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The Smoky Mountain Music Festival originated in 1983. More than 6500 groups from 29 states and Canada have participated in choral, band and orchestra events. The Smoky Mountain Music Festival has developed into one of the nation's most exciting and educational festivals. Over 50% of our groups are repeat participants.

Our history

The Smoky Mountain Music Festival is at one location. We are proud that a competent staff, most that have been employed since 1983, is on site to provide consistent and professional assistance. The Smoky Mountain Music Festival is truly a festival that has many participants each weekend. Week after week, our festival includes ensembles in all categories which sustain the integrity of the competition. The judges are among the most competent musicians and educators in the profession. Gatlinburg is one of the safest resort towns in America. It is perfectly safe to allow students freedom in this crime-free resort. The town is conveniently located and, besides the natural beauty of the great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg has many attractions and entertainment facilities. There is a great relationship between the city officials and the festival.Thanks to them, the festival facilities are excellent. The Gatlinburg Convention Center is used for concert, jazz, indoor auxiliary competition and choral competition, and the main street is blocked off for the parade of bands.

Judges-Choral

DR. ANGELA BATEY

Angela Batey is recognized as a prominent conductor, clinician, adjudicator and teacher [MORE]

DR. DAVID BRUNER

David L. Brunner is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Central Florida and highly regarded for his work with singers of all ages [MORE]

DR. KENNETH FULTON

Dr. Fulton has been on the faculty at the LSU School of Music in Baton Rouge since 1986. He chairs graduate choral studies at LSU and conducts the LSU A Cappella Choir, [MORE]

DR. DEE ROMINES

Dr. Dee Romines, associate professor of choral music education and director of HSU Chorale at Hardin-Simmons University, earned [MORE]

DR. MICHAEL SCHWARTZKOPF

Michael Schwartzkopf is a Professor Emeritus of Choral Music and Music Education [MORE]

KIRBY SHAW

Kirby Shaw has made a major impact in choral music education and has shared his musical expertise [MORE]

DR. ERIC THORSON

Eric Thorson, is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. [MORE]

DR. SONJA SEPULVEDA

Dr. Sonja Sepúlveda is the Director of Choral Activities and teacher of Theory at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina [MORE]

ALISON MANN

Alison Mann is Associate Professor of Choral Music Education and Program Coordinator for Music Education at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches [MORE]

Judges-Instrumental

DR. TERRY AUSTIN

Terry Austin is Director of Bands and Professor of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University [MORE]

COLONEL JOHN R. BOURGEOIS

John R. Bourgeois, USMC (Ret.), was 25th Director of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. [MORE]

PAULA A. CRIDER

Following a distinguished 33 year teaching career, Professor Paula A. Crider continues to share [MORE]

DR. JOHN CULVAHOUSE

John N. Culvahouse retired as Professor of Music Education at Kennesaw State University [MORE]

JOSEPH HERMANN

Joseph Hermann is a recently retired Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Tennessee Technological University [MORE]

THOMAS G. LESLIE

As Director of the Division of Wind Band Studies and Professor of Conducting, Thomas Leslie has earned recognition [MORE]

DR. STAN MICHALSKI, JR.

Dr. Stan Michalski Jr.Stan Michalski, Jr., Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Music and Conductor of Bands at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, forged a distinguished career [MORE]

COLONEL TOM ROTONDI, JR.

Colonel Thomas Rotondi, Jr. retired from the United States Army in 2011 following a distinguished 34-year military career [MORE]

DR. DONALD D. RYDER

Dr. Donald D. Ryder is the WJ Julian Professor of Bands and serves as Director of Bands at The University of Tennessee. [MORE]

ROY HOLDER

Roy Holder received both his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. [MORE]

DR. RICHARD GOOD

Dr. Rick Good, is currently the Music Department Chair and Director of Bands at Auburn University [MORE]

RANDALL O. COLEMAN

Randall Coleman is currently the Associate Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Alabama [MORE]

DR. MICHAEL COLBURN

Michael Colburn joined the faculty of Butler University as Director of Bands in August, 2014. [MORE]

DAVID STARNES

David Starnes joined the School of Music faculty at Western Carolina University in the spring of 2011, when he was named [MORE]

Testimonials

  • I regard the Smoky Mountain Music Festival as one of the most organized and efficiently managed music festival for instrumental and vocal ensembles. The performance venue is spectacular and the attention to details provided by the administrators of the event is extraordinary.

    Dr. Stanley F. Michalski, Jr.
    Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Music and Conductor
    of Bands at Clarion University of Pennsylvania

  • Our lives in the world of music education are to assist our students, helping them to gain cultural benefits in their existence to aid them while becoming great contributors to our moral and cultural society. Our children as music students are impacted in many ways by their experiences in their school bands, orchestras and choirs. In my four-plus decades of teaching students about the art of music-making, I have never witnessed a more beneficial outcome than that gained by participation in the exchange of musical performances at a major music festival.

    Of all national festivals of which I have adjudicated and performed as clinician, I believe that the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee adheres most closely to the goals and ideals of music educators throughout America. Not only do music educators/conductors receive real-time positive reinforcement, but participating students also have the opportunity to work with the greatest conductors and clinicians of the age.

    This truly is America’s finest and most positive musical festival experience for the contemporary school music ensemble and I recommend it without hesitation or reservation.

    Thomas G. Leslie
    75th President, American Bandmasters Association

  • The Smoky Mountain Music Festival is my favorite spring trip to take with my band. I like to go every four years so all of my students can enjoy the experience. Highlights include the tremendous adjudicators and their constructive comments, the tour of the Smokies and the fun the students have exploring the town. I also appreciate the wonderful staff who help with the organization and running of the festival as well as set up our accommodations in town.

    Michael Luley, High School Band Director
    Lake Braddock Secondary School
    Fairfax County Virginia
  • I have been judging for many years, but this was one of the top experiences I have ever had the pleasure of participating in. Everything was top rate. This is truly a festival that I will trumpet to any choir director that I come across who wants a first class experience.


    Sonja Sepulveda, DMA
    Director of Choral Activities
    Professor of Music Theory,
    Salem College
  • I took my middle school concert band and jazz band to the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in 2003 after it was highly recommended by another band director. We have been nearly every year since, and plan on going again this year. It is a very organized and well-run festival with a friendly and accommodating staff. The adjudicators/clinicians are absolutely top-notch. Gatlinburg is the perfect location for a music festival. The convention center is beautiful and huge. There are so many attractions, restaurants, and hotels. Everything is walkable! We always enjoy the complimentary tours of the Great Smoky Mountains. Every year, our chaperones and students talk about what a great trip this is. Do your band program, your students, and yourself a favor, and take your group to the Smoky Mountain Music Festival this year!


    Bobby Hinson, Band Director
    Salem Middle School