Paul A. Russell
Mr. Paul A. Russell - 1934-2004 E.E. Smith High School - Director of Bands 1960-1996 36 Years of Magnificence - The Marching Band of E. E. Smith High School has been entertaining audiences on the home field for more than 95 years. Mr. Russell made his dream a reality and coined the name, “The Magnificent Marching Machine,” in 1982. Under Mr. Russell’s leadership, the Magnificent Marching Machine went on to perform at 9 national performances to showcase their unique style. Further, Mr. Russell rallied his band to perform on the steps of our Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Also in 1990, at the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, VA., E.E. Smith ranked ninth out of 65 bands from across the country. Under his leadership, the Magnificent Marching Machine also participated in the following parades, Preakness Celebration Parade in Baltimore, Maryland ‘82, the Azalea Festival Parade Wilmington, NC ’81, and a host of HBCU Homecoming Parades. Mr. Russell’s Concert and Symphonic Bands participated in the state MPA festivals receiving Superior and Excellent ratings over the years as well. His Jazz program was second to none during his tenure mostly in the 70’s and 80’s. Mr. Russell established a legacy of Leadership, pride and tradition throughout his teaching career. He passed the Golden Baton to E.E. Smith Alumnus, Roosevelt Pratt, ‘83, in 1996, thereby, “The Tradition Continues ...”
Paul A. Russell began his musical career as a youth, while attending Brewer High School, Greenwood, SC. His band director was the late Thomas Bacote. After graduation, he attended Claflin College for his undergraduate degree in South Carolina and majored in music education. He did further studies at Columbia University in NY; Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, where he received his master’s degree; and The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Upon completion of his studies, he was hired to teach students music education under his baton at Washington Drive Junior High School, Fayetteville, NC, and, in 1961, would go on to direct the music program at E.E. Smith High School. He was selected to replace the late Willie Currie by the late E. E. Miller, Principal. When Mr. Russell became band director, Principal Miller continued to embrace the philosophies and teaching of Dr. E.E. Smith, for whom the school is named. Those philosophies were evident in all aspects of the music program. Paul A. Russell was “The Man” behind the cultivation and development of the Instrumental Music Department at E.E. Smith High for 36 years. He stressed the precision, high stepping marching style. This tradition was continued from the E.E. Smith High bands of the late 1930’s and 40’s, as instituted by Band Director Willie Currie. Also, Mr. Russell was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a member of the NAACP. He was a member of the board for the Chesnutt Hills Community as well as a member of the Men of Zion at Simon Temple ZME Zion Church. In 2008, Mr. Russell was inducted into the professional Hall of Fame for his high school, Brewer High School, in Greenwood, South Carolina. He was very active in his community until his health failed him.