Monarch Independent Design Staff 2018
Don Click – Program Coordinator
Don Click is a co-founder of the Music City Mystique youth organization and was the Executive Director until 2006. He currently serves on the McM Board of Directors and is the Director of Creativity on the highly acclaimed Design Team. He also teaches, programs and is responsible for the visual design for many groups that span most classes of WGI indoor percussion competition.
Don attended the University of North Texas where he earned a degree in Finance. While at UNT, Don spent three years as a member of the UNT indoor drumline. During this time, the drumline won two championships at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. He has taught and continues to arrange, and consult at various high schools throughout the nation and is a sought-after judge both for fall marching band competitions as well as Winter Percussion shows.
Don has served as President of the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit where he was formerly the Percussion Coordinator. With Winter Guard International, Don has held the responsibilities of being a member of the Percussion Advisory Board, Percussion Steering Committee, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee serving as Treasurer of WGI. He was inducted into the Winter Guard International Hall of Fame in 2010 as well as the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit in 2014.
Don currently lives in Katy, TX with his wife, Stephanie and two children, Avery and Piper. He is the Director of Marketing for an Experiential Travel Company based in the Houston, TX area.
Richard Hinshaw – Visual Designer
Richard Hinshaw is a visual designer and music educator with 24 years of experience in the marching arts. After growing up in Central Indiana, Richard studied trumpet at the Indiana University School of Music while also performing in the Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps. Since his performing career, he has crafted visual composition and show design skills under the mentorship of Daniel Wiles, Leon May, Michael Raiford, Michael McIntosh, Don Click, and Jay Webb.
Richard is currently the drill designer and lead visual instructor for the Avon High School Marching Black & Gold, who are three-time BOA Grand National Champions (2008, 2009, 2010), with ten straight top three placements at BOA Grand Nationals (2007- 2016). He serves in the same roles for the Avon Indoor Winter Percussion, perennial WGI Scholastic World Finalists (2002-2017). Richard is enjoying his 16th year working with the nationally acclaimed bands, percussion ensembles, and color guards at Avon.
On the Drum Corps International Tour, Richard designs for The Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois (2012, 2016-present). He has also designed for The Academy from Tempe, Arizona (2009-2013). As a freelance designer, Hinshaw has worked with several high achieving ensembles. From 2012-2016 he designed for Gateway Indoor Percussion, WGI PIW Finalists in each of those years.
Currently, Hinshaw is the visual designer for Monarch Independent Percussion, WGI PIO Finalists in 2016 and WGI PIW Finalists in 2017. Since 2014, he has been the staging designer for the Colerain High School Winter Guard, who have been multiple WGI Regional Finalists, and were a 2017 WGI SA Finalist. Some of Richard’s other top clients include Owasso High School (OK), Vista Ridge High School (TX), and Kickapoo High School (MO).
Since 2011, Richard has served on the esteemed WGI Percussion Advisory Board, where he collaborates with top designers and instructors from around the country to help shape the future of indoor marching percussion. Hinshaw also enjoys being a freelance adjudicator for marching band, winter guard, and indoor percussion competitions around the country.
Richard resides in Avon, Indiana with his amazing wife Jennifer, and their beautiful children McKinley, Coleman, and Annalise. Samples of Hinshaw’s work can be found at his website, www.richardhinshaw.com
Ben Pyles – Battery Composer
Benjamin Pyles is currently the Director of Athletic Percussion at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, Ben majored in music education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Lamar University, with a primary focus in Percussion. His most intensive studies came under the direction of Chris Hestin, Mike McIntosh, Travis Fife, and Michael Kingan.
Ben has several years of World Class performing, and instructional experience, including the Bluecoats from Canton, OH; The Crossmen from San Antonio, TX; Monarch Independent from Houston, TX; Glassmen from Toledo, OH; and Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta, GA. Ben currently serves as the Percussion Caption Head and Designer for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, Iowa.
Along with teaching, Benjamin is also an active arranger and composer for multiple Indoor and Outdoor ensembles across the country. Ben is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Inc., and Pearl and Adams Percussion.
