Dr. J. Corey Francis has been an active educator and advocate for music since 1997. Professionally, Dr. Francis served as the Director of University Bands at Vanderbilt University, where he oversaw the Spirit of Gold Marching Band, Black and Gold Basketball Bands, and all aspects of the athletic bands. Before moving to Vanderbilt, he was Assistant Director of Bands at Eastern Illinois University, joining the faculty in 2012. His responsibilities at EIU included directing the Panther Marching Band, Concert Band, teaching courses in instrumental arranging, and coaching graduate students.  During his time at EIU, the Panther Marching Band doubled in size and gained the praise of professionals in the marching arts. Additionally, Dr. Francis served as Director of Athletic Bands at Indiana State University. There, he guided the Marching Sycamores to performances at the Bands of America Super Regional in Indianapolis, as well as performed the National Anthem at the BOA Grand National Finals.

EIU Panther Marching performing in front of Booth Library before a home game.

Previous positions include Director of Pep Bands at Georgia State University, where under his direction, the bands earned the acclaim and praise of officials from the Colonial Athletic Association, as well as the administration and alumni of Georgia State University. Additionally, Dr. Francis served on the staffs of Alpharetta (GA) High School (2004-2009) and Taylor County (KY) Schools (2002-2004).

As a conductor, Dr. Francis enjoys working on contemporary and traditional masterworks of the Wind Band and Chamber Winds. Scholarly projects include conducting and lecturing on Ecstatic Waters by Steven Bryant and his dissertation on Jonathan Newman’s Symphony No. 1: My Hands are a City. His is a contributing author to the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series (GIA Publications) and his article “Creating an Expressive Gesture Palette” was published in the March 2011 issue of “The Instrumentalist.”

Dr. Francis’s  focus on energetic and musical performances has led him to become an active clinician and guest conductor and he is an active marching band designer for schools in the Southern US. Arrangements of his, including “El Toro Caliente” and “Thriller,” have been performed by high school and collegiate ensembles. Additionally, he has adjudicated marching and concert bands in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois. He holds membership in the National Band Association, The Collegiate Band Director’s National Association, the College Music Society, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Kappa Kapp Psi (Honorary), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


There is much more to Dr. Francis outside of music. As a kid, he fell in love with the Chicago Cubs and remains an fan to this day. He also loves everything Stars Wars and Marvel. Most important to Dr. Francis is his family. For 15 years, he has been married to his biggest supporter and cheerleader, Christen. Together, they have two amazing daughters. Cortlyn is following in the footsteps of both mom and dad, performing in dance and music. Catrina is blazing her trail in competitive gymnastics.

The Francis Family enjoying time at Disney World, 2021