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Patrick is thrilled to be back for his fourth year teaching the Mandarins Brass. Patrick is currently the Assistant Band Director at Jasper High School in Jasper, Indiana. He graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a Bachelor of Music Education, studying trumpet with renowned trumpet teacher Bill Adam, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Masters in Wind Conducting from Southern Oregon University. In addition to assisting with the marching and symphonic bands, Patrick directs the concert, jazz, and pep bands as well as the Jasper brass program. The Jasper Marching Band has been an Indiana State Finalist for 30 consecutive years, had 11 top three finishes and one state championship. The symphonic band has been a concert band state finalist 22 times and Patrick’s jazz band was one of eight bands in the state selected as an Indiana State Jazz Finalist in 2017. Patrick maintains an extensive private studio where he teaches all of the brass instruments. He has had over 100 of his private brass students selected to the Indiana All State Band, All State Orchestra, All State Jazz Band, Jr. All State Jazz Band and Jr. All State Band as well as the US Army All American Marching Band, with many of those selected to multiple groups, multiple times. Many of Pat’s former students are now band directors and professional musicians and Pat is very proud to have two former students teaching alongside him on the Mandarins Brass Staff. Patrick got his start in DCI as a member of the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps and was excited to march with his wife in the Star Alumni Corps. Patrick has served several terms on both the ISSMA and IBA state boards and is a member of Phi Beta Mu honorary band director fraternity, Indiana Jazz Educators Association and the Indiana Bandmasters Association. Prior to teaching at the Mandarins, Patrick spent three years on the brass staff at the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. Pat is excited this to see what exciting things the Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps bring to the table in 2021 and be a part of this Mandarins Educational team that always strives to push to new levels of excellence. Patrick lives in Jasper, IN with his wife Buffy and has two adult daughters. He enjoys going on adventures with friends and family, watching sports, driving his new Jeep, and playing Madden.
Nicole Davis is an active high school band director, drill designer, and movement clinician in Houston, TX. She received her undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education from Middle Tennessee State University in 2019. While at MTSU, Nicole primarily studied bassoon with Gil Perel of the Nashville Symphony and also performed on flute and trumpet in various ensembles. In addition to instrumental music, Nicole performed with the Women’s Chorale and the university’s top vocal ensemble, Schola Cantorum. Nicole began her brass playing career in 2013 with Music City out of Nashville, TN. She then continued her performance career with Spirit of Atlanta, Phantom Regiment, Blue Knights, and the Bluecoats. In addition to DCI, she spent two winter seasons at Rhythm X as a dancer in 2017 and 2018 before returning as an instructor in 2019. Nicole has taught on the Mandarins visual team since 2018, and is honored to serve the hornline this season as a part of the brass management team. Outside of teaching, she spends her time traveling, long-distance running, reading, dancing, gardening, and petting every dog she sees.
Aaron Wells is currently in his twenty-second year of teaching band in Indiana and in his fifteenth year at Edgewood High School where his marching band is yearly a State Champion contender. In his thirty plus years participating in the marching arts Aaron has been a member or staff of several state and national championship programs which include BOA Class A Super Regional and Grand National Champions and has traveled to Ireland twice with his band to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade where his group was the overall champion in 2009. Aaron can now add the honor of teaching a DCI finalist drum corps with the 2018 and 2019 Mandarins! Aaron started his drum corps adventure in 1992 with Star of Indiana where he was a member for five years and later on Aaron taught at the Madison Scouts and Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps where he worked with the visual team at Madison and was on brass staff with the Troopers. In 2018 Aaron had the honor of being a DCA Champion while performing with the Star United mini corps. Aaron lives in Arney, Indiana with his wife Amanda and daughter Trinity along with their dogs Faddis Rizzuto and Chleo.
