SESSION PRESENTERS 

Ike Jackson

Vice President, Southern California Percussion Alliance
Program Coordinator, Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps Percussion Director, Ayala High School

Ike Jackson has been working with Ayala High School since 1991. In his twenty-four years as a percussion instructor, he has worked with more than 50 different percussion programs at the high school, college, and drum corps levels. A prolific percussion arranger, judge and drill designer, Ike has worked with various percussion ensembles all across the US.

 

His competitive marching career started as a teenager as a member of the Sound Machine Youth Organization. He then performed as tenor player for the Riverside Community College Marching Tigers from 1992 to 1994. Finally, he finished his marching career as a member of the 1994 Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, going on to win the title of World Champion.

Ike is currently Vice President of the Southern California Percussion Alliance and a founding member of SCPA. He is also a member of the Winter Guard International Percussion Advisory Board and has worked on the Steering Committee as well. In 2006, Ike created Pulse Independent World Percussion Ensemble and POW Percussion in 2010, and is currently working with Strike Independent World Percussion.

 

Ike is a Mapex and Majestic Featured Artist; as well as, endorsed by Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Zildjian cymbals, and Remo Drumheads. Ike has recently worked on research and development projects with many major drum and cymbal companies to make many of the products used by today’s percussionists.

Ike has helped his percussion ensembles win 12 WGI World Championship medals, 22 WGI World Championship Finalist placements, 47 Regional Finalist placements, 14 Regional Championship titles, and a Bands of America Grand National Finalist appearance in 2004 and 2014. He was the Corps Director of the 2006 division III World Champion Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps, served as the Percussion Caption head at The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps for four years, and is currently the Program Coordinator and Percussion Consultant for the Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps. Locally, his ensembles have won 10 SCPA Championship medals and over 60 first place awards.

 

Ike currently lives in Ontario, California with his wife and four children.

David Starnes

Assistant Professor, Director of Athletic Bands

Western Carolina University

Mr. David Starnes joined the School of Music faculty at Western Carolina University in the spring of 2011, when he was named Assistant Professor in The School of Music and appointed the Director of Athletic Bands. During his tenure at Western Carolina University, The “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band has performed as halftime entertainment for the Carolina Panthers (2011), the exhibition band at The Bands of America Southeast Regional in Atlanta, Georgia (2011), the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana (2012, 2015) and the 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City (2014). In 2013, he was selected by the WCU School of Music faculty and students as the recipient of the James E. Dooley Excellence in Music Teaching Award.

 

Prior to his appointment at WCU, he served as the Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia for ten years. As the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School (2000), the band program grew from its initial 85 students to over 250 members. Under his direction, Kennesaw Mountain High School was recognized in all areas of performance for their achievements at local, state, and national levels including concert band, jazz band, marching band, winter guard and winter percussion. They are a six-time national finalist at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, being named the 2004 Bands of America “AAA National Champion” and a four-time Regional Champion in Bands of America events. In December of 2003, the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented the Kennesaw Mountain High School Band the prestigious “Sudler Shield of Excellence” for outstanding achievement in marching band. In 2005, the band appeared in the 79th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The Kennesaw Mountain High School Wind Symphony performed at the 60th Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic held in Chicago, Illinois in December of 2006.

Mr. Starnes is sought out nationally and internationally as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, and creative designer. In 2016, he was appointed a member of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Shield Jury and named a member of the Yamaha Master Educator program. In 2013, he joined the staff of Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, where he currently serves as Design Staff Coordinator. Mr. Starnes serves as Board Chairman for United Sound, a nationally recognized special needs music education program. He served as an adjudicator for several state, national, and international organizations including Bands of America, Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International from 1994-2012. In addition to his position at Western Carolina University, he serves as an Education Consultant at Music For All in Indianapolis, Indiana. While fulfilling this role, he serves as the program director for The Honor Band of America, who appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017.

