Not to long ago, Dr. Ishbah Cox was a citizen of Notasulga, Alabama. He was earning his bachelor’s degree in music education at Auburn University, and eventually his master’s in music performance from the University of Alabama. Next, he earned a Doctorate of Arts in Wind Conducting at Ball State University. Cox did not know then, but his dedication to music education would be one of the leading factors to his employment here at the high school.
After Marc Zirille resigned, the search for a new band director began. Cox has been employed as the new band director since the middle of summer vacation, the most optimal time to train the Pioneer marching band.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here at Orange, thoroughly,” Cox said, “it’s been an honor to be able to connect with all of my new students, and the overall support from the community has been great.”
Cox previously worked at Purdue University as an Assistant Professor of Bands, the Director of Symphonic and Collegiate Bands, and the Assistant Director of the “All- American” Marching Band. He is also an arranger of music, arranging and publishing for Hal Leonard and Dev Music Company. Dr. Cox has been implementing his skills with the Pioneer Band, and is using his own arrangement of music for their second show.
Before accepting a job here, Dr. Cox also travelled internationally as a conductor in Spain, Eastern Europe, Ireland, and Colombia tours; conducting the AAMB. Having received a tenure from Purdue in 2008, Dr. Cox is decorated with academic and teacher accomplishments. He gave a piece of advice to this year’s seniors, who are moving on to college or joining the workforce.
“Keep the morals you grew up with, even as you meet new people and try new things don’t forget where you came from. Work hard and don’t settle. But, remember to dream big,” Cox said.
Senior Chris Butts has a positive outlook of Dr. Cox as the new director. As a co-section lead of the Alto section, and a squad leader, Chris has spent time getting to know Cox and his teaching style.
“I’m not going to lie, right when I met Dr. Cox I knew he was going to keep the pride of the Pioneers alive... Spoiler: I was right,” Butts said.
Many band members and people of the community were worried about the changes that would follow from Zirille’s resignation. Judging from Dr. Cox’s first year, Butts said they can worry no longer.
“It seems like Dr. Cox intends to carry on the standards Z set as best as he can. He pushes us harder than our former director did, but it’s makes the band better as a whole. He brings a big strong sense of unity to the band,” Butts said.
The band has had various performances, and the community feedback has been phenomenal. From the looks of it, the band is off to an excellent start.
“Personally I love Dr. Cox, he gets work done and he expects great things out of us,” Butts said.