Milt was on the Mandarins brass staff from 1990 to 1993, returning to the brass staff in 2004 until his current role as Brass Analytics since 2018. Additionally, Milt was on the Mandarins Brass Academy staff from its first year in 2008 to 2014, and was the Mandarins Academy Director from 2015 to 2019. A trombonist through college and a Lead Baritone with the Sacramento Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corps, Milt is a trombonist with the Elk Grove Community Concert Band since 2010 and with the Mandarins Brass Alumni since 2019. Milt was married to Floree for 31 years, before she passed in November 2018, and together they have two adult sons, Madison and Cameron. Floree's uncle Yuk Fong was one of the four founders of the Ye Wah Drums and Lyras Corps in 1963 that became the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps in 1967. In 2018, Milt retired from AT&T as the Chief of Staff for an Assistant Vice President.
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Chris Langton is a music educator with pursuits spanning across the musical spectrum. Chris teaches in the Sacramento region as a member of the Elementary Music team for Folsom Cordova Unified School District. With a dual-focused degree in Instrumental/Vocal Music Education, and a masters degree in Vocal Performance, Chris draws upon a wide breadth of rich musical experiences in his teaching. An actively-performing operatic baritone, Chris' work on the stage directly informs his brass pedagogy. His recent performances have included the role of Silvio in Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci," and "Belcore" in Donizetti's Elixir of Love. Chris is a Mandarins alumnus, and performed on euphonium from 2006-2011 as a member, soloist, and horn sergeant. Following his age-out, Chris worked as a member of the brass staff from 2012-2017, and returned to his "home corps" in 2020. Chris believes that ear training and vocal technique fit in flawlessly with the world of brass performance, and is excited to train and develop the next generation of Mandarins.
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Eric Obermeyer has been involved with the marching, performing and choral arts since 2006. A graduate of Jasper High School, Eric received his degree in music education with an emphasis in Euphonium and Piano from Murray State University. While at Murray State, Eric was a member of the Racer Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, as well as starting a brass sextet group that featured student-composed chamber music. Eric marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard as a baritone/trombone player in 2014, as well as with the Troopers marching trumpet in 2016. His favorite activities include teaching marching band, playing jazz piano, smoking everyone in 2k21, and building furniture. Along with performing, Eric also thoroughly enjoys the teaching aspect of the musical arts as well. He is in his 3rd year of teaching, spending his first year as the Band and Choir director at South Knox High School in Vincennes, Indiana, and is now in his 2nd year as the Band Director at Forest Park High School in Ferdinand, Indiana. Along with teaching, Eric also has a private lessons studio where he teaches all brass instruments to any age, as well as acting as a collaborative pianist to local high school choirs/bands in the area. Eric is extremely excited to join the Mandarin’s Brass Team this year, and looks forward to sharing his passion for music and learning with those around him!
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Russell Shartzer is a loving father, a professional tubist, music educator, visual designer, and performance adjudicator from Louisville, Ky. Russell grew up in a small river town with a strong music tradition in the public school. He has studied with the Empire Brass, participated in DCI as a member of the 1992-1993 Star of Indiana Contra Bass section and many other ensembles of note. Russell is a 2018 graduate of Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. “I look forward to building a strong relationship with the Mandarins members to help them become the best performers they can possibly be.”
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Chris Garza is currently an Assistant Band Director in Allen ISD at Ereckson Middle School, where he conducts the Concert Band and Symphonic Band II Band along with Brass and Woodwind beginner classes. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas and found his way to Nacogdoches, where he graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with his Bachelor of Music Education. During his education he studied with Dr. J.D. Salas and Dr. Danny Chapa, and sat Principal Euphonium of the Wind Ensemble. During his marching career, Chris marched Euphonium with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, an experience he credits with much of his current dedication and success. He has since done two seasons of Colorguard in addition to teaching several successful marching programs and is extremely thankful for every teacher and student he has had the opportunity to learn from. "I am a firm believer in what music and the marching arts can teach. We are not simply training great musicians, but the next generation of great people."
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Nico Peruzzi is a trombonist and music educator from Northern California. As an alum of the Sacramento Mandarins and the Concord Blue Devils, he's active in the marching band scene as a music and visual instructor and designer, working with several high schools in the greater Sacramento and Bay areas. He received a bachelors and masters degree in music education from University of the Pacific, where he served as the graduate assistant to the director of bands for two years. Currently he is the band and orchestra director at Rosemont High School in Sacramento.
