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VAPA | Music

Dr. BratcherDr. Nicholas Bratcher is the newly appointed Director for the School of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) and Director of Bands at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). In addition to his administrative duties as Director for the School of VAPA, Dr. Bratcher conducts the ULM Wind Ensemble and teaches graduate courses in music education as a tenured Professor of Music. 

Prior to his appointment at ULM, Bratcher held positions as Director of Bands and Coordinator for Music Education at California State University San Bernardino, Director of Bands at the University of Dubuque (Dubuque, IA), and Assistant Director of Bands at Savannah State University (Savannah, GA). In each role, Bratcher helped grow and develop comprehensive band programs with educational outreach initiatives for public school students and directors; as well as several wind and jazz ensemble performance tours throughout varying regions of the United States.

​Bratcher consistently works with composers, arrangers, and performing artists throughout the country. Projects with new compositions and wind literature are integral to his creative work. Bratcher is published several times in the GIA Teaching Music through Performance in Band book series. He is an active guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Bratcher has presented clinics across the United States and researched wind band pedagogy and literature in multiple countries. Recent professional engagements off campus include serving as the founding conductor and conductor emeritus of the Julien Winds, a professional wind ensemble serving the tri-state area (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin). In their fourth year, the ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall in June of 2018. Additionally, Bratcher founded the San Bernardino Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble in 2020, an honor-band level ensemble serving San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Dr. Bratcher also wrote and published Rainbow Jukebox: A Concise Companion to LGBTQ Music Studies. The book peaked at #37 on Amazon’s Top 100 Best-Selling List for Ethnomusicology and is used as a curriculum text for queer music studies on multiple college campuses.

​Bratcher attended South Carolina State University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Master of Arts in Music Education from Coastal Carolina University. He later earned the Doctorate in Music Education with studies in Conducting from the University of Georgia where he studied with Mary Leglar, John Lynch, and Mark Cedel, respectfully. Bratcher also completed additional study with John Whitwell and Frank Wickes.

Ensembles under Dr. Bratcher’s direction have been recognized for their innovative programming and performances. Dr. Bratcher regularly champions new works for the wind band medium as well as underrepresented minority composers in his concerts and educational outreach opportunities involving area high schools. In 2019 and 2021, the CSUSB Symphonic Band was recognized as a finalist for College/University Wind Band Performance in the American Prize National Competition for the Performing Arts. Dr. Bratcher was also recognized as a finalist in the Conducting division, and as a finalist for the Ernst Bacon Award, an award that recognizes innovation and performance of music by American composers. That same year, the ensemble was invited and accepted to perform at the Inaugural Emerald Isle Wind Festival in Ireland. However, the opportunity was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the CSUSB Chamber Winds released their debut album entitled Some Notes Between Friends, which is now streaming on most major platforms.

Bratcher is an active member of these organizations: College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), Minority Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma (honorary member), and Kappa Kappa Psi where he served on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and as National Vice President for Programs.