Bryan Harmsen – Front Ensemble/Electronics Composer
Bryan is the owner of Visaudio Designs, a company specializing in design for the pageantry arts. He has written for a number of ensembles in the United States, East Asia, and Europe. His arrangements and compositions have helped many ensembles earn numerous gold medals on their local circuits as well as many WGI finalists, including most notably Monarch Independent (7th in 2017 PIW finals), Pioneer Indoor (2014, 2015 PIO Silver Medalists), Burleson Centennial HS (2017 PSO Gold Medalist), Clear Brook HS (2011, 2015, 2017 PSO Silver Medalists), Brookwood Independent (2013 PIA Gold Medalist), Fair Lawn HS (2017 PSA Gold Medalist) and ED White HS (2017 PSA Silver Medalist). He was a member of a number of drum and bugle corps, including Spirit of Atlanta, Southwind, and The Cavaliers.
Bryan is also the voice and instructor behind Virtual Drumline Demystified, a tutorial DVD for the Virtual Drumline sound library from Tapspace Publications. While not working on music, Bryan also dabbles in web and graphic design, enjoys spending time outdoors, and has an affinity for all things on the leading edge of technology. He proudly endorses Pearl/Adams musical instruments, Innovative Percussion, and Remo Drumheads, and currently resides in Carrollton, Georgia with his wife Emily and their pack of dogs and cats.
Nicole Younger – Choreographer/Movement Specialist
Nicole lives in Austin, Texas where she is the Colorguard Director at Akins High School and part of the color guard staff at Hendrickson High School. Nicole has worked with Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps and The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps as a color guard technician.
Nicole currently works on the instructional staff with ATX Winterguard (Austin, TX), Spirit Winterguard (University of Houston) and Origins Winterguard (Austin, TX).
Nicole’s color guard career consists of color guards and winter guards (both scholastic and independent) in Ohio, Virginia, New York, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas. This is Nicole’s 3rd year as the choreographer for Monarch Independent Percussion.
Monarch Independent Board of Directors/Administration 2018
Kyle Winn – President & Executive Director
Pat Crofton – Vice President
Chris King – Treasurer
Wesley Hegglund – Secretary
Rob Sullens – Member at Large
Travis Fife – Member at Large
George Torres III – Ensemble Director
George is a founding member of Monarch Independent Percussion. After performing on quads and serving as the battery captain, George came back in 2016 and 2017 as a quad technician. George has been responsible for the leadership training and mentorship of our members. George resides in San Antonio where he is a percussion instructor at Harlan High School and private lessons teacher for Northside ISD and North East ISD. George has worked as a percussion instructor at Winston Churchill High School, Harlandale High School, Mansfield High School, and 5points Percussion. For the 2017 DCI tour, George served as the battery visual instructor for the Cavaliers. Alongside his role as a public school educator, George is the Content and Community Manager for the percussion education software, percuss.io.
George has had the privilege of learning from incredible educators such as Dr. Brian Tinkel, Michael Neubert, Eric Ridenour, Joe Hobbs, Dr. Michael Varner, Professor Jim Yakas, Nick Beaudet, Michael McIntosh, & Carlos Botello
As a performer, George has been fortunate to be a member of the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps, Monarch Independent Percussion, Vigilantes Indoor Percussion, Imperial Percussion Theater, and Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps.
Monarch Independent Instructional Staff 2018
Taha Ahmed – Battery Coordinator/Percussion Caption Head
Taha Ahmed received his Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he resides in the Houston area where he is the battery specialist at Cy-Fair High School and Cy-Falls high school. He is also an active instructor, consultant, arranger, and rudimental private lesson teacher at numerous other high schools in the area. When Taha is not teaching, he is working as a Licensed Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and applying to further programs in the medical field.
Taha has multiple years of experience beyond the scholastic level. His drum corps experience includes being a snare drummer at Bluecoats 2012, Academy 2011, Santa Clara Vanguard 2010, and the Troopers in 2009 and 2008. Taha is a snare tech at The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. Prior to that, he was the snare tech at The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps for their 2015 season. During his drum corps career, Taha was privileged to learn from instructors such as Mike Jackson, Murray Gusseck, Ralph Hardimon, Glen Crosby, Roger Carter, Eric Shriver, Matt Ramey, Jim Ragsdale, Brian Stevens, Rick Barclay, Derrick Fields, and Kevin Welborn.
