A native Chattanoogan, Gary Wilkes is an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. After graduation, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and was awarded a Master of Music Diploma in Bassoon Performance. It was at Southern Methodist University where he studied conducting with James Rives-Jones, associate conductor with the Dallas Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.
Over the past thirty-nine years, he has taught both bands and orchestras in Texas and Tennessee. Currently, he is the orchestra teacher at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. Gary is proudly beginning his twenty-third year as the music director of the CSO Youth Orchestras and the conductor of the CSO Youth Symphony.
Gary has professional affiliations with the National Association for Music Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, American String Teacher’s Association, National School Orchestra Association, International Double Reed Society, Tennessee Education Association, Hamilton County Education Association, and the American Federation of Musicians – Local 80. He recently completed a six-year tenure on the Executive Board of Directors with the Tennessee Music Education Association and is also past President of the Tennessee chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. Beginning this school year, he will become President-Elect of the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. He also holds membership in the Phi Beta Mu Honorary Band Director’s Fraternity, and was recently honored as one of Tennessee’s outstanding teachers by the Board of the Tennessee Governor’s School of the Arts.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is Director of Music at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He is proud to be a husband to Lisa and Dad to Richard, Michael, Kathryn, and grandfather to Elly-Mae.