Meet The Design and Education Team

/Meet The Design and Education Team
Meet The Design and Education Team 2018-08-16T10:33:53+00:00

Oregon Crusaders has assembled an incredibly gifted staff of educators who bring the magic of its program to life.

The Design Team

Instructional Staff – Brass

Lisa Tatum
Lisa TatumBrass Caption Head
Lisa Tatum is currently the Assistant Director of Bands at La Porte High School in La Porte, TX. She earned a B.S. in Music Education at the University of Alabama in 2010 and a M.M. in Trombone Performance at the University of Utah in 2012. During her time at Alabama, she served as a section leader and then later a teaching assistant for the “Million Dollar Band.” At Utah, she was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the “Marching Utes.” Lisa was a marching member of Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps from 2006-2008. In 2008 she joined the cast of Odyssey, an all female music in motion production that toured Japan. Lisa was a member of the Troopers brass staff 2009, 2013, and 2014; and the Bluecoats brass staff in 2010. The 2017 season was Lisa’s first summer with the Oregon Crusaders and she is thrilled to be back with the organization as the Brass Caption Head for 2018.
Chris Rugila
Chris RugilaEnsemble Specialist
Chris Rugila is a native of Monroe, Michigan. Chris earned a B.A. in Music Education from Eastern Michigan University. While at EMU he performed in the Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, Marching Band, Symphony Orchestra, Collegium Musicum, and the Huron River Brass Quintet. He currently serves as Director of Bands at Klein Collins High School in Klein, TX, a position he has held since 2016. Under his direction the Klein Collins Wind Ensemble has been selected as a Featured Band at the 2018 Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, IN.Prior his current appointment he was the Associate Director of Bands at Klein Collins, as well as serving as Director of Bands at Blythewood High School in Blythewood, SC, South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC, and Decatur High School and Decatur Middle School in Decatur, MI. He is a member of Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association. In addition to his public school experience, Chris spent two years as a performer with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.   He has worked on the brass staff at Memphis Sound (2005), Phantom Regiment (2008-2009), and Blue Stars (2013-2014). He also spent a year on the administration team for Carolina Crown (2011). Chris resides in Spring, TX with his wife Anna and their two daughters Norah and Chloe.  
Thomas Turpin
Thomas TurpinEnsemble Specialist
Thomas Turpin is currently the Associate Director of Bands at Westwood High School in Austin, TX, where he serves as the Director of the Westwood Warrior Marching Band. Thomas also conducts the Wind Symphony, and co-conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra. Both ensembles have consistently earned UIL “Sweepstakes” ratings in his tenure at Westwood. Thomas is proud to be a native Alabamian, having grown up and attended Athens High School and The University of Alabama for his secondary education. While at The University of Alabama, He earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education. During his time at Alabama, he served Section Leader, Drum Major, and Graduate Teaching Assistant for the “Million Dollar Band.” Thomas was also a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004 and 2005, and feels very fortunate to have been a part of the 2004 DCI World Champion corps. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Westwood, Thomas currently serves as program coordinator and drill designer for numerous high school and university marching bands throughout Texas, Alabama, and Utah. He is grateful to his many outstanding teachers and mentors in his life that have helped shaped his career in music education.
Gabriel Velasco
Gabriel VelascoHigh Brass Coordinator
Cavaliers (08-09) Drum and Bulge Corps, making DCI Finals every year.  While attending the University of New Mexico, he taught at various middle and high schools in both the concert and marching band setting. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2011 with degrees in both Trumpet Performance and Music Education. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Utah as a graduate teaching assistant where he taught undergraduate trumpet students, Symphonic Band, Pride of Utah Marching Band, and pep bands.  While attending the University of Utah and the University of New Mexico, Gabriel performed with their top Orchestras, Concert and Jazz Bands. Gabriel has lived in Los Angeles, CA since he graduated from the University of Utah in 2013. He is an active musician in the area, performing with the Westlake Village Symphony, Moorpark College Wind Ensemble, Center Stage Opera, and is currently the Principal Trumpet for the Los Angeles Symphonic Winds. Gabriel joined the Moorpark music family in the fall of the 2013 as a brass coach at both Mesa Verde Middle School and Moorpark High School. In 2014, he was promoted to the Assistant Director Position at MHS. He was again promoted in 2016 to the Director of Instrumental Music. In his first year at MHS, the Marching Musketeers performed at Disneyland, and earned 3rd place in the SCSBOA 3A Division. Under his direction the Wind Ensemble earned Unanimous Superior at the Santa Susana HS SCSBOA festival.
Sarah Wagner
Sarah WagnerHigh Brass Technician
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Colorado Mesa University where she studied trumpet under Calvin Hofer and Jonathan Hinkle, as well as percussion under Darin Kamstra. Sarah performed with the 2013 and 2014 DCI Casper Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps on trumpet. She also was a featured mellophone performer with the Northglenn Performance Theatre in the first ever 2015 WGI Winds Fan Favorite ensemble. Sarah has pursued other performance ensembles such as Boulder based Bateria Alegria playing caixa, and the Rocky Mountain Scots Pipe and Drum Ensemble where she was the Drum Sergeant for two years. Sarah is also a snare player with the Denver Bronco Stampede Drumline, the Denver Nuggets Skyline, as well as an inaugural member of Colorado’s first all female professional drumline, Beauty and the Beats. Sarah is an active music performer as well as music educator throughout the state of Colorado. She has taught marching and concert percussion as well as brass with the Glenwood Springs High School Percussion Ensemble, NoCo Amplitude Percussion Ensemble, and Altitude Winds. Sarah is currently the assistant director of bands at Altona Middle School, percussion instructor at Trail Ridge Middle School, and music teacher at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colorado. After the 2017 season where she worked with the high brass, Sarah looks forward to focusing her efforts on the trumpet section in the 2018 edition of the Oregon Crusaders.
Patrick Hunninghake
Patrick HunninghakeHigh Brass Technician
Patrick Hunninghake is currently working as a band director at Bellevue West High School and Lewis and Clark Middle School in Bellevue, Nebraska. In this position he is head of the jazz department, and assists with the Bellevue West Marching Thunderbirds and concert bands. Prior to accepting a position in Bellevue he was an active freelance trumpet player in the Chicago area as well as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Patrick obtained his MM in trumpet performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2013. Prior to his time at IU he received a Bachelors degree in music education from the University of Kansas. While at KU he was a member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps where he won the DCI individual and ensemble competition for solo trumpet. As a performer, Patrick has had the privilege of performing across the country and around the world. Recently, he performed with the legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He currently serves as a member of the Peoria Symphony, occasionally appearing as principal trumpet.
Gary English
Gary EnglishHigh Brass Technician
