Worley excited to join ‘something incredibly special’ as AHS band director

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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Andalusia High School’s “A Sound Tradition” Marching Band will be under new direction this coming fall as Dillon Worley was approved by the Andalusia City Schools Board of Education as the next band director.

A Covington County native and 2008 Straughn High School alumnus, his background in band and music began when he was 10 years old at Straughn with Bennie Shellhouse.

“I participated as a member of the Sound of Gold throughout my high school years at Straughn and was selected as a vocalist for the LBW Ensemble after graduation. I spent two wonderful years as a vocalist in the Ensemble under the direction of Johnny Brewer, to which I owe so much of my growth as a musician,” Worley said.

He received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from Troy University and his master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from The University of West Alabama.

“During my time at Troy, I was a member of the Sound of the South Marching Band for three years and also a member of several concert band ensembles. I was in the Troy University Concert Chorale, vocal jazz ensemble frequency, and the Troy University Symphony Band. I also serve as the worship pastor at Westview Baptist Church in Opp and sincerely love leading worship for our congregation.”

Worley previously served as the band director at Opp High School for seven years and three years at Kinston High School.

The opportunity to lead Andalusia’s marching band means a lot to him and his family.

“The reputation of ‘A Sound Tradition’ is a big one in the band community and an even bigger one in the surrounding area. I knew this was an opportunity to become part of something incredibly special in Andalusia. I have watched Mr. Shellhouse and other middle school directors at Andalusia build and shape the band program into what it is today since 2023. That journey has been amazing to watch. We can continue to work toward the standard of excellence that has been instilled and grow the program to new heights in the future.”

Worley shared his goals and vision for the band program.

“I believe that excellence is a personal matter and hope to be able to foster that same mentality within my students. Together, we can create a vision based on how we define excellence in our art so that we can work together to accomplish things we deem most important for our program. I want to continue to support our student body and athletic programs in an incredible way and work towards being more competitive in our marching and concert bands in the future,” he said.

His decision to become a band director was fueled by time in the band with Shellhouse.

“As most people know, Mr. Shellhouse has such a passion for music and band. He truly loved what he did, and that had an impact on me. He invested time with his students and shared his passion with them in a contagious way. I work hard to do that same thing in my teaching each and every day. Music is truly a calling in my life and a gift from God that I am so grateful for. It is one I wholeheartedly believe is worth sharing with every student I have.”

He is excited to be at Andalusia High School and looks forward to the coming weeks.

“One of the most gratifying parts of leading a band is getting to see students work together as a team to accomplish a goal we have set for ourselves. Music can bring people in a way that few other things can, and it is very rewarding to be a part of that. I have a few ideas in mind for our first show together, but I think I will keep those under wrap until the first game,” Worley said.

He referred to Dr. John M. Long as a way to keep his students motivated and encouraged. “In Long’s words, ‘Band should be spelled F-U-N.’ I try to create shows and programs and experiences that are fun for my students, so they will work hard to make it the best it can be.”

Worley felt it was more important to see what his students will gain rather than what he will gain from leading a band with such a rich tradition.

“Any band or team will only be as good as the members decide they want to be. I know the students at Andalusia understand and respect their tradition of excellence and will continue to work hard to maintain that. I look forward to leading them and taking them to new heights in the years to come. I have been so humbled and grateful for the reception I have had and am excited to hit the ground running with ‘A Sound Tradition’ at Andalusia High School,” he said.

He is the son of Angie Hardage and Douglas Worley with an older sister, Ressie Gray. He is married to his wife of 11 years, Anna, and they have three daughters: Ella-Kate, Emma-Leigh, and Heidi.

To view additional personnel items approved by the board, visit https://www.andalusiastarnews.com/2023/07/03/boe-selects-new-ahs-band-director-among-recent-hires/.