Blue Knights Announce 2017 Brass Staff
DENVER, CO – The Blue Knights are pleased to announce the Brass Staff team for the 2017 Drum Corps International season.
Brad Toth will return as the Brass Caption Head for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.
Brad has been involved in music education for 18 years. He has been a band director and clinician in Texas for the last 12 years. Brad has worked as an instructor with The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps for several years before coming to the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in 2011 as a brass instructor. He is currenly in his 6th year with Blue Knights as Brass Caption Head.
He performed with The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps for 4 years were he played trumpet and was drum major in 2001. Brad currently lives in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Sara.
Ronnie Pruitt will be returning to the Blue Knights as the Assistant Brass Caption Head for the 2017 season.
This year will mark Ronnie’s 6th year with the Blue Knights brass section. He has taught trumpets, mellophones, and baritones during his time with the Blue Knights. Ronnie has also taught for over 30 years in middle school, high school, and university positions. His bands have received the highest honors including sweepstakes awards and state championships.
Ronnie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Southwest Texas State University and a Master’s degree in Conducting from Stephen F. Austin State University, where he studied with Fred Allen and Timothy King.
During his free time, he enjoys cooking, golfing, and traveling. Ronnie lives in Houston with his wife Paula and his daughter, Bailey who will age out of the Blue Knights after 5-years.
Dr. Thomas Lukowicz will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Dr. Thomas Lukowicz is currently the Principal Tuba with the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of New York. Dr. Lukowicz has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2001-2002, he was a member of the North American touring cast of Blast!. Dr. Lukowicz is an Instructor at Wright State University. Prior to his position at Wright State, he was on the faculty of Kent State University and Notre Dame College. He has also served as an instructor at Carnegie Mellon University, Riverside Community College, and the Oberlin Conservatory. He has performed and presented at International Tuba Euphonium Association Regional and International Conferences.
Dr. Lukowicz has recorded with the Chamber Orchestra of New York on two CDs, “Ottorino Respighi” and “Salvatore Di Vittorio.” Both recordings contain world premiers and “Ottorino Respighi” has spent weeks on the Gramophone Top 20 Classical Chart. He can also be heard on the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass recording “A Song of Christmas.”
Dr. Lukowicz earned his doctoral degree at Michigan State University, where he served as the Teaching Assistant for the tuba/euphonium studio. He has also earned degrees at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM), the University of Southern California (MM), Carnegie Mellon University (ArtDip). He has studied privately with Phil Sinder, Craig Knox, Murray Crewe, Norm Pearson, Tommy Johnson, Chester Schmitz, Wesley Jacobs, James DeSano, and Roy Poper.
Matthew Bo Sodders will be returning to the Blue Knights Brass Staff for the 2017 season.
Matthew Bo Sodders is the Director of Bands at John McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. Under his direction, the McEachern Wind Symphony has performed at the University of Georgia’s “JanFest”, the University of Alabama Honor Band Festival and the McEachern Marching Band participates annually in Bands of America Regional and Super Regional competitions. Prior to his engagement at McEachern, Matthew has filled the capacity of Director of Bands at Woodland High School in Stockbridge, Georgia and the Assistant Director of Bands at Ola High School in McDonough, Georgia.
Originally from Lima, Ohio, Matthew graduated cum laude from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio with an instrumental and elementary specialist degree in Music Education. While at BGSU, Matthew studied with trumpet professor Mr. George Novak and conducting with Dr. Emily Freeman Brown.
Matthew has also served as the high brass coordinator for the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from Casper, Wyoming, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps from Atlanta, Georgia, and was the brass caption head of Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps from Jacksonville, Florida. Matthew is a five-year veteran of the Glassmen Drum and Bugle corps from Toledo, Ohio, where he served for two seasons as drum major.
Matthew is a current member of the brass section in the Cobb Wind Symphony, a premier adult community band located in Marietta, Georgia. He is a staff member of the 2016 and 2017 United States Army All-American Marching Band. Matthew’s professional affiliations include membership in the National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educator Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Danny Brock will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
This summer will mark Danny’s 5th year with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps as a high brass technician. Prior joining the brass staff, Danny marched for 3 years with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, earning a bronze medal, leading a brass line as horn sergeant, and performing as a soloist within the years 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Stephen F. Austin State University and will earn a Master of Fine Arts in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas following the Spring 2017 semester. He has performed as a member of the UNT Symphony Orchestra under David Itkin and the UNT Wind Symphony under Eugene Corporon for the previous 2 years, including performing at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference as well as recording numerous CD’s with the latter ensemble.
