2019 Festival EVALUATORS
Dr. Andrea E. Brown was appointed the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Maryland in 2018. In this position she conducts the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble and serves as the Director of Athletic Bands in which she leads the “Mighty Sound of Maryland” and all aspects of the athletic band program. Brown is formerly a member of the conducting faculty at the University of Michigan where she served as the assistant director of bands. In this position, she was the conductor of the Campus Bands and director of the Campus Band Chamber Ensembles, associate director of the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands, director of the Men's Basketball Band, guest conductor with the Symphony Band and Concert Band, taught conducting, and was a faculty sponsor of a College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design Project team researching conducting pedagogy technology. Previously Brown was the director of orchestra and assistant director of bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta where she also led research in conducting pedagogy technology and was a member of the Oxford Program faculty. She is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in the US, Europe, and Asia. Brown completed a DMA in instrumental conducting at UNC Greensboro where she was a student of John Locke and Kevin Geraldi. While at UNCG, she was named Outstanding Teaching Assistant and was both guest conductor and principal horn on UNCG Wind Ensemble's fireworks! and finish line! CDs released on the Equilibrium label. Brown has also had several rehearsal guides published in the popular GIA Publications series, "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band" and has presented at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Music For All Summer Symposium, the Yamaha Bläserklasse in Schlitz, Germany, the International Computer Music Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia, and multiple times at the College Band Directors National Association National Conference. A proponent of inclusion and equity issues in the music profession, Brown is a frequent guest speaker on these topics. She currently serves on the CBDNA Gender and Ethnic Minority Committee, and as a member of the recently formed Drum Corps International Women’s In Step Committee. Brown is also the founder of “Women Rising to the Podium” - an online group of 2300 members supporting and celebrating women band directors. She also serves the chair of the Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity Graduate Conducting Grant. Brown currently serves as a brass consultant for Phantom Regiment and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. She has been on the brass and conducting instructional staff of the DCI World Champion Phantom Regiment since 2004. Other marching organizations with which she has instructed are the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, Carolina Crown, Kennesaw Mountain High School (GA), Father Ryan High School (TN), and McGavock High School (TN). As a performer, Brown was a member of the AA Brass Quintet, which won the International Brass Quintet Competition hosted by Fred Mills at the University of Georgia. She performed with the horn sections of the Boston Brass All Stars Big Band, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Brown has studied brass performance and pedagogy with Abigail Pack, Jack Masarie, Freddy Martin, J.D. Shaw, Dottie Bennett, Randy Kohlenberg, Richard Steffen, and Ed Bach. Originally from Milan, Tennessee, she is a graduate of Austin Peay State University where she was named "Outstanding Student in Music." Brown earned a master of music degree in horn performance and a master of music education degree with a cognate in instrumental conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to her position at Georgia Tech, Brown was the assistant director of bands at Austin Peay State University and taught public school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dallas, Texas. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and CBDNA. She was awarded the Rose of Honor as a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.
Chris Gleason is an instrumental music educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He is the 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year, 2017 semi-finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award and the first Wisconsin teacher to be named a finalist for National Teacher of the Year in 50 years. Chris earned his BME at UW-Eau Claire in 1997 and his Masters Degree from UW-LaCrosse in 2002.
In addition to current teaching duties, Mr. Gleason is also an Engagement Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction delivering presentations at universities, school districts and conferences across Wisconsin.
The Patrick Marsh Middle School Band has commissioned composers such as Samuel R. Hazo, Brian Balmages, John Mackey, Alex Shapiro, Pierre LaPlante, Andrew Boysen Jr, and soon Michael Markowski.
Mr. Gleason has performed professionally at Disneyland, Valleyfair, and the Mall of America. He has been guest conductor of numerous camps and festivals including the Music For All National Band Camp and numerous regional honor bands across the Midwest.
He is the past-chair of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Committee, the Wisconsin State Middle Level Honors Band and the Wisconsin State Middle Level Honors Project. He has presented clinics at numerous locations such as VanderCook College of Music, NAfME National In-Service Conference, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and Hong Kong.
Mr. Gleason is the recent recipient of the 2018-19 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow, UW-La Crosse Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), Melvin F. Pontious Sparks in Music Education Award (2016), Michael G. George Distinguished Service Award (2016) and had a feature interview in the March 2015 Instrumentalist Magazine. Mr. Gleason is the founder and organizer of the Band Festival at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells that has to date inspired more than 30,000 young musicians and 60 future music educators.