 

As a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mr. Starnes graduated magna cum laude from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988. He is married to Rhea Jeanne Starnes, an Architect, and has a daughter, Hannah, who works as an Interior Designer in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Ira Jenkins

Associate Director of Bands, Alpharetta High School

Ira Jenkins has been a band director for eighteen years and has been the associate director of bands at Alpharetta High School since 2013. While at Alpharetta, the bands have received consecutive superior ratings at concert band evaluations. The marching band has also received superior ratings in music and visual captions. Prior to his appointment at AHS, Mr. Jenkins taught elementary, middle, and high school bands in Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb County, Fulton County, and most recently in Westchester County (NY) as well as Bergen County (NJ). His Bands have consistently earned superior ratings. His bands have performed at Carnegie Hall (NY), Music For All Regional Concert Festival (GA), GMEA In-Service Conference (GA), High Notes Music Festival (CT), Ossining LIVE (NY), Carowinds Music Festival (NC), VH-1 (GA), NYSSMA Majors (NY), Six Flags Music Festivals (GA), and many GMEA LGPEs. Mr. Jenkins' students have earned chairs in County and District Honor Bands as well as All State Bands.

 

Mr. Jenkins' previous responsibilities have extended far beyond the classroom. He has served as an assistant high school marching band director, visual caption head, color guard caption head, and directed numerous winter guard programs over the past twenty-two years in GA, SC, AL, MD, NJ, and NY. His groups have consistently received superior ratings in marching band competitions as well as numerous grand championships. His winter guards have been circuit champions, WGI regional finalists, and WGI World Championships finalists.

 

Mr. Jenkins served as the conductor of the Rivertowns Middle School Honor Band in Westchester County, New York. In addition to teaching in New York, Jenkins served as publicity chair for Westchester County School Music Association (WCSMA). Mr. Jenkins' professional affiliations include marching band and winter guard adjudication with the USSBA, NYSFBC, WGAZ, CWEA, FFCC and DCI; and he holds memberships with GMEA, NAfME, SAPA, WGI, NYSSMA, NYSBDA, and FFJA. Mr. Jenkins completed his undergraduate degree in music education at Florida A&M University and Georgia State University. He holds a masters degree in educational leadership from Kennesaw State University and an educational specialist degree in music education at the University of Georgia.

Doug Thrower

Composer/Arranger

Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps

Douglas Scott Thrower is a free-lance music composer and arranger. Currently he is the brass arranger for the Canton Bluecoats, a top competitive marching ensemble of Drum Corps International and the 2016 world champion. Doug has been in this role since 1997 and is considered one of the best music arrangers in the marching activity.

 

You only have to listen to the voice and unique sound he gives the Bluecoats’ brass section. Heis associated with signature music features, well known in the marching activity, that include Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer, Creep from Radiohead, The Great Gig In The Sky by Pink Floyd, and the wistful ballad Hymn of Acxiom by singer-songwriter Vienna Teng who personally sent him accolades when she heard the Bluecoats rendition.

 

He has instructed and arranged for a number of bands and drum corps over the years including The Bluecoats, Pacific Crest, The Troopers, Dutch Boy and the Canadian Knights (1986 Class A World Champions). Doug also composes and arranges for a number of high schools and university bands across North America. That list includes Western Carolina University, Marshall University, the University of Texas and University of Utah. In addition to arranging music for marching ensembles Doug writes for various ensembles (jazz and symphonic) and theatre groups.

Doug was a student of Don Johnson in trumpet performance at Humber College (Toronto) and studied jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal. He has recorded performances for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and can be heard on four recordings by the McGill Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Gordon Foote.

