John Leonard

Photo of John Leonard
John Leonard
Faculty Specialist, Music Education, Band
(269) 387-4702
1426 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • M.M., Wind Conducting, Western Michigan University
  • M.M., Jazz Arranging and Composition, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • B.M., Music Education, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

John Leonard is the Interim Associate Director of Bands and Faculty Specialist at Western Michigan University, where he coordinates all sports band operations, teaches courses in music education methods and conducting, and conducts the University Symphonic Band. Leonard earned the Bachelor of Music degree in instrumental music education from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (2002), the Master of Music degree in jazz arranging and composition also from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (2013), and the Master of Music degree in wind conducting from Western Michigan University (2018).

From 2012–16, he was the Assistant Director of Bands at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. During his tenure the Northeastern Pep Band more than tripled in membership and was recognized time and again for its excitement as well as its musicality. Leonard also conducted the Northeastern Concert Band and led the band in performances with several guest musicians including members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra: Michael Martin (trumpet), Mike Roylance (tuba), Stephen Lange (trombone), and Jason Snider (horn).

A prolific arranger, Leonard receives yearly commissions to write music for many university and high school marching bands. From 2007 to present, he has been the music arranger for The Power and Class of New England, the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band.  His arrangements consistently entertain audiences across the Northeast emphasizing the UMass style of integrating full band sounds, small group writing, and vocalists with their critically acclaimed percussion section under the direction of DCI Hall of Fame member Thom Hannum.  Leonard’s work for UMass was also heard at the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.  Other credits include arrangements for Western Michigan University, Oklahoma University, the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Marching Band, Rutgers University, the University of Delaware, and the University of New Haven.

In the summer, Leonard teaches with the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy, a leadership workshop for high school students founded by form UMass Marching Band director, and DCI Hall of Famer George N. Parks in 1978. At the GNP DMA Leonard teaches conducting and leadership skills to hundreds of students across the country each summer.  He is one of their Lead Clinicians, as well as the Staff Manager for the company.

Leonard is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma Band Fraternities and served as governor for the Northeastern district of Kappa Kappa Psi in 2015–16. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, the College Band Directors National Association, and is also a member of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Band Hall of Fame.  In recognition of his work as a graduate student at Western Michigan University from 2016–18, Leonard received both the department level and all-university level awards for achievement in teaching effectiveness. 

Bronco Marching Band website

University Band Website