Mr. King, a native of Aberdeen, Mississippi, is a 1989 graduate of Aberdeen High School. After attending Itawamba Community College, he went on to earn his Bachelor's in Music Education in 1995 from the University of Mississippi. From there, King pursued further education at Auburn University where he was a graduate student in the Jazz Department. While there, he worked with the Auburn Tiger Marching Band, as well as the Auburn Knights Jazz Orchestra, a student led 21 piece big band that has been in existence since 1930. In 1997 King graduated with honors from Auburn University with a Master's of Education in Music. Mr. King began his teaching career in the fall of 1997 at Vanderbilt University where he served as Assistant Band Director and Director of Jazz Studies. He directed the Commodore Marching Band and the Vanderbilt Jazz Ensemble. Feeling an urge to teach in the public schools of Mississippi, Mr. King took a position at Vicksburg High School as Assistant Band Director in the fall of 1998. As Assistant Band Director, King began the 3rd concert band at Vicksburg High, and took over the jazz band. In 2005, King became Director of Bands at Vicksburg High School. During his tenure at Vicksburg, Mr. King conducted the Varsity 3rd band, the Concert 2nd band, and the Symphonic band. He received superior ratings with all the ensembles he conducted. In 2007, Mr. King accepted the Assistant Band Director position at Alcorn Central High School, in Corinth, Mississippi, where he assisted with all areas of band, including teaching the indoor drum line and indoor color guard. In 2008 Mr. King moved to Quitman, Mississippi to be Assistant Band Director at Quitman High School.
In the fall of 2010, King took the helm of Quitman High School Bands as its leader. He served there, receiving Superior ratings, until the fall of 2012, when he joined the staff at East Mississippi Community College as the Assistant Director of Bands. His duties include Music Appreciation, as well as teaching private studio students. He conducted the EMCC Jazz Band and also fronted the Basketball Pep Band, “The Pride.” He started the New Orleans styled brass band “Southern Soul” in 2016 bringing the spirit of Mardi Gras to the area. This has become a highly sought after group to perform in parades, area schools, and other social and civic functions. Mr. King was tapped to be Director of Bands at EMCC in the spring of 2018. The band program has included new ensemble offerings such as an Indoor Marching Percussion group as well as an Indoor Marching Unit that includes winds, percussion, color guard, and dance. The band program has also seen the launching of smaller ensembles such as brass, woodwind, and percussion ensembles. In 2003, Mr. King received the A.E. McLain Outstanding Young Band Director's Award. He has served twice as President of the Capital District Band Director's Association. Mr. King was named Star Teacher for Quitman High School in 2010. While at East Mississippi Community College, Mr. King has completed the LEO Leadership Training, which trains faculty and staff on leadership opportunities in each area of service within the college. Mr. King and his wife, Christy, have been married for 10 years and reside in Quitman. Mrs. King is an educator as well, having taught 5 years in 2nd grade, 2 years in Junior High and High School band, and 2 years in 4th grade Science and Math. Although she no longer teaches in the traditional classroom, Christy continues to share her love for youth and education as she is now the Extension 4-H Agent and County Extension Coordinator in Clarke County. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Agriculture and Extension at Mississippi State University. The couple has two children, Jackson Berry King and Jones Ragan King.
B.M.E. University of Mississippi
M.M. Auburn University
Ben Neal is Assistant Director of Bands/Director of Percussion at East Mississippi Community College. He teaches private lessons, instructs the Mighty Lion Drumline, coaches Percussion Ensemble, and assists the marching band. He is also Adjunct Instructor of Percussion at Mississippi State University where he teaches applied lessons. As an educator/clinician, he has taught extensively in high schools from Mississippi, Alabama, and New Mexico. Ben has performed as a soloist with the New Mexico State University Philharmonic and as a section percussionist in the Las Cruces Symphony, North Mississippi Symphony, and Meridian Symphony. Ben holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, and a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. His teachers include Fred Bugbee, Josh Armstrong, Bryan Mitchell, Will Curry, and Ronnie Mckeown. Ben lives in Starkville, MS with his wife, Lina, their dog and their three cats. Ben proudly endorses Artifact Sticks and Mallets.
B.M.E. Delta State University
M.M. New Mexico State University