Gary English is a first year doctoral conducting candidate at Northwestern University, where he is a student of Dr. Mallory Thompson. He received his Masters in Wind Conducting from Louisiana State University where he studied with Dr. Damon Talley. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Gary English taught high school band for eight years in the public schools of Virginia, most recently serving as the director of bands at South County High School in Fairfax County, VA. All ensembles under his direction have received superior and excellent ratings at assessments. He is a proud alumnus of James Madison University, where he received his Bachelors in Music Education. As a performer, Gary was member of the 2005 DCI World Champion Cadets, where he marched mellophone. He was on the visual staff of Jersey Surf in 2010. As a french horn performer, he was a founding member of the Appalachian Brass Orchestra; a professional brass ensemble from Johnson City, TN and freelanced in the Washington DC metro area. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors’ National Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Kappa Kappa Psi.
Albert Ortiz
Albert OrtizHigh Brass Technician
Albert Ortiz is currently the Director of Bands at the new Bentonville West High School in Bentonville, Arkansas. In its inaugural year, the marching band received 4th place at the Arkansas State Marching Contest in Class AAAA and all concert bands earned superior ratings. Prior to Bentonville West HS, Albert was assistant director with the BOA Grand National Semi-Finalist band, Bentonville High School, and Texas 6A State Qualifying Band, Edinburg North High School. Albert was a member of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2007 and the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012. He was also Brass Caption Head for the Guardians Drum and Bugle corps in 2014 and taught visual with the Legends Drum and Bugle corps in 2015. He was most recently named one of Celebrate Arkansas Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” for 2017. Albert holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of Texas at Brownsville and is a native of Edinburg, Texas. He enjoys wakeboarding on Beaver Lake and hanging out with great friends. This will be Albert’s first year with the Oregon Crusaders.
Brett Kroening
Brett KroeningHigh Brass Technician
Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Brett Kroening resides in Austin, Texas as an active performer, educator, and composer with a full studio of over 50 horn students.
Prior to returning to Texas in 2015, Brett was on faculty at The New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, NM as AP Music Theory Lecturer and Orchestra Director during which he led ensemble to back-to-back NM State Orchestra championships. He worked as Composer/Music Arranger for the school as well, a position he still maintains.
Studying horn performance, music theory and composition, and jazz improvisation (University of New Mexico, Metropolitan State University, UT Austin, and Berkeley College of Music), Brett freelances/teaches/writes in the central Texas area. As a composer, he has received composition commissions from local, regional, and international ensembles and institutions such as Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Phi Beta Mu Music Fraternity, Wichita State University, Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, line upon line percussion ensemble, Rocky Mountain Brassworks, and The United States Air Force Academy along with many high school ensembles in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and California. Brett’s compositions and arrangements have been performed/premiered in venues such as: The Lensic in Santa Fe, NM, Cadogan Hall in London, England, the Fryderyk Chopin Conservatory of Music in Warsaw, Poland, Die Hochschule Luzern in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul, Korea, and Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
He holds the 4th horn position with the Victoria Symphony (TX), and is also serving for his 3rd season as Executive Director of Round Rock Symphony.
Turner Hawkins
Turner HawkinsLow Brass Coordinator
Returning for his second year with the Oregon Crusaders, Turner Hawkins is excited to work with a reinvigorated team of educators and people in an expanded role as Low Brass Coordinator. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Turner completed undergraduate studies in Music Education and Bassoon Performance at Transylvania University. As a DCI performer, he spent two years with the Madison Scouts before marching two summers with the Concord Blue Devils, aging out in 2016. Currently, he serves as Assistant Director of Bands and Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee, and is excited to enter the world of WGI Winds this winter on the staff of Redline Winds from Greenville, SC. 
Cameron Coday
Cameron CodayLow Brass Technician
Cameron Coday graduated High Honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Minor in Leadership. Cameron marched with Casper Troopers (2013-2014), Phantom Regiment (2015) and The Cadets (2016). She has also performed with Denver’s Rise Percussion and worked with Altitude Winds of Colorado Springs. Cameron currently resides in Houston, Texas where she serves as the Assistant Director of Bands at Lamar High School. This will be Cameron’s second year working with the Oregon Crusaders euphonium section. 
Marco Mellone
Marco MelloneLow Brass Technician
A Native of the Northern California Bay Area, Marco Mellone is the current Director of Bands at Edison-Computech Middle School in Fresno, California. Prior to this position, Marco began his professional career as the Director of Instrumental Music at Foothill High School, located in Bakersfield, Ca. During his tenure at Computech, the program has seen a drastic increase in participation and performance, including superior ratings for the wind ensemble and a percussion championship. Beyond his very active teaching duties, Marco continues to perform as a Bass Trombonist in the California Central Valley. He holds positions with the Bakersfield Wind Symphony, Central Valley Wind Symphony, and the Yosemite Brass Consortium. Most recently, Marco travelled to Spain with the Fresno State Alumni Wind Ensemble, and performed three concerts in Barcelona and Valencia. As an active learner, Marco is currently pursuing a Masters in Performance Degree with an emphasis in Wind Band Conducting from California State University, Fresno. Marco also serves as a Graduate Assistant Director for the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band.
James Nufer
James NuferBrass Consultant
James Nufer is a trumpet player and music educator who performs and maintains a high brass studio in the South Bend, IN, area. He holds a master’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University where he studied with Kevin Hartman and John Daniel, respectively. As an OC alumnus, James is thrilled to teach with the brass team for his ninth season. James’ marching experience includes playing lead soprano with the 2008 Blue Devils.
Selena Maytum
Selena MaytumBrass Consultant
Summer Music Academy, and Hot Springs Summer Music Festivals and has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Spartanburg Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Number One, and numerous regional ensembles.  Selena earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Colorado, her Master of Music Performance degree at Indiana University, and her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Furman University.  She has taught on the brass staffs of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps and the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps.  Her primary teachers include Michael Thornton, Richard Seraphinoff, and Gayle Chesebro.  As a member of the Army Field Band, Selena presents recitals, master classes, and clinics around the country with the Pentagon Winds woodwind quintet.
Bill McClendon
Bill McClendonBrass Consultant
Mr. McClendon is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He attended high school in Palm Beach County and attended the University of Florida. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English, Education, and Music from the University of Florida and Southern Oregon University. His drum corps teaching experience includes Teal Sound, Seattle Cascades, Revolution, Pioneer, and the Racine Scouts.
Daniel Galloway
Daniel GallowayBrass Consultant
Daniel Galloway has taught for 23 years in Texas public schools. He is currently the Director of Bands at Clements High School in Sugarland, Tx. He previously taught at Mayde Creek Junior High for 5 years earning the school’s first sweepstakes award for its band program and also taught in Galena Park ISD and Aldine ISD. This is Daniel’s 16th year at Clements and his 11th year as Director of Bands.
He earned his Bachelors of Music from Stephen F. Austin State University studying with Dr. Kevin Sedatole and is currently pursuing his Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston.