 

Doug and his wife Evelyn Blackwell have two daughters, Shelby and Claire, and make their home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Ward Miller

Composer/Arranger (ASCAP)

The Devmusic Company

Brass Caption Head

Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps

Ward Miller (b. 1978) grew up in Loachapoka, a small farming community near the city of Auburn, Alabama. He earned his bachelors of music education from Auburn University in 2001, where he served as webmaster, arranger, and an undergraduate teaching assistant with the Auburn University Marching Band. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2003 with a masters in Trombone Performance. While in the Phoenix area, he served as a part time assistant and clinician with the Paradise Valley High School bands, the Mesa Community College Wind Ensemble, and the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra. He taught public school in Alabama for three years, serving as Director of Bands at Andalusia High School and at Pleasant Grove High School. In 2006 he accepted a graduate teaching assistantship at The University of Iowa, where he studied with Dr. Myron Welch in Band Conducting. While at Iowa, he also worked as a teaching assistant with the Hawkeye Marching Band, where he wrote, taught, and conducted multiple arrangements and halftime drills. He also conducted the Iowa University Concert Band, and earned the 2008 outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Miller graduated in 2011 from the University of Iowa with his D.M.A. in Band Conducting.

From 2008 through 2013, Dr. Miller was the Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic

Bands at the University of South Alabama, in Mobile. While at South Alabama, Dr. Miller founded to 230-member Jaguar Marching Band, overseeing all recruiting, teaching, and writing for the band. In addition, he directed the basketball pep bands. His teaching duties included Marching Band Techniques, Brass Methods, Trombone Quartet, Symphony Band (the second concert ensemble, auditioned and approximately 65% music majors), and undergraduate conducting. He also guest conducted the Wind Ensemble, the school’s top instrumental concert ensemble. 

 

Dr. Miller has served as the Musical Arranger, Drill Writer, and Assistant Director of the Macy’sGreat American Marching Band in New York City since 2006. He was the director of the All-Star Band at the 100th annual Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C. He has appeared as a guest conductor and clinician and multiple concert honor bands throughout the United States. His marching band arrangements have been performed at competitions, including in Bands of America regionals, by high schools and colleges across the country. His arrangements have been performed at regular season and bowl games by the marching bands at Auburn University, The University of Hawaii, The University of Illinois, The University of Iowa, The University of Kentucky, The University of Louisville, The Ohio State University, and Youngstown State University. He has served as an adjudicator at marching and concert band assessment inAlabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Mississippi.

In 2014, Dr. Miller was appointed the Brass Caption Head for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crosse, WI. Under his leadership, the hornline has placed in the top 12 and made finals for three consecutive years. The Blue Stars, a World Class corps, have placed in the top ten in multiple finals. He oversees the brass ensemble and staff, recruits for the horn line, and administers the Blue Stars brass audition camps throughout the country. In addition, he travels with the corps for a significant portion of their tour. In addition to his work with the Blue Stars, Dr. Miller also serves as the Brass Arranger and an instructional consultant for Minnesota Brass, a distinguished and storied all-age drum and bugle corps based in Minneapolis, MN.

His arrangements have been published by the DevMusic Company, and he is a published composer with the Tuba-Euphonium Press. He has had articles published in the Alabreve(Alabama’s state music education journal) and the Journal of Band Research, as well as regular articles in School Band and Orchestra Magazine. He is an associate member of College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the International Trombone Association (ITA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He holds memberships Pi Kappa Lamba national honorary music society, and Golden Key national honorary society. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN where he spends his time arranging and composing, and working as a music education consultant and adjudicator.

William Earvin

Director of Bands, Baker High School

Vice President, Educational Programs & Development

The Devmusic Company

William J. Earvin is the Director of Bands at Baker High School. He is a native of Atlanta, GA and is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. After graduating from Clark Atlanta in 2000, he began his music education career teaching in Georgia. He later pursued his graduate studies at Mississippi Valley State University where he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education. While at Mississippi Valley he served as a graduate assistant in the Fine Arts Department and Assistant Director of Bands. Mr. Earvin also secured a position as the first African American Director of Bands at Mississippi Delta Community College.