In the indoor scene, Taha has also experienced multiple seasons of success as an instructor. He was the Battery Coordinator and Movement Specialist for the 2014 WGI Independent A Gold Medalist, Lone Star Independent. Taha has been working with Monarch Independent since its inaugural season in 2015. Monarch Independent was the Texas Color Guard Circuit Independent Open Gold Medalist and WGI Independent Open Finalist in both 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Monarch made its World Class debut and received 7th place at WGI Finals. Taha was also the battery specialist for the 2016 PSO Bronze Medalist, Cy-Fair High school, and for the 2016 Open Class finalist, Cy-Falls High School.
Taha is endorsed by Innovative Percussion and is a proud artist.
J.P. Gagaza – Snare Technician
J.P. has taught multiple high schools in the Waco area including Lorena HS, Waco HS, and Midway HS. In 2015, he was one of the snare techs for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps and was the battery coordinator for the Tyler Junior College Indoor Drumline for the 2015 and 2017 winter seasons. He is currently helping out with Lake Travis HS in Austin, Texas.
His indoor marching experience includes marching bass for Metro Alliance Indoor Percussion, and Surround Sound Percussion, and center snare for the Tyler Junior College Indoor Drumline in 2010, and 2011. For his drum corps experience, J.P. marched quads for Southwind, and Blue Knights, and snare for Cavaliers for two years aging out as section leader in 2010. In the same year, he traveled to Belgium with Tyler Junior College through Dynasty Percussion, and to Japan with the Cavaliers, through Yamaha Corporation to perform and give clinics.
J.P. has had the privilege of learning a wide variety of styles from different instructors including, John Brennan, Tom McGowan, Shane Gwaltney, Joe Hobbs, Jeff Ausdemore, Jim Ancona, Jim Casella, Dr. Brian Tinkel, Carl Eppler, Tim Maynard, and Mike McIntosh.
Jason Schladweiler – Snare Technician
Jason Schladweiler is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, where he double majored in Supply Chain Management and Marketing and minored in Economics. He recently moved to Austin, Texas.
Jason began his drumming career at the age of eight, studying drum set privately in the Indianapolis area. He then began his marching career at Center Grove High School in 2007, competing in the BOA Grand National Finals and WGI World Championships. He also performed with the Center Grove Percussion Ensemble at the 2010 Midwest Clinic.
In 2011, Jason began his drum corps career playing snare drum with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. He went on to march with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2012 and 2013, and the Bluecoats in 2014. In the winter of 2014, Jason became a member of the three-time WGI Independent World Class champions, Rhythm X. He was a member of Rhythm X for three years, serving as the battery section leader in 2015 and 2016. Through his years of experience in WGI and DCI, Jason is proud to have learned from instructors such as Paul Rennick, Tim Jackson, Tim Fairbanks, Roger Carter, Nick Taylor, Jon Leal, Josh Brickey, and Kevin Welborn.
As an instructor, Jason has worked with numerous schools in the Indianapolis area, most notably the Center Grove High School drumline. He is also currently on staff with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps as a snare technician.
Aside from the marching arts, Jason loves dogs, NBA basketball, craft beer, and playing TopGolf poorly, in that order.
Alex Hinds – Snare Technician
Alex Hinds is a percussion specialist born and raised in the Chicago-land area. He has grown to become a leading educator, clinician, and performer throughout the United States as well as Asia and Central America, having recently traveled to Taiwan where he performed in the Chiayi City International Band Festival as well as provided clinics to students and instructors.
Between DCI and WGI, Alex has an extensive marching career spanning 9 seasons. He spent his time with various ensembles including Pioneer Indoor (2010-2013) where he was the battery section leader and ensemble leader from 2011-2013, Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps (2011) where he was the snare section leader, Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps (2013-2014), and Gateway Indoor (2014-2015) where he was the battery section leader and ensemble leader for his age out in 2015.
Throughout his percussion career, Alex has been very grateful to have had the opportunity to grow and develop while studying under many greats in the music world. In his time at VanderCook College of Music Alex studied under the instruction of Professor Kevin Lepper and Bret Kuhn. Other greats that he has studied with include Adam Hill, Shane Gwaltney, Huei-Yuan Pan, Mike McIntosh, Clif Walker, Rob Ferguson, Derrick Shannon, Travis Newman and many more.