The Clements Band has been recognized as one of the premier band programs in Texas in both the concert and marching idioms. The Clements Band has been a consistent UIL 5A State Marching Participant since 1998 and recently earned the Honor of being a National Winner in the National Wind-Band Honors Competition. The Clements Band has performed as the Directors Choice Honor Ensemble at the Southeastern United States Band Clinic/Conference in Troy, Alabama. The Clements Bands consistently win Best in Class awards and place over 70 students in the TMEA Region 13 All-Region Bands. Most recent the Clements Band was named 7th place Texas State Honor Band Finalist in the 2014 Class 5A TMEA State Honor Band Contest and 11th in the 2016 Class 6A TMEA State Honor Band Contest. Recently the Clements band placed as a finalist at the prestigious Bands of America Atlanta Super Regional. Daniel is also a co-conductor of the Clements Symphony Orchestra which recently performed at the Mid-West band Clinic.

Daniel instructed the 2010/2011 Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps as a brass instructor for the mellophone section and high brass and recently instructed the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 Santa Clara Vanguard Brass and has moved into a new role as Ensemble Specialist for the 2017 season in addition to helping instruct mellophones. He is also a Brass Consultant for the 2018 season for the Oregon Crusaders in addition to returning to the Santa Clara Vanguard for the 2018 season.

Daniel is currently a member of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and the Texas Color Guard and Percussion Association where he judges Effect Visual and Visual. Daniel also recently held for 5 years the position of Vice President of Marching Band Judge Education for the Texas Music Adjudicators Association. He has judged the Oklahoma Bandmasters Championships 4 times, New York Field Band Championships and numerous BOA Regionals including the 2016 BOA St Louis Super Regional. Daniel will begin judging for the Western Band Association in California this season also.

