Campbell is a professor of music and director of percussion studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. His history with MFA spans 30 years—having served as BOA chief judge and percussion coordinator of the MFA Summer Symposium. While in that position, he developed and named the student National Percussion Symposium division and created the Drum Instructor Academy (now called Percussion Specialist Academy), an education training program for percussion educators.
“One of my favorite things was when they asked me to get involved with the summer symposium and design a percussion camp program that embraced drum set and marching, concert, and world percussion,” Campbell says. “I got to pick the faculty and choose the curriculum. That was a big project, and it’s a program that still goes on today, so I’m real proud of that.”
A respected performer, teacher, composer, and author, he also holds the positions of principal percussionist with the Lexington Philharmonic, Yamaha Performing Artist, drummer in the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and past president of the Percussive Arts Society. From the 1970’s to 1990’s, he was an arranger and instructor for The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. He is also a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.
Dinkins died in 2011—his widow Hildy and two children accepted the award on his behalf. His bands, including Irmo High School in Columbia, S.C., and James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas, have been BOA regional champions and national finalists. He previously taught at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, Emory University in Atlanta, Avondale High School DeKalb School of the Arts in Atlanta, and North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga. He served on many MFA advisory committees and as a band host at the MFA National Festival.
Firth is a celebrated percussionist and founder of mallet and drumstick manufacturer Vic Firth Company. The business is a long-time sponsor of MFA’s programs and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Firth is an MFA clinician and donor, endowing the principal timpani chair of the Honor Orchestra of America.