Director of Orcehstras
Kennesaw Mountain High School, GA
Mr. David Starnes currently serves as the Director of Orchestras at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia where he joined the faculty in August of 2020. Prior to his arrival at Kennesaw Mountain High School, he served as Assistant Professor in the School of Music at Western Carolina University from 2011-2020 serving as the Director of Athletic Bands.
During his tenure at Western Carolina University, he was the recipient of the College of Fine and Performing Arts Service Award (2017) and the James E. Dooley “Excellence in Music Teaching” Award, presented by the School of Music faculty and students. He was responsible for all aspects of the 500+ member “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band that performed as halftime entertainment for the Carolina Panthers (2011), exhibition performances at Bands of America Regional Championships in Atlanta, Georgia (2011) and St. Louis, Missouri (2018), the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana (2012, 2015) and the 88th and 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City (2014 and 2019).
He served as the Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia from 2000-2011. As the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School, the band program grew from its initial 85 students to over 250 members. Under his direction, Kennesaw Mountain High School was recognized in all areas of performance for their achievements at local, state, and national levels including concert band, jazz band, marching band, winter guard, and winter percussion. Under his direction, they were a six-time national finalist at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, being named the 2004 Bands of America “AAA National Champion” and a four-time Regional Champion in Bands of America events. In December of 2003, the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented the Kennesaw Mountain High School Band the prestigious “Sudler Shield of Excellence” for outstanding achievement in marching band. In 2005, the band appeared in the 79th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The Kennesaw Mountain High School Wind Symphony performed at the 60th Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic held in Chicago, Illinois in December of 2006.
In November 2021, Mr. Starnes was appointed the Executive Director of Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps where he coordinates operational and performance aspects of the organization. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Music at Acworth United Methodist Church where he conducts the Chancel Choir and orchestra. In 2016, he was appointed a member of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Shield Jury. From 2013-2018, he served as Design Advisor for Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, during which time the corps won the DCI World Championship and received the silver and bronze medals four times. Mr. Starnes served as the founding Board Chairman for United Sound, a nationally recognized special needs music education program from 2014-2017. Throughout his career, he has adjudicated for several state, national, and international organizations including Bands of America, Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International from 1994 to the present. He served as an Education Consultant at Music for All in Indianapolis, Indiana from 1995-2021. While fulfilling this role, his duties included serving as the program director for The Honor Band of America, who appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2022. Mr. Starnes was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2019. He is sought out nationally and internationally as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, and creative designer.
As a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mr. Starnes graduated magna cum laude from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988. He and his wife, Rhea Jeanne Starnes, who is a practicing architect, reside in Acworth, Georgia. His daughter, Hannah, works as an Interior Designer in Royal Oak, Michigan.