Joel Denton

Joel Denton

Director of Bands (Retired)
Ooltewah High School


Mr. Joel L. Denton served as Director of Bands at Ooltewah High School for thirty-seven years. Mr. Denton is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has completed graduate studies at UT-Chattanooga. Mr. Denton was most recently recognized as a CMA Music Teacher of Excellence in 2018.

Under his direction, the Ooltewah Band achieved a national reputation for musical excellence including performances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013 and 2007, as the only band in the 2011 Disney Christmas Parade on ABC, and in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade. The Ooltewah Band was a consistent finalist at Bands of America Regional Championships being awarded multiple class championships and placements and was a national semi-finalist on multiple occasions with several class placements. The Ooltewah concert bands most recently performed at the Music for All Regional Concert Festival in 2016, the TMEA (TN) State Music Conference in 2014 and 2010, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in 2011(Grand Concert Division Champions), and multiple other states, regional and national events through the years. At the 2015 Midwest Clinic, Mr. Denton was awarded the John Phillip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor for his contributions to the band. He has served as Chairman of Fine Arts at Ooltewah since 1982 and has been selected five times as the Ooltewah Teacher of the Year. The Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts has thrice honored him. His professional affiliations include NAfME, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Beta Mu, National Band Association, American School Band Director Association, and Tennessee Bandmasters Association. Mr. Denton currently serves as the Tennessee State Chair for the National Band Association and as a Past President of the Tennessee Bandmasters Association. He has served as the State Legislative Delegate and Advocacy Chair for TMEA and served as a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s Fine Arts Student Growth Committee. He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and consultant working with Music for All/Bands of America, Drum Corps International, several universities and state organizations, as well as, many high school bands across the nation. Mr. Denton most recently presented a clinic session at the 2017 Midwest Clinic on “Why We Do What We Do”. Mr. Denton also works with band programs and other organizations on developing leadership and teambuilding skills. To further impact music programs with this training, Music for All invited Mr. Denton to coordinate and help create a Peer Teaching Division for the National Summer Symposium in the summer of 2017. Mr. Denton and Kerry, his wife of thirty-four years, reside in Chattanooga and have two adult children, Alex and Caroline.

  Session Titles

Student Leadership: Creating empowered and engaged student leaders


An overview of how to equip and train students to become people of positive influence in their programs while providing skills and tools to benefit them in life!

Getting Better: Success through evaluation


Focusing on the Purpose of Evaluation (Personal, Professional, and Program), where to begin, the evaluations, tools for evaluation, the results of failure to evaluate, a list of reading materials, and the desired results of completing these evaluations.

It's All About the Band: Teaching with a perspective of excellence


An Overview of All Things Band. Focusing on student relationships, the band sound, the music, rehearsal ideas, marching band vs concert band - creating balance, discipline, leadership, and the rewards.

Keynote Address


Why Music teachers should be engaging, insightful, and intuitive to create an environment where students fell safe, experience trust, and create memorable lasting pieces of art!

Why We Do What We Do: Creating Memorable Masterpieces in a World of Stick Figures


A discussion of the Who, What and Why we teach focusing on the Students, Music, and Results