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Santiago inducted into SC Band Directors Hall of Fame

March 20, 2024


GREENVILLE, S.C. — David Santiago, director of athletic bands and assistant band director at Newberry College, has been inducted into the South Carolina Band Directors Association Hall of Fame.


He was recognized Sunday in a celebratory luncheon at Furman University during South Carolina All-State Bands weekend. The honor recognizes Santiago’s 38 years of teaching excellence, as well as his service to the association and state throughout his career.


“I am honored to be inducted into the South Carolina Band Directors Hall of Fame, and I am very grateful for the recognition,” said Santiago. “But as I tell people all the time, it's more of a testimony that I have taught in really good places, with really good kids and really good parent support. I’ve had success more because of that than what I put into it.


“I want to give the best to the students here and to anybody I can help out,” he added.


The honor was presented by Leslie Gilreath, president of the association, and Dr. Jerry Gatch, Newberry College’s director of bands and a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee.


“David Santiago is so well-deserving of this distinction,” said Gatch. “The quality of his work, teaching middle school, high school and college students over 38 years, makes him a prime candidate. Additionally, his service to the SC Band Directors Association makes him a ‘shoo-in!’”


Santiago joined the Newberry College faculty in 2017. Before that, he served the Chapin High School band program for 31 years and the Chapin Middle School program from the school’s opening in 1991. His bands received consistent ‘superior’ ratings at festivals and contests throughout the Southeast, as well as 29 consecutive Outstanding Performance Awards from the South Carolina Band Directors Association. In 1986, he founded the Chapin High School Jazz Band, which was consistently acclaimed at state, regional and national jazz festivals. Under his direction, the band performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, as well as in various other venues across the nation.


At Newberry College, Santiago directs the Scarlet Spirit Marching Band and Scar’s Army Pep Band, and is integrally involved in the recruitment of prospective music students to the college. During his tenure, the marching band has risen significantly in membership, skill and acclaim, quintupling in number since he arrived. He said he looks forward to directing over 110 this fall.


His other career achievements include honors such as the 1997 South Carolina Middle School Band Director of the Year, 1993-94 Chapin Middle School Teacher of the Year, the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence and 2013 Outstanding Jazz Educator Award, and his 2018 induction into the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame.


The Columbia native said he comes from a family of musicians and educators, many of whom play trumpet, including him. He holds a master’s from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s from the University of South Carolina, both in music education. He resides in Chapin with his wife, Kimberly, and the couple has three adult children: Christian, Colin and Nicole.


In addition to Gatch, Santiago joins influential names in the Hall of Fame such as longtime College band director Charles "Chief" Pruitt '50, as well as other College alumni who have made a difference in music education in South Carolina.


Photo (left to right): Dr. Jerry Gatch, David Santiago, and SCBDA president Leslie Gilreath.

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