Brass Staff
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Brass Staff

Brass Arranger - Jerry Kelsey

Brass Caption Head - Randall Bennett

Trumpet Technician - Brandon Luce

Mellophone Technician - Nick O'Hara

Mellophone Technician - Patrick Koppenhaver

Baritone Technician - Jacob Wright

Tuba Technician - Tyler Wiernusz

Low Brass Technician (winter) - Christopher Reid

Consultant - Dr. Jason Ladd

Consultant - Mr. Ric Munsey


 

Randall BennettRandall Bennett
Brass Caption Head
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Randall Bennett currently resides in Albany, NY. He has been in the marching arts activity since 2001. In this time Randall has played tuba in a variety of drum corps, marching bands, symphony, and other professional organizations including The CNS High School Marching Band, Syracuse Brigadiers Drum & Bugle Corps, The Empire Statesmen Drum & Bugle Corps, The Edge, Symphoria, Syracuse Brigadiers Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps, and many other church groups and organizations. Randall has performed with these groups throughout the country for thousands of people including a short span on America's Got Talent in 2012 with The Edge. In 2009 Randall won the DCA Tuba Individual & Ensemble Competition (I&E) representing the Syracuse Brigadiers. Randall served 2 terms as the vice president for the Syracuse Brigadiers Alumni Corps Board in 2011-13.
Randall holds an Associate's degree in Music from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY. He is currently working towards his Bachelor's degree in Music Education at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. At Saint Rose, Randall is the principal tuba of the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Brass Choir, and Chamber Brass Ensemble.

Randall has been teaching marching band, indoor percussion, and drum corps since 2009. He has spent 4 years being the Brass Caption Head for the Baldwinsville High School Marching Band, and Visual Caption Head for Baldwinsville's Indoor Percussion. In his time at Baldwinsville the band has won two NYS Championships, Maryland/Delaware State Championship, Gator Bowl Championship, and several other honors and awards including the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Randall is also a brass and visual instructor for the Mohonasen High School marching programs in Rotterdam, NY.

Randall has been a teacher at The Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps since 2012, where he started as the tuba teacher. In the summer of 2014 Randall was promoted to the position of Brass Caption Head. In his time at Pioneer the corps and hornline has grown greatly in size and quality. He is honored to be voted as staff member of the year by the membership of Pioneer at the 2014 banquet. Randall is privileged to have a great staff and group of members to work with here at the Pioneer. He strives to promote the corps motto of "Better.Every.Day."


Brandon LuceBrandon Luce
Trumpet Technician

Brandon Luce is returning for his third season with Pioneer. Brandon holds a degree in Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y. While at Roberts he held principal positions in the Roberts Wesleyan College Wind Ensemble, Community Orchestra, Big Band, and Jazz Combo. At the University of Akron he performed with the Symphonic Band, Jazz Lab Band, and Brass Choir. Primary teachers have included Scott Johnston, Dr. Paul Shewan, and Derek Reiss.

His drum experience stems through both DCI and DCA, and includes positions with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps from Canton, O.H. (2010-2011), the Ghost Riders Drum & Bugle Corps from Batavia, N.Y. (2006-2012), and the Rochester Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps from Rochester, N.Y. (2008).

Currently Brandon serves as the Brass Caption Head for the East Clinton Marching Astros from Sabina, O.H. He also currently performs with the Sinclair Wind Symphony of Dayton, O.H., and other professional ensembles.
Brandon is very excited to return to Pioneer for 2015, and hopes to make this another great season!


Nick O'HaraNick O'Hara
Mellophone Technician

Nick O'Hara is from Liverpool, NY and is a new member of the Pioneer Brass Staff for the 2015 season. Nick just finished a season on the Visual Staff for the 2014 Cadets2 DCA season. Prior to him teaching DCA, he marched with the Syracuse Brigadiers in 2009 on trumpet. He then marched mellophone for the Cadets in 2010 and 2011, which won the DCI World Championship. He was honored to be chosen as one of a handful of members to then play in front of President Obama before his address at the United Nations Building in New York City later that year.

Since coming off tour, he has been instructing the Liverpool Warriors Marching Band from Liverpool, NY where he is entering his third year on both Visual and Music staff.

Nick is a 2014 Syracuse University graduate where he double majored in Biology and Neuroscience. He participated in the Syracuse University Marching Band for two years where he was granted the opportunity to play at the Inaugural Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.

Nick is excited to be apart of the Brass Staff for 2015 and is anxious to see what this season has got in store!


Pat KoppenhaverPatrick Koppenhaver
Mellophone Technician

Patrick Koppenhaver is 24 years old and from Virginia Beach, VA. He is currently in his second year of teaching as the Director of Bands at Currituck County Middle School in Barco, NC. Patrick graduated in May of 2013 from East Carolina University's AJ Fletcher School of Music and earned a Bachelor's of Music Education with a concentration in French horn. Patrick was an active performer and leader while participating in the Marching Pirates for 4 years and the ECU Pep Band for 5 years. He performed with the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Horn Choir. He has also performed with local orchestras, including the Queen Street Orchestra, the Barton/Wilson Symphony, and the Tar River Symphony. Patrick is an alumnus of the Kappa Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. This begins his second year as a member of the brass instructional staff of Pioneer working primarily as the mellophone technician during tour.


Jacob WrightJacob Wright
Baritone Technician

This is Jacob Wright's first year with Pioneer. He graduated summa cum laude from Capital University in Columbus, OH, with a bachelor's in music education. While at Capital University, Jacob performed with the big band, orchestra, chapel choir, and was the principal chair in the Symphonic Winds. Jacob Wright marched with the Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps from 2009-2012. While marching with the Glassmen, he was a section leader and also received the brass member of the year in 2012. He has previously taught marching band at Lebanon HS in Lebanon, OH, and Central Crossing HS in Grove City, OH.