Danny Brock lives in Texas and serves as a performer, clinician, and private instructor for the DFW area.
Daniel Cook will be joining the Blue Knights staff for the 2017 season as a brass tech.
New to the Blue Knights staff this year, Daniel Cook is in his final year of the Master of Music – Wind Conducting program at Northwestern University, where he studies with Dr. Mallory Thompson.
Raised in northern Georgia, Daniel graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. While at UGA, he studied with Dr. Martha Thomas, Dr. John Lynch, and Dr. Michael Robinson. There, he was also recognized as a Theodore Presser Scholar.
Daniel has performed nationally and internationally with the UGA Wind Ensemble, the Redcoat Marching Band, and the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps.
Prior to his arrival in Evanston, Daniel taught for 5 years, serving as Director of Bands at DeLand High School in DeLand, Florida. Bands and chamber groups, under his direction, have enjoyed considerable success, with his students earning superior ratings at district and state solo, small ensemble, and large group performance festivals. Notably, his ensembles have performed at the Florida Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and the Music for All National Concert Band Festival.
Daniel is an active clinician, drill designer, and accompanist. During his time in Florida, he was a member of the Florida Bandmaster Association, chairing and hosting local marching and concert band events. Also prior to moving, Daniel was the staff pianist and organist at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach. His professional affiliations include the Collegiate Band Directors’ National Association, the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi.
Shayne O’Brien will be joining the Blue Knights as a brass tech for 2017.
Shayne O‘ Brien was born and raised in County Tipperary, Ireland. At 17 years old, he spent 4 years in London, UK where he recently graduated from the London College of Music with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Performance and a minor in Music Education.
Shayne’s time in London was busy and fulfilling. He played on London’s West End, BBC with the Collaborative Orchestra and has had performances with the Coldstream Guards of Westminster.
On the jazz side of things, Shayne has played with numerous big bands in London which include playing lead trumpet for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) and his own band, The WL Jazz Collective. Shayne is no stranger in the drum corps/marching band community. He started his marching career in Ireland in 2008 where he was introduced to Drum Corps International.
After marching in Ireland, Shayne decided to travel across seas in 2011 to march Kidsgrove Scouts, who are based in the U.K. In 2013 and 2014 Shayne marched with The Cadets as a trumpet player. He returned to DCI in 2016 for his age out where he was a lead trumpet soloist for the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, who were crowned DCI World Champions for the first time in history in 2016.
Teaching is a very passionate part of Shayne’s life and has led him to teach in several countries around Europe and the United States. Shayne currently resides in Texas where he teaches several high school bands and appears at many as a clinician. Shayne is extremely excited to be a part of the Blue Knights Staff for the 2017 season and looks forward to the exciting and successful journey ahead.
Ben Carrol will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Ben Carroll is a brass musician and educator in Austin, Texas. He holds a Bachelors of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied horn performance under the instruction of Patrick Hughes. Ben is currently a member of the Austin Civic Orchestra and is a founding member of Con Moto, a theatrical brass choir partnered with the Austin Creative Alliance. During the week Ben works as a private horn instructor in the surrounding Austin area for Pflugerville High school, McNeil High School, and Decker Middle School.
Ben’s passion for the marching arts has lead him to three summer tours with the Santa Clara Vanguard A corps, and an international tour with the Santa Clara Vanguard International Corps. He dedicates his time to local high school marching bands as visual and brass instructional staff at Cedar Ridge and Pflugerville high school. This season is the start of Ben’s third year on brass staff with the Blue Knights.
Jonathan Zimny will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Jonathan Zimny is a jazz trombonist and vocalist from Folsom, California with an undergraduate degree in jazz studies from the University of Northern Colorado. He marched with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in 2011 and as a soloist in 2012. In 2013 and 2014 he marched with the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps.
Jonathan has studied with Dr. Nat Wickham and has performed with UNC Jazz Lab Band 1 under the direction of Dana Landry. During his time in Lab 1, the band received the best graduate jazz ensemble award from Downbeat magazine. He sang in UNC’s top vocal jazz group, the Northern Colorado Voices under the direction of Kerry Marsh and has also played euphonium in UNC’s Wind Ensemble. He has taught the Blue Knights for the past two years and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz performance and pedagogy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Greg Horner will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Greg is a music educator and performer from the Austin, TX area. This will be his third year on staff with the Blue Knights. He is currently in his first year as an Assistant Band Director at Cedar Ridge Hih School in Round Rock, TX and is a graduate of the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin and a former performing member with the Bluecoats (2010-2011), Blue Devils (2012-2014), and Blue Devils International (2015), Greg has had the opportunity to perform and teach across America and Europe.
