Kent State welcomes new associate director of bands, director of athletic bands


The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University named Darin Olson as the new associate director of bands and director of athletic bands. 

Kelsey PaulusReporter

The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University named Darin Olson as the associate director of bands and director of athletic bands. 

Along with these administrative positions, Olson will be conducting two concert bands and teaching a marching band techniques course this fall. Prior to being employed with Kent State, he served as the assistant director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

During his time at Wisconsin-Madison, he and his band were invited to New York City a few times for sporting events and to the Rose Bowl this past year. He also created their marching band techniques course from scratch to prepare music education students to lead and teach marching bands in their future. Olson said his duties will be very similar at Kent State, and, amidst coronavirus concerns, Olson is still motivated to work with the Marching Golden Flashes to help them succeed. 

“There’s a lot of excitement right now because there is so much opportunity for growth in the program,” Olson said. “When I was in my interview, the students were really excited about the marching bands and the athletic bands. If you have enthusiastic, engaged students, it gives you that platform to move this in an upward trajectory.”

And with the new Marching Golden Flashes Award, which gives a $1,000 scholarship to students in the marching band, he encourages everybody to take advantage of the opportunities in the school of music. 

Olson said he is currently figuring out what the season will be and will be working to make the best experience for his students in the marching band. 

“Regardless of the situation, it’s going to be exciting, it’s gonna be engaging for our students, we’re going to make the most of whatever opportunity we have,” Olson said. “…I think that everyone’s going to be approaching it with the same mindset: student and staff safety, and still trying to meet the educational goals of the institution.”

Kent McWilliams, director of the school of music, is excited to welcome Olson to Kent State for the work he will be doing.  

“Right now, dealing with world events, we’ve discussed how the marching band can reflect the diversity of our world, and Darin [Olson] is looking at ways to create an inclusive atmosphere in the band and welcome as many people as possible in the program to reflect the diversity of our reality,” McWilliams said. 

Regardless of what happens this semester, Olson is eager to join the Marching Golden Flashes. 

“We’re going to grow incrementally, and that’s very exciting to me to be one small part of the growth of what’s going to be something great,” Olson said.

Contact Kelsey Paulus at [email protected].