Banded Story:

I decided I wanted to be a music teacher, and specifically a band director my senior year in high school. I had great music teachers growing up and had always planned to play in college, but my major was going to be some field that would serve as a pre-law degree. At the end of my senior year I was hired to sell T-shirts on the weekends at a burgeoning music festival that was starting up in my hometown.This music festival was also hiring some of the most iconic band directors in the country as judges. That spring I met Fred Fennell, Harry Begian, Paula Crider, John Bourgeois, Ken Bloomquist, Zeke Nicar, WJ Julian, and so many more inspirational teachers and conductors that I was hooked! I saw the impact they were having on directors and students and the knowledge they possessed about how music education changes people and the world around us I knew that was what I wanted to do!


Lafe Cook has been a high school band director for twenty-six years and is in his twentieth year as the Director of the Dobyns-Bennett Band Program in Kingsport, Tennessee.  Mr. Cook is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he was drum major of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and a graduate assistant with the music department.  He taught at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia for six years prior to coming to Dobyns-Bennett.  Mr. Cook’s teaching responsibilities at Dobyns-Bennett High School include directing the Wind Symphony, the Marching Band, and administering the 350 member band program. He currently serves as the Supervisor of Secondary Bands for Kingsport City Schools.  He also has served two terms on the board of directors for the Kingsport Ballet and he currently serves the City of Kingsport as a liaison with city government regarding improvements in Kingsport’s arts and entertainment infrastructure and atmosphere. Mr. Cook is Past President of the East Tennessee State Band and Orchestra Association and is President of the Tennessee Music Education Association.