Brass Staff
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Brass Staff

Arranger - Jerry Kelsey

Brass Caption Head - Jon Gifford

Tuba Technician - Randall Bennett

Trumpet Technician - Brandon Luce

Mellophone/Baritone Technician - Zach Prior

Baritone Technician - Chris Reid

Mellophone Technician - Pat Koppenhaver

Technician - Dr. Jason S. Ladd

Consultant - Lansing Dimon


Jon Gifford 
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Jon Gifford, known in the Drum Corps community as "Big Country", holds a degree in Music Education from East Carolina University with a concentration in Trumpet. While attending college, he was a member of all performing ensembles holding section leader/soloist positions with the Marching Band and Pep Band, Principal chairs in the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, and lead trumpet in the prestigious ECU Jazz Ensemble A. While a part of the Jazz Ensemble, he had the privilege to share the stage with such performing artists as Jon Faddis, Wycliffe Gordon, Fred Wesley of the JB Horns, Terrell Stafford, The Diva Big Band, Carl Allen, Winard Harper and Nina Freelon.

Mr. Gifford has been involved in the drum and bugle corps activity for over 16 years in both DCA and DCI. While a part of DCA, he has held both educational and performing positions with Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, Rochester Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, Ghost Riders Mini-Corps and the Heartliner from Germany. In DCA I&E competition, he has been a gold medal recipient as an individual soloist in 2008 playing trumpet, the small ensemble competition in 2011, and with the Ghost Riders Mini-Corps in 2013. His DCI involvement stems from Tarheel Sun Drum and Bugle Corps and was a soloist during his Age-out season with Div 2/3 silver medalist East Coast Jazz Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004.

Jon currently performs with the Piedmont Wind Symphony based in Winston Salem, NC as the principal trumpet. There he has performed with Neil Sedaka, Kenny G, Arturo Sandoval, Paul Anka, and The Three Irish Tenors.

Mr. Gifford is returning as brass caption head for the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps for the second year. He teaches Middle School and High School in Danbury, NC. His ensembles have received both Superior and Excellent ratings at state contest, as well as numerous first place finishes with his marching band.

Jon is very excited to continue to be a part of the Pioneer and looks forward to what will be a successful season!


Randall Bennett 
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Randall Bennett began his musical and marching experience in 2003 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. After high school, Randall went to Onondaga Community College and received his Associates Degree in music. Randall studied brass performance for 10 years, including brass instruction from John Raschella and Bill Harris, both former performers with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

In 2007, Randall joined The Brigadiers Drum & Bugle Corps, playing contra. He was an active member of the Brigadiers, through their final 2009 season. After the corps went on hiatus, Randall became a member of The Syracuse Brigadiers Alumni Corps. Here he played contra, and soon became Vice President of the corps board.

Randall currently teaches with The Baldwinsville High School Marching Band, where he has been the brass caption head since 2009. He is also the visual caption head of Baldwinsville’s Indoor Percussion Ensemble since 2011. In his time in Baldwinsville the band has won a NYS Championship, Maryland/Delaware State Championship, Gator Bowl Championship, and several other honors and awards. In the summer of 2011, Randall joined The Edge which is a staged Drum & Bugle Corps that performs all around the country. In The Edge, Randall has performed with many locally and national renowned musicians including Joey Pero, Roland Garceau, Elisha Willson, and Al Chez.


Brandon Luce 
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Brandon Luce is returning for his second 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. and the Springboro Panther Marching Band from Springboro, O.H. He also currently performs with the Sinclair Wind Symphony out of Dayton, O.H., and other professional ensembles.

Brandon is very excited to return to Pioneer, and hopes to make this another great season! 


Zach Prior 
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Zach Prior joins the Pioneer brass staff for the 2014 season. He marched mellophone with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2010, having previously marched 5 summers with the Oregon Shadow Armada, a member of the Mid-America Competing Band Directors Association (MACBDA). He studied Music Education at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI where he was initiated into Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national Music Fraternity. He currently teaches band in Oshkosh, WI. Zach is very excited to begin working with Pioneer and helping to bring the organization to a new level of achievement.

 


Chris Reid 
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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 apart of the baseball team as well. During his down time from sports, he was apart 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 is 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 apart 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 apart of the Pioneer family again as he looks forward to a very successful and rewarding season.


Pat Koppenhaver 
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Patrick Koppenhaver is currently 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.

He is an alumnus of the Kappa Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity.

Mr. Koppenhaver is excited to be a part of the 2014 Pioneer!


Dr. Jason S. Ladd

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.


Lansing Dimon

Lansing is the current Director of Operations for Pioneer. In this role, he manages several administrative duties, including social media, public relations, marketing, grant writing, recruiting, curriculum, handbook and policies, and other day to day operations. He is currently the Assistant Band Director at Waukesha North High School, where he is the assistant director of the 7 time state champion “Northstar” Marching Band, teaches several ensembles, and music technology.

Lansing began his drum corps involvement with the Syracuse Brigadiers in 1994. Lansing has over 25 years in the marching activity, and has instructed, consulted, designed and arranged in the marching musical activity since 1994 working with several high school field bands, college bands, drum corps and winterguards. Additionally, he has served in administrative and leadership positions on several boards of directors for alumni and fraternal organizations throughout his professional career and has higher education experience in student affairs, residence life and student programming.

During his 17 year tenure with The Brigadiers he has marched baritone, mellophone, soprano, served as an assistant drum major and served on the Board of Directors as President and Vice President. Lansing started his involvement with Pioneer as a low brass tech during the 2008 and 2009 seasons before becoming the Brass Caption Head in 2011. Past teaching include instructing for the Syracuse Brigadiers Alumni, Kingston Grenadiers (2010, 2011) and Spirit of Atlanta (summer 2000).

Lansing is a 1994 and 2005 graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned his B.M. in Music Education, M.S. in Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation, and M.S. in Music Education. When not involved in his studies or work, he continues to develop his skills as a composer and musician (both instrumental and vocal) and integrative educator, exploring the use of technology and development of instructional media in music education. He is currently pursuing a C.A.S. in Educational Administration at State University of New York at Plattsburgh. For more information, please visit www.lansingrdimon.com.