A graduate of Millikin University and the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music, Ward Durrett has been actively involved in the marching percussion arena since 1971, assisting with the drum lines of both the Guardsmen Drum and Bugle Corps and DCI Finalist Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps’ (while serving with the U.S. Navy Band at the Great Lakes Naval Station).
His credentials also include instructing and arranging for numerous marching percussion programs across the U.S., most notably the Bands of America Champion Marian Catholic HS Band from 1983 to 1991, and the University of Northern Colorado Pride of the Rockies marching band from 1999 through 2007. He is now on the music staff at Mountain View HS in Loveland Colorado.
In December of 1980, Ward conceived of and facilitated the 1st Spartan Marching Percussion Festival at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook Illinois, the Festival credited with launching what is now known worldwide as the Indoor Competitive Percussion Activity. Within this activity, Ward directed the ongoing Spartan Festival for 14 years; was the Co-Founder and Director of the Percussive Arts Society International Convention Marching Percussion Festival; served as Coordinator of the Bands of America Marching Percussion Festival; was the 1st WGI Percussion Coordinator; served as WGI Percussion Chief Judge and has assisted the WGI Percussion activity as a Percussion Administrator since 2002. In December of 2000, Ward was inducted into the WGI Hall of Fame in recognition of his pioneering service to the WGI Percussion Activity.
In 2003, in conjunction with the Denver Broncos organization, Ward developed and implemented the specialized wireless miking system utilized by the “Stampede” Drumline, the 1st official Drumline of the National Football League. During that period, Ward also facilitated the formation of the Highland Sound Co., the live sound arm of the Longs Peak Scottish Highland Festival in Estes Park Colorado, the largest festival of its kind in North America.
Ward currently performs with Denver’s Hot Tomatoes Jazz Orchestra, the Dean Bushnell Orchestra and is the leader of the MountainSong Jazz Project. Ward’s performance credits also include Denver pianists Gary Dempsey and Doug Roche, singer Carol Lawrence, LA’s Satin Dollz; band leaders Bob Crosby, Ray Eberly, Les Elgart and Ray McKinley, entertainer Sheri Lewis, and Al Pierson (the Guy Lombardo Orchestra).