Mr. Earvin later returned to Georgia to teach, and his ensembles consistently earned Superior Ratings at the GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluation and were selected to perform atnumerous regional and national festivals. Mr. Earvin has been honored as an “Outstanding Music Educator” by the Berklee College of Music (2009) and a “Distinguished Music Educator”by the Yale University School of Music (2013).

Mr. Earvin joined the Baker High School faculty in 2016 and has led the Baker Band program to numerous first place marching and concert band awards, Superior ratings at both the LMEADistrict and State Festivals, and performances at the “WorldStrides OnStage” Festival in Dallas,TX, and the Louisiana Concert Band Invitational in Lafayette, LA. Most recently, the Baker High School Symphonic Band performed at Carnegie Hall in March, 2018. Earvin was also recognized as the 2018 Teacher of the Year for Baker High School.

Mr. Earvin is also a doctoral candidate at Northcentral University and Vice President of Educational Programs and Development for The Devmusic Company, LLC. Mr. Earvin is actively involved in numerous civic and professional organizations; the Louisiana Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, the National Band Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and is a member of the Music for All Urban Education Advisory and Advocacy in Action Committees.

Luke Gall

Founder/Manager/Designer, Ultimate Drill Book

Media Coordinator, Texas Bands.

The University of Texas at Austin

Luke Gall is a founder and owner of My Design Team, Inc., a design and education company that operates out of Austin, TX. This firm encompasses his work as a consultant, program coordinator, visual designer, and videographer for music ensembles around the world.

Luke has a comprehensive background in the arts as a teacher and performer. He has served as a program coordinator, visual designer, and consultant for over 50 programs around the country. Luke has helped design over 75 shows that have received honors in BOA (Bands of America), USSBA (U.S. Scholastic Band Association), TOB (Tournament of Bands), and WGI (Winter Guard International). He performed for 5 years as a member of The Cadets, Crossmen, and Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps.

Luke’s work as an entrepreneur led to the creation of Ultimate Drill Book – a company that creates educational tools for marching ensembles. Luke lead the development of all products that have supported Carolina Crown, The Bluecoats, Santa Clara Vanguard, The Cadets, Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, and hundreds of other drum corps, high school, and collegiate programs annually. He now oversees all business operations and serves as the designer for all Ultimate Drill Book products and mobile applications.

As a media creator and consultant, Luke has worked with companies and musical groups all across the globe. Luke recently worked with Perform International in Ireland, France, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Japan to create social media content for musical groups. In the Spring of 2017, Luke planned and oversaw the media creation for a Kickstarter campaign that helped the Dallas Winds raise over $90,000 towards their John Mackey recording project. Luke has also created content Stiletto Brass Quintet, Zzyzx Quartet, and many other groups in the United States. He also serves as Administrative Associate at The University of Texas at Austin where he oversees media and content creation for all University of Texas Bands.

Luke is a founder of FivE, a nationally touring euphonium quartet. FivE performed their popularshows “NEON” and “#hashtags” in over a dozen cities in 2015-2017. Highlight performances included a featured recital at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference, a showcase at the TMEA convention, and four keynote appearances at ITEA conferences. The group is set to release their first full album in 2017. FivE is a sponsored ensemble with Buffet Crampon and Besson Instruments, and Luke plays exclusively on a Besson Prestige 2052 Euphonium.

Luke received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master’s degree in Euphonium Performance at The University of Texas at Austin.

Zachary Harris

Adjunct Professor/Student Teaching Supervisor

William Carey University

Music for All Educational Team

Zachary J. Harris taught instrumental music for 31 years and is currently an adjunct professor at William Carey University. Mr. Harris, received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Mississippi Valley State University and his Masters of Music Education degree from the University of Mississippi. He is a member of Mississippi Bandmasters Association Inc., Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, National Federation High School Associations, American School Band Directors Association, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Harris has served on regional, state and national level music committees. In 2005, Zachary was the guest conductor for the Mississippi All-State Concert Band. Mr. Harris’ bands have received All Superior ratings consistently for the last 27 years. Mr. Harris has many accomplishments including Administrator of the Year, Star Teacher, Band Director of the Year for District and State. In March 2016, his Gulfport Symphonic Band performed at the Music for All National Concert Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana. While performing his final concert with his Symphonic Band, the Mayor of Gulfport presented Mr. Harris with a proclamation naming May 1, 2017 as Zachary J. Harris day, for his outstanding service and dedication to the Gulfport School District Band Program.

