University of Arkansas Bands Program Adds Two to Team

Jamal Duncan and Robert Hopper
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Jamal Duncan and Robert Hopper

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Band program, part of the department of music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, has added Jamal Duncan and Robert Hopper to its team of faculty, graduate assistants and staff. Duncan will serve as assistant director of bands and Hopper as associate director of operations. 

The two new staff lines will help support the needs of the band's thriving programs, which has grown by more than 20 percent since 2007. More than two percent of the university's undergraduate students participate in the Razorback Marching Band, the Hogwild Band or one of the four concert bands. The Razorback Marching Band has grown to more than 350 students and the Hogwild Band has grown to more than 100 students in recent years.

“We are excited to have Dr. Jamal Duncan and Robert Hopper join the University of Arkansas Bands,” said Chris Knighten, associate professor of music and director of university bands. “They each bring great energy and exhibit great passion for music and arts education. Their appreciation for the rich traditions of the Razorback Marching Band and Hogwild Band are matched by their commitment to the mission of the UA Bands, department of music and Fulbright College.”

As assistant director of bands, Duncan will assist in directing the Razorback Marching Band, direct the Hogwild Basketball Band and teach courses in the department of music. 

“I am very excited to join a program with such great traditions and history as the University of Arkansas Bands,” said Duncan. “I'm fortunate to be able to work with talented and dedicated students. I look forward to being part of this vibrant and talented faculty and staff.”

As associate director of operations, Hopper will administer the band and music department scholarships, provide outreach to future band members, work with band alumni through the Arkansas Alumni Association and the Razorback Band Alumni Society and implement fundraising objectives. 

 "I am thrilled to join the staff of the University of Arkansas Band,” Hopper said. “The band embodies the best of the University of Arkansas. I look forward to cultivating lasting, active relationships with alumni and friends of the band, as well as assisting in the recruitment of future members of the band program.” 

A native of Michigan, Duncan received a doctorate of music arts in wind conducting and a master of music in wind conducting from Michigan State University. He studied under the direction of Kevin L. Sedatole and worked with the Spartan Marching Band and Spartan Brass. He also served as conductor for the campus band, and guest conductor for the wind symphony, symphony band, concert band and Musique 21.   

Duncan received a bachelor of music in clarinet performance with teacher certification from the University of Michigan. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and the College Band Directors National Association. 

Previous experiences include a seven-year appointment as director of bands at Dwight Rich Middle School in Lansing, Mich., where he also taught middle school band, music appreciation and elementary general music. Duncan served as the music director and conductor of the Flint Youth Wind Ensemble, one of several youth ensembles in the Flint School of Performing Arts.

Hopper served as head drum major for two years and as assistant drum major for two years during his five-year tenure in the Razorback Marching Band. While in school, he was also a member of the concert bands and participated in Hogwild Band trips to SEC and NCAA men's basketball tournaments. 

He graduated summa cum laude from the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences with a bachelor of science in human environmental sciences. He earned a juris doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law and has been admitted to the Arkansas Bar.  He previously worked for Walmart Stores Inc., in the health and wellness division. 


Robert Hopper, associate director of operations
University of Arkansas Bands

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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