the uniqueness of AU.” During her time here at AU, she has witnessed the band go through three different band directors.

“Out of the four years I have been here, Mr. Lewis has made the Ashland band what I imagined: a world of its own,” she said.

At Ohio State, being in the band was different compared to other universities marching bands, he said.

“Each year, everyone has to tryout…even upperclassmen,” Lewis said. “Marching band tryouts for The Ohio State University is much harder than other university bands. On the day of the official tryouts, he starts to talk about a student who did not look too well. The heat was unbearable for everyone, especially for this one kid. We all found out that he ate corn beef hash for breakfast,” Lewis says as he remembers the day fondly.

“By the look on his face, we knew what was bound to happen.” As he is performing the final bow, he loses his breakfast. “He also got his spot in the band,” Lewis summarized.

Lewis then enters into another story of his that he said he will never forget.

“It was the first day or regular tryouts and I had to use the bathroom,” As Lewis went to use the restroom near the ROTC field, “they would not let me in.” He and his band members noticed how there were no planes in the sky too. That day was September 11, 2001. “ ‘There has been an attack on our country’ they told me,” Lewis continues. It was not until their lunch break when the whole band found out.

Lewis has gained a large amount of respect and gratitude while becoming the band director. Many citizens thank him for starting the pep band and compliment him on his execution of the halftime shows. Ashland is greatly appreciative to add Lewis to the AU roster.

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