Samuels attended Furman and earned a bachelor’s in music education from the school. At Georgia State University in Atlanta, she received her master’s in instrumental conducting and got a Ph. D in music education from Auburn University.
Current Director of Bands, Leslie W. Hicken, joined the Furman music faculty 26 years ago and will retire this spring. He will conduct his last concert with the ensemble Friday, April 12, at 8pm at Furman's McAlister Auditorium, but will still lead the well-known Music by the Lake concert series this summer and continue as artistic director and conductor of the Carolina Youth Symphony.