In addition to teaching, Alex is a designer, arranger, and consultant for outdoor and indoor marching ensembles throughout the United States. He is an active member of Percussive Soundscapes, a company started by Derrick Shannon that provides arrangements, original compositions, consultations, and design resources for percussion ensembles in all areas of the pageantry arts.
Alex currently resides in Houston, Texas and holds the title of Percussion Director at Galena Park High School in Galena Park ISD. At this time he is also on staff with the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps based out of Rockford, IL as a snare tech as well as on staff at Monarch Independent Percussion as a snare tech.
Alex proudly endorses Pearl/Adams instruments, Innovative Percussion, and Beetle Percussion.
TJ Goss – Tenor Technician
TJ’s DCI marching career began in 2011 with the Crossmen, followed by a season each with the Blue Knights and the Blue Stars. TJ spent his last two seasons as a member of the Bluecoats. In WGI, he spent time with several groups including Rhythm X, Pulse Percussion, NorthCoast Academy and Imperial Percussion Theater. TJ’s teaching career includes many schools in the central Texas area.
Currently, he is a percussion specialist in the Leander ISD cluster. He serves as the battery caption head at Rouse High School. TJ is also a private lessons instructor at Rouse High School and Wiley Middle School. In 2016, he was on staff with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps percussion sections and in 2017 spent the summer as a quad technician for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. TJ is looking forward to his second season with Monarch!
Michael Spooner – Tenor Technician
Born and raised in Minnesota, Michael moved to Nashville, TN after graduating from Anoka high school and attended Middle Tennessee State University to study music education under Lalo and Julie Davila, and Matt Jordan. While at MTSU, he played with the percussion ensemble, world percussion ensemble, symphonic band, steel drum band, the Band of Blue Drumline, and was the principal timpanist for the orchestra.
As a performer, Michael has marched with Minnesota Brass Indoor (2009), The Blue Stars (07-09), and The Cavaliers (10-11). He has played with The Danville Symphony Orchestra, Rhythm In You, and The Circle City Bucket Drummers.
As an educator, Michael has worked with several groups, including:
River City Rhythm (2010, 2014)
The Crossmen (2012)
The Cavaliers (2013)
The Blue Stars (2015)
The Colts (2016)
Legacy Indoor (2016-2017)
The Phantom Regiment (2016-present)
He has been lucky enough to have worked with such high schools as:
Rosemount HS (MN)
Franklin HS (TN)
Ravenwood HS (TN)
Ben Davis HS (IN)
Brownsburg HS (IN)
Currently, he is the Percussion Director for North Shore High School in Houston, TX, where he lives with his girlfriend Emily and their puppy, Huxley.
Aundray Edwards – Bass Technician
Aundray Edwards received his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Houston (‘15). Aundray has been a percussion specialist/technician for several high school marching programs in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Cypress Creek High School (’10-’12) winning PAS call for tapes in ’12 as well as Cy-Fair High School (’13-’14). Currently, Aundray resides in Lake Jackson, Tx where he is the assistant director of percussion for the Brazoswood High School cluster including Brazoswood High School, Clute Intermediate, and Rasco Middle School in Brazosport ISD.
Aundray has extensive percussion performance experience ranging from DCI to the Collegiate world. While attending UH he was a part of all the performing ensembles, including the wind ensemble and symphony orchestra, which both were invited to perform at the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois (‘12) as well as the Texas Music Educator Association clinic (‘12). His further percussion performance experience includes the Moores School Percussion Ensemble winning PAS call for tapes (PASIC ‘10), and marching snare drum with the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps (‘10).
Aundray has also served as the bass drum technician for the Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps (‘15-’16) As well as the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. His indoor teaching experience includes Cy-Fair High School (’13-’14) earning a 5th place finish in PSO finals at WGI ’13. He also serves as one of the bass drum technicians for Monarch Independent in ‘16-’17.
