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W&L Music Professor Elected President of the College Orchestra Directors Association Chris Dobbins officially assumed the position at the organization’s 2024 conference last month.

Chris-Dobbins-scaled-600x400 W&L Music Professor Elected President of the College Orchestra Directors AssociationChris Dobbins, associate professor of music and director of instrumental programs

Chris Dobbins, associate professor of music and director of instrumental programs at Washington and Lee University, was elected president of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) at the organization’s 2024 national conference held Feb. 15-17 at the Belmont University School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dobbins will serve a one-year term as president after serving as the CODA vice president and president-elect the past two years. Also in recent years, Dobbins has served as the association’s secretary and journal editor, and he has been a member of the COVID-19 Response Committee.

As president, Dobbins will be responsible for new programming and the financial health of the association, while also coordinating the 2025 CODA National Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. The initial plans for his presidency already include the creation of a student advisory committee and an intercollegiate orchestra that would perform at the conference each year.

“It’s my honor to be able to give back to an organization that has given so much to me,” said Dobbins, who joined CODA in 2016 and can claim the shortest timeline from initial membership to leading the organization. “I immediately felt welcomed by a community of artist-scholars from schools of all sizes running programs of all sizes. It was so beneficial for me to be able to ask questions and bounce ideas off colleagues from across the country. CODA has also treated my students exceptionally well, giving them opportunities to present at conferences and be a part of the community as they navigate how to make the jump from college to career.”

CODA was founded in 2003 to promote and advance college and university orchestra programs through the collaborative assistance, insights, knowledge, creativity, resources and shared vision of its members. CODA champions the art of conducting, teaching and performing orchestral music and strives to encourage and support the artistic, professional and personal growth of college orchestra directors and their students. Today, the organization boasts more than 400 members in the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe.

Dobbins, who is on sabbatical for the 2023-24 academic year, has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2015. He is a core faculty member of the educational studies program and conducts the University Wind Ensemble and the University Orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education from Hastings College, a Master of Music from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Georgia.

A conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Dobbins is also active as a guest conductor, leading numerous performances of honor bands, music festivals and academic and community ensembles in the U.S. and abroad. He has been a guest clinician at several festivals throughout the country and has been part of more than 60 world premiere performances since 2011. An accomplished trombonist, he has performed with the San Antonio Wind Symphony, the Heart of Texas Concert Band, the Orchestra of the Big Bend, the Utah Philharmonia, the Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra, the Stratford Street Big Band and the Hastings Symphony Orchestra.

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