Director of Bands, Music Education
Office: T-4, Goodrich Chapel
Dr. Samuel McIlhagga, is associate professor of music, and director of bands at Albion College where he directs the "British Eighth" marching band and symphonic band in addition to teaching courses in honors, popular music, music as a creative process, and instrumental music education. McIlhagga is also director of the Cereal City Concert Band, a community band based in Battle Creek. A native of Michigan, McIlhagga has taught in the public schools and also at the collegiate level since 1993. He earned his M.M. in Wind Conducting (1993) from Northwestern University studying with John P. Paynter and earned his Ph.D. in Music Education (2006) from the University of Minnesota studying conducting with Craig Kirchhoff. McIlhagga began his career as director of bands at Grand Valley State University, his alma mater, in 1993. In 1994 he served as visiting professor and director of bands at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio where his wind symphony performed at the OMEA state conference in 1995. McIlhagga and the community bands also worked closely with composer/conductors Dr. Timothy Mahr and Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr. through the "Composer-In-Residence" Concert Series. McIlhagga went on to become band director at Sparta High School in Sparta, Michigan, a position he held for five years (1996-2001). While at Sparta, he developed a strong band program earning superior ratings for both concert and marching ensembles at the district and state level.
McIlhagga maintains and active conducting, adjudication, and clinician schedule. He has been invited to guest conduct both the Lenawee County and Jackson County Honor Bands. For over 15 years, he has adjudicated and been clinician for marching and concert bands both in Michigan and around the mid-west. His Albion College bands have performed in New York's famous Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine as well as marched in “America's Thanksgiving Day Parade” in downtown Detroit. McIlhagga is a frequent presenter at the Michigan Music Conference and he presented at the 2012 ANBOC (Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference) in Brisbane, and the CBDNA Regional Conference in Mt. Pleasant, MI. In 2010, his peers named him Albion College Faculty of the Year. McIlhagga currently serves as the State NAfME Collegiate Advisor and is also faculty advisor to both Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – Albion College chapters. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), College Music Society (CMS), The National Association for Music Education: MENC, Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE), Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), and the Michigan Music Education Association (MMEA).