Class of 2024: Retired Technical Sergeant Dandrick Glenn Finds New Harmony at UNCG

Posted on May 01, 2024

Dandrick Glenn stands with his trombone while wearing doctoral regalia

Retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Dandrick Glenn says his retirement from military service wasn’t the end of a journey, it was an opportunity for more.

“The focus now needs to be on how I can help, rather than what can I gain,” Glenn says.

Glenn will graduate in Spring 2024 with a doctorate in musical arts, focusing on trombone performance from UNC Greensboro. The Shelby, North Carolina native recently retired after 23 years of combined service in the Air Force and the Air National Guard – performing as a military musician throughout his career.


Dandrick Glenn with the Flightline Brass, a New Orleans-Style Brass band, a small ensemble in the 553rd Air National Guard Band of the Northeast.

As a member of the US Air Force, Glenn was assigned to the Band of the Pacific-Asia. A major part of the unit’s mission was to use the universal language of music to build community and international relations. The unit conducted several tours in Japan, Korea, and Singapore. In 2009, he was deployed to Southeast Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He’s also performed for various dignitaries and heads of states including former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

During his first assignment with the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, he was part of several USO type events in Germany, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

“Music has allowed me to meet the most amazing people, do the most amazing things, and see some amazing places that I never would have imagined,” he says.

His military experience, of course, played a part in earning his degree.

“The great football coach Mike Tomlin said that many are capable, but few are willing, and that pretty much encapsulates the military,” he says. “Two-percent of Americans are part of the greatest military force the world has ever seen. Certain aspects of discipline and structure have definitely been a part of my journey as a student here at UNCG.”

Music has always been in his life, beginning at an early age: “It all started in the church choir when my mother was singing. The church choir was, and still is, my greatest influence.”


Throughout his time in higher education, Glenn didn’t see many others like him, especially with advanced degrees in the music field, but he recalls meeting a kindred spirit.

“I met Dr. Keith Jackson, who is now the Dean of the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University. He was the first African American trombonist I’d met with a doctoral degree, and he understood my love for music.”

In 2016, Glenn was a guest soloist at Morehouse College for the Historically Black Colleges and University’s National Band and Orchestra Directors’ Consortium. His impact made a difference for others and sparked a change for himself.

“Several students came up to me at that performance and said ‘You inspired me. Can you give me some advice?’ And that put a bug in my ear to pursue advanced degrees.”

Years later, he’s earning that advanced degree from UNCG, which offers the most comprehensive music performance degree in North Carolina.

“UNCG is a flagship music institution here in the Southeast,” says Glenn of his decision to attend.  “The School of Music is elite in communicating with their students.”

UNCG faculty, including Dr. Randy Kohlenberg, have made a dramatic difference in his career: “Dr. Kohlenberg is one of the greatest pedagogues. He really helped me hone how I teach.”

“Dandrick has been invaluable to the School of Music as a performer, teacher, and influence on students and faculty alike,” says Kohlenberg, the director of graduate programs in the School of Music. “To be able to complete the degree and juggle family life, his teaching at Fayetteville State, and performing in the Air Force reserves, with numerous symphony orchestras, in faculty groups, and at conferences is truly remarkable. He is an inspiration to all of us, especially me.”

Glenn also credits Professor Steve Haines, in the jazz studies program, with giving him new and unique opportunities to advance his studies.

“Dandrick is a special guy and one of the most determined people I’ve ever met,” says Haines. “During his time at UNCG he performed over three hundred times, wrote arrangements for the Spartan Jazz Collective, taught at another university, all the while caring for his family. He managed to spend time with James Brown’s legendary trombonist, Fred Wesley as he was the focus of Dandrick’s work. Dandrick has a bright future, and we are proud he’s a Spartan.”

If I have an opportunity to help somebody have a similar experience through this beautiful art, then i’m all for it.


Glenn moved his family to Greensboro from Fayetteville to attend UNCG – something he says required communication and a lot of support from his wife and daughter.

“The most important job I have is to be a parent and a husband,” he says. “Family is very important and managing my time was key with this program.”

Now an adjunct professor at Fayetteville State University, Glenn is ready to use his UNCG education to the fullest.

“I have a heart for that community of learners, but I’d like to, more than anything, help young people create the life they want to create through music,” Glenn says. “If I have an opportunity to help somebody have a similar experience through this beautiful art, then I’m all for it.”

Story by Avery Craine Powell, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications

Additional photography courtesy of Dandrick Glenn


Graduates and their families are encouraged to share their accomplishments on social media by tagging the University accounts and using the hashtags #UNCGGrad and #UNCGWay. Visit UNCG’s digital swag page for graduation-themed graphics, filters, and templates.

Mention @UNCG in celebratory posts on Instagram and X and @uncgreensboro on TikTok.  

Three masters graduates pose for a selfie in cap and gown.


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