Will Rapp - Biography


Willis M. Rapp holds the Bachelor of Science and Master of Music Degrees in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the Diploma of Fine Arts in Conducting from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  Dr. Rapp has served on the faculty of Millersville University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Iowa State University, and Kutztown University, where he retired in 2013 with the distinction of Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Rapp is in his 46th year as a published author with over 500 publications to his credit through Charter Publications, Jenson Publications, Educational Programs Publications, GIA Publications, Meredith Music Publications, and the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation.  With one exception, he was the youngest student to have studied timpani and orchestral repertoire with Fred D. Hinger, legendary timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Dr. Rapp also performed as Principal Timpanist of the Allentown, PA Symphony Orchestra during the years when William Smith, former Associate Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, served as Music Director and Conductor of the ASO.

Since 2000, Dr. Rapp has served as conductor of the Reading Pops Orchestra; he has guest conducted, performed as a recitalist, and appeared as a clinician in twenty-eight states and three provinces in Canada.  His scholarly text, The Wind Band Masterworks of Holst, Vaughan Williams and Grainger, was released in March 2005.  In 2007 he was the recipient of the Kutztown University Faculty Research Award, and in Fall 2009 he was honored with the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, making him the first faculty member in the history of the university to be honored with both awards. In November 2018, Dr. Rapp was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in Education by the Percussive Arts Society.

2018 Percussive Arts Society Lifetime Education Achievement Award


The Percussive Arts Society Lifetime Achievement Award in Education was established in 2002 and recognizes the contributions of the most highly regarded leaders in percussion education. The recipient of this award for 2018 is Dr. Willis M. Rapp. 

The Sudler Trophy


Willis M. Rapp, along with 10 other former ISU Marching Band Directors, was honored on October 28, 2017 as the Iowa State University Marching Band was awarded The Sudler Trophy, administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The Sudler Trophy honors the close relationship and outstanding contribution of Intercollegiate Marching Bands to the American way of life; it is a biannual award recognizing a University Marching Band program which has maintained an exceptionally high quality of marching innovation and musical performance over a period of many years. The 11 directors receiving this award date from 1968 through 2017.