Dr. Armand Hall is the Executive and Artistic director of the ROCmusic Collaborative, a project of the Eastman School of Music, which offers free instrumental music instruction to the children of Rochester, New York in the neighborhood community centers. Previously, Dr. Hall was Associate Director of Bands and Coordinator of Instrumental Music Education the University of Memphis. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music education from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in wind conducting at Michigan State University.
Dedicated to teaching, Dr. Hall has taught, adjudicated, and been a clinician at the middle, high school, and collegiate bands, and worked as a teaching artist in El Sistema-inspired community music programs around the country. In addition to the ROCmusic Collaborative, Dr. Hall teaches adjunct with the Eastman School of Music, is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors El Sistema USA, and a teaching artist and board member for the Archipelago Project, a non-profit organization charged with engaging students in the creation of music. He has traveled throughout the United States, Austria, and Venezuela teaching music to students and performing for their communities. Dr. Hall is an administrator for the Dr. William P. Foster Project; a collaboration between Music for All, NBA, and CBDNA to support teachers and music programs in Title 1 schools across the country, and the coordinator for the Young Musicians Institute of the Gateways Music Festival. He maintains professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.
Leah McGray is the Director of Instrumental Studies for the State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. McGray conducts the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, Geneseo Wind Ensemble, and teaches classes in conducting, and theory. Previously holding a similar position at Rhodes College in Memphis TN, she has been the conductor for Memphis Symphony Orchestra's "Leading from Every Chair" program and a guest conductor with the Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra. Dr. McGray earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson. She received the Master of Music degree in conducting from University of Toronto, studying with Dr. Gillian MacKay, and Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from Acadia University. A two-time winner of Social Science Humanities and Research Council grants from the Canadian government, her research focuses on new works for winds, with an emphasis on the music of Joel Puckett. Dr. McGray has taught band and orchestra for middle and high school music programs in Canada, and is in demand internationally as a conductor and adjudicator. Professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, Conductors Guild, Canadian Band Association, Canadian Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Nova Scotia Band Association.
Miles DeCastro is the instrument repair technician at The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, where he teaches courses in instrument repair for educators, and is responsible for the repairs, maintenance, and inventory of over 1,200 instruments. Prior to joining Crane in July of 2016, he was the general manager at Bridgepoint Music in Menlo Park, CA since 2012, and was a repair technician at Maytan Music Center in Reno, NV from 2008-2011.
Miles has been an active member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians since 2007. In that time, he has attended every national conference, presenting at the last five national conferences in a row. He is currently the vice president and director of Region 1, and has served on the finance committee, and hosted clinics at the regional and national level.
On top of all of this, Miles is a Straubinger Certified Technician, Yamaha Certified Sales Professional, graduate of the Yamaha Service Advantage Program, and he has studied instrument repair with Morrie Backun. All of these experiences helped him lead Bridgepoint Music to being a NAMM Top 100 Dealer four years in a row.
Prior to becoming a professional repair technician, Miles graduated with honors from Mansfield University with a degree in music education, was a middle school band director in the Baltimore City Public Schools, and received his Certificate of Band Instrument Repair Technology from Renton Technical College, graduating with a 4.0 GPA in 2008. When not at Crane, Miles enjoys owning and operating his clarinet specialty shop, North Country Winds.
Frances Flancbaum is currently in her fifth year teaching in the Hannibal Central School District, where she directs the Hannibal Junior Band and teaches general music to middle school students. A Long Island native, she has teaching experience in many settings from suburban Long Island to the heart of Brooklyn and Queens. In addition to maintaining a small private studio, Frances is an active performer in regional and community theatre pit orchestras. She holds Bachelors degrees in Music Education and Flute Performance from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and a Masters degree in Music Education from Ithaca College.
Jenna Stango is currently in her third year as the beginning band director at the Sherburne-Earlville Elementary School, where she conducts the 4th and 5th grade bands, elementary jazz band, and elementary marching band. She also conducts the Smyrna Citizens Band, which is a local small-town community ensemble. Prior to her appointment at S-E, she taught music for the alternative and special education programs at the Madison-Oneida BOCES in Verona.
