SAM HANKINS earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Northeastern State University, and a second Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a trumpeter in the air force jazz band, The Pacesetters, at Chanute Air Force Base. As band director at Edison Middle School, Hankins led the struggling program to Division I ratings. He won the Golden Apple Award for commitment to excellence in education, and he was recognized by the White House for his work with the Edison Middle School band program. Hankins has performed with legendary artists including Al Jarreau, Clark Terry, The O’Jays, The Temptations, The Dells, The Impressions, Aretha Franklin, and the Glenn Miller Big Band.