Dr. Arris Golden is the assistant director of bands and associate director of the Spartan Marching Band at Michigan State University.
Before joining the faculty at Michigan State University, Golden was a member of the conducting faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as the assistant director of University Bands. In this position, she was the music director of the 265-member Marching Tar Heels, director of the Women’s Basketball Pep Band, conductor of the Symphony Band, and guest conductor with the Wind Ensemble. She also taught courses in music education.
Prior to her appointment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Golden was director of athletic bands at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina (2008-2009). While at Campbell, she oversaw the entire athletic band program, including the inaugural year of the “Sounds of the Sandhills” Football Pep Band and the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Pep Bands.
In addition, Golden served eight years as the director of bands at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland, North Carolina. During her tenure, Golden conducted an internationally recognized middle school concert band that participated in featured performances at the North Carolina Music Educators Association annual conference, in Winston Salem, North Carolina (2010) and at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, in Chicago, Illinois (2012). The bands at Gravelly Hill also worked with numerous clinicians, including the premier of four commissioned works for band: “Kitsune: The Fox Spirits,” by Brian Balmages (2009), “The Machine Awakes” for young band and electronics by Steven Bryant (2012), “Freight Train,” by Pierre LaPlante (2013), and “The Cave Your Fear” by Michael Markowski (2014).
Golden holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She recently completed the doctor of musical arts in wind conducting from Michigan State University as a 2014 recipient of a Michigan State University Distinguished Fellowship.
Wendy Higdon is the Director of Bands and Unified Arts Department Chair at Creekside Middle School in Carmel, Indiana. Prior to the opening of Creekside in 2004, she taught band at Carmel Middle School (IN) and Lebanon Middle School (IN). Through her leadership, the performing arts programs have thrived at Creekside, more than doubling in size and garnering state and national attention.
Under her direction, the Creekside Wind Symphony was honored to perform at The Midwest Clinic in December 2013. The Creekside Wind Symphony has also performed at the Indiana Music Education Association Conference and served as a rehearsal clinic band at the 2013 Midwest Clinic and the 2015 Indiana Music Education Association Conference.
Mrs. Higdon has served as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and guest speaker around the country. In 2013, she received the “Fifty Directors Who Make a Difference” Award from School Band and Orchestra Magazine. Her articles have appeared in The Instrumentalist magazine, as well as publications by NAfME, SmartMusic, D’Addario Education Collective, and Music for All, among others. Her blog, On and Off the Podium, is read by music educators from around the world. She has been a frequent presenter at the Indiana Music Education Association Professional Development Conference, has recently presented sessions at several national conferences including The Midwest Clinic, the National Association of School Music Dealers Conference, and the Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference in Brisbane, where she was a keynote presenter.
Mrs. Higdon earned her degree in music education from Ball State University Honors College, graduating summa cum laude. She also holds graduate degrees from Butler University in clarinet performance and education administration. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, Phi Beta Mu, the National Association for Music Education and the Indiana Bandmasters Association.
Sean Kelley is Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at North Central College, where he directs the Chamber Players, Symphony Band and Cardinal Athletic Band Program, which comprises the Cardinal Marching Band and several basketball bands. In addition to his conducting responsibilities, he also coaches brass chamber ensembles, instructs courses in instrumental conducting and music education, supervises instrumental music education practicum students and student-teachers, and teaches lessons in music composition. Prior to arriving at North Central, Sean served as Director of Bands for the Hillsboro and West Clermont school districts in Greater Cincinnati. He holds degrees in music education from Wittenberg University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and degrees in wind conducting from Wright State University and the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Kelley is an active composer, arranger, show designer, guest conductor, and clinician for high school bands throughout Chicagoland and his native Ohio. He has adjudicated music ensembles across the Midwest with the Central States Judges Association, and has served as Director of the Wright State University Concert Band, Assistant Director of the Cincinnati Junior Youth Wind Ensemble, and as a teaching graduate assistant with the University of Oklahoma’s Wind Symphony, Symphony Band, “Pride of Oklahoma” Marching Band, and "Sound of the Sooners" basketball band.
