A native of Charleston, Basil Kerr graduated from Bishop England High School; earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami; and a Master’s Degree in Music from the University of South Carolina. He has completed his doctoral studies at USC. As a performer on the French horn, he has performed the with the Miami Philharmonic, the Ives Festival Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Summerville Orchestra, and the North Charleston Pops.
From 1977-1995 Basil was the band director at Wando High School, building a program that continues its successful run today. In 1998, he became the high school band director at the Charleston County School of the Arts. At the time of his retirement in 2018 the SOA Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble were recognized as among the finest programs in the nation. During his tenure at SOA, more jazz students from the school were selected to the SC All-State Jazz Band than any other school in the state.
Basil has dedicated his career to developing young talent regardless of experience or background. He taught some of the best-known jazz musicians in the Charleston Area, including Charlton Singleton, Robbie Madison, Demetrius Doctor, Noah Jones, Steve Spaulding, and Gavin Smith. In addition, here is a partial list of former students performing in major music centers across the country: vocalists Latoya Renea, Sara Houser, Jenna McSwain; trombonist TJ Robinson; guitarists Trevor Murray and Adam Fallon (aka “Fallen Atom”). LaToya and TJ were featured in Jack McCray’s book, “Charleston Jazz” as examples of the new generation of jazz artists emerging from the Lowcountry.