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Divisional Director of Music & Gospel Arts
Vernon Lawson was born in St. Louis, Missouri and began playing the cornet at the age of 7, he switched to the trombone at the age of nine. He spent his early years learning music at The Salvation Army Carondelet Corps under the instruction of Bandmaster Chris Jaudes. Mr. Lawson went on to earn a Bachelors of Music in Music Education (1995) and a Masters Degree in Music Performance (1999) from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Mr. Lawson's primary teachers included, Bernie Schneider (former principal St. Louis Symphony Orchestra) , James Martin (Buddy Rich Band), and Brett Stamps (Stan Kenton Orchestra).
Mr. Lawson has taught music in both private and public schools, he has held positions as the assistant director of bands and director of jazz studies at Rockwood Summit High School in St. Louis, and the director of bands at Bloomfield Middle School in New Jersey. Additionally, Mr. Lawson has maintained a large private studio and is in demand as a clinician and guest soloist/conductor and has taught at the college level as an adjunct faculty member.
Mr. Lawson has performed with Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Ralph Carmichael, Dionne Warwick, and Lou Rawls, among others. In addition to the Broadway productions, "Gypsy" and "Annie Get Your Gun" , he has performed on numerous off-Broadway and traveling productions both in New York and around the country. Mr. Lawson has recorded with Gramercy Brass on the Koch International record label and can be heard on commercials and jingles. He has also traveled the world and toured extensively with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and Euro-Brass among others.
Mr. Lawson is currently the Music Director for The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division. Since accepting this position in 2004, he has introduced music programs into several Chicago Public Schools and implemented after school music programs in neighborhoods throughout the city. Under Mr. Lawson's leadership, the Metropolitan Division has seen growth in the Metro Youth Band and Metro Music camps.
Mr. Lawson lives in Des Plaines, Illinois with his wife Dana, and daughters Angela and Aurelia. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, fishing, and restoring old homes.