Jacob currently lives in Tulsa and is a teacher in Tulsa Public Schools with Teach For America. He is an alumnus of Tau Beta Sigma and has been inducted into Alpha Chi and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society. He currently teaches marching band at Jenks High School in Jenks, OK.


Tyler WiernuszTyler Wiernusz
Tuba Technician

Tyler is currently at Michigan State University pursuing a Masters Degree in Music Education. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education, with a concentration in Tuba, from the University of Delaware. Tyler began his teaching career teaching Instrumental Music at Seaford Senior High School in Seaford, Delaware. At Seaford High School Tyler taught numerous large ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. Tyler also spearheaded the movement to bring guitar and piano classes into the curriculum. He was also a member of the International Baccalaureate team.

Tyler was fortune enough to march three summers with drum and bugle corps. He aged out in 2011 with the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps from La Crosse, WI, a DCI World Class Finalist. He also marched summers with the Citations Drum & Bugle Corps, a DCI Open Class Bronze Medalist, in 2009 and the Bushwackers, a DCA Finalist, in 2010. Tyler joined the brass staff of DCA's Windsor Regiment starting in 2012. In 2013, Tyler was appointed brass caption head, a position he held for the next two summers.

Tyler is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national men's music fraternity and an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).


Christopher ReidChristopher Reid
Low Brass Technician (Winter)

Christopher Reid comes to Pioneer with years of brass playing experience. He holds a degree in Sports Management from Crown College in Minnesota and a Masters Degree from Kaplan University. While he was in college, he was all Conference in football and was a part of the baseball team as well. During his down time from sports, he was a part of a brass ensemble that he helped put together. He was the principle trombone player for two years.

Chris has been involved in the drum corps activity for 13 years in both DCA and DCI. He got his start in drum corps in 2000 when he marched baritone for the world famous Govenaires out of St. Peter, MN. His DCI dreams came to fruition when he marched Pioneer from 2001-02 in which he won best member in the Baritone/Euphonium section that year. After his age out from DCI, he began his second stint in the DCA circuit with Minnesota Brass. During his time with MBI, he has been apart of many top horn lines and top 3 placements, which included a DCA Championship in 2011, a first for any corps outside the Northeast. He also held leadership roles such as horn sergeant during his time with MBI.

Currently Chris resides in Maple Grove, MN, with his wife Kimberly (who has been a part of the drum corps activity for 5 years). He works for a logistics company in Maple Grove, MN, while his wife works for a pharmaceutical distribution company.

Chris is very excited to be a part of the Pioneer family again as he looks forward to a very successful and rewarding season.


Dr. Jason LaddDr. Jason Ladd
Consultant

Dr. Jason S. Ladd is in his third year working on the brass staff of the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps. He has taught at Marquette University for the past five years where he directs the MU Symphony Orchestra and MU Symphonic Band as well as co-directs the MU Pep Band. He has previously served as an adjunct professor in tuba and euphonium at Syracuse University and taught in public schools in New York. Some of his performance accomplishments include serving as substitute tubist with the Syracuse Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, and Utica Symphony as well as playing for the national touring company of the Broadway musical Chicago. He has recently performed in the Wisconsin College and University Faculty Brass Ensemble at WMEA and done low brass coachings for the Milwaukee Symphony Youth Orchestra. Some of his private brass teachers include Don Harry, Paul Ebbers, Mark Kellogg, Cherry Beauregard, David Fedderly, and Toby Hanks. Dr. Ladd has also performed in master classes led by Ron Bishop, Roger Bobo, Velvet Brown, Vincent Cichowicz, and Phil Sinder. His degrees are from the Eastman School of Music, Syracuse University, and Florida State University.

His compositions have been read by the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cassatt Quartet, and the Eppes Quartet as well as been performed by the Eastman School of Music's Tuba Mirum, the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, and at the 40th Anniversary of the Potsdam Brass Quintet. His marching band drill has been performed by the Florida State Marching Chiefs and the Syracuse University Pride of the Orange as well as his arrangements played by SU's Sour Sitrus Society. Dr. Ladd has served on the advisory board for MENC's Music Educator's Journal and the strategic planning committee of College Orchestra Directors Association. He has presented at the CODA's national conference at Northwestern University, at the North-Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association's conference, and at the College of Virginia at Wise. This academic year he will be presenting research on tuba pedagogy at the NYSSMA conference and guest conducting the Wisconsin All-Star College Band. His memberships include the American Federation of Musicians, American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, College Band Directors National Association, Conductors Guild, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Pi Kappa Lambda.


Ric MunseyMr. Ric Munsey
Consultant

Mr. Ric Munsey is currently the band director at Grayson County HS in Independence, VA. He has been teaching band in Grayson County since 1990. Responsibilities include teaching middle school band, high school marching and concert bands, winter guard, and jazz ensemble. Mr. Munsey is also the fine arts department chairperson for Grayson County Public Schools.

Mr. Munsey received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from East Tennessee State University in 1989 with emphasis on his major instrument, trumpet. He enjoyed a vigorous performance career at ETSU, performing in the marching and concert bands, brass and jazz ensembles, singing in the University Choir and Men's Ensemble choir, and performing with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra.

He has been a guest clinician for the Buchanan County(VA) and Henry County(VA) All-County bands, the Wise County(VA) "Program of Academic Challenge for Excellence (PACE)", and East Tennessee State University Honors Bands. Mr. Munsey also judges at local marching band competitions in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

Mr. Munsey is a member of the Music Educators National Conference and Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, including spending four years as the Instrumental Representative for District VII.

Mr. Munsey currently resides in Galax, VA with his wife, Stephanie, and son, Ross.