Brian Frederick
Brian FrederickBrass Consultant
Brian will be a consultant for the OC horn line for the 2018 season. He joins us with a vast wealth of experience and knowledge! Brian was a marching member of the Star of Indiana from 1989-1991. In 1991 he joined the ranks of “The Commandant’s Own,” the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. He served 4 years with them as a soloist. Brian went to Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. He was a cast member of the show Blast! from 1999-2000. He is also a founding member of the DCA group Star United. Brian has called Houston, TX his home since 2013.
Taylor Mahlandt
Taylor MahlandtBrass Intern
Taylor Mahlandt is a native of Helena, Mo. He graduated from the University of Kansas with B.A. in Music Education in 2016 and is currently the Assistant Band Director at Lake Jackson Intermediate School in Lake Jackson, TX. During his time at KU he served as a section leader for the Marching Jayhawks, Principal Horn of the KU Wind Ensemble, and played in numerous pep bands. He has worked with several bands in the midwest as a technician and currently works with the Brazoswood High School “Buc Band” in this capacity. Taylor was a member of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from 2011-2013 and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2015. This is his first year with the Oregon Crusaders.
Emmy Johnston
Emmy JohnstonBrass Intern
Emmy Johnston is a music educator in the Houston, Texas area. She holds a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia, where she was a member of the trumpet studio. Emmy is currently the Assistant Band Director at Bonnette Junior High School in Deer Park, TX. Her marching band experience includes participation in the 2016 Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps as well as working with high school marching bands such as Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, GA and Pearland High School in Pearland, TX. Professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Cameron Honnen
Cameron HonnenBrass Intern
Cameron Honnen is currently working on his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education K-12 from Colorado Mesa University, and is expected to graduate in December of 2017. During his time as a student at CMU, Cameron has worked with many of the Grand Junction area high school marching bands, including Grand Junction, Central, and Fruita, teaching music and visual. Cameron’s drum corps career consists of six-consecutive years (2011-2016) of being a member of the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps. He received the Jim Jones Leadership Award twice from the Troopers’ organization for his work as Horn Sergeant (2015) and Assistant Drum Major (2016). He is also the bass trombonist for the Swing City Express Big Band and Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra, both based out of Grand Junction, CO. Cameron is excited to be with the Oregon Crusaders for the 2018 season and working under his former instructor, Lisa Tatum.
Samantha DiMatteo
Samantha DiMatteoBrass Intern
Samantha DiMatteo graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a K-12 music education degree in the spring of 2017. She is now happily working as an assistant band director at Bernard Harris Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. Originally she is from Old Bridge, New Jersey where she learned of the marching arts after being taught euphonium from her high school’s band program. She then marched three years at The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps on baritone horn in seasons 14’,15’ and 16’. Afterwards, Samantha then went on to teach The Cadets2 for visual the season after her age out year and is now at the Oregon Crusaders as a brass intern! She is extremely happy to have the experience the corps has to offer!

Instructional Staff – Percussion

Henry Gillard
Henry GillardBattery Caption Head
Henry Gillard is an on-the-rise marching percussion educator. Since 2012, he has instructed and written for several ensembles in the greater Southern California area. Henry has had extensive performing experience in elite marching percussion ensembles such as the 5 time WGI World Champion RCC Indoor Percussion (2012-2016) and 18 time DCI World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (2012-2014). Henry is currently instructing highly esteemed scholastic ensembles such as Fountain Valley HS, Granada Hills Charter HS, Aliso Niguel HS and is the Battery Caption Head at Dark Sky Percussion.
This is Henry’s fourth year with the Oregon Crusaders, and first as Percussion Caption Head. Henry first joined the corps’ instructional staff in 2015 as a snare tech. He served as Battery Caption Manager for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Henry has learned under and taught alongside of many highly esteemed and sought-after instructors including Scott Johnson, Sean Vega, Jared Andrews, Ike Jackson, Mike Stevens, Brian Dinkel and Matt Regua.
Henry aspires to give top-tier instruction to all of his students, who he hopes will one day achieve their performance goals, as well as do his part in helping evolve the marching activity to greater levels of achievement and excellence.
Henry currently resides in Anaheim, CA.
Jack Pronske
Jack PronskeFront Ensemble Caption head
Jack Pronske is a Percussion performer, arranger, and educator from Dallas, Texas, where he is currently a Percussion Specialist for Prosper ISD (Prosper, TX). He graduated from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, and a Minor in Music Theory. Jack is very excited to be returning this season as the Caption Head of the Front Ensemble!

In his time at UNT, Jack participated in or led some of the school’s top ensembles, such as the North Texas Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, the UNT Indoor Drumline, and the North Texas Percussion Ensemble. He has been a showcase performer for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and performed in countries all around the world, in addition to his performances across the United States. He has been lucky enough to study with some of the most renown percussion educators in the world such as Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Sandi Rennick, Dr. Brad Meyer, Ed Soph, Ed Smith, and Dave Hall.

Jack was a performing member in the Front Ensemble for the Madison Scouts and Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps, where he achieved the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award in 2010. After aging out, he remained active in the Drum Corps community and has been teaching at the Oregon Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps since 2016. Visit Jackpronskemusic.com for more information about Jack.

