Southwestern Michigan College’s new band director and graphic design instructor will continue to provide a high level of instruction for students, succeeding Dr. Jon Korzun (28 years) and Bill Rothwell (20 years), who, combined, taught at SMC for almost half a century.
Director of Bands Mark Hollandsworth of St. Joseph (pictured) brings 19 years of experience, including 12 in Buchanan (2014-19) and Edwardsburg (2001-08), and is no stranger to SMC. “I have great respect for the rich educational and performance offerings the Fine Arts Department provides and have always valued the partnership the College staff and administration have established with local directors, schools and communities.”
Hollandsworth’s experience spans a variety of genres, from traditional concert bands to chamber ensembles, marching band, jazz band, section coaching, pit orchestras and courses in music appreciation and music theory. “As a performer,” he said, “I am consistently seeking out ways to stay active and current,” including performing on trumpet with the SMC Brass Band; the Andrew Fisher Quartet, which formed at SMC in 2014 and dedicated its first recording to Korzun; and Berrien County’s Lake Effect Jazz Big Band.
As Buchanan Community Schools Director of Bands, “I feel I had a good pulse on not only the educational requirements of the position, but also the administrative demands,” said Hollandsworth, who also served as Blissfield Director of Bands for six years, 2008-14, in southeast Michigan’s Lenawee County.
“I managed two unique music and instrument inventories, multiple sets of uniforms and reported to three different administrators across two buildings,” he said. “This, in addition to maintaining frequent communication with over 200 families and administering the promotion of the program through social media. Time management, organization and timely communication are vital components to success in this type of position. Having been a frequent guest in the SMC music wing, I am attuned to the rigor of the multiple performance cycles and annual commitments and feel equipped to step into such a role.”
Hollandsworth, pursuing his master’s degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, holds a 2000 bachelor’s degree in music education from Eastern Michigan University. He was Southwestern Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association District 6 “Teacher of the Year” in 2008 and again in 2016.
Sam Walker, the College’s new graphic design instructor, notes that his “career as a graphic designer actually started 17 years ago at SMC.” Walker, previously an assistant professor of graphic design for Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., says that “successfully completing courses with Mr. Rothwell as a concurrently-enrolled home schooler encouraged me to pursue the academic side of graphic design, and it further propelled me through bachelor’s and master’s degrees.”
“I experienced first-hand the quality education that SMC offers its students and it is one of the reasons I hoped to join your faculty,” Walker said. “Advancing with the ever-changing digital world is key to equipping students for success in their careers. Not to mention that it means keeping my own skills competitive to stay in line with the school’s mission.”
Walker holds a 2007 bachelor’s degree in new media from Taylor University in Upland, Ind., and a 2016 master’s degree in communication and digital media from Saginaw Valley State University. He joined Sullivan in 2017 from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas.
In 2013-14 Walker designed advertisements for newspapers across the country for Schurz Communications, including the South Bend Tribune.
Dr. David Fleming, Vice President of Instruction, believes the inherent quality in both band and graphic design will not miss a beat: “Both Mark Hollandsworth and Sam Walker will provide seamless transitions for two of SMC’s strongest programs.”