Dr. James Issac (Ike) Nail



Dr. James Isaac (Ike) Nail became the Salem Pops Orchestra’s Conductor and Musical Director beginning in the fall of 2012. He comes to us with an impressive resumé

Ike is currently the Band and Orchestra Director at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon where his is duties include teaching conducting, advising students and overseeing other concert and athletic bands. Membership in ensembles and the number of instrumental music majors have both more than doubled in the past six years.

Prior to his work at WOU, he was the Director of Bands and Symphony Orchestra at West Salem High School here in Salem where he was the founding conductor for the new school. His Wind Ensemble was chosen to perform at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, where they premiered Kevin Walczyk’s “Sab Adzida.” Immediately prior to that position, he was the director of Bands and Symphony Orchestra at Sprague High School, where the Sprague Wind Ensemble performed at the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and twice at the MENC Northwest Division Convention. Sprague was designated the 2000 National Grammy Signature School, as the most outstanding high school music program in the nation by The Grammy Foundation ($5,000 cash award). During Dr. Nail’s tenure, Sprague won twelve OSAA State Concert Band or Symphony Orchestra State Championships and the Jazz Band consistently placed in the top five AAAA bands at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Ike was also the Founder of the Salem All-City Band.

Prior to coming to Salem Ike was Orchestra Director at Richardson (TX) High School when the Richardson Symphony Orchestra was named most outstanding high school symphony in Texas (TMEA Honor Orchestra) and performed by invitation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. While he was Band Director at Robert E. Lee High School, Midland, TX, the Band was selected to perform at the National Association for Music Education National Convention.

On the university level, he was the Director of Bands and Coordinator of Instrumental Music at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg. He was Founder/Conductor of the Southern Wind Ensemble, which toured extensively, performing at several regional and national conventions and produced several commercial recordings, including the wind works of Luigi Zaninelli and Volumes XIII and XIV of the Bandfare record series. He taught conducting and music literature courses, was administrator for three concert bands, three jazz bands, the symphony orchestra and Pride of Mississippi Marching Band. While he was Director of the Southern Instrumental Conductors Conference, he established the All-South Honor Band and Orchestra. He then moved on to become Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge, directing the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and Matador Marching Band and taught conducting, music education and chamber music. He also established an alumni band, directed a High School Music Camp and was a Bands Council Advisor.

His qualifications and experience go on and on. He has been a guest conductor and clinician for numerous all-state honor bands and orchestras, was the Resident Conductor of the Dallas Wind Symphony, performed as a professional musician and has garnered an enviable portfolio of awards and professional citations. We’ll learn more about him during the coming year.