Gregory L. Denson is in his first year as the Director of Bands at East Cobb Middle School in Marietta, GA. Prior to East Cobb Middle, Mr. Denson served as the Assistant Band Director at Griffin Middle School in Smyrna, GA. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia having received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. After Morehouse, Denson attended The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida where he received a Master of Music Education with teacher certification.
Mr. Denson began his teaching career at D. M. Therrell High School in Atlanta. While at Therrell students participated in GMEA LGPE, performed in numerous college homecoming parades, the University of Georgia JanFest Clinic, and a host of community and civic events. Mr. Denson also served as the Co-Director of the Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Jazz Ensemble.
Previously the Director of Bands at Sutton, the band program tripled under Mr. Denson’s tutelage. Students participated in Symphonic Band I, Symphonic Band II, Concert Band, woodwind ensemble, and brass ensemble. Students have been selected to participate in All-State, District Honor Band, All-County, UGA MidFest, Domecoming, Conn-Selmer Youth Band, and the APS Youth Symphony Orchestra. Most recently the Sutton Middle School Symphonic Band was selected to participate in the WorldStrides National Band and Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall. Sutton bands consistently earned superior ratings at GMEA District V LGPE and have established a tradition of musical excellence. Mr. Denson is currently completing a Ph.D. (ABD) in Music Education at Georgia State University.
Valarie Stoney is in her first year as the Assistant Band Director at East Cobb Middle School. A graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Valarie studied Tuba with Wesley Jacobs of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education in December of 1997. While teaching in Michigan, she soon completed her Master’s Degree in Music Education from Wayne State University.
Ms. Stoney began her teaching career in 1998 as the Director of Bands at Wagar Middle School located in Carleton, Michigan. During her tenure, the bands earned superior ratings at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) District XXII Band Festival. Under her direction, the Wagar band was invited to perform at the state’s music festival. This was the first time a Wagar band had performed at a state sponsored music festival in school history. Program enrollment also tripled during this time. In addition to band class, students also participated in Solo and Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Band.
Before moving to Georgia, Ms. Stoney served as the Director of Bands at Clarenceville Middle School located in Livonia, Michigan (2001-2003). While there, she continued many of the successful practices she had established at Wagar Middle School. Enrollment doubled and students consistently earned superior ratings at both district and state MSBOA band festival. Ms. Stoney also utilized several guest composers throughout her curriculum to enrich the musical development of her students.
In 2003, Valarie moved to Woodstock, Ga. Since then, she has served as the Assistant Band Director at Hightower Trail Middle School (2003-2006) and McCleskey Middle School (2006-2016). Her students were heavily involved in Solo and Ensemble, Honor/All State Band, and UGA Midfest Honor Band. Outside of her day-to-day teaching responsibilities, Ms. Stoney spent extensive time assisting the Pope, Kell, and Kennesaw Mountain High School Marching Band Programs. She also performed with the Cobb Wind Symphony at the 2003 and 2011 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic held in Chicago, IL. Ms. Stoney is looking forward to getting to know the East Cobb band community!