In addition to studying extensively with his primary conducting mentors, David Booth and William Wakefield, he has opened new lines of research in the area of the interpretive development of wind band conductors. Through these endeavors, he has worked closely with Gary Green (University of Miami), Michael Haithcock (University of Michigan), Michael Hancock (University of Oklahoma), Gary Hill (Arizona State University), and Joseph Missal (Oklahoma State University). Sean is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the College Music Society (CMS), and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
Dr. Kelley's latest composition, A Prairie Hymn has been published by Kjos Music Company and will be available in 2018.
Mr. Lepper (Professor Emeritus, VanderCook College of Music) is an active free-lance percussionist/educator in the Chicago area. A wide range of experiences, including El Paso Symphony, Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, The Chautauqua Ensemble (world music), That Memorial Ragtime Marimba Band, and many commercial recording sessions, allow Mr. Lepper to be classified as a “total percussionist”. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha fraternity and has numerous published works in the marching band medium. Through his company (Advantage Network) he has published a series of educationally-based percussion ensembles and three volumes of Boomwhackers ensembles written specifically for the junior high school and beginning high school performer. Kevin Lepper is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Having been described as an “apt performer,” by music critic Dr. Jennifer Iverson, Dr. Andrew Veit (b. 1987) is a freelancing percussionist, educator, and composer in the Chicago area cultivating a private studio. He serves as the Director of Percussion Studies at Naperville North High School and William Fremd High School, and is a highly sought after clinician having led educational seminars in New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, and Ohio. In 2016, he earned a DMA from the University of Iowa, and also holds an MM from Texas A&M University – Commerce and a BA in music education from the University of Delaware. During his career Andrew has studied with many uniquely creative artists including Dr. Daniel Moore, Dr. Brian Zator, Jim Ancona, Orlando Cotto, Dr. Ted Hansen, and Leigh Howard Stevens.
Andrew also holds the position of Director of Percussion studies at the Lutheran Summer Music Academy, and has performed several times as a soloist on the LSM recital series. He performs yearly with multiple LSM faculty chamber groups including the Movére Woodwind Quintet, the Pretorius Brass Quintet, and also appeared as a soloist with the LSM Jazz Band. In 2016, Andrew had the honor of performing with a special group on the LSM recital series, the Heartland Marimba Festival touring ensemble.
Since 2015, Andrew has severed as the Vice-President of the Heartland Marimba Festival, and has cultivated the organization’s growth through several strategies including his educational involvement during the festival’s yearly academy. There, he coaches chamber groups and individual lessons, and has appeared as a soloist on the HMF’s summer recital series. Andrew also publishes his own original compositions through the HMF’s publications.
In 2016, Andrew joined Clocks in Motion, a professional percussion quartet located in Madison, WI. The group has premiered many leading contemporary percussion ensemble works including Alex Orfaly’s Fôr Marimba, and Marc Mellits’ Gravity. Andrew has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention three times with the Texas A&M University – Commerce Percussion Ensemble and the groundbreaking mixed world percussion group, University of Iowa East-West Percussion Ensemble.
Andrew was a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and the Rhythm X Indoor Percussion Ensemble. He was also a staff member of the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps and the Penn State University Indoor Drumline, and has written for and instructed the University of Iowa Drumline and the Texas A&M University - Commerce front ensemble. Andrew can be heard on the Texas A&M University – Commerce’s album Epic Proportions, and has served on the PAS Marching Committee since 2014. Andrew is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets, Marimba One Marimbas, and Beetle Percussion Accessories.
Ben Wahlund is a Grammy nominated, award-winning music educator, composer, and performer who lives in the Chicago area. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a masters degree in music theory and composition and a performance certificate in percussion. Mr. Wahlund's undergraduate degrees in music education and music performance with minors in mathematics and philosophy/theology were earned at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Mr. Wahlund serves as full-time percussion instructor at Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL), the Director of Percussion at the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL), and conducts the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensembles (Chicago, IL). Published by Bachovich Music, HoneyRock Publications and Innovative Percussion, his music compositions have won numerous international awards and are performed by professionals around the world. Additionally, Ben enjoys teaching many successful private students in his home studio, Black Dog Music Studio. Ben Wahlund performs as part of area orchestras, ¡The Screaming Norwegians! Percussion Duo, the Naper Chamber Players, is a member of the Yamaha Performing Artist roster, the Zildjian Artist Program and endorses Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets