ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Richard Beckford is a highly sought-after band director, clinician, prolific music arranger and composer, and creative drill writer. His music and shows have been performed by numerous high school and college marching bands as well as jazz ensembles both nationally and internationally.
Mr. Beckford is best known as a visionary and builder of bands. He has established and sustained thriving band program in schools where support and resource were often limited at best. He is frequently referred to as “The Pied Piper of Bands” for his ability to attract a multitude of students to his band programs and for his capacity to motivate and inspire them to excel. His students have become leaders, educators, mentors, musicians, Grammy award winners and productive citizens of their communities. He is amongst the most celebrated and revered band directors of our time.
Mr. Beckford has been an educator for over 28 years. Bands under his direction have been recognized for their outstanding musicianship and performance of significant literature. He started his career at Miami Carol City Senior High School (his Alma Mater), where he served as Director of Bands at for 12 years and cultivated outstanding marching and concert bands and a nationally recognized jazz ensemble that performed at numerous venues locally and around the country.
In 2001, Mr. Beckford left the comradeship of band directors to pursue school administration. He served as Lead Teacher and Coordinator of the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet at Norland Middle School for 2 years. He then served as an administrator in Broward County schools before the sights and sounds of Bands and the conductor’s baton called him back into the ranks of band directors.
In 2004 Mr. Beckford became the Director of Bands at Blanche Ely High School where under his direction band membership grew from 17 students to over 250 annually. During his 15-year tenure at Blanche Ely, the marching bands, concert and jazz ensembles all earned several superior ratings at both the District and State levels, performed at numerous college bowl games and national and community events. The band became known as the “Pride of Pompano” and was the catalyst for hundreds of students going to college.
In the Fall of 2018 Mr. Beckford returned to his Alma Mater, Miami Carol City Sr. high school, at the request of M-DCPS District administrator and the Carol City community to help rebuild the band and performing arts programs as a part of the Superintendent’s Re-Envisioning Project for the school. Mr. Beckford accepted the charge to reestablish a thriving music and arts programs as a compliment to the successful athletics programs and progressive academic course offerings that will attract students and increase enrollment. To date, the band has grown from 5 to over 120 members.
Richard Beckford attended Florida A&M University where he participated in the world famous “Marching 100” and studied music and education. While at FAMU, he was very active and achieved legendary status as a virtuoso musician and student leader. He served as a band officer and leader of the tuba section and was the manuscript copyist and student arranger for the band. He received the Most Outstanding Band Member award for an unprecedented four consecutive years. As an educator, he has received countless awards for his musicianship, leadership, commitment and dedication to service. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, Multi-Cultural Network of Music Educators, International Association of Jazz Educators and numerous other professional organizations in the field.
Personally, Mr. Beckford is a devoted husband, and father of four daughters. He admits that being a dedicated family man, band director, educator, role model and mentor is challenging at the very least but incredibly rewarding. He credits his success to his faith, which he says gives him the peace, patience, strength and perseverance to face and conquer his challenges.
Mr. Beckford’s goal is to continue to develop and use his talents and gifts to positively influence the lives of his students and his community and to further utilize instrumental music as a vehicle to guide and empower youth to identify their purpose, pursue their passion, and fulfill their destiny.