FAIRFAX, Va. - The Reva and Sid Dewberry School of Music recently announced the appointment of Dr. William L. Lake Jr. as director of concert bands at George Mason University. Dr. Lake’s appointment follows the 16-year tenure of Professor Mark Camphouse, composer and conductor, who will retire this summer.
As director of concert bands, Dr. Lake will conduct the George Mason University Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, mentor graduate conducting students and teach wind literature classes.
Dr. Lake’s mission is to extend the George Mason Bands to the community with unique concerts in non-traditional spaces via large and small ensembles. Dr. Lake shares, “Artists need to remember that we borrow our music traditions from the world around us. In understanding this, we must reflect the musical ecosystem that fuels our arts institutions by extending the stage to the heart of the community.”
Before his tenure at George Mason University, Dr. Lake served as associate director of bands and assistant professor of music education at the Crane School of Music (SUNY-Potsdam), where he was co-conductor of the Northern Symphonic Winds, principal conductor of the Crane Concert Band and guest conductor of the Crane Wind Ensemble. In addition to these responsibilities, Dr. Lake taught undergraduate conducting, Secondary Wind Practices, Wind Literature and the preservice Practicum in Beginning Instruments Course.
Dr. Lake earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in instrumental conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under the mentorship of Drs. John R. Locke and Kevin Geraldi. As a graduate student, he was the principal conductor of The University of North Carolina University Band and guest conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Casella Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Lake is the recipient of two master’s degrees, the first from Boston University in music education (2011) and the second from the University of Maryland, College Park in wind conducting (2014) under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Votta Jr. In May 2006, Dr. Lake received the Bachelor of Music Liberal Arts - Jazz Studies Piano Performance Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park as a student of Jon Ozment and Christopher Vadala.
As a native of Cambridge and Dorchester County Public Schools, Dr. Lake is grateful to the strong music educators who fostered his excitement for performance. He tells many the time that he asked his elementary band teacher, Candace Allebach, “Why do you get to conduct all of the time and all we get to do is play our instruments?”
After explaining himself further, Ms. Allebach invited the then-young Dr. Lake to the podium to conduct “Aura Lee” for the class. It went so well that she asked him to conduct the piece at the spring concert that year. Dr. Lake reflects, “I have used this moment as an example of music education’s inclusive, empowering and emancipatory power. I’ve made a whole career out of a simple, innocent interaction with an amazing educator.”
Dr. Lake also holds the vibrant music tradition of his home church, Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, as a cornerstone of his musical development through the mentorship of choir directors/musicians Alva Keene, Lorraine Henry, Walter Brown and Wilbert Jackson.
“The music of Waugh Church,” as Lake describes, “was extremely diverse, including sacred anthems, spirituals, hymns and gospel. As I grew musically, I was always challenged with unique styles and written and aural musical traditions. These skills have proven to be a competitive asset in my career to this day.”
Dr. Lake maintains an active performance and clinic schedule as a guest conductor and lecturer throughout the country. He was a finalist for the 2017-2018 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and the Band Conducting Division of the American Prize. Recently, Dr. Lake served as a collaborating author for two books, “Teaching Instrumental Music: Perspectives and Pedagogies for the 21st Century” (Oxford University Press) and “Music Education on the Verge: Stories of Pandemic Teaching and Transformative Change” (Lexington Books), both to be published this year.
As a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Lake is the co-founder of I See You: Affirming Representation in Music. In this capacity, Dr. Lake has presented over 20 seminars across the United States on inclusive practices in music education and performance. With co-founder Dr. LaToya A. Webb, Dr. Lake has been invited to present on diversity, equity and inclusion concepts and practices at the 2021 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the 2021 Virginia Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference, the 2022 Texas Music Educators Association Conference, the 2021 National Association for Music Education National Conference and the 2022 National Association for Music Education Music Leaders Forum.
Dr. Lake is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc., Pi Kappa Lambda and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is also honored with membership in Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc., and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.