BASIL J. KERR Jr.
School of the Arts High School Band Director
A native of Charleston, Basil Kerr graduated from Bishop England High School. He has received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina. Mr. Kerr has also completed his doctoral studies at USC. Mr. Kerr, whose chosen instrument is French horn, has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, the Ives Festival Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the South Carolina Philharmonic. He has also performed at the Spoleto Festival with the Charleston Symphony Woodwind Quintet.
From 1977-1995 he served as director of bands at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. During that period, the Wando Band attained a reputation for excellence in both concert and marching performance, earning numerous superior ratings at state and regional festivals and competitions. He also is credited with creating one of the first Advanced Placement Music Theory classes in South Carolina, in 1978, at Wando High.
After a three-year hiatus for graduate work, Kerr took the high school instrumental music position at the Charleston County School of the Arts in 1998. Under his direction, the SOA High School Bands have received national recognition, including an invitation to the prestigious National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis in 2003. The SOA Wind Ensemble has been recognized as one of the finest school bands in the state, receiving numerous “Superior” ratings at state and national events, including “Outstanding Woodwinds”, “Outstanding Brass” and “Outstanding Percussion“ at the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Grand National Adjudicators Invitational band festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The SOA Jazz Ensemble has also been recognized as the best jazz program in the state. Under Mr. Kerr’s instruction, more SOA students have been selected to perform in the S.C. All-State Jazz Ensemble than any other program in the state for the past 6 years.
In 2005, the College Board identified the SOA Music Theory class as the strongest in the world, with the highest success rate among schools of similar size from around the globe. Under Mr. Kerr’s instruction, the class has continued to be one of the best music theory programs in the country. Mr. Kerr continues to be an active musician performing with the North Charleston Pops! and chamber ensembles at local churches. He is also the conductor of the Charleston Community Band.