Gordon Henderson began teaching at the Santa Clara Vanguard in 1983 as a soprano bugle instructor and was on the staff for the Vanguard’s first Jim Ott High Brass Award in 1984. In 1987 and 1988, he served as Visual Coordinator and also continued to serve as a brass instructor. From 1988 to 1991, Henderson co-arranged the brass music with Gail Royer. Henderson returned to SCV from 1996 to 1999 as the Brass Arranger, and he served as a Brass Consultant and Co-Arranger with Dean Westman in 2002.
Henderson served as Head Horn Instructor or Brass Arranger for three Drum Corps International Champions: the Santa Clara Vanguard in 1989 and 1999, and the 1992 Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois. He has also instructed other drum and bugle corps including the Imperial Guard from Evansville, IN, the Pride of Cincinnati from Cincinnati, OH, The Cadets from Allentown, PA, the Troopers from Casper, WY, Pacific Crest from Diamond Bar, CA, the Academy from Tempe, AZ, and the Colts, from Dubuque, IA.
Gordon Henderson is a Professor Emeritus at UCLA. From 1982 to 2019, Henderson served as the director of the UCLA Bruin Marching and Varsity Band. Under Professor Henderson’s direction, the UCLA Bruin Marching Band appeared at five Rose Bowls. In 1993, the UCLA Bruin Marching Band received the prestigious Sudler Trophy, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize excellence and innovation.
International trips by the UCLA Band during Henderson’s tenure included the American Train Celebration in Tokyo in 1988, the Hong Kong International New Year Night Parade in 2006 and 2008, the Ekitopia Festival Parade in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 and 2018, and the 2016 Taoyuan International Band Festival in Taiwan.
Major high-profile events by the UCLA Band included opening for The Rolling Stones at Staples Center in 2013 with Henderson’s arrangement of “Satisfaction,” and appearing on TV in the premiere episode of The Amazing Race, Season 24, in 2014. Henderson wrote the marching band arrangement of “Pressure” by the English alternative rock group MUSE that was included as a bonus version of the song in the Super Deluxe edition of the album Simulation Theory, which was released in November 2018.
Henderson has composed and/or arranged band music for several major motion pictures including In the Line of Fire, Little Nikita, Fatal Instinct, Legends of the Fall, First Daughter, Don’t Say A Word, Click, Struck by Lightning, and the main title music for Road Trip.
Since 1991, Henderson has served as the Arranger for the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band in Nagoya, Japan, the eleven-time All-Japan National Champions, and since 2007, he has served as the Arranger for the Illusion Magic Drum and Bugle Corps from Toyota City, Japan. He has also served as a clinician and designer in Taiwan and Thailand.
Henderson served as an adjudicator at the World Music Contest held in Kerkrade, Netherlands, in 2009 and 2013, and at the Kuala Lumpur International Marching Band Championship in December 2009. In 2012 and 2013, he judged the Thailand Royal Cups Concert and Marching Band Championships in Bangkok, and at the Calgary Stampede Band Contest in 2005, 2007, and 2010.
Professor Henderson was an Assistant Director for the 736-member Olympic All-American College Marching Band that performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. He also directed the Trumpet Sectionals and served as Drill Designer for the “Swing Era” segment of the show.
Professor Henderson retired on October 31, 2020, and he lives in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles with his wife Kelly, their children Logan and Mia, and their dog Milton.