About the BBCO Conductors

Dr. Shelby R. Chipman

DrShelbyChipmanDr. Shelby R. Chipman is an associate professor at Florida A&M University (FAMU). His responsibilities in the Department of Music include teaching Instrumental Music Education, conducting, and coordinating student recitals and student teachers (as music interns). Additionally, he conducts the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and String Ensemble.

He is a native of Miami, where he graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High. He received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Music Education from Florida A&M University, where he was conducting student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White. Professor Chipman completed his master’s degree in music education at the University of Illinois, and received his Ph.D. in music education from the Florida State University (FSU) College of Music.

Prior to his appointment at FAMU, he taught music in the Miami-Dade County Public School system for 10 years. His band program at Miami Central High School developed into one of the finest band programs in the country. As much as a teacher as he was a musician, Dr. Chipman was named Teacher of the Year during the 1993-94 school year. Under his leadership the Rocket Marching band performed in the 1993, 1995, and 1997 King Orange Jamboree Parades, 1993 Heritage Festival (New Orleans), 1990-96 FAMU’s Homecoming Festivals (Tallahassee, Fla.), 1992-97 MLK Parades & Festival (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 1997 Macy’s Day Parade (New York City), and numerous other marching events. The Miami Central High School Symphonic Band performed at the prestigious Bands of America National Concert Festival in Indianapolis, IN.

Dr. Chipman is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Music Educators National Conference (MENC), Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA), Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA), College Band Directors National Conference (CBDNA), FMEA Black Caucus, and Bethel AME Church (Tallahassee). He has coordinated numerous band festivals and had the pleasure of working with James Croft, Timothy Reynish, James Suddith, Jim Sparks, Gary Green, Anthony Maiello, and Eugene Corporon, who represent some of the finest conductors in the world. In addition to working with these outstanding conductors, Dr. Chipman has presented music education and conducting clinics on several public school and college campuses, as well as given lectures at the FMEA conference and Mid-West Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the Southeastern United States and currently serves as music director/conductor of the Tallahassee Big Bend Community Orchestra, as well as the Florida collegiate advisor for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Dr. Chipman is married to Detrick LaShawn and together they have one son, Israel Armenian Chipman.

As an educator, Dr. Chipman believes that all students can learn. He believes there are obstacles that create barriers, but through faith, guidance, and love anything can be accomplished. “As educators, it is our responsibility to encourage students to maintain their focus,” Chipman said. “There is good in all and we are challenged to bring out the best in students.”

Dr. James Croft, Conductor Emeritus

James Croft, former Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the Florida State University, received his BME from Cornell College, an MA from Northern Iowa University and his Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Croft taught for twenty-one years in the public schools of Iowa and Wisconsin. The last eighteen of which were spent in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where his groups were invited to appear at numerous state, regional and national conventions, clinics and festivals. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the University of South Florida as Director of Bands, remaining there until moving to FSU in 1980. He was an internationally known conductor, adjudicator, lecturer, and clinician, and received numerous awards throughout his career. After his retirement in 2004, he became the Conductor of the Big Bend Community Orchestra for three years and continued as Artistic Director for three more years.
The BBCO was saddened to learn of Dr. Croft’s passing on Thursday, September 6th, 2012.  The November 17th concert was dedicated to his memory.