Theo Vernon, Director of Bands at Grissom High School since 1985, holds degrees in Saxophone Performance and Music Education from The University of Alabama and a Masters degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. He received, as the State of Alabama’s ﬁrst Instrumental Music Educator, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certiﬁcation in November 2003. He recently received re-certicﬁcation as a National Board Certiﬁed Teacher for the years 2013-2023. At Grissom, Vernon works with the 225+ marching band, directs the Symphonic Band I, rehearses with the Symphonic Band II and Concert Band, and also directs the two jazz bands. While in college he was hired by Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to perform with the All-American College Marching Band (1983) and also as the Assistant Director for the ﬁrst ever All-American College Orchestra at EPCOT Center (1984). Mr. Vernon has conducted the Grissom Band on stage at the prestigious Midwest Band Clinic in his ﬁrst year of teaching. His band has performed at the Music For All Concert Band Festival as well as numerous Dixie Classic Festivals including consistent superior ratings at their Grand National Adjudicators Invitational Festival.
Mr. Vernon’s Jazz Bands have represented the state of Alabama at several venues:
- a two-week Austrian tour celebrating Austria’s millennium in June 1996
- the prestigious “Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Festival and Competition” in 1999
- a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 2000
- selected as one of four U.S. high school jazz bands to perform at The International North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Holland in 2002
- selected as one of 12 bands from across the U.S. to compete in the Swing Central Jazz Band Competition in Savannah, Georgia in 2013
Mr. Vernon is a member of state and national organizations including: ABA, MENC, NEA, NBA, Phi Mu Alpha, JEN and the Alabama chapter of Phi Beta Mu; the national band directors fraternity. Vernon has served as a District Chairman and IAJE president for the state of Alabama.