Founding Director, John Leddy, establishes $25,000 Endowed Scholarship to support first generation college band members
STONY BROOK, N.Y., March 18, 2015 — John J. Leddy, Founding Director and Director Emeritus of Athletic Bands, and his wife Diane have launched a new effort to bring critical support to first-generation and low-income college students with a generous gift of $25,000 to the Stony Brook University Athletic Bands program. The monetary award will go toward establishing the John J. and Margaret D. Leddy Sr. Marching Band Endowed Scholarship and will provide critical financial assistance to first-generation college students in beloved The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band.
Mr. Leddy, who served as founding director of The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band until 2013, remarked that his donation was both inspired and made possible by his late parent for whom the award is named after. “The donation was made in my parents’ name and from money that my parents earned,” Mr. Leddy explained. “It was a dream of my parents for me to go to school. They had no education but they decided that I was going to have a college education. And they needed a legacy—I want them not to have just influenced me but for that influence to go forward and continue.”
And continue forward it certainly will, thanks to Mr. Leddy’s gift. A first-generation college student himself, Mr. Leddy feels he has a real and meaningful connection with first-generation students, many of whom he met many during his seven years of teaching at Stony Brook University and 40 years in public education. “Meeting so many first-generation students really tied it up for me,” said Mr. Leddy. “It resonated with me because that was my experience and it brought me closer to my parents’ story—which is my story.” Working in public education for 40 years was also a source of inspiration for Mr. Leddy, who feels genuinely lucky to have had the joyous experience of teaching and directing at Stony Brook University.
Most inspiring to Mr. Leddy, however, was watching how excited and elated the families of first-generation college students were on Commencement Day. He hadn’t noticed it at first, Mr. Leddy said, but when he did he came to love and deeply understand the unbridled enthusiasm because it applied so meaningfully to his own experience. “I saw this other reaction and it connected to me and I thought—this is a big deal,” Mr. Leddy remarked. “I’m touched by those kids who I know it’s a big deal for them to be here.”
When asked about Mr. Leddy’s generous gift to the program, current Director of Athletic Bands Shayna Stahl—a former student and colleague of Mr. Leddy—echoed these sentiments and remarked, “It’s an unbelievable gift he’s giving to the program and to students.” She added, “The scholarship is going to open a lot of doors for first-generation college students and allow them to commit to a community that will provide them with a firm basis of support.”
Exceptionally generous as he may be, however, Mr. Leddy doesn’t ask to be considered a leader. He asks, rather, that others join him in supporting public education and first-generation students to whom financial assistance has increasingly become crucial. “I’m not seeing myself as being a leader,” Mr. Leddy explained, “but I do hope I can set an example and encourage other people to contribute to this or to something else, because our students need the support.” Director Stahl hopes his generous gift will animate others to donate, too. “His donation really demonstrates his commitment,” she remarked, “and I hope others will follow his lead.”Assistant Dean of Students Jeff Barnett, who worked closely with Mr. Leddy, attributes the large monetary gift to Leddy’s leadership. “For 7 years, John gave everything he had to this program and to this university. Stony Brook inspired him, as he inspired us. Now, even in retirement, Leddy continues to give and inspire. He is leading by example, just as he always has. John Leddy is one of the most remarkable teachers I have ever encountered and the athletic band program and university is eternally grateful for all the gifts he has granted, including this extraordinary donation.”
To make a gift to the John J. and Margaret D. Leddy Sr. Marching Band Endowed Scholarship, click here.
Greg Mulzet Named Athletic Bands Coordinator
Founding Member of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band Mark Carman
Named Percussion Instructor
Mr. Mark Carman has been appointed the new Percussion Instructor of the Spirit of Stony Brook Athletic Bands. Mr. Carman was a founding drumline member of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band in 2006, the band’s first year. Mr. Carman holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Stony Brook. After his degree at Stony Brook, Mr. Carman completed a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Queens College.
Currently, Mr. Carman is an educator at Roslyn High School, Roslyn, NY where he teaches Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Precalculus, College Prep Math, and Math Fair Research Honors Program. While teaching at Roslyn High School, Mr. Carman served as the drumline instructor and co-arranger of the Roslyn High School Competitive Marching Band.
Mr. Carman has a wealth of experience in the marching percussion field. Before Stony Brook, Mr. Carman was the drumline instructor at the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and bugle Corps, Copaigue High School Competitive Marching Band, RAGE Indoor Competitive Percussion Ensemble, Brentwood High School Competitive Marching Band, and Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. Carman also has experience as drumline arranger for the Spirit of Stony Brook Athletic Bands, Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps, and Roslyn High School.
Mr. Carman is also a very talented musician and takes pride in consistently improving upon his own skills and performance so that he may bring back his knowledge to his students. Mr. Carman has performed with Boston Crusaders (DCI World Class Finalist), Jersey Surf as the Drumline Captain (DCI Open Class Silver Medalist), Vision Elite (DCI Division III), and RAGE Percussion Ensemble as the Durmline Captain (WGI and MAC).
Mr. Carman brings to our program a wealth of knowledge and experience in education, drumline instruction, and drumline technique. We look forward to Mr. Carman sharing his talents and enthusiasm towards the marching world with our program. We believe that he will be a fantastic addition to our program and we look forward to Mr. Carman joining our staff.
The Band, Color Guard and Cheerleaders help JOE BOXER Founder announce brand new
Nick Graham Menswear Collection
Paisley, stripes and polka dots, Nick Graham’s Post-Prep will make you pop! That’s what Nick Graham, the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band and Stony Brook Cheerleaders were chanting in front of Macy’s in Herald Square on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.
