Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

Darryl Singleton

Office: Kimbrough 143
School of Music
Washington State University
PO Box 645300
Pullman, WA 99164-5300
Phone: (509) 335-3962

Assistant Professor of Black Music in America and Social Justice, Jazz Percussion

Hello! My name is Dr. Darryl M Singleton. My title is Assistant Professor of Black Music in America and Social Justice. As a member of the Jazz Studies faculty, I also teach jazz percussion and perform with Jazz Northwest, the faculty jazz ensemble. Additionally, I established and lead “Crimson Ties,” the WSU world music ensemble.

I was born in Washington, D.C. and began my teaching career at the Duke Ellington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Notably, around that time, I became the first instrumental ensemble director at Gallaudet University for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. I went on to teach band, percussion, theory, and arts survey courses at The University of the District of Columbia (1987-1990), Grambling State University (1990-1993), and Texas Southern University (1993-1998, 2004-2021). Just prior to my appointment at WSU, I spent two years as interim director of TSU’s famous “Ocean of Soul” Marching Band.

My interest in and service to the mission of HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) extended beyond duties as a faculty member at Texas Southern. In 2011 the membership of Texas Black Music Educators, an organization advocating diversity in music education, elected me president; a post in which I still serve today. Additionally, from 2020-2021 I was privileged to be selected to serve as an inaugural member of the TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) DEIA committee. Currently, I am on the executive board of the HBCU National Band and Orchestra Directors Consortium, supporting that entity as the convention logistics coordinator.

As a percussionist, I have enjoyed a wide variety of experiences including performances with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Holliday, and many others. I served 16 years as the principal percussionist of the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra and 4 years as drummer/percussionist in the Conrad Johnson (Jazz) Orchestra. I have composed and arranged for marching band, jazz big band, jazz combo, percussion ensemble, and solo percussion.

In my new home on the Palouse, I continue in a wide range of creative activity. I sit as principal percussionist of the Washington-Idaho Symphony. With colleagues, I have co-founded two ensembles. “Raza Northwest” performs son jarocho, a folk music from Mexico, Brazilian samba pop, and reggae. “Jazz Orgániq” explores standards and world-influenced jazz. I play a multi-instrument setup in those groups including cajon, bongos, marimból, pedal cowbell, keyboard, I’m sure you get the picture! A third working group I founded, “Triple Xtra Wide,” plays jazz, funk, and fusion. That set up is the easiest – just drumset. Ok, yes there are a few added bells and whistles (literally!). And I contribute vocals, mostly in Jazz Orgániq.

Opening reception for the Alison Saar and BLM Exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Pullman, Wash.

Outside of music I have written and directed plays and musicals for schools and community organizations. “Angels are Busy” is a self-produced spoken-word CD my wife and I produced. Interestingly, my first faculty performance at WSU involved composing and performing spoken word for “Intersecting Expressions,” a recital featuring fellow faculty member Christiano Rodrigues on violin. Along the way I picked up experience in music production, videography, live sound, and lighting design. And, my fluency in Spanish resulted from five years we spent as a missionary family in Latin America.

I received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Howard University, a Master of Music in Music Performance (percussion) from Florida State University and earned my terminal degree, Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education, from Boston University. The dissertation document, “Black Band for Brown Students,” investigated some of the pedagogical and cultural assumptions present in music education and included findings that touched on cultural dynamics evident in adjudication of some marching band performances. This lead to a current, new research project investigating the aesthetics of HBCU marching bands. I plan to continue expanding on this and other topics related to equity, equality, and justice as a member of the Cougar Family as part of WSU’s cluster hire addressing racism and social inequality.

My students call me “Doc D” and in 2022 I am celebrating my 27th year of marriage to my wife, Valencia Kay. Other than my main hobby – music, I enjoy biking and martial arts-related fitness. Valencia and I are the proud parents of two “adult boys” who also reside in Pullman. I also have two daughters who reside in Los Angeles and Nashville.

I am a proud educational endorser of ProMark sticks and mallets.