Shealley Lee
Shealley LeeFront Ensemble Instructor
Shealley Lee is a percussion educator based out of the Northern California residing in Sacramento, CA. She is currently the Percussion Director and arranger at Fairfield High School, Percussion Director and arranger at Elk Grove High School, and American Canyon High School. 2018 will be her 2nd year as heading the Front Ensemble Caption at NCIndoor. A founding staff member of the 2017 WGI PIO ensemble, NorCal Indoor making finals in their inaugural season. She is also a clinician for the Sacramento Mandarins Academy.
Shealley was a member of the Seattle Cascades in 2000 – 2002 (DCI Finalists). She was also a member of the PIW Medalists, Sacramento Freelancers winter percussion from 2000-2002.

She joined the staff of the eNVision Performing Arts Ensemble in 2014 (WGI PIA & PIO), and has also been on staff with the Seattle Cascades Drum Corps intermittently from 2007 – 2016. In 2017 joined the front ensemble staff at the Oregon Crusaders Drum Corps and will be returning for her 2nd season in 2018.

She is an arranger for Gary P. Gilroy publications and is a proud Percussion Educator Artist with Innovative Percussion mallets and sticks. She is also a Etymotic Ear Plug Signature ETY Head Artist and was recently featured on the Etymotic Audio File in June of 2016.

Elyse Emerich
Elyse EmerichFront Ensemble Instructor
Elyse Emerich is looking forward to her fifth year teaching the front ensemble at Oregon Crusaders. She has truly enjoyed watching this drum corps expand and improve since achieving World Class status in 2013. Prior to teaching OC, Elyse played vibraphone as a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps from 2008-2010, winning the Drum Corps International World Championship in 2008 and earning the Fred Sanford High Percussion award in both 2008 and 2010.

Elyse completed her Masters of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy from Texas Christian University in 2014 under the instruction of Harold Martina and Dr. Ann Gipson, and earned her Bachelors of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy in 2012, where she studied with Dr. Barbara Fast, Dr. Ed Gates, and Dr. Jane Magrath. Having taught piano for well over a decade, Elyse recently moved from Fort Worth, Texas, to Yorktown, Virginia, where she runs Key of Life Music Studio as an independent piano teacher and performs as a freelance accompanist.

Rachelle Anderson
Rachelle AndersonFront Ensemble Instructor
Rachelle Anderson is currently the Assistant Percussion Director for the Hebron High School cluster in Carrollton, Texas. Originally from American Fork, Utah, Rachelle studied music education at the The University of North Texas. While at UNT, she studied with Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, Paul Rennick, Jose Aponte, Ed Smith, and Stockton Helbing.

Rachelle was a member of The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps front ensemble in 2009 and 2010. Then from 2011 to 2014 she was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps front ensemble. In 2014, her age out, she received the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award. Rachelle is excited to return to DCI and work with the Oregon Crusaders this summer!

Benji Baker
Benji Baker Front Ensemble Instructor
Benji Baker is an active performer, educator, composer, and arranger in the percussive community. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas. At UNT he had the opportunity to be in a number of world-renown ensembles and served as front ensemble arranger (2013-15) and technician (2013) for UNT Green Brigade Drumline. Benji has also been on the marching band and drumline staff for Hebron High School and Flower Mound High School as well as various other programs across the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Benji’s experience in drum corps includes the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps from Denver, Colorado (2009-11) and the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps from Santa Clara, California (2012-15). During his time with these groups he won the 2010 DCI I&E Percussion Ensemble category and achieved second place finishes in the solo marimba category in both 2011 and 2012. He served as section leader for both groups; Blue Knights in 2011 and SCV in 2015. In 2014 he was a member of the SCV Front Ensemble, winning the Fred Sanford Award for High Percussion at the DCI World Championship Finals.