A graduate of Syracuse University for both her Bachelors and Masters, Ms. Stango was named a 2016 College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholar- the highest academic honor named by the college. In 2014, she studied flute performance at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France. Ms. Stango resides in the Syracuse area where she performs locally and maintains a private woodwind studio at the Music and Arts store in Clay.
Before his position at West Virginia University, Cheldon Williams completed his doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin, served as an Interim Associate Director of Bands at New Mexico State University, and worked for 13 years in secondary education as the Director of Bands and Orchestras at J.P. Taravella High School and the Associate Director of Bands at Cypress Bay High School. As a twofold graduate of Florida State University, Dr. Williams earned both his bachelor’s (B.M.E.) and master’s (M.M.E.) degrees in Music Education in 2004 and 2014, respectively. With instrumental conducting as a focus, Cheldon Williams has had the fortune of being trained by and has performed under the batons of musicians such as Jerry Junkin, Dr. Andre Thomas, Allan McMurray, H. Robert Reynolds, Dr. James Croft, Richard Clary, Craig Kirchhoff, and many others.
Dr. Williams conducted American students in China and served as a guest clinician to Chinese students at the Sichuan Conservatory (Cheng Du, China) as the founding Program Director for the Jinsha Summer Music Festival (2009-2012). Dr. Williams is a nationally active educator and guest clinician in the areas of conducting and music education. He is a former member of the Texas Music Educators Association, New Mexico Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Education Association, Florida Orchestra Association, and Broward Music Educators Association.
Laura Hartmann established LVanHart Artist Productions in 1997–a company devoted to developing the talent of rising jazz artists. LVanHart is dedicated to bringing music into schools and universities around the world in order to keep jazz awareness alive while cultivating future audiences.
Hartmann is formally educated as a classical flutist, educator and recording engineer. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Music and Music Education from the College of St. Rose and a Masters of Music Performance from the Brooklyn Conservatory at Brooklyn College, she went on to work as an Administrative Assistant at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She later became Operations Director at Herbert Barrett Management. It is here where Hartmann gained experience in being a manager where she was responsible for touring aspects of the entire artist roster, both classical and jazz. In addition to working with classical artists such as Sherrill Milnes, The Guarneri String Quartet, The Hanover Band, Marietta Simpson, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, she had the opportunity to work closely with pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor, who introduced her to the world of jazz.
Since forming her own business, Hartmann has had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with many of today’s great jazz musicians and has developed her own roster of fine young stars which have included Steve Wilson, Mike Stern, Terell Stafford, Ray Vega, Paul Bollenback, Joe Locke, Ray Drummond, James Williams, Michael Wolff, Diane Monroe, Steve Davis, Virginia Mayhew, Tom Harrell, Gary Smulyan, Ryan Truesdell and the sextet, One For All. In 2011, she paid tribute to her dear friend and mentor, Dr. Billy Taylor, producing a concert at the College of St. Rose. This event was a highlight of Hartmann’s career which included the opportunity to interview Ramsey Lewis about their mutual friend, followed by a solo performance by Lewis.
“One of the finest saxophonists in the business” (NPR), Steve Wilson has attained ubiquitous status in the studio and on the stage with the greatest names in jazz. He is a bandleader in his own right, and as such, Jazz Times calls him “the consummate saxophonist-composer.” Dubbed a musician’s musician, Wilson has brought his distinctive sound to more than 100 recordings led by such celebrated and wide-ranging artists as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Gerald Wilson, Maria Schneider, Joe Henderson, Charlie Byrd, Billy Childs, Karrin Allyson, Don Byron, Bill Stewart, James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller among many others. Wilson has seven recordings under his own name, leading and collaborating with such stellar musicians as Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, Steve Nelson, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Hutchinson, Dennis Irwin, James Genus, Larry Grenadier, Ray Drummond, Ben Riley, and Nicholas Payton.
An in-demand and passionate educator, Wilson is an Associate Professor of Music at City College of New York, and on faculty at the Juilliard School. With the support of friend and mentor Dr. Billy Taylor, Wilson has been a frequent guest performer/educator at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He is an active mentor in the nurturing and promotion of his former students’ emerging careers who have performed with The Count Basie Orchestra, Johnny Mandel, Beyonce Knowles, Roy Hargrove, and many others.
