School of Music
Assistant Professor, Director of Athletic Bands
Office Address: Coulter 274
- B.S. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Instrumental Music Education, 1988
David Starnes joined the School of Music at Western Carolina University in the summer of 2011 as Assistant Professor/Director of Athletic Bands. He directs the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band and the Symphonic Band. A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mr. Starnes graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. Prior to coming to Western Carolina, Mr. Starnes was the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served for eleven years.
Mr. Starnes is sought out nationally and internationally as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and creative designer. He serves as an adjudicator for several state, national, and international organizations including Bands of America (where he is a member of the Advisory Board), Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International, where he served as an adjudicator and Percussion Caption Head from 1998-2002. He was the Program Coordinator for Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps from 2003-2007 during which time they were four-time world-class finalists. Mr. Starnes is a member of the Yamaha Educational Artist program and an educational artist for Innovative Percussion and Evans Drumheads. He also serves as an Education Consultant at Music For All in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was appointed program director for the Honor Band of America, which appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in 2005 and 2009.
Under Mr. Starnes’s leadership, the Kennesaw Mountain High School band program grew from 85 students to over 250 members. Kennesaw Mountain bands have been recognized at local, state, and national levels for their achievements in all areas of performance including concert band, jazz band, marching band, winter guard, and winter percussion. They are four-time Regional Champions in Bands of America events, a six-time national finalists at the Grand National Championships, and were named the 2004 Bands of America AAA National Champions. In December of 2003, the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented the Kennesaw Mountain High School Band the prestigious Sudler Shield of Excellence for outstanding achievement in marching band. In 2005, the band appeared in the 79th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The Kennesaw Mountain High School Wind Symphony performed at the 60th Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic held in Chicago, Illinois in December of 2006.
Mr. Starnes is married to Rhea Jeanne Starnes, an architect, and they have a teenage daughter, Hannah. In his spare time, Mr. Starnes enjoys Indianapolis Colts football and playing with his two dogs, Oliver and Peyton.