Benji had been fortunate enough to study with great percussionists such as Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Sandi Rennick, Christopher Deane, Robert Schietroma, Eric Willie, Ed Smith, Ryan Kilgore, Jeff Ausdemore, Ralph Hardimon, and Gregory Lyons. He is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society and the Texas Music Educators Association. Benji currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina where he is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Matthew Kossick
Matthew KossickFront Ensemble Instructor
Matt Kossick is a senior music education student at the University of North Texas in Denton TX. During his time at UNT Matt has performed and recorded with the UNT wind symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon, the UNT Symphonic Band under the direction of Dennis Fisher, the UNT percussion ensemble, the UNT 2:00 steel band, and the UNT advanced South Indian ensemble. In 2015 Matt was a member of the Troopers front ensemble, and in the 2016 and 2017 seasons he was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard front ensemble; in both his seasons with SCV Matt received the Fred Sanford award for high percussion. Matt has had the pleasure of studying under many teachers at his time at UNT including Paul Rennick, Sandi Rennick, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Lauren Teel, Poovalur Srijii, and KJ Stafford. He is looking forward to working the Oregon Crusaders front ensemble for the 2018 season!
Charles Carty
Charles CartyBattery Instructor
Charles is thrilled to return for his fifth season teaching the Oregon Crusaders Cymbal Line. From 2012-2014, he was a member of the Music City Mystique Cymbal Line, serving as the section leader for his age out in 2014. He has been the cymbal instructor for MCM since 2015. Charles also marched for the Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 as well as Spirit of Atlanta from 2012-2013
Tarrin Neal
Tarrin NealBattery Instructor
Tarrin Neal is continuing into his fifth year teaching with the Oregon Crusaders. He has an extensive history with the organization, marching with the drum corps from 2011-2013, and Oregon Crusaders Indoor from 2009-2015. Tarrin is also teaching with the indoor percussion ensemble as well as Liberty and Southridge High Schools.
Austin Avery
Austin AveryBattery Visual Tech and Choreographer
Austin is going in his 5th year at OC as visual tech/choreographer for the battery. He resides in Norwalk, CT where he’s teaching and choreographing groups in the tri state area. Right now he is at Trumbull High School and Westhill High School. Other groups he has worked for is Norwalk High School, Hawthorne Caballeros , Connecticut Hurricanes, Fusion Core, Dartmouth High School, and OCI. He also has 5 scholastic open class WGI medals from teaching at Trumbull and Norwalk. He marched 5 years at Spirit of Atlanta from 02-06 where they were 4 time finalist.
Andrew Manzanares
Andrew ManzanaresBattery Instructor
Andrew Manzanares has participated in the Marching Arts since 2008. He competed in WGI and SCPA circuits in the Scholastic World division with Mission Viejo High School and began his DCI career with Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets. In 2013 he started performing with the Blue Devils A Corps where he marched for four years, earning two gold and two silver medals at World Championships. Andrew was also a member of RCC Indoor Percussion for 5 years, serving as Battery Section Leader his last year. This will be Andrew’s first year with Oregon Crusaders.
Steven Takeda
Steven TakedaBattery Instructor
HS: Fountain Valley HS (class of 14)
Instrument: Tenors (10-17)
College: University of California Riverside (14-15), Golden West College (15-17)
Major: Electrical Engineering
DCI: Blue Knights (12-13) Blue Devils (15-17)
BD: I&E Winner (15), High Percussion (15), DCI Champion (15, 17), Section leader (16-17)
WGI: Dark Sky Percussion (15, Section leader), RCC (16-now, section leader all 3 years)
Notable Teachers: Rick Barclay, Ralph Hardimon, Glen Crosby, Brian Stevens, Scott Johnson, Sean Vega
Taught at: RCC Marching Tigers, King HS, Fountain Valley HS
Currently teaching: Anaheim HS, Gahr HS
Ryse Akiu
Ryse AkiuBattery Instructor
Ryse Akiu is from Pauoa, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi and started his percussion education at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Ryse began his marching experience at Kamehameha High School and in 2015, marched his first DCI season with the Oregon Crusaders. In 2016 he marched with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle and aged out with the corps in 2017. During his marching career, Ryse has been privileged to learn from educators including Mike Jackson, Jared Andrews, Veronica Wicks, Thomas Claesen, Mike Stevens, Russ McKinnon and Gary Juarez. Ryse is a percussion educator and currently teaches at Kamehameha Schools and enjoys growing the marching percussion arts throughout Hawaiʻi. Ryse attends the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa pursing a degree in Philosophy.
Landon Gray
Landon GrayBattery Instructor
A Southern California native, Landon Gray was first introduced to percussion as a toddler and has since made a name for himself in the world of marching arts. Beginning with drum set at the age of 7, he found an interest in marching percussion a few years later and began his career with the Upland Highland Regiment. He would go on to spend four years (Fall ‘09-Spring ‘13) performing on the snare line, while also participating in various jazz and wind ensembles. After graduating, Landon took his first steps into the world of drum corps as snare section leader for the Mandarins (‘13). He continued his growth during the indoor season with Orange County Independent Percussion (‘14-‘15), the group that later became known as Broken City, and followed those same friends and family for the next two summers with the Blue Knights (‘14-‘15). Landon spent his final two summers with the Bluecoats (‘16-‘17), winning the first DCI World Championship in the corp’s history. He has spent his remaining three indoor seasons with world famous RCC Indoor Percussion (‘16-‘18) and is currently participating as a cast member in his final production, “Listen.”

Landon Gray has performed with some of the most innovative groups during times of major organizational growth and has been taught by many of the best instructors in the activity. This will be his first season with the Oregon Crusaders, and he could not be more excited! Landon is very much looking forward to sharing his experiences in order to help create something fresh and exciting for the 2018 season!

Kevin Fitzsimmons
Kevin FitzsimmonsBattery Instructor
Kevin has been working with the marching percussion groups at Perry, Basha, and Mountain View High Schools for four years, and at Desert Vista High School for two. He has also been teaching at Vision Percussion out of Gilbert, AZ for all three years of their existence. His performance experience includes several seasons of WGI and DCI, in groups like The Blue Knights and The Cavaliers. Kevin has benefitted from renown instructors such as Ralph Hardimon and Mike McIntosh. A graduate of Highland High School, Kevin currently resides in Tempe, AZ, and is pursuing a degree in Software Engineering from Arizona State University. This is his first year working with OC and he couldn’t be more excited!
Valerie Wharton
Valerie WhartonBattery Instructor
A native of Chicago, Valerie began her marching career at the age of 15 when she joined Pioneer Indoor Drumline for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. She continued on with bass drum at Texas Christian University for four years, taking home a Fred Sanford award and two first place bass ensemble awards from PASIC. In 2012, Valerie marched top bass at the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, and in 2013, she marched top bass at the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps. She aged out of WGI with a gold medal in 2016 on bass with Vigilantes Indoor Percussion. Valerie has also taught numerous high school drumlines all over the DFW metroplex, as well as the University of Texas at Arlington and a season at Vigilantes Indoor Percussion. She is currently a percussion director in Plano, Texas, and continues to play drumline gigs in DFW.