James Neblett – Bass Technician
Returning to Monarch Independent for his second season, James Neblett is an active educator, arranger, and clinician in the greater Austin area. He has had the opportunity to work with several Scholastic, Open, Collegiate, and World Class programs. Some of these include several ensembles within the Pflugerville, Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Eanes, and Leander Independent School Districts, as well as the University of Texas Longhorn Band, Texas State Bobcat band programs, and several other ensembles around Central Texas. James resides in Pflugerville, Texas where he is returning for his second season with the award-winning Vista Ridge Ranger Marching Band based out of Cedar Park, Texas.
James brings over a decade of instructional and performance experience, having been a marching member the “Showband of the Southwest”; University of Texas Longhorn Band for the 2007-2008 season. He then went on to become a marching member of the Boston Crusaders Bass Line from 2008-2010 and would later return to the Boston Crusaders as a Bass Drum Ensemble Specialist from 2014-2016. During his tenure in Drum and Bugle Corps, James had the distinct privilege of learning from some
of the greatest educators in the activity, including Dr. Thad Anderson, Dr. Omar Carmenates, Dr. Luis Rivera, Dennis Carty, Chauncey Holder, Colin Choat, Christopher Lennox, and Dr. Ellis Hampton, just to name a few.
When James isn’t dedicating time to music education, he works full-time as an Information Technology Systems Administrator for a local Healthcare company based in the greater Austin area.
Frank Connelly – Bass Technician
Alicia Turner – Cymbal Technician
Alicia Turner is a California native who has relocated to the Houston area. She comes from a diverse marching background with extensive experience as an educator. She marched with Vanguard Cadets from 1999-2002 (front ensemble and low brass), Blue Knights 2004 (euphonium), and Santa Clara Vanguard 2005 in the cymbal line. She marched cymbals for 4 seasons in WGI PIW with RCC (2002 & 2006), and Black Knights (2003-2004). Alicia also performed with the RCC Marching Tigers band while studying music in college.
Her teaching experience includes drill design, visual/marching, front ensemble, battery, and cymbal instruction for many different high schools and independent groups in Southern California before moving to Texas. She was a cymbal technician with Pulse Percussion for 2011-2013 (PIW) and also worked with the POW Percussion group in 2012 (PIW). She has been on staff with Monarch Independent since their charter season in 2015. She toured on staff with the Sacramento Mandarins for the 2017 summer season. Alicia is currently the cymbal specialist at Cy-Fair High School, Cypress Falls High School, Morton Ranch High School, and Tomball Memorial High School, and also teaches camps and clinics for many other programs in the greater Houston area.
Emily Jones – Cymbal Technician
Emily Jones recently moved to Houston and is working with North Shore High School and Galena Park High School. She is very excited to begin her first season with Monarch Independent Percussion!
Emily attended Avon High School and started teaching at Avon upon graduating. She was a member of Rhythm X and Music City Mystique. After aging out she taught with Gateway Percussion, Legacy Indoor Percussion, and Matrix Performing Arts.
Front Ensemble Staff
Andy Filipiak – Front Ensemble Coordinator
Marcus Neudigate – Front Ensemble Technician
Marcus is a recent addition to the Cedar Park High School staff and has been an active performer and educator in the Kansas City, MO area for several years. He recently served as the Drumline Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Central Missouri. In addition to his work at UCM, Marcus has worked with many groups in the Midwest as an arranger, educator, and electronic designer.
Marcus has a B.M. in Percussion Performance from the University of Central Missouri, as well as an M.A.T. in Education. Marcus was a member of the Phantom Regiment Front Ensemble (2011, 2012) and became the section leader in 2012. He received the Zildjian player of the year award in 2011 and was also nominated for the Mark Glasscoe member of the year award. Marcus served on the percussion staff for the Sacramento Mandarins (2014 – 2016), Gateway Percussion (2015 – 2017), and Carolina Crown (2015 – 2017).
Greg Tsalikis – Front Ensemble Technician
Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Greg Tsalikis has been studying and performing music for over 30 years. He has had the pleasure of performing in all facets of percussion ranging from rudimental to orchestral, world, jazz, and contemporary chamber ensembles. His degrees include a Masters in Percussion Performance from Rice University, as well as a Bachelors in Percussion Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Greg has performed with various artists and ensembles throughout his career, including The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, Hilary Hahn, Edgar Meyer, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Bebe Neuwirth, and The Naval Academy Band. While at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, he served as principal and section percussionist and timpanist. As well, in 2009, Greg had the honor of being a soloist with the Houston Wind Symphony. He was also afforded the opportunity to play in The Hong Kong New Year’s Day Parade, as well as a mallet soloist on tour throughout Australia. During his drum corps days, Greg served as timpanist for the Bluecoats and Reading Buccaneers in the early 2000’s.
