Chris Williams appointed as Corps Director


Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts Announces Chris Williams as new Corps Director for The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps

Tempe, AZ – September 13, 2023 – The Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the culture of music and the performing arts, is proud to announce the appointment of Chris Williams as the new Corps Director for The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. With an extensive background in the marching arts activity, Chris brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this important role.

Chris Williams began his illustrious drum corps career as a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard mellophone section in 1994. His dedication and talent led him to become a member of the visual staff as a field technician just a year later. Over the years, he took on increasingly significant roles within the Vanguard, including running full visual ensemble rehearsals and even writing the drum solo drill for the corps.

After a hiatus to focus on his education, Chris continued to leave his mark on the world of marching arts. He worked with the Santa Clara Cadets from 2002 to 2008 in various capacities, including ensemble coordinator and sharing the role of corps director during the 2008 season. His journey continued with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps, where he served as a visual consultant before assuming the role of Assistant Corps Director in 2014.

Chris’s achievements extend beyond drum corps, as he has contributed to the success of numerous state championship bands and drum corps, including two DCI World Championships with Santa Clara Vanguard. His list of mentors reads like a who’s who of Drum Corps International legends, showcasing the depth of his experience and connections in the activity.

As a graduate of California State University, Fresno, Chris’s commitment to education and excellence extends to the academic world. He was a member of the Psi-Chi National Psychology Honor Society and presented his research at prestigious institutions like Stanford University and the Western Psychological Association.

In addition to his work as an adjudicator for US BANDS and the California State Band Championships, Chris is an accomplished author, with publications aimed at empowering music educators and enhancing the marching arts experience for students.

Mark Richardson, Executive Director of the Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, expressed his enthusiasm for this significant hire, saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Chris Williams to The Academy family. His remarkable background and passion for the marching arts align perfectly with our commitment to provide a positive learning and performing experience for all participants. Chris and I have already started discussing our design team and instructional staff for the 2024 season. This is an exciting step forward for the Academy, and we are eager to see the incredible impact he will have on our organization.”

The Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) organization, has been a staple in Drum Corps International for over two decades. With programs like The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, The Academy Summer Youth Guard, The Academy Winter Youth Guard, and Phenom Drum and Bugle Corps, the organization has impacted over 5,000 individuals, fostering their artistic growth and development.

As The Academy looks forward to its 18th year as a World Class institution in the 2024 season, plans are already underway for an exciting summer competition tour and audition opportunities for new and returning members. The organization remains committed to providing a transformative experience for all participants.

For audition information, go to

For more information, please contact:

Mark Richardson
Executive Director
Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts


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