Benson looks to continue growth as Opp’s new band director

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Opp High School’s “Marching Black and Gold” will see a new leader this coming fall as Brandon Benson was approved by the Opp City Schools Board of Education in July as the next band director.

A native of Florence, Alabama, and a 2013 Sheffield High School alumnus, his background in music started with his upbringing in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

“I come from a musical family,” Benson said. “I started playing percussion at Sheffield High School. I even lived in Nashville, Tennessee, while my mother pursued her music career. My mother was a vocalist, while my dad was an instrumentalist.”

He holds an associate’s degree in Music from Northwest-Shoals Community College.

Benson received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Music Business from the University of South Alabama in 2019. He furthered his education with his master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Florida in 2022.

“Percussion was my primary instrument while in undergrad. I played tenors while marching for the University of South Alabama Jaguar Marching Band. I was also section leader of the Jaguar Drumline in 2017.”

Benson previously served as the band director at J. U. Blacksher School in Uriah, Alabama, beginning in 2019.

“I directed the award-winning ‘Pride of South Monroe County’ Marching Band. One of the band’s greatest accomplishments was winning ‘Most Entertaining’ and ‘Best Overall Percussion’ at the 44th Annual Gordo Marching Band Festival in 2022. J. U. Blacksher also took home the ‘Best in Class’ Band, Majorettes, Percussion, and ‘Fan Favorite’ at the 41st Annual ‘Little Big Horn’ Marching Band Competition last year,” he said.

He stated that he was thankful for the opportunity to come to Covington County.

“I chose to come to Opp High School because of the rich tradition and history of the band program. I wanted to put my name alongside some of the greats who have taught the ‘Marching Black and Gold.’ I believe I can propel the group to be a competitive band program and to reach a higher standard. It means a lot to be able to impact the students and community of Opp.”

Benson chose to become a band director from the two leaders he had while he attended Sheffield High School.

“My high school band directors Eric Kirkman and Marcus Stewart inspired me to pursue being a band director. I enjoy the rewarding experiences of seeing students come together and accomplishing their goals of being the best that they can be.”

Benson shared his vision for the band program at Opp High School, with one of his main focuses being growth in numbers.

“My vision for the band program is to improve the quality of musicianship and to grow the numbers of the band program. Our goal is to be a competitive band program at competitions and to raise the bar for future students. I keep students motivated by challenging them to become the best band at competitions. I hope to continue the excellence and tradition of the ‘Marching Black and Gold’ while taking the group to a higher level of performance,” he said.

He added that this year’s halftime show was already written before he got hired. “I plan to add some ‘Benson’ flare with what we have.”

He is the son of Charlotte Carmack and the late Roger Benson with a sister, Kristina Abesamis, brother-in-law, Mark Abesamis, and nephew, Zion Abesamis.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to leading the Marching Black and Gold. The future is bright for Opp and I am glad I get to be the band director to shape and mold the band program into a powerhouse in the marching arts, the state of Alabama, and the nation,” Benson said.