Wilson’s current projects reflect his multifaceted artistry, versatility, and associations with some of the most highly regarded artists on the scene. His quartet Wilsonian’s Grain, which consists of Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo, and Bill Stewart or Clarence Penn, has been featured on NPR live from the Kennedy Center and the Village Vanguard in New York City, and headlined at the prestigious Detroit Jazz Festival in 2011. Wilson is one-half of two dynamic duos, “Musical Dialogue” with renowned drummer Lewis Nash, and in another with pianist Bruce Barth as documented on their recent recording “Home” on the We Always Swing label. He co-leads an elegant trio with pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Peter Washington, and with composer/arranger David O’Rourke has a repertoire as soloist with strings. Wilson is touring member of the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Billy Childs Quartet, Christian McBride & Inside Straight as well as McBride’s Grammy-winning Big Band, and the Buster Williams Quartet.
Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (New York Times), clarinetist Anthony McGill is one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures. In addition to his dynamic international solo and chamber music career, McGill is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic—the first African-American principal player in the organization's history. In 2020, he was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards given in recognition of soloists who represent the highest level of musical excellence. McGill was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams and performing alongside violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela Montero. He is a dedicated champion of new music: during the 2020/21 season, McGill performs “Peace,” by Jessie Montgomery; “Ad Anah?” by James Lee III; a new work from Benjamin J. Shirley; “Book of Days,” by Daron Hagen; and “From The Mountaintop,” written for McGill by Richard Danielpour. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, McGill launched a powerful musical protest video urging people to #TakeTwoKnees in demonstration against the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice. His video went viral, and hundreds of artists and citizens amplified the message and responded to the protest with their own videos using the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees.
McGill appears regularly as a soloist with top orchestras around North America, including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. As a chamber musician, McGill is a favorite collaborator of the Brentano, Daedalus, Guarneri, JACK, Miró, Pacifica, Shanghai, Takács, and Tokyo Quartets, as well as Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Gloria Chien, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang. He has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and regularly performs for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, and Skaneateles, and the Music@Menlo, Santa Fe, and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, McGill previously served as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In demand as a teacher, he serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College Conservatory of Music. In the fall of 2020, he was named Artist-in-Residence at the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. In 2015, McGill recorded the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto together with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. He and his brother, Demarre McGill, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s principal flutist, joined the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras with conductor Allen Tinkham, to record Winged Creatures, an album of works for flute, clarinet, and orchestra including world-premiere recordings of duo concertos like the title track by African-American composer Michael Abels (Cedille Records). His Portraits, recorded with Demarre McGill and pianist Michael McHale, and Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets, with the Pacifica Quartet, were both released on Cedille Records. McGill has been covered in the New York Times and the New Yorker and has appeared on National Public Radio, Performance Today, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He served as the 2015–16 Artist-in-Residence for WQXR. NBC Nightly News and CNBC have both aired stories highlighting the McGill brothers’ inspirational story. McGill is an ardent advocate for helping music education reach underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music. He is the Artistic Director for the Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School, a weekend program for music students who demonstrate a commitment to artistic excellence, which actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in classical music. This year, in concert with a $30,000 charitable gift from the Avery Fisher Artist Program designated to a charity of McGill’s choice, McGill and Weston Sprott, Dean of the Preparatory Division of The Juilliard School, established the Weston Sprott and Anthony McGill MAP Summer Scholarship Fund so MAP students can take part in summer programs and festivals. McGill serves on the board of directors for the League of American Orchestras, Cedille Records, and the Harmony Program, and on the advisory councils for the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and Time In Children's Arts Initiative. Anthony McGill is a Vandoren Artist and Buffet Crampon Artist. For additional background, please visit anthonymcgill.com.
