Don Downs is Director of Bands at Rapid City Stevens High School, a position he has held since the fall of 1995. In addition to his duties as Director of Bands, he is also the District Coordinator for Instrumental Music for the Rapid City School District. Currently, he is also President of the Rapid City Summer Music School, which provides summer music instruction for all students in the Rapid City area.
Don Downs received his Bachelor of Arts degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, and a Masters of Science Degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. In addition, Mr. Downs was awarded the Legion of Honor Award by the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2007 and was selected by Phi Beta Mu as South Dakota Bandmaster of the year in 2008. Mr. Downs frequently acts as an adjudicator in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana for marching band competitions, solo and ensemble contests and large group band competitions.
As director of the Rapid City Ranger Band and one of the Co-Directors of the Rapid City Municipal Band, Mr. Don Downs has worked closely with the City of Rapid City, the Rapid City Allied Arts, and Chamber of Commerce leaders from around the Black Hills area. As a semi-professional trumpet player, Mr. Downs held the position of principal trumpet in the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra for 18 years. In addition he has served as the Secretary/Treasurer for Region 8 for the past 32 years and has had the responsibility for running the solo and ensemble contest for the past 19 years.
As President of the Rapid City Band Association, Mr. Downs continues to promote student travel and help provide music scholarships for the instrumental music students in Rapid City. The Stevens High School Band under his direction has traveled throughout Europe six times with performances in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece.
Mr. Downs’ professional affiliations include the South Dakota Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu Band Fraternity.