I grew up in the Detroit suburb of Roseville where Seraphime Mike was my high school band director. Seraphime got me started in arranging and composition by encouragement, assistance and performances of pieces while I was still in high school. He remains a friend to this day.
My undergraduate, BS Ed, and graduate, MM, degrees are from Central Michigan University where I was a teaching graduate assistant and arranger for the marching band while in grad school. In the last year of grad school I had my only composition class which was with William Rivard. During this time I composed “Scaramouch” which was premiered at my final concert as a student at CMU. Subsequently, I was a faculty member at CMU for four years teaching percussion and arranging for the marching band.
I had two great influences during my time at CMU. Norman Dietz, director of bands, from whom I learned how to make the whole more than just the sum of its parts and to have an absolutely unrelenting passion for the pursuit of excellence. He was by example largely responsible for who I became on the podium. Jack Saunders, Assistant Director of Bands, was my mentor, teacher, close friend and largely responsible for who I became off the podium. His attention to detail, careful planning, thorough preparation and interest in students were all lessons well learned through his example.
In the mid seventies I went to the Bridgeport school district in Michigan where I team taught from beginners through high school with a wonderfully talented staff for five years before moving to Illinois. The marching band at Bridgeport was a finalist in the first three Bands of America (then Marching Bands of America) Summer Nationals.
The move to Lake Park High School, Roselle, Illinois, in 1981 was the last of my teaching career and where I stayed until retirement in 2004. I was fortunate to work with many highly motivated students and dedicated teachers.
The Lake ParkWind Ensemble earned its way to the University of Illinois Superstate concert band festival on several occasions and toured in Russia and France, performing joint concerts with military bands of the respective countries. The Lake Park marching band was a BOA Grand National finalist eighteen times, two time class national AAA Champion and national Grand Champion in 1996. In 2004 I had the honor of being inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame.
Along the way I judged drum corps and marching bands and taught the horn line of the Guardsmen in 1981 and the Cavaliers from 1985-89, arranging the 1989 program. During this time I was fortunate to have the chance to work with Steve Brubaker, Jeff Fiedler, Tim Ochran, Jim Campbell, Bret Kuhn, Kevin Lepper, John Bell, Key Poulan, Bill Harty and Randy Isoda.
Since retiring, I have taught courses, supervised student teachers and advised graduate students at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Many of the talented and dedicated staff there are very good friends. In the Spring of 2008 I was honored to receive a Doctor of Music Education Honoris Causa from VanderCook.
In the fall, judging marching bands has taken me to Canada, Japan and across the country. It was a way to stay connected with the activity, enjoy the efforts of talented performers, directors and designers, and hopefully make a contribution.
My lovely wife of over forty years, Pamela, and I live in Roselle, Illinois, suburban Chicago.
To contact me directly, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at: 630.212.2188 mobile