Charles Isley, a native of Cooleemee, NC, received his B.S. in music from Davidson College in 1942. He directed the Waynesville Township High School Band from 1942 to 1958.
Mr. Isley’s Marching Mountaineers represented North Carolina twice at the Lions Club’s International Conventions in Miami, FL and Chicago, IL. His marching and concert bands consistently won superior ratings. The Waynesville JC’s very first Distinguished Service Award went to Mr. Isley during 1951.
Isley was awarded his M.A. in Music Education from Appalachian State Teachers College (now Appalachian State University) in 1954. During 1958 Mr. Isley became Assistant Professor of Music at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He was their director of bands for 17 of the next 22 years. During that time he also earned his Doctorate in Music from North Texas State University. Dr. Isley received the Outstanding Educator of America Award for 1975!
After his 1978 “retirement” Dr. Isley worked in the Watauga County Schools music program, including 2 years as the Watauga High School Band Director.
Mr. Isley passed his baton to the next generations, 2015-09-11 at age 94.
James (Jim, Milt, Big Jim) Crocker, originally from Cherryville, NC, graduated from High Point College, and received a Masters degree from Appalachian State in 1952. He directed the Waynesville Township High School and Tuscola High School Bands from 1960 through 1982, and for the 1989-1990 school year.
Some highlights of Mr. Crocker’s tenure as director include: the Waynesville High School Band’s performance in Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural parade (1964), a long string of consecutive Superior ratings (1969-1970s) for the Tuscola Band at the Bristol marching band contest, winning the Grand Champion band award at the 1978 and 1981 WCU marching band contests, the Marching Mountaineers 1st place performance at the 1981 Southeastern Tournament of Bands in Abbeville, SC, and competing in the 1981 and 1982 MBA Grand National Championships.
After retirement Mr. Crocker was an active supporter of the Guardian ad Litem program providing guidance for troubled youth. Mr. Crocker’s gig making a joyful noise with the heavenly Big Band began 2003-04-05 at age 74.
Sandy Boone, a Haywood County native and Tuscola HS graduate (Class of 1971), earned his Bachelors in Music from Appalachian State during 1975. He was Tuscola’s Assistant Director with Jim Crocker from 1978 through 1982 and directed the Tuscola HS band from 1983 through 1989.
During Boone’s tenure the Marching Mountaineers took 1st Place at the 1983 Wake Forest University Tournament of Bands, became Regional BOA Champions and were “in the top 17 bands at Bands of America Grand National Championship for five consecutive years.” (Waynesville Mountaineer – Jun 26, 2015)
Mr. Boone left Tuscola to pursue a Masters Degree in Music Education and during 1991 he received his Masters in wind conducting and music theory from James Madison University. Boone directed the Marietta, GA HS Band for 11 years, then moved back to North Carolina as director of the North Buncombe HS Band from 2003 until 2012.
The last few years of Sandy’s career brought him back to Waynesville, teaching band at Waynesville Middle School from 2012 until his retirement during 2015. In “retirement” Sandy often plays with the Blue Ridge Big Band. He also plays and conducts with other local ensembles.
Tim Wise, who hails from Campbellsville, KY, received his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Morehead State University (KY) in 1991, and his Masters in Education from Western Carolina University during 2002. He was Assistant Director of Bands at Riverdale HS (GA) from 1991 – 1993, and directed the Tuscola HS band for three decades – from 1993 until his retirement during 2022.
Under Mr. Wise’s leadership, the Tuscola High School Band consistently earned high ratings in both concert festival and marching contests. A few of the many superlatives for Tuscola under Mr. Wise include: 1st place band at both the Land of the Sky and North Henderson competitions for 2018 and 2019, participation in the 2017 Walt Disney World Parade, winning Grand Champion at the 2005 Carolina Classic, competing in the MBA Grand National Championships for 2004 and 2000, and making the finals at the 1997 & 1998 Johnson City, TN MBA Regional Championships, and at the 2003 Bridgeport, CT MBA Regional Championship. Mr. Wise’s Marching Mountaineers were the first Old North State Award winner for the highest scoring North Carolina band at Western Carolina University’s Tournament of Champions.
Mr. Wise was twice named by School Band and Orchestra magazine as the North Carolina representative in their “50 Directors that Make a Difference” and was also recognized on WLOS TV’s “Thanks to Teachers.” He is a past president of the Western North Carolina Band Master’s Association as well as their Award of Excellence winner. Mr. Wise was chairman of the North Carolina Bandmasters Association’s state marching band committee on two separate occasions.
Mr. Wise’s vigorous community spirit continues during his “retirement.” He serves on the Board of the Haywood County Arts Council, and as their Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair. He was also elected to serve as an Alderman (city council) for Maggie Valley, NC, November 2023.