Don Snowden’s musical versatility has served the Northwest Florida area well for many years. With a myriad of responsibilities as a conductor, trombonist, administrator and educator, Snowden has developed outstanding programs at all levels of the musical spectrum. Currently in his 40th year of teaching, he is Department Head, and Director of Bands at Pensacola State College. He received a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama) in 1977 and a Master’s of Music Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1981. Snowden also studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He taught several years at Foley High School in Foley, Ala. where his concert and marching bands earned a national reputation for excellence. In 1985, he was the recipient of the National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence,” for inspiring and motivating excellence in musical performance.
During Snowden’s 29 years as Pensacola State’s Director of Bands, his concert bands have grown in size and quality. His jazz ensembles have been rated with superiors throughout the South, and have performed with several world renowned jazz artists including Carl Fontana, Slide Hampton, Bobby Shew, Gary Foster, Bill Prince, Chris Vadala and Rich Matteson. In 1993, the Pensacola State Jazz Ensemble performed in famed Carnegie Hall in New York City to an enthusiastic audience. As director of the Pensacola Civic Band, Snowden has built the band from a group of 50 players to its current size of more than 90 players. In 2002, the Civic Band was selected as the recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll Award, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The purpose of the Sudler Silver Scroll Award is to identify, recognize, and honor those community bands that have demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in concert activities over a period of several years, and which have played a significant and leading role, year after year, in the cultural and musical environment of their local communities. The Civic Band was chosen to perform at four national conventions of the Association of Concert Bands, and hosted the convention in 2001 and 2007. In 2001, he was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Association of Concert Bands and served as President of the ACB in 2008 and 2009. He is a two-time winner of the Arts Council of Northwest Florida’s Muriel Shugart Award for his work at Pensacola State and the Civic Band.
He is very active as a guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the Southeastern United States. Snowden is an active performer, holding the second trombone position in the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra since 1979 and is the leader of the Pensacola Big Band All Stars featuring vocalist and wife, Holly Shelton. He is a member of a professional brass group, the Perdido Brass that performs along the Gulf Coast area. He is an active musical theatre conductor, conducting many productions including “West Side Story,” “Hello, Dolly!” “The Secret Garden,” “Gypsy,” “Into the Woods,” and “Les Miserables.” In 2009, he was the conductor of the nationally televised concert, “Will Hedgecock, Live at the Saenger Theatre.” He has contracted orchestras for Pensacola area performances of Harry Connick Jr., Jim Nabors, Roger Williams, the Mills Brothers, Mitzi Gaynor and national tours of “A Chorus Line,” and “Annie.” He has served as guest conductor of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra in programs with Broadway a la Carte, rock legend Johnny Rivers, and entertainer Lou Rawls. He has been serving as the Traditional Choir Director at Gulf Breeze Methodist Church since 2010. An avid golfer and gourmet cook, Snowden has two children, Matthew, a retail manager, and Ashleigh, a police officer. He is married to vocalist-actress Holly Shelton and served as her executive producer on one of her most popular CD’s, “Deep Purple.”