Directors of the Horned Frog Band
Bobby R. Francis, Director of Bands
Mr. Francis is the Director of Bands at Texas Christian University and the Conductor of the TCU Wind Symphony. Mr. Francis serves as conductor of the TCU Wind Symphony, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and is responsible for the supervision of all aspects of the TCU Band program. Mr. Francis was recently inducted into the American Bandmasters Association and was guest conductor of the US Army Band "The Pershings Own".
The TCU Wind Symphony performed at the prestigious American Bandmasters Association 75th Convention in College Station, Texas in March of 2009. The ensemble recently performed concerts at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio and the College Band Directors National Conference Convention in Ann Arbor Michigan. In recent years, Mr. Francis' ensembles have performed at many national, regional, and state conferences including a performance at the College Band Directors National Conference (CBDNA) in Athens, Georgia, and Houston, Texas, as well as at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference (PASIC) in Dallas, and have accepted invitations to perform at upcoming conferences of the International Tuba-Euphonium Regional Conference and the International Trumpet Guild (ITG). The TCU Wind Symphony has performed with guest artists such as Patrick Sheridan, Brian Bowman, Allen Vizzutti, John Lewis, and Markus Theinert. His ensembles have performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, and the Bass Hall in Fort Worth. The TCU Wind Symphony has released one compact disk under his direction entitled: “Testament -Music for a Time of Trial" and has 3 new CD's in production.
Mr. Francis has given several clinic presentations at various state events such as the Texas Music Educators Association Convention and the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention. The most recent presentation was at the 2005 TBA conference where he was a part of a three-person panel presenting a clinic entitled: "Advancing Musicianship Through Aural Skills - A Journey Into The Mind's Ear". Mr. Francis recently conducted research on regional wind band repertoire at the Pannonische Forschungsstelle Kunstuniversität Graz / Expositur Oberschutzen in Oberschutzen, Austria. Mr. Francis is in constant demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and educational advisor across the U.S. Mr. Francis has produced seven compact disk recordings of his ensembles. Recordings of the TCU Wind Symphony recently have been broadcast on WRR - Dallas-Ft. Worth's Classical Radio station.
Brian Youngblood, Associate Director of Bands
Mr. Youngblood is the Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Horned Frog Marching Band at TCU. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Abilene Christian University and his Master of Percussion Performance degree from East Texas State University. Before coming to TCU, he taught in the public schools for twelve years. He began teaching in 1987 and spent his first ten years teaching at L.D. Bell High School, where his groups received recognition for outstanding performances at festivals throughout Texas. His ensemble responsibilities at TCU include the Horned Frog Marching Band, the Symphonic Band, and assistance with the Men's and Women's Basketball Bands. In addition to his work with the bands, he also teaches music education classes and surpervises student teachers. He is leading drill designer and arranger for marching band. He regularly consults with and writes shows for high school bands across the nation. His drills have won six state championships, a BOA National Championship and placed in the finals of numerous competitions.
Mr. Youngblood is a product of public school music education in the state of Texas. Before playing in the L.D. Bell High School Band under the direction of Roger Winslow, he was in the junior high bands of Marion West, Earnest Repass and Danny Prado. His undergraduate studies with John Whitwell and Gary Lewis, then at Abilene Christian University, furthered his training in Music Education. His percussion training began with Jim McGahey and Warren Dewey and continued with Allen Teal at Abilene Christian University. His percussion professors at East Texas State University were Robert Houston and Jimmy Finney.
Mr. Youngblood is a frequent clinician and adjudicator in Texas and the Southwest. He enjoys working as a clinician with bands from every age level.
Jeremy M. Strickland, Assistant Director of Bands
Mr. Strickland is currently in his first year as the Assistant Director of Bands at TCU where he is the Director of the Basketball Band, the University Concert Band and assists with the Marching Band, Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band. Before coming to TCU, Mr. Strickland was the Director of Bands at Springtown High School in Springtown, Texas. Bands under his direction consistently received superior ratings at concert contests and appeared at the UIL State Marching Contest in 2003 and 2005. The “Sound of Springtown” received recognition for their performances at festivals across the North Texas area as well as performances for audiences at Walt Disney World, the Fiesta Flambeau Parade in San Antonio and the Bobby Vinton Theatre in Branson. Several of the students in Mr. Strickland’s bands have gone on to major in music and now hold positions as successful music educators across the state of Texas. He earned his bachelors degree in Music Studies from The University of Texas at Austin in 2002 where he was a member of the Wind Ensemble and the “Showband of the Southwest”.
Mr. Strickland is an active member of the Texas Music Educator’s Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and the College Band Directors National Association.
Mr. Joe Eckert, Director of Jazz Studies
JOE ECKERT is the first full-time Professor of saxophone at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, joining the faculty in the fall of 2007. In the Fall of 2011 he is assuming additional duties as Director of Jazz Studies. From 1987-2004, he served as adjunct faculty at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia and assumed full-time duties from 2004-07 as Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies. He retired in 2004 from a 20-year career as lead alto saxophonist/woodwind specialist and director for the USAF Band’s Airmen of Note in Washington, D.C. Mr. Eckert received his B.M. from Baldwin-Wallace College in saxophone performance and went on to complete graduate and post-graduate studies at the University of North Texas, where he was a member of the world renowned One O’clock Lab Band, principal saxophonist with the Wind Symphony and soloist with the Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the Airmen of Note, he was Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia (1981-84), where his ensembles were awarded for their excellence and he received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” for 1982-83.
While with the “Note” he toured extensively across North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As producer for the “Jazz Heritage Concert Series,” he collaborated with some of the great names in jazz to include Louie Bellson, Bob Berg, Randy Brecker, Jimmy Heath, Cleo Laine, David Liebman, Mike Mainieri and Clark Terry. He has also performed with Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Jon Faddis, Bunky Green, J.J. Johnson, Carmen McRae, Sammy Nestico, Tommy Newsom, Red Rodney, Kenny Werner, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sandoval, Dr. Billy Taylor, Joe Williams and many others. As coordinator of the “Jazz Outreach Education Series,” he brought the expertise of Airmen of Note to aspiring music students throughout the country. Some of his freelance activities include performances with the Dallas Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra and tours with Liza Minnelli and Nelson Riddle. In the popular music world he has performed with the likes of Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Anthony Newley, Natalie Cole and Michael Jackson.
Comfortable in both jazz and classical idioms, he was the only member of the faculty at Shenandoah to have been a guest soloist with the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Brass Quintet and has been featured as a soloist with the TCU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble. He continues to remain active as a performer, playing regularly with the Fort Worth Symphony and as a jazz soloist and recitalist nationally. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals, high schools, and colleges nationally and internationally. Mr. Eckert’s professional affiliations include The American Federation of Musicians, Music Educators National Conference, North American Saxophone Alliance, Texas Bandmasters Association and the Jazz Education Network. Mr. Eckert is a Yamaha-Performing Artist/Clinician and Rico Performing Artist. For more information, please refer to his website which is http://www.joeeckert.com