A Special Award of

The John Philip Sousa Foundation

Myra Rhoden is the Director of Bands and Chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at Fayette County High School, Fayetteville, Georgia. She started her career in 1994 as Director of Bands at Westlawn Middle School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 1997, she was hired as Director of Bands at Booker T. Washington High School in Tuskegee, Alabama, then Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama before taking over at Fayette County High School in 2003. From 2019 to 2022, Myra was an Instructor at VanderCook College of Music, Music Education Center of America (MECA) in Chicago, Illinois.

She received both her BS and MA in Music Education from the University of Alabama and her DMA in Wind Band Conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Fayette County High School Wind Ensemble has received only Superior Ratings in the Georgia Music Educators Association Large Group Performance Evaluation under her leadership for the past 21 years. In 2018, Myra was the National Band Director of the Year, National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In 2021, she received the Outstanding Service to Music Award from Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Sorority, and the International Golden Rose Award from Women Band Directors International. And in 2023, Myra was Elected to the American Bandmasters Association.

The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.

Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high-quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.

Each is honored at the annual Sousa Foundation awards ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mrs. Rhoden has held many positions in her professional organizations including National Band Association, National Chair, Programs of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award, 2021-present, the Georgia Music Educators Association, Chairperson, District VI Band, 2009-2015, the Southeastern United States Honor Band Clinic, Troy University, Alabama, Member, Board of Directors, 2005-present and Alabama Bandmasters Association, Member, Board of Directors, 2002-2003.

When asked what factors do you consider most important in shaping your career, Myra states, “As a young music educator, I had the privilege of working with many successful, established band directors who were always willing to help guide me as I developed into the teacher I am today. Their continued mentorship helped shape my teaching philosophy, pedagogical choices, and confidence. They modeled a love for lifelong learning, something I try to model daily for my students. My career has been profoundly shaped by those who took the time to invest in me.”

Her professional philosophy statement is, “I teach life skills through music education. Recognizing that all of my students will not become professional musicians, I do my best to empower them through pride in technical proficiency, performance, creativity, collaboration, and self-expression — qualities that will help them succeed in the career of their choice.”