2018 Jr. County Band Conductor - Dr. Darrin Thornton

Dr. Darrin Thornton is an associate professor at Penn State and teaches music education foundations, secondary instrumental methods and techniques courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels; advises undergraduate music education students and serves on graduate thesis and dissertation committees; and formerly served as an assistant director for the Penn State Marching Blue Band. His research interests include teacher preparation and continued professional development, educational access and outreach, learning in ensemble settings and lifelong music engagement. Dr. Thornton further contributes to the field of music education as a performing percussionist, conductor, church musician, adjudicator, clinician, guest lecturer, and consultant, while providing professional and administrative service to the school, college and professional organizations.

He believes in the universal role music plays in our humanity, and everyone’s ability to be musical. The opportunity to facilitate musical learning and expression brings him much joy and fulfillment. Prior to this appointment in the School of Music, he taught band/instrumental music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in the state of New York; served on the conducting faculties at the University of Missouri and SUNY-Fredonia; and held administrative posts at the University of Missouri, SUNY-Fredonia, and Penn State. Thornton holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, master’s degrees from National Louis University and the University of Missouri, and a doctorate from Penn State. He grew up in Shaker Heights, OH, just outside of Cleveland and now resides in State College, PA.