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Austin Armstrong is the Assistant Band Director at Denison High School in Denison, Texas. He teaches Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Guitar and the JV "Gold" Color Guard. Austin graduated from Murray State University with his bachelor’s in music education. He was a member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2015, 2017 and is an active member of the Alumni Corps. He is also a proud Eagle Scout. Austin is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association.
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I began my music career with Patrick Keeley at Jasper High School in Indiana in 6th grade playing trumpet and continued until graduation. I attended Purdue University for engineering and continued playing music through my entire time at Purdue. I was in either orchestra or wind ensemble; depending on which fit around my engineering class schedule each semester. I marched with Phantom Regiment in 2006, playing mellophone. After graduation I returned to Jasper, IN and began teaching marching band with Patrick at Jasper High School. This upcoming high school marching band season will mark my third year as the marching assistant at Forest Park Jr/Sr High School where fellow Mandarins staff member, Eric Obermeyer, is the head band director. I'm excited to come on board!
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Aaron Christianson will be returning to the brass staff for 2021. He has a decade of marching arts experience, and nearly a decade of DCI experience despite aging out in 2019. He marched from 2013-2016 with the Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, was a member of the audio staff with The Bluecoats in 2018, and aged out of DCI as soloist with the Mandarins in 2019. In addition he has marched every marching percussion instrument with the Fair Lawn High School Indoor Percussion ensemble (Scholastic Open WGI), and teaches several drumlines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Aaron recently earned his degree in Theatre Entertainment & Technology with minors in Music Technology and Sculpture from Michigan Technological University in spring 2020.
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Raquel Samayoa leads a dynamic and engaging career as a teacher, chamber musician, recitalist, adjudicator and solo performer. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Trumpet, and Co-Conductor of the UNT Brass Band at the University of North Texas College of Music, where she has taught since 2018. Dr. Samayoa additionally performs with Lantana Trio, a Brass Trio comprised of UNT Brass Faculty. Dr. Samayoa was previously on faculty at Tennessee Tech University and Northern Kentucky University. Her performances have taken her to leading venues in the United States, Russia, Finland, Australia, China, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. As a member of the award-winning Seraph Brass, she frequently tours the US and abroad performing concerts and engaging in educational outreach performances. Raquel serves on the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) Board of Directors and is the co-editor of the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) newsletter. In January 2020, Dr. Samayoa released her first publication with Mountain Peak Music entitled Dueling Fundamentals for Two Trumpets. Raquel is a proud alumnus of the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps. She was also a member of Brass Theater, Blast!, and Star United mini-corps. She has additionally served on brass staffs with Blue Stars and Glassmen. (www.solotromba.com)
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Will Lovan is a native of Lexington, Ky and has taught in Kentucky, California and Texas. Will is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, holding a degree in trumpet performance and a certificate of baroque trumpet performance. Will’s DCI experience include being an alumnus of Carolina Crown, a featured soloist with the Cadets, and a member of the 2018 Boston Crusaders Brass Staff. Will has taught, competed, and performed in various ensembles across the nation and is very excited to return to the Mandarins for the 2021 season.
Dan began his drum corps career with the Northmen from Green Bay, WI. In 1998, he was a member of the Bluecoats and is an active member of the alumni. More recently, he was a member of Star United from 2007-2011, and participated in the Star of Indiana 2010 Alumni Project. Currently residing in Denton, Tx, Dan has consulted the Azle indoor winds program and performed trumpet with the Dallas Civic Winds. Prior to moving to Texas, Dan was a sought after program consultant and instructor in Southern Indiana. He was primarily an instructor at Floyd Central from 1997-2011, also assisting in program design from 2005-2007. He has also worked with Scottsburg, Brownsburg, Shawe, and many others. In 2012, Dan began working with Patrick Keeley at Jasper High School. He assisted there til 2017, helping the further development of their brass program. Dan studied trumpet privately with Michael Tunnell (University of Louisville). He also performed with the Indianapolis Wind Symphony and Indiana University (Southeast) Concert Band and Orchestra. Dan currently enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons, listening to classical and jazz, and plays trumpet for his sons when he can as well as participate in Bluecoat Alumni virtual ensembles. “I am looking forward to working with Patrick Keeley again, and with an organization that truly values the educational and cultural experience provided to their students.”