Former Band Director Donates $1 Million to Music Program

The South Carolina Band Hall was alive with the sound of music Thursday thanks to a $1 million gift from a familiar face.

Former Band Director James Copenhaver, who led the Gamecock Band for 34 years, gave the USC music program a huge donation.

School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding said he knew of Copenhaver's generosity, but was surprised at the amount.

"To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. It's a really fantastic sentiment on behalf of Mr.. Copenhaver's love for music, USC and the school of music."

The money, part of Copenhaver's estate, will be used as an endowment for more scholarships for music students and enhance current scholarships.

It is expected to generate $50,000 a year for undergraduate students in the band program. Copenhaver, who taught roughly 5,000 students over the years; said he has always had support since his first day on the job in 1976 It is his way of giving back.

"Dr, William J. Moody was the chairperson at that time. He supported me throughout my career. We were able to build a wonderful representative of a band program that was recognized around the country as one of the best."

And with the recent success in other programs, Harding expects the support to stay strong.

"This is a very special time at Carolina. We've begun a major $1 billion capital campaign called Carolina's Promise. It is a very significant testament to the quality of the university."