Currently, Greg serves as Front Ensemble Coordinator for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. Previously, he was the Front Ensemble Arranger and Coordinator for Spirit of Atlanta, as well as the Reading Buccaneers. He can also be found arranging for many high school bands throughout the country. Greg works as the Percussion Director & Music Arranger at Obra D. Tompkins High School in Katy, Texas, where he has served this role since the school’s opening in 2013.
Mickey Traub – Front Ensemble Technician
Cindy Willis – Front Ensemble Technician
Cindy Willis is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Dr. Thomas Burritt and Tony Edwards. She received her Bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University where she studied under Dr. John W. Parks IV. Shortly after graduating from FSU, she relocated to Pflugerville, Texas. She presently works as the Front Ensemble director at Pflugerville High School.
Cindy is excited to be returning for her second year at Monarch Independent on the Front Ensemble staff. In the 2017 season, Monarch was the Independent World Champion of the Texas Color Guard Circuit and placed 7th overall at WGI World Championships. In the 2016 WGI season, Cindy was on the Front Ensemble staff for the Independent Open group Rhythmic Force. In addition to her WGI teaching experience, Cindy was the Front Ensemble Coordinator for the Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps from Houston, Texas for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. As well, she would go on to help lead the Corps into its first DCI Open Class Finals appearance in 2016, making history for the entire organization.
In the 2016-17 school year, Cindy served as the Assistant Percussion Director Lake Travis ISD in Austin, TX. Prior to LTISD, Cindy has worked with several programs in the Greater Austin area, including percussion studios in the Georgetown, Pflugerville, and Leander Independent School Districts. Prior to becoming an educator in the Austin area, Cindy played marimba in 2008 for the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps and for the Boston Crusaders from 2009-2010. In 2009, the Boston Crusaders Front Ensemble earned 1st place in the 2009 Individual and Ensemble Competition.
Cindy has been extremely fortunate to study and work with some of the greatest Percussionists in the activity, including Dr. John W. Parks IV, Dr. Omar Carmenates, Matt Jordan, Dr. Tommy Dobbs, Dr. Justin Alexander, Dr. Megan Arns, and Andrew Beall.
Joel McAda – Front Ensemble Technician
Joel McAda is a Houston-area percussion educator and composer/arranger who has been continuously active as a performer and teacher in both TCGC and WGI since 2007, garnering medals in the state circuit as an ensemble cast member, an ensemble director, and an instructional staff member in scholastic ensembles as well as independent groups.
From the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2014, Joel served as the percussion director at William B. Travis High School in Richmond, TX where his indoor concert percussion ensemble enjoyed immediate recognition and became TCGC Scholastic Open Class medalists both years he was there. Since the fall of 2014, he has served as the battery coordinator and a private lesson teacher for the percussion program at Obra D. Tompkins High School in Katy, TX under the direction of Greg Tsalikis. This will be Joel’s fourth season working with the front ensemble at Monarch.
Roger Marquis – Visual Coordinator
Roger Marquis, a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, resides in the Houston area where he is an Assistant Band Director at Seven Lakes Junior High, Visual Coordinator for Monarch Independent Percussion, and Visual Co-Caption Head for the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps. In addition to his many responsibilities, he continues to be a consultant for numerous high school programs in the area and is an adjudicator for marching bands across the country.
As a founding staff member of Monarch, Roger has served the organization in a variety of roles beyond coordinating the visual program. He was an original member of the Monarch Arts Education Board of Directors and taken on many administrative responsibilities for the organization since it’s inception in May of 2014. The 2018 season will be Roger’s 4th season as Monarch’s Visual Coordinator.
