A native of Charleston, Basil Kerr
graduated from Bishop England High School. He received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami, and the Master’s Degree in Music from the University of South Carolina. He has completed his doctoral studies at USC. As a performer on the French horn, Kerr has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, the Ives Festival Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony and the South Carolina Philharmonic. He performed at the Spoleto Festival with the Charleston Symphony Woodwind Quintet.
From 1977-1995 he served as director of bands at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, SC. During that period the Wando Band attained a reputation for excellence in both concert and marching performance, earning numerous superior ratings at state and regional festivals and competitions. He also is credited with creating one of the first Advanced Placement Music Theory classes in South Carolina, in 1978, at Wando High. Graduates of the Wando Band program who have chosen to continue in music have advanced into successful careers as performers and educators across the country.
After a three-year hiatus for graduate work on the PhD in Music, Kerr took the high school instrumental music position at the Charleston County School of the Arts in 1998. That first year, the high school had only 9th and 10th grades. Beginning that year and continuing to the present, the Wind Ensemble has consistently earned superior ratings in concert performance. Under his direction, the SOA band department has received national recognition, including an invitation to the prestigious National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis in 2003. The SOA Wind Ensemble has been recognized as one of the finest school bands in the state, earning numerous “Superior” ratings at state and national events, including “Outstanding Woodwinds”, “Outstanding Brass” and “Outstanding Percussion“ at the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Grand National Adjudicators Invitational band festival in Chattanooga Tennessee.
The SOA Jazz Ensemble has been recognized as the best jazz program in the state. Under Mr. Kerr’s instruction, more SOA students have been selected to the SC All-State Jazz Ensemble than any other program in the state for the past 5 years.
Mr. Kerr has also been recognized as a music theory teacher. In 2005, the College Board identified the SOA Music Theory class as the strongest in the world, with the highest success rate among schools of similar size from around the globe. It has continued to be one of the best music theory programs in the country.
Mr. Kerr served as the director of the American Legion Palmetto Boys State Band from 1979-2005, succeeding Earl Mays in that position. He has also conducted ensembles at the College of Charleston and was director of music instruction under Major Herb Day for The Citadel Band Camp. In addition, he has served as a clinician and adjudicator in North and South Carolina.
Mr. Kerr has been listed in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers,” and is a member of Phi Beta Mu, the national bandmasters honor fraternity, and Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor fraternity for scholars in music. He was awarded the US Army’s highest civilian honor, the “Commander’s Award”, for his work with the 282nd Army Band, Ft. Jackson, SC
Susan P. DuPuis has enjoyed playing trumpet with the Charleston Community Band since 1989 and has served as Assistant Director since 2007. A Graduate of Furman University, she studied trumpet with Richard Steffen and earned a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. Mrs. DuPuis is currently the Assistant Director of Bands at Cario Middle School and has previously served as director of bands at St. Andrew's High School and at C. E. Williams Middle School in Charleston. Susan is married to W. Scot DuPuis. They have two sons, Drew and Peter.