According to the Nick Graham website nickgraham.com, “Post-Prep” is the term they use to describe their belief that “Modern Menswear is a mix of two parts tradition, two parts attitude and one part pure fun.”
The founder and “Chief Underpants Officer” of the JOE BOXER brand invited 45 band and color guard members and cheerleaders to his offices in New York City to help him make his release event exciting and fun. Before the group took their instruments and flags to the streets, band members got styled in brand new checker-patterned shirts with ties or bow ties to match. They also wore their blue shakos with a black circular Nick Graham sticker on the front that had a white silhouette of a Boxer dog with the phrase, “Because He Can” on their heads. Color Guard members were given white Nick Graham flags that had a similar logo on them as the black stickers and the cheerleaders wore their red skirts and red Nick Graham shirts and ties.
Once in front of Macy’s, the band played Suit and Tie by Justin Timberlake, The Walker by Fitz and The Tantrums, Ain’t it Fun by Paramore and Can’t Hold Us by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis. They also joined Nick Graham in his “Post-Prep” cheer:
So give me an N! N!
Give me an Ick! ICK!
Give me a Gray! GRAY!
Give me a Ham! HAM!
The event attracted hundreds of city-goers, included cameramen and lasted for an hour before it was brought inside where four color guard members and cheerleaders helped Graham kick off his runway event.
Shayna Stahl Named Director of Athletic Bands;
Will Lead 200-Member 'Spirit of Stony Brook' Marching Band Program
After a three-month national search, Shayna Stahl has been appointed as the new Director of Athletic Bands at Stony Brook University, a position left vacant by the retirement of the founding director and legendary Long Island music educator, Mr. John J. Leddy.
Stahl assumes this position after a long and successful tenure as Stony Brook’s part-time Assistant Director of Athletic Bands. She has been working with the band since its inception in 2006 when she first began as a graduate assistant and was quickly promoted in 2008 to Assistant Director. In this role she has been responsible for and assisted with, among other things: the design and instruction of marching drill, visual elements and field shows; the direction of the pep band; the facilitation of leadership development programs; and the coordination of travel.
Sixty-eight applications were received from directors, associate directors, and assistant band directors of FBS, FCS-level programs, and gifted educators and technicians representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities, renowned drum corps, competitive high school bands and performance art administrators.
“To say that this was a diverse and talented pool of candidates is an understatement,” said Assistant Dean of Students, Jeffrey A. Barnett, who oversees the Office of Athletic Bands. “At the end of the day, and having searched all across the country, we found our future right here at home at Stony Brook with Shayna Stahl. Her imprint is all over this program and she is responsible for a great deal of the success the program has garnered in its short history. Shayna has the perfect combination of experience to suit our program. And she shares the important values of student-centeredness, community, tradition and excellence that will both maintain our identity and help bring the band to the next level, commensurate with some of the outstanding bands of the CAA. I am confident that the band will continue to experience great success under her leadership.”
Stahl has garnered many awards and much recognition over her near decade of experience. She is the recipient of the 2011 Conducting Study Grant, awarded by the College Band Director National Association to help advance gender equity in the field of music education and conducting. Mrs. Stahl’s High School bands consistently earn “superior” rankings (Level 6) by the New York State School Music Association and many of her students and programs are often featured on various media outlets for their achievements. She has been invited to serve as a guest conductor for the Huntington Community Band, where she has performed for many years. Stahl is also quite the talented musician in her own right and has performed with the Atlantic Wind Symphony and Suffolk Horn Club. Stahl has strong ties to the Long Island Music Educator Community and is also affiliated with the Collegiate Band Director's National Association, New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), Suffolk County Music Educator Association (SCMEA), New York State Band Director Associations and New York State Music Association.
Stahl earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Temple University, where she was a four year marcher with the Diamond Marching Band and served as Drum Major for two years. She has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies from Stony Brook University. Her zest for learning has motivated her to also pursue her nearly completed second Master's Degree in Music Education with a specialization in Conducting at the University of Hartford's Hartt School of Music, one of the top graduate music programs in the country. She is simultaneously enrolled in a post-graduate certificate program in Educational Leadership at Stony Brook University’s School of Professional Development.
“Shayna Stahl's impressive credentials, diverse talents as well as her significant and demonstrated experience as an educational administrator and music educator are indeed impressive and I am confident and excited about the future of the band,” said Dr. Jerrold L. Stein, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
Founding Director, John Leddy, said “The work Shayna has done and the influence she has had on the performance and direction of the band is enormous. I would never have succeeded in this position and the band would not be what it is without her able assistance. Mrs. Stahl brings a rich and deep knowledge of college athletic band programs and is a talented educator. Her extraordinary dedication to the program has been a great influence and inspiration. She brings the entire skill set needed to guide the program well into the future.”
In being appointed to this position, Mrs. Stahl becomes one of only a small handful of women to lead a Division-I collegiate marching/athletics band program, joining directors at the University of New Hampshire, University of Delaware, Bowling Green University and Mississippi State University.
Remarks from Shayna Stahl on her hiring:
“I am thrilled and honored to be selected as the new Director of Athletic Bands here at Stony Brook University and to have been a part of the program from the beginning. The sense of community and school spirit at Stony Brook is infectious and I know the direct role the band has played helping to instill university pride and traditions. It is a pleasure be able to work closely with students who love band, love their school, and love to learn and are as talented and smart as they are. I see my role as building upon these important qualities and providing students with the guidance, support, knowledge, and professionalism that will assist in taking us to the next level.”