Gordon Henderson is the Director of Bands and Department of Music Vice Chair at UCLA. Professor Henderson directs the 260-member Bruin Marching Band, and the Varsity Band, which plays at all home men’s and women’s basketball games as well as other “Olympic” sports events such as soccer, volleyball, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, baseball, softball and water polo. Under Henderson’s direction, the Bruin Marching Band has appeared at five Rose Bowls, four Sun Bowls, three Las Vegas Bowls, two Cotton Bowls, the Aloha Bowl, the Silicon Valley Bowl, the Emerald Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Freedom Bowl, the Holiday Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. In 1993, the UCLA Bruin Marching Band received the prestigious Sudler Trophy, presented each year by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize excellence and innovation. In 2006 and 2008, groups of fifty band members performed at the Hong Kong Chinese New Year Night Parade, and in 2010, fourteen drummers from the Band performed at the 27th Annual Ekitopia Festival Parade in Nagoya, Japan.
From 1989 to 1996, Henderson directed the Jazz Ensemble I, performing with numerous guest artists including Roy Hargrove, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Burrell, Conte Candoli, Matt Catingub, Bill Watrous, Steve Houghton, Snooky Young, Gerald Wilson and Paquito D’Rivera. Under his direction, both the Jazz Ensemble I and the Jazz Combo won their respective divisions at the 1995 Reno International Jazz Festival. From 1985 to 1997 and 2011 to 2013, Henderson also directed the Symphonic Band.
Professor Henderson served as Head Horn Instructor or Brass Arranger for three Drum Corps International Champions: the Santa Clara (CA) Vanguard in 1989 and 1999, and the 1992 Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois. He has also instructed other drum and bugle corps including The Cadets from Allentown, PA, the Troopers from Casper, WY, Pacific Crest from Diamond Bar, CA, and the Academy from Tempe, AZ.
Since 1990, he has served as the Arranger for the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band in Nagoya, Japan, the nine-time All-Japan National Champions, and he has worked with several championship winning bands in Thailand. During the summer of 2009, Henderson served as an adjudicator for the quadrennial World Music Contest held in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, where he judged over 80 bands, drum corps and concert percussion ensembles from 14 countries spanning four continents. He returned to serve as a judge at the World Music Contest in July, 2013.
Henderson also served as an adjudicator at the Kuala Lumpur International Marching Band Competition in 2009, and in 2012 and 2013 he served as an adjudicator for the Thailand Royal Cups Concert Band and Marching Band Competition in Bangkok.
Henderson was an Assistant Director and Drill Designer for the 736-member Olympic All-American College Marching Band that performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. He has composed and/or arranged band music for several major motion pictures including In the Line of Fire (1993), Legends of the Fall (1994), The Waterboy (1998), Road Trip (2000), Don t Say A Word (2001), First Daughter (2004), Click (2006), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
On May 3, 2013, the UCLA Bruin Marching Band opened for The Rolling Stones 50 & Counting Tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Fifty-four members of the Band surprised the audience of 19,000 by marching into the arena playing Henderson s arrangement of Satisfaction that was called remarkably funky in a Rolling Stone Magazine review of the concert.