Outside of Monarch, Roger has taught visual for scholastic and independent percussion ensembles of all classifications in Texas for over a decade. He has also served on the Executive Board for the Texas Color Guard Circuit as the Vice President of Percussion for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Roger has been involved in the drum corps activity since 2005. He began as a member of Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps and aged out after multiple seasons with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps. As an instructor, he has had a variety of responsibilities with Genesis, Crossmen, Boston Crusaders, and the Blue Stars.
Luke Zamprelli – Visual Technician
Luke Zamprelli currently resides in Houston, Texas and is an Assistant Band Director at Morton Ranch Junior High in Katy ISD. He serves on the visual staff of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, and he is an instructor with the marching bands at Paetow High School, Morton Ranch High School, and Tomball High School. He is also the visual designer and caption head of Collins Hill High School indoor percussion in Atlanta, Georgia. He is very excited to begin his third year with Monarch Independent!
Prior to his position in Katy, Luke was an Assistant Band Director at Magnolia West High School in Magnolia, Texas where he served as the visual caption head, brass specialist, color guard coordinator, and manager of the beginning brass classes. He helped lead the marching band to a Division 1 rating at the Region IX Marching Contest as well as bring the color guard to the WGI stage for the first time in school history.
Originally from the Atlanta area, Luke is a graduate of the University of Georgia. He was a member of the Phantom Regiment during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He served on the visual staff of the Boston Crusaders in 2013 and 2014 before beginning his time with the Blue Stars in 2016. He was an instructor at Atlanta Quest Percussion as well as a founding designer and instructor of Q2 Percussion which became a WGI Open Class Finalist in its inaugural year. As a designer for Collins Hill indoor percussion, the group won its first state championship and WGI Regional in 2016.
Muriel Hague – Visual Technician
Muriel Hague is a Kansas City native but moved to Houston in 2015. She is currently the Assistant Band Director at Tomball High School, in Tomball, TX. Prior to accepting the position at Tomball, she worked as a middle school band director in Humble and Spring. This will be her second year on the visual staff at Monarch.
In addition to teaching at Monarch and Tomball High School, Muriel is the Visual Director at Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps. She takes responsibility for planning and implementing the visual program as well as hiring staff and running the day-to-day visual operations during the summer. The 2018 drum corps season will be her second year in this role.
Muriel holds a bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas. She has been on staff and taught clinics for high school marching bands across the United States. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and cooking.
Conrad Isenhour – Visual Technician
Conrad Isenhour is returning to the Monarch Visual staff after spending the last two years as the Visual Caption Head and choreographer for 5points Percussion, where he helped lead the ensemble to two WGI Open Class Finals appearances. Conrad is a brass and visual instructor, a choreographer, and the movement specialist for the Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School Marching Band in San Antonio, Texas; a BOA regional and super regional champion as well as a Grand National finalist. He has also been a member of The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps visual staff where he led the movement and choreography program for the horn line and battery the past two seasons.
Conrad has worked with and choreographed for many BOA, UIL, and WGI finalist marching bands and indoor drumlines including Cedar Ridge HS, Mustang HS, Ronald Reagan HS, O’Connor HS, Azle HS and others. He was a member of the staff for the inaugural edition of Monarch Independent Percussion in 2015, was part of the staff for the DCI World Class finalist Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps, and will be working with Crossmen Winds for their 2018 season. Conrad will also be assisting with the movement training and choreographing for the 2018 Oregon Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps.
As a performer, Conrad spent his time marching baritone for the Crossmen and the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. Conrad is also an active private instructor, designer, consultant, and adjudicator in the great state of Texas, and across the country
Kyle Marx – Visual Technician
Kyle Marx is in his 2nd year on Visual Staff for Monarch Independent.
In addition to teaching for Monarch, Kyle is in his 4th year on visual staff for the Blue Knights. Previously, Kyle was on the visual staff for the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps in 2014 and a lead trumpet player for the Madison Scouts from 2011-2013.
In 2015, Kyle received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ohio University where he was a performer for the Ohio University Marching 110.
Currently, Kyle resides in Spring, Texas where he is in his 3rd year as the Assistant Band Director at Westfield High School in the Spring Independent School District.