Throughout his time, he has earned honors and awards such as DCI Individual and Ensemble Champion (Brass Ensemble 2013 and Trumpet Solo 2014), second place at the National Trumpet Competition (Large Ensemble Division 2016), and two DCI Championships.
Ethan Munger will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Ethan Munger is a euphonium performance and music education major at Texas Tech University, where he studies with Dr. Kevin Wass. He attended Keller High School under the direction of Mark McGahey, where he was first inspired to pursue music. Whilst attending Texas Tech he’s had the opportunity to perform across the United States, and had the privilege of working with such renowned artists as Demondrae Thurman, Steven Mead, and Warren Deck.
Ethan currently sits principle euphonium in the Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and in the summer of 2016, he was a semi-finalist in the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival. He is also an active private teacher, brass instructor, and marching technician at several Lubbock area schools.
His drum corps career began in 2011, when he was given the chance to join midseason with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. He proceeded to march from 2012 to 2015, aging out in 2015 as Horn Sergeant and soloist. His first summer with the Blue Knights was 2016, and he’s excited to see what 2017 brings.
Chris Williams will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Chris currently lives in Destrehan, Louisiana, where he is the Associate Band Director at Destrehan High School. His responsibilities include directing the symphonic and jazz band, and assisting with marching band, indoor drumline, and winter guard. Chris occasionally performs free-lance in the community, and teaches trumpet privately around the southern parts of Louisiana.
Chris graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 2015 with a Bachelors of Music Education where he studied trumpet under Galindo Rodriguez. While in school, he served as lead trumpet in the Northwestern State Jazz Orchestra, principal trumpet in the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, and drum major in the Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band.
Chris aged out with the Blue Knights in 2013 marching trumpet. He joined the Blue Knights brass staff in 2014 and works with high brass. His professional affiliations include Louisiana Music Educators Association, Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Scott Norman will be returning to the Blue Knights as a brass tech for the 2017 season.
Scott Norman is originally from Sherman, TX and is in his second year as the Director of Bands at Kempner High School in the Fort Bend Independent School District. He received his Bachelors of Music Education degree from Texas Christian University in 2011.
Throughout his undergraduate career, Scott studied with conductors Bobby Francis, Brian Youngblood, Curt Wilson, Greg Hull and David Burks. Scott studied trombone with Mr. David Begnoche and Mr. John Michael Hayes as well as electric and double bass with Mr. Kyp Green. Scott has an extensive background with the Drum Corps International community both as a performer and an educator.
Scott performed for 7 summers with Drum Corps International groups, including the 7-time World Champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps where he received instruction from David Bertman, Dr. John Pasquale, Dr. David Clemmer, and Mark McGahey. Scott served on the brass instructional team with The Cavaliers from 2011-2012. Scott currently serves as a brass ensemble and technique specialist with The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle corps (2014-2016).
Scott completed his graduate work at The University of Houston Moores School of Music, studying under David Bertman, Marion West, Marc Martin, Eddie Green, John Benzer, and Joe Dixon. Prior to beginning his graduate studies, he taught as the Associate Director of Bands at Stony Point High School in Round Rock, TX. He led the marching band, Wind Symphony, and Wind Ensemble to excellent and superior ratings in UIL, and started RRISD’s first curricular jazz ensemble program, which consistently placed kids in the TMEA Jazz All-Region bands and placed first in every contest they entered.
Scott continues to work as an adjudicator for USBands as well as other competitive pageantry circuits. Scott writes and designs drill and shows for numerous bands and Winter Guard International groups, both color guard and percussion, in Texas and Oklahoma. He is currently the visual designer for Rhythmic Force Indoor Percussion (Independent Open). Scott is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association and enjoys spending time with his two pit bull pups Ruger and Kreacher!
Joshua Munoz will be returning to the Blue Knights for his 5th year on brass staff.
Joshua Muñoz, a native of Austin, Texas, is in his fifth year on the Blue Knights brass staff. He graduated cum laude from Texas State University in May 2012 with a degree in Instrumental Music Education and is currently pursuing a Masters of Music Education degree from Texas Tech University.
Joshua was a member of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps tuba section for four seasons. He is proud that during his age out year in 2010, the Bluecoats reached their highest finish at that point in time – 3rd place in the DCI World Championship Finals.
Currently, Joshua is the Associate Band Director at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District where he directs the Maverick Marching Band and conducts the Wind Symphony. Bands under his direction have consistently received Sweepstakes at the annual University Interscholastic League Concert and Sight-Reading Contest.
Joshua is thrilled to be returning to the Blue Knights and working with the positive, educational group of teachers that are part of this team.
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