Festival of Winds Honor Band

Kelly Watkins, conductor

Kelly Watkins

Conductor, educator, and trumpet player Kelly Watkins hails from the great state of Texas. A member of the United States Coast Guard Band since 2003, she has appeared as a featured soloist on national concert tours and traveled extensively across the U.S. and abroad to Taiwan and Japan. Kelly also serves on the faculty of Eastern Connecticut State University where she directs the Eastern Concert Band and has taught conducting, Brass Ensemble, and Wind Ensemble. Guest conducting engagements include ensembles at Gustavus Adolphus College (MN), Appalachian State University (NC), the University of Delaware, and several United States Coast Guard Band and Chamber Players performances, as well as regional and district honor ensembles in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

From 2013-2016 she served as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band in New York City. In this post she led an ensemble of 100+ musicians of varying musical abilities in concerts and outreach initiatives across Manhattan, including collaborations with Randy Graff (Les Miserables), Liz Callaway (Broadway, Tony nominee) and Carol Jantsch (Philadelphia Orchestra).

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Master of Music degree from Illinois State University, with additional studies in Arts Administration at Boston University. She has served as President and Executive Director of the International Women’s Brass Conference, and currently serves on the Board of Directors.