2020 Festival EVALUATORS
Cheryl Floyd retired in 2017 after completing a 25-year tenure as Director of Bands at Hill Country Middle School in Austin, Texas. The Hill Country Middle School Band is recognized as one of the exemplary middle school programs in the nation. Prior to her tenure at Hill Country, she served as Director of Bands at Murchison Middle School, also in Austin, for eight years.
For three decades, she has diligently championed the creation of new works for concert band and has collaborated with numerous internationally recognized award winning composers such as Frank Ticheli, Ron Nelson and Don Grantham to commission significant new works that continue to enrich the musical lives of young musicians. This body of work is acknowledged to be among the most significant repertoire available for middle school and high school bands.
In 2016 Cheryl Floyd was named a Yamaha Master Educator, one of only 18 in the nation. As such she is positioned to appear throughout the United States as a conductor, clinician and educator representing Yamaha. Among her many other national engagements she annually serves as an evaluator for the Music For All National Concert Band Festival and was recently appointed to the Middle School Educational team for the Music For All Summer Symposium.
Mrs. Floyd was elected to the American Bandmasters’ Association in 1993. She was the fifth female member of this 225-member organization and was the first middle school band director to be chosen for ABA membership.
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.
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