Instructional Staff – Visual

Ryan Springler
Ryan SpringlerVisual Caption Head
Ryan Springler is returning for his third year with the Oregon Crusaders. Based somewhat in Mesa, Arizona, he works as a freelance designer and instructor year-round with many scholastic and independent ensembles across the nation. Those associations have included Lawrence Central HS, Homestead HS, Casa Grande HS, OCI Winds, Blue Knights Indoor, Lux Winterguard, Pacific Crest, and The Academy. Outside of pageantry, he is an active painter, composer, and avid consumer of all spicy foods. He is delighted to work with this team of educators.

visit http://ryanspringler.com/ for more information.

Matt Ray
Matt RayAssistant Visual Caption Head
Currently, Mr. Ray is the band director at Damien High School in Southern California where he has taught for 7 years. Matt has instructed a number of academic and independent programs in both movement and music including Nogales High School, Upland High School, BOA Grand National Finalist Ayala High School, and the internationally recognized Riverside Community College Marching Tigers. In addition to his stateside endeavors, he has also worked extensively in Japan as a staff member for such groups as Hamasho High School, Ohtani High School, Yamato Drum and Bugle Corps, and Yokohama Scouts, and as a performer for the theatre production “Collab,” which premiered in Osaka.

2018 will mark Matt’s third year with the Oregon Crusaders.

Dan Hoffman
Dan HoffmanVisual Instructor
Dan is thrilled to return to the Oregon Crusaders for his third summer as a visual technician. Hailing from Syracuse, NY, Dan marched as a contra with the Boston Crusaders in 2012, 2013, and 2015. To supplement his marching education, he began to study dance in college, leading him to graduate from the University of Rochester in 2015 with a B.A. in Music with a Minor in Dance. He has been a visual technician for both his alma mater West Genesee High School in Camillus, NY, and with the Medford High School Marching Mustangs in Medford, MA, where he currently serves as visual coordinator and drill writer. Outside of the marching world, Dan is a Collaborator with Evolve Dynamicz, a dance collective based in Cambridge, MA, and works full-time in higher education.
Carlos Martinez
Carlos MartinezVisual Instructor
Returning for a third year as a visual instructor with the corps, Carlos Martinez hails from Mesa, Arizona. Carlos was a performing member with The Academy and then transitioned to a visual technician at Pacific Crest for two seasons before migrating up to OC. Carlos is currently the visual caption head at Chandler High School, while also serving as a visual instructor at both Casa Grande and Desert Ridge high school. Carlos is working on his music education degree as a horn player at Ottawa University.
Sara Myers
Sara MyersVisual Instructor
This will be Sara’s second year working with the Oregon Crusaders having spent the 2017 season with the Trumpets on Brass Staff. Sara has a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Florida in Music Education and is a Math teacher in Orlando. She marched six seasons on trumpet with the Boston Crusaders, during which she was I&E Champion in 2008 in the Trumpet category. Also in 2008, she traveled to Japan and toured with an all-female stage show called Brass Angels: Odyssey with our brass caption head, Lisa Tatum! Since aging out, Sara has spent time with Teal Sound, Troopers, and Boston Crusaders before coming to the Oregon Crusaders.
Izzy Montoya
Izzy MontoyaVisual Instructor
Izzy has recently moved to Syracuse, New York as a working writer and artist. He received his degree from Arizona State University, while also teaching for the Casa Grande High School Marching Band. This will be his second summer with the Oregon Crusaders.
Dave Loughin
Dave LoughinVisual Instructor
Dave has been with a part of the Oregon Crusaders organization since 2007 when he marched his first year of drum corps. Since then, he has continued to march, or teach, the drum corps as well as OCIndoor. This will be his fourth year on staff with OC. He spent four years on active duty with the Marine Corps prior to studying at Portland Community College and the University of Pittsburgh in pursuit of a degree in creative writing. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is the visual caption head of Mars Area High School.
Robert Peterson
Robert PetersonVisual Instructor
Robert is returning for his third summer as a visual technician with the corps. From Summit, NJ, Robert has performed with Cadets2 and The Cadets during the summers for 2013, 2014, and 2015. During the fall, he teaches music and visual at Roxbury High School and Bridgewater-Raritan High School. In the Winter, Robert is a visual technician and choreographer for the Roxbury High School indoor drumline. Robert has graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.S.E. in Music Education and is currently a full-time elementary music teacher in Trenton, NJ.
Caleb Pifer
Caleb PiferVisual Instructor
Caleb Pifer is returning to OC for his second year of teaching. He is excited to see his home corps of eight years continue to grow.

