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Dr. Scott Woodard

Dr. Scott Woodard
Dr. Scott Woodard’s love for music started when he was in the sixth grade in Huntington when his junior high band director showed students all the different types of musical instruments the band offers.
“I chose the trumpet because I thought it was absolutely fascinating that the trumpet can sound like a horse when it whinnies,” Woodard said. “I got ahold of the trumpet and never looked back.”
Woodard attended Cabell County Schools before earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University. He then earned a Doctor of Music Arts from Boston University. He was a public school music teacher and band director at both the middle and high school levels before joining the faculty of West Virginia State University (WVSU) where he teaches music students and conducts various ensembles. Currently, Woodard is the Chair of the Music Department. He also spent two summers in Saint Petersburg, Russia, studying conducting, an experience that has led to opportunities like conducting the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra in Hamilton, Ohio, near Cincinnati.
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19, Woodard will be conducting the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) at The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston as an audition for the position of Music Director for the orchestra. Woodard is among six finalists for the position after an extensive worldwide search to find the perfect fit. He’s the only finalist from West Virginia.
“It would be a culmination of a dream a lot of years in the making for me,” Woodard said of the possibility of getting the WVSO Music Director position. “As a West Virginian, I grew up here, all my roots are here, this is where my music career started. I’ve gone a lot of places because of what West Virginia did for me so there’s just no better way to say ‘thank you’ to West Virginia than to lead its major orchestra. For me, as a musician, as a conductor, as a West Virginian, it’s the perfect storm. This is a huge professional opportunity for me.” 
His concert titled “Around the World” features six pieces of classical music and features piano soloist Barbara Nissman, who also is a native West Virginian. WVSU students, faculty, and staff get free admission with their school ID. A pre-concert chat begins at 6:30 p.m. where Woodard and the president of the WVSO will talk about the pieces that will be played.
“I think the pre-concert chat is so valuable,” Woodard said. “The conductor comes out and tells you a little bit about each piece and when you know something about the history and context of the pieces and then you listen to them, it means a whole lot more to you.” 
Woodard started at WVSU as its band director and then became Music Department Chair and later Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He has also served the university as Associate Provost and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This semester he has been directing the orchestra, band and the choir while searches continue for band and choir directors.
“I think people with a talent for music have a responsibility to bring it to the world and to help other people come to grips with their feelings or emotions through music,” he said. “Music is, people say, a universal language. You may not know anything about classical music, but you might come to the concert hall on Saturday and whatever you’re bringing with you, maybe the music that I’m performing will help you to come to grips with it or express your happiness or sadness or whatever it is and the opportunity to do that for other people, I’ve always thought, is a privilege.” 
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