Skip to main content

UT has announced permanent leadership for the Pride of the Southland Band.

Effective February 1, Don Ryder will begin serving as the director of bands. Mike Stewart has been named associate director of bands.

Ryder and Stewart have held the interim director and associate director positions since October 2013.

As the director, Ryder will hold the W J Julian Professor of Bands professorship, which was created in 2007 through generous support from alumni, friends and former students.


“It has been a very successful year for the Pride of the Southland Band,” said School of Music Director Jeff Pappas. “The band has continued our great traditions and added several new ones that have been well received by everyone, especially Volunteer fans. The band has added new music in the stands and made other additions that contribute to its high quality performance and an exciting game atmosphere.”

Ryder is an associate professor of music and has worked for UT for more than sixteen years. He also conducts the UT Symphonic Band and teaches undergraduate instrumental conducting. Prior to joining UT, he taught at Sam Houston State University in Texas. He has also taught music in public schools in Ohio and Iowa and led high school bands that were nationally recognized. He has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Iowa.

Stewart joined UT in 2007. He is an associate professor of music and also conducts the UT Concert Band and the UT Pep Band. He teaches undergraduate courses in brass methods and marching band technique. He began his teaching career with the Delaware City School district in Delaware, Ohio, teaching instrumental music education to students in grades five through twelve. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University.


Karen Simsen (865-974-5186,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,