James Weaver

Director of Performing Arts and Sports

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

James Weaver is the author od UNDERSTANDING COPYRIGHT: What the Law Says and How We Use It in Education, Band Safety and other publications released by the National Federation of State High School Associations

As the district administrator of the fine arts and performing arts programs for the Sioux Falls schools, Weaver handled the K-12 curriculum for music, visual arts, speech, debate, theatre, journalism, student council and special education adaptive arts. He was responsible for 140 staff members across 37 buildings, rewriting of the K-12 fine arts curriculum and a multi-million-dollar budget.

Before he joined the Sioux Falls schools in August 2015, Weaver was assistant executive director in charge of fine arts for the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) for four years. In addition to handling four all-state music ensembles, speech, debate, theatre, journalism and student council, Weaver started a visual arts component within the SDHSAA. He also transferred all of the association’s music programs to an online ballot system, whichincreased the speed and improved the accuracy of the music adjudication processes.

During his time with the SDHSAA and the Sioux Falls schools, Weaver contributed to several NFHS programs. He served a four-year term on the NFHS Music Committee and was beginning another term as chair of the committee. He also has been involved with the annual Debate Topic Selection Committee process and has contributed to development of new online music courses for the NFHS Learning Center.

Weaver began his professional career in 2005 as director of orchestras for the Perham (Minnesota) Public Schools for two years, followed by a four-year stint as director of orchestras for the Aberdeen (South Dakota) Public Schools.

Weaver, who earned a bachelor of music degree from Concordia College in Minnesota and a master’s degree in education from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, also received his doctorate in district administration from the University of South Dakota.

Weaver directs the NFHS speech, debate, music and theatre programs, Weaver is also the administrator for boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and spirit. He will be staff liaison for the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee, Girls Lacrosse Rules Committee, Spirit Rules Committee, Music Committee and Speech Committee.

Ayatey Shabazz

President/CEO, The Devmusic Company

Composer/Arranger (ASCAP)

Music for All Board of Directors

Ayatey Shabazz is a native of Biloxi, Mississippi, where he currently works and resides. He received his formal training in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi where he also studied composition and jazz arranging with Dr. Albert Gower. Shabazz taught elementary, Jr. High and high school band in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, and has written custom arrangements and field shows performed by high school and college marching ensembles throughout the country as well as drum corps in Europe. 

Mr. Shabazz is in demand as a composer of original works in the concert idiom. In addition to his many published concert works, he has been commissioned to write multiple works for ensembles in the US and abroad as well as music for film and Television including orchestrating and arranging underscore for the hit movie Incredibles 2.

Mr. Shabazz is the Founder, President, and CEO of The Devmusic Company and Devmusic Educational Systems, the professional development branch for education. The company focuses on quality print music for marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, and percussion ensembles.

 

The company also provides administration, engraving and music preparation services for a variety of composers, artists and other publishing companies. The Devmusic Company is a global music publishing company with worldwide distribution.

Ayatey is a member of multiple professional and industry organizations, including the Music for All Board of Directors, (NARAS) The National Recording Academy, (AFM-47) American Federation of Musicians Local 47, (AIMP) Association of Independent Music Publishers, (ASMAC) American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers and (ASCAP) American Society of Composers Authors & Publishers, California Copyright Conference, National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), (NFHS) National Federation of State High School Associations.

Benjamin Schroeder

Manager, Athletic Band Division

Varsity Spirit

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