Rusty Courson is a native of Phenix City, Alabama and a 1981 graduate of Central High School. While in high school, Mr. Courson studied under the baton of W.T. "Tommy" Binion, serving on the Band Council in various capacities for three years, trumpet section leader, and principal trumpet for the concert band and wind ensemble.
Mr. Courson completed undergraduate and graduate studies at TROY University (AL), receiving the Bachelor of Music Education in 1989 and the Master of Science in Education in 1996. As of January 2007, he reentered the classroom as a student once again and successfully completed an endorsement on his Master's Degree in Educational Administration in August 2007. He completed the Educational Specialist degree in 2010 and is now ABD (all but dissertation) towards the Doctor of Education degree through Liberty University.
While attending Troy as an undergraduate, Mr. Courson performed under the baton of Dr. John M. Long as a member of the nationally renowned "Sound of the South" Marching Band, serving as vice-president of the band as well as trumpet section leader, and was also principal trumpet in the Symphony Band. In addition to working under Dr. Long, Mr. Courson also was fortunate to be influenced through studies with Dr. William Revelli, Sir Vivian Dunn, Dr. Al G. Wright, Col. George Howard, Dr. Al Wright, Dr. Paul Yoder and Dr. Harry Begian, among others.
This is Mr. Courson's 25th year as an educator, serving at Russell County High School (1989-90), South Girard School (1990-93), Eufaula High School (1993-94) and Smiths Station High School (1994-present). His marching bands have never received anything other than Superior Ratings, with numerous Best In Class awards and several Grand Championships. His concert bands have received Superior Ratings for 24 consecutive years at the District and State level. His Symphonic Band was featured at the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic in 2003, and was featured at the Alabama Music Educators Association State Conference in January 2007. In 2005, the SSHS "Panther Spirit" Marching Band was one of eleven bands from throughout the United States featured in the Boscov's Thanksgiving Parade in Philadelphia, the oldest Holiday Parade in the country, and also participated in the Philly Parade in 2008. The Philidelphia Thanksgiving Parade is the oldest holiday parade in the country, and was initially known as the Gimble's Thanksgiving Parade.
Mr. Courson has been called upon as an adjudicator in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and has the following past and present professional affiliations: Music Educators National Conference, Alabama Music Educators Association, Alabama Bandmasters Association (currently serving as President after completing a two year term as vice-president, and also served on the Board of Directors for six years as Chair and Vice-Chair of District VI), CMENC, National Education Association, Alabama Education Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic, held annually on the campus of TROY University, and was inducted into Phi Beta Mu Honorary Bandmasters Fraternity in April 2007.
Mr. Courson is the Director of Bands at Smiths Station High School, serving as director of the SSHS "Panther Spirit" Marching Band, Conductor of the Symphonic Band, and Associate Conductor of the Concert Band. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music at TROY University-Columbus/Ft. Benning, teaching MUS 1131 - Music Appreciation in a traditional classroom setting as well as through a distance learning format since May 2006.
In addition, after 21 years of service, Mr. Courson recently retired as Music Director at Epworth United Methodist Church in Phenix City, Alabama.
He has also been named to Who's Who Among Teachers (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), Outstanding Young Men of America (1989), Who's Who in Music (1981), Who's Who Among High School Students (1981), has been named Teacher of the Month on multiple occasions at Smiths Station High School, and was the 2007 SSHS nominee for the Page One Sara Spano Top Teacher Award, sponsored by the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer. Mr. Courson is a multiple recipient of the National Band Association's "Citation of Excellence" along with numerous recognitions from the Lee County Board of Education.