Instructional Staff – Guard

Alex Bolender
Alex BolenderCaption Head
Alex currently resides in San Diego, California, where he attended high school and began his marching career in 2009 as a musician in the Poway High School Marching Band. He would later join the winter guard team in 2011, and his passion for color guard and dance would flourish. Alex was a member with The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps in 2012 and 2013, The Cavaliers in 2014, and then would age out in 2015 with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. He was also a member of the San Diego based Vox Artium Winter Guard since their inaugural season in 2012 until his age out in 2017. Alex teaches and consults for several high school programs including Vista High School, Helix Charter High School, and Rancho Bernardo High School. Alex is also attending school at Miracosta College for a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Nikki Szymanski
Nikki SzymanskiAssistant Caption Head
Nikki is currently a sixth grade math and science teacher in Grove City Ohio where she is also the director of the Central Crossing High School Colorguard. Starting her pageantry experiences in the fourth grade she continued to flourish as a member of Maumee High Schools Marching Band, Winterguard, and Indoor Drumline. Nikki’s Marching experience includes: The Glassmen, The Academy, The Cadets, and Juxtaposition Winterguard. After marching six years of drum corps, Nikki is very excited to be returning for her second year on staff with the Oregon Crusaders!
Tim Coady
Tim CoadyChoreographer
Tim Coady is a native of Missouri and currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. His performance background includes several years of participation in both Zydeco Colorguard and the Bluccoats Drum and Bugle Corps. Tim has a passion for inspiring students through colorguard, and has worked with many band programs across the Midwest. Tim currently serves as the colorguard director at Lakota West High School and Miami University. Tim also is in his fourth year teaching at Juxtaposition Winter Guard, and also serves as the colorguard designer for DCA’s 2017 A Class Champion, Cincinnati Tradition. Tim is excited to be embarking on this new project with the Oregon Crusaders!
Tracy Bolduc
Tracy BolducTechnician
Tracy Bolduc is returning to the OC color guard staff, bringing over 25 years of color guard experience. She began her color guard career with St. John’s color guard of Beverly, Massachusetts; performing with them for 10 years and coaching various high school programs for another 15 years. St. John’s won several eastern Massachusetts championships over the years, but Tracy’s proudest moments were coaching the team to a WGI class A bronze medal in 2003, and gold in 2005. Tracy was also part of the Spartans color guard staff as they captured DCI open class gold in 2004. She recently moved to Portland and is excited to be a part of the Crusaders legacy.
 Andrew Seebaran
Andrew Seebaran Technician
Andrew currently lives in Dallas, Texas and started his color guard journey at Plano East Senior High. There he would soon discovered that his love for dance and the color guard world would end up with him being a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps for 4 consecutive years and 2 of those years as the Guard Sergeant (2014-17). He spent 1 indoor season with CGT Dallas in IO (2016) and 1 more season with them in IW (2017) and is now a first year staff member with the CGT Dallas and Denton teams. Andrew is very excited for this new journey with the Oregon Crusaders and the OCCG!
Sarah Chilcote
Sarah ChilcoteTechnician
Sarah started her drum corps career at The Glassmen in 2011, from there she marched with Phantom Regiment in 2012-2013. Sarah was also a member of Interplay Winter Guard in 2012-2015, Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard in 2016 and Bluecoats Indoor Winter Guard in 2018. She really enjoys teaching and has been an instructor at Mandarins Drum Corps in 2015 and several programs in Michigan and California. She is very excited to begin working with the Oregon Crusaders Color Guard!
Alberto Torres
Alberto TorresTechnician
Alberto Torres currently resides in Houston, Tx, where he started his color guard career in 2007. He is currently in his tenth season in the activity, teaching at La Porte HS in La Porte, Tx. He has marching with various independent winterguard programs, such as ATX Winterguard and Redemption Guard, as well as performed with drum corps such as Crossmen and Boston Crusaders.
Laurèn Manriki
Laurèn ManrikiTechnician
Laurèn has grown up in and currently resides in Southern California. She first started her color guard career at Rancho Buena Vista High School and was a member for all four years. After graduating in 2013 she joined Vox Artium Winterguard, where she aged out this past season. Laurèn teaches at several schools across the county; she’s been a technician at Rancho Buena Vista High School for the past few years, and is caption head of La Costa Canyon High School and Point Loma High School. Laurèn is currently working towards a dance teachers certificate at Mira Costa College.
Bella Merino
Bella MerinoTechnician
Bella Merino graduated from San Marcos High School in 2014, where she was a member of the Color Guard program all four years. She has been dancing since the age of three with different dance studios in San Diego. She is now going on her 4th year marching with Independent Winter Guard Vox Artium. In Spring 2017, Bella received her Associates Degree in Communication Studies from Palomar College. She is currently attending Cal State San Marcos to receive a Bachelors degree in Communication. Bella’s teaching experience includes being the current Director at Carlsbad High School, as well as being a technician with San Marcos High School.
Esti AfanadorTechnician
Esti Afanador lives in Roswell, Georgia and is currently a student at Kennesaw State University. She directs Roswell HS colorguard and is on staff at Lambert HS colorguard and drumline. In addition to teaching, Esti has performed with Spirit of Atlanta (2012), ALLIANCE Drum and Bugle corps (2014, 2015), The Edge Independent (2013-2015) , The Bluecoats (2016), and she is currently a performing member of Paramount World Winterguard (2016 – 2018).