Chicagoland Marching Band Leadership Academy

July 23, 2020

Formerly known as 7 Steps to a Better Band, the Chicagoland Marching Band Leadership Academy (MBLA) is a single-day event designed to prepare directors and their student leaders for a successful school year and marching band season. Directors and their students will have an opportunity to set goals for their school, break out into sectional leadership workshops, prepare music in sections, share their goals with all participants and prepare and perform a music selection as one large ensemble. 

The concept of leadership has become more and more ambiguous. Students and teachers alike are unsure of the day-to-day actions and thoughts required of an effective leader. Our session will "de-mystify" leadership and turn it into something that is a philosophy rather than a series of boxes to check. Band leadership particularly opens itself up to empathy in a different way than in the business world. However, research is telling us that "business leadership," devoid of emotion or connection, is the worst, most ineffective style. We must first learn about our own strengths and weaknesses and then encourage others to do the same. In this session, we will explore practical tips to learning and growing skills and knowledge. In addition, we will look at establishing "leadership loops" – cycles of leaders to help create the next generation of leaders.

All students will receive a MBLA shirt and lunch, and will depart feeling motivated and inspired for the coming school year!

Keynote Speaker: Bobby Lambert

Lambert,_Bobby_headshot_CROPBobby Lambert is the director of bands at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, SC. Originally from Cherokee, NC, Lambert attended Western Carolina University and the University of Massachusetts, receiving degrees in music education and saxophone performance.

From 2001 until 2013, Lambert was the assistant band director to Greg Bimm at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL, where he enjoyed great success in both the marching and concert arena. In 2005, he founded the school-wide leadership program, designing the curriculum and coordinating its implementation to more than 1,200 students with more than 50 faculty members. Since 2013, Lambert has led the popular Drum Major Institute for Bands of America, drawing more than 600 students each year from across the country.

In 2014, Lambert joined Wando High. Along with colleagues Lanie Radecke and Jeff Handel, Bands of Wando have continued to excel regionally and nationally in marching, concert and small ensemble mediums. The marching band has garnered three additional state championships, two BOA Regional Championships, and three top-eight BOA Grand National appearances. Lambert’s ensembles have been invited to perform at the USC Band Clinic, the SCMEA State Convention, Charleston Music Festival and the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Wando continues to have the highest number of students in regional and all-state bands of any other school. 

In addition to serving as a consultant with several programs and districts across the country, Lambert has also served as guest conductor for honor bands in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Illinois. A partner with Dynamic Marching LLC., Lambert designs content for their online classes, and co-hosts the podcast That Band Life.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288