Willie Veenstra – Visual Technician
Willie Veenstra was born and raised in Cypress, TX. Willie Veenstra was a member of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps from 2011 until he aged out in 2015. As a member of the horn line, Willie played trumpet from 2011 to 2012 until he stepped into the role of head drum major from 2013 to 2015. Willie spent his entire 5 years with Bluecoats and was awarded Bluecoat of the year in 2015. He joined the visual staff the following summer, helping to lead the corps to their first World Championships. He continues to serve as a visual instructor for the group.
Willie has worked with several high schools in the state of Texas including Cy-Fair High School, Anderson High School, and Cedar Ridge High School. He now serves as Visual Caption head for Cy-Fair High School. Willie also works with Cy-Fair’s Indoor drumline as a visual instructor, helping them to earn 3rd place and 2nd place at WGI and TCGC in 2016 and 2017 respectively. While being heavily involved in music education, Willie finished his BS in Petroleum Engineering and graduated in December 2015. He currently works at Cy-Ridge HS in Cypress teaching Algebra I and Calculus BC AP.
John Matthew – Visual Intern
John Johnston, originally from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is thrilled to be joining the team at Monarch this season. John is currently the Assistant Band Director at Pampa High School (Pampa, TX), where he serves as the director of the jazz program and visual coordinator for the marching band.
John received his B.S. in Music Education as well as his B.A. in music concentrated in oboe and jazz studies from Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA). During his time there he worked with a variety of groups including Cedar Crest High School, Conestoga Valley High School, and Blue Mountain High School. John most recently finished his second season on the visual staff with the Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps. He hopes to continue teaching and designing visually in Texas and beyond for an activity that has given so much to him.
Richard Falls – Movement Specialist
Richard Falls is a Chicago Native. He received his bachelor’s in Music Education from Illinois State University with a minor in Dance Education. While In college he marched Euphonium with Pioneer and Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps.
After commencement, Richard moved back to Chicago and began dancing professionally with Joel Hall Dancers, Nomi Dance, and Inaside Dance Chicago. Richard also continued his music education career as a Low Brass tech and Visual Program Director at Bloomington High school in Bloomington Illinois and Niles West High School in Skokie Illinois.
In the Fall of 2015, Richard moved to Dallas and began dancing with Dallas Black Dance Theatre Encore and teaching at Centennial High School in Burleson Texas and Vigilantes Indoor Percussion. Richard is currently in his first year as Junior High Band Director at Westwood Junior High School. There he is also the main visual and brass teacher for the high school marching band. Richard is excited to learn, grow and educate with Monarch this year.
Meghan Wleczyk – Movement Specialist
Meghan Wleczyk is a native Texan living in the Austin area.
Meghan has served as a director, clinician, design consultant and prop designer with a multitude of high school programs ranging from Scholastic Scholastic A to Scholastic World all across Texas since 2005. She is currently serving as an assistant in her 4th year with James Bowie High School, working with both the nationally recognized multi 6A State Finalist & Grand National finalist James Bowie HS Outdoor Performing Ensemble as well as both the 7x State Champions and 2x WGI Scholastic World Finalist James Bowie World and A Class winter guard programs. Meghan has also worked with ATX Winterguard A Class & Regional A programs from 2013-2015.
Meghan is currently on staff, serving in her 2nd year working with the Carolina Crown. Meghan is an alumnus of The Cadets, the Crossmen, and Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps from her years of marching from 2006-2008. She was also a member of the Revolution Winterguard in 2007. Outside of competition, Meghan serves as the Executive Director of the Austin Stars Performing Arts Association which has hosted the Texas Drum Corps Preview since 2005.
Meghan has been involved in the color guard activity since 2003. She currently serves as an administrative assistant for the Austin Independent School District and the James Bowie Outdoor Performing Ensemble.
Joshua Balli – Movement Specialist
Joshua Balli is originally from La Joya, Tx and has been involved in the marching arts since 2009. As a performer, Joshua is an alumnus of Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps where he marched one year in the horn line and one year in the color guard and the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps where he marched one year in the horn line. While attending the University of Texas at San Antonio he performed in the Spirit of San Antonio marching and winter guards and studied modern dance. Joshua has worked for many groups in south Texas and is currently on staff at Winston Churchill High School (2015-Present) and is on the visual staff for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps (2017-Present).
Joshua currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and is in his senior year at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he is receiving his bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a focus on saxophone.