Sarah Wolff (she/her/hers) is the chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee of NYSBDA and has served as a member-at-large on the executive board since 2018. Sarah teaches band, jazz band, and chamber music to 220 students at Halsey Junior High School 157 in Rego Park, Queens. She also is a founder and faculty sponsor of the Halsey Against Racism student club and the founder of an anti-racist teacher book club discussion group. Prior to teaching at Halsey, Sarah established band programs at NEST+m and KIPP STAR Charter School in Manhattan and West Park Academy Elementary School in Chicago. Sarah holds music education degrees from Northwestern University (cum laude) and Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a member of NYSSMA, NAfME, and MEANYC. Through MEANYC, Sarah has served as the Festival Jazz Ensemble Chair for the All-County Honor Band since 2018. She has performed with Brooklyn Wind Symphony on tenor saxophone for the past 9 years and looks forward to resuming when it is safe. Sarah lives in Forest Hills, Queens, with her husband, two elementary-aged sons, and dog.
Erin Tapia is a public school and private studio instrumental music teacher, performer, clinician, and author. Ms. Tapia is in her eighteenth year teaching in the Westhill Central School District in Syracuse, New York, where she serves as the Westhill High School Director of Bands, Chair of the Fine Arts Department, and conducts the WHS Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Lab, 50+ student Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, and chamber music ensembles. Ms. Tapia’s ensembles have traveled often, including performances throughout New York State and in Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, Boston, Baltimore, and New York City. Her students regularly perform in local and state honor bands and orchestras, and more than sixty of Ms. Tapia’s students have performed in collegiate instrumental music ensembles. Ms. Tapia is active as a clinician and guest conductor and has conducted honor ensembles and presented clinics to music educators at County, All-State, State, and National conferences.
Ms. Tapia is co-author of “The Sight Reading Book,” a series of 21 sight-reading books and audition sets carefully aligned with state-specific criteria at six different levels of difficulty. The series is used extensively in schools and studios throughout the northeast and eastern seaboard. Ms. Tapia maintains a private flute studio and performs as principal flute with the Syracuse Summer Festival Orchestra and piccoloist with the Central Winds: Music Educators’ Wind Ensemble; she serves both ensembles as Personnel Manager. Ms. Tapia held the position of General Manager of the Syracuse Youth Orchestras from the Fall of 2014 through the program’s finale performance at Carnegie Hall in June of 2017.
Ms. Tapia holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education with Performance Honors in Flute from Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music, and is a graduate of the Farmington Public Schools, in Farmington, Connecticut. She also holds certifications as a Dharma Yoga teacher, with additional specialty training and certifications in Prenatal Yoga, Postnatal Yoga, and Yoga for Children.
Katie Struzik has been Chairperson of the NYSSMA Manual since January 2001. She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and Hartt School of Music. Her professional a liations include NYSBDA, NYSSMA, NAfME and Sigma Alpha Iota. She taught instrumental music in the Pine Bush and Tuckahoe School Districts and has been a substitute music teacher in the Webster and Brighton school districts since 1994. She is also a professional accompanist. She lives in Webster with her husband Mike and dog “Lucky.” She and Mike have two sons, Chris and Matt.
Dr. Bradley Genevro is Director of Bands at the University of Texas at El Paso. In his duties at
UTEP, Dr. Genevro actively oversees all aspects of the Band Program. Prior to his appointment
at UTEP, he served on the faculties of Messiah College, Oklahoma State University, and the University of North Texas. Dr. Genevro holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Wind Conducting from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Eugene Migliaro Corporon. He earned the Masters of Music Performance and Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he studied with composer and conductor Jack Stamp. Ensembles, under Dr. Genevro’s leadership, have performed multiple times at state and international conventions. In addition, his groups have albums released under both the Mark Custom and Klavier Record labels. His recordings have been reviewed in Fanfare
Magazine with the following comments: “A superb disc,” “a magnificent statement of the
highest professionalism possible from student ensembles.”
Dr. Genevro maintains a very active schedule as a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor and recording producer having worked across the US, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and mainland China. As a recording producer, he has worked with the University of North Texas Wind Symphony, Keystone Wind Ensemble, the University of Georgia Wind Symphony, the Sydney
Conservatorium Wind Symphony and a variety of colleges and universities.
Dr. Genevro holds professional memberships in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, College Band Directors National Association and was elected into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.