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Design Team Creates ‘What’s Next’ for Minnesota Brass

By December 8, 2017Drum & Bugle Corps

Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps has announced its design team for the 2018 season.
Todd Tanji, executive director, will serve as staff coordinator for the program and lead a highly experienced team of drum-corps professionals. Wil Furnstahl, who has served as Minnesota Brass’ color-guard caption head for several seasons, is taking on new responsibilities as visual coordinator and will be responsible for the design of all visual elements of the corps’ presentation. Brandon Wickham will join the Minnesota Brass team as drill designer, while Matt Ferry and Phil Snyder will serve as music coordinators, and Ward Miller will take the role of brass arranger and educational advisor. Leading the percussion program are long-time Minnesota Brass instructors Joel Matuzak (battery arranger) and Craig Myers (front ensemble arranger and sound designer). Minnesota Brass alum John Ebert will serve as prop coordinator.

Brass, percussion and conductor auditions for the 2018 edition of Minnesota Brass will be held on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brooklyn Center High School in suburban Minneapolis. More information for prospective members is available online

Will Furnstahl
Will Furnstahl has led Minnesota Brass’ color guard for several years, including the 2011 DCA World Championship season, when his unit won top honors. He also is the director of MBI Winter Guard, which placed second at the 2017 Independent A Class WGI World Championships. He has led several winter-guard champions in the North Star Color Guard Circuit, including those at Park Center High School, Eclipse and Elk River. He has performed with the St. Cloud All-City Marching Band, the Royal Guard of the Twin Cities, Heritage Winter Guard of Madison, Wis., and Minnesota Brass. He has been teaching color guard since 1997 and is an adjudicator with the Tri-State Judges Association.

Brandon Wickham
An international clinician, visual designer and drill writer from California, Brandon Wickham began his marching career as a baritone player in 2004 with the Vanguard Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps from Santa Clara, Calif., and went on to join the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps in 2005.

Since aging out from the Blue Devils organization in 2008, Wickham has gone on to work with several award-winning high-school programs throughout California and the Midwest. From 2011 to 2015, Wickham worked as a designer and visual caption head of the 2011 and 2012 Western Band Association (WBA) Champion and 2013 Bands of America (BOA) Grand National finalist Ayala High School Band and Color Guard of Chino, Calif., as well as the 2013 WBA Champion Upland (Calif.) High School Highland Regiment Marching Band, and the 2014-2105 WBA class champion Cerritos (Calif.) High School Regiment of Gold Marching Band. After the 2015 competitive season, Wickham moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where he has since joined the staffs of several prestigious high-school programs including the Avon High School Marching Black and Gold, the Ben Davis High School Marching Giants of Indianapolis and the Center Grove High School Marching Band of Greenwood, Ind.

Matt Ferry
Ferry is a Minneapolis native who has been active in the marching arts since he began performing with the front ensembles at the Blue Stars (1998) and the Cavaliers (1999-2002) drum and bugle corps. While with The Cavaliers, he was a member of two high-percussion sections and three consecutive Drum Corps International World Championships. In 2003, Matt became the front-ensemble coordinator and arranger for Minnesota Brass. During his time with MBI, the corps received four Drum Corps Associates percussion titles, won the DCA World Championship in 2011; he also developed the Minnesota Brass Indoor winter drumline, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017.

After receiving his B.A. in Music Education at the University of Minnesota in 2005, Ferry worked for MakeMusic Inc., with which he helped introduce the SmartMusic music-learning software program into international markets, developed partnerships with DCI and BOA, and assisted with the implementation of music technology into more than 300 school districts across the United States.

Most recently, Ferry took a three-year hiatus from Minnesota winters and moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked with the front ensembles at the suburban Dripping Springs High School, Claudia Taylor Johnson High School of San Antonio, Texas, and was a founding designer/coordinator of 5points Percussion from San Antonio. Ferry currently works for Edmentum Inc. from his home office in St. Paul, Minn., where he supports digital learning outcomes for more than 350 school systems in New England and New Jersey. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Invictus World Color Guard of Austin, Texas, where he assists with corporate partnerships and web design. Ferry has been an Innovative Percussion Artist since 2003.

Joel Matuzak
Joel has been the program coordinator for Minnesota Brass since 2002 and percussion caption head since 1998. Under his leadership, the corps has won the DCA Open Class Championship (2011) and been a silver medalist five times, as well as winning four DCA percussion titles. He is the design coordinator for the Minnesota Brass Indoor Drumline and has been the head instructor of the Sköl Line, a drumline for the Minnesota Vikings NFL franchise, since 2008. He is highly regarded as an arranger, drill writer, clinician and adjudicator. He has instructed and arranged for many marching ensembles throughout the United States. He is an alumni of the Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps, member of both the Minnesota Percussion Association and Minnesota Brass hall of fame, and a 2012 inductee of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a degree in music education. He has been the director of instrumental music at Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul since 1997.

Craig Myers
A percussion educator, clinician, composer and arranger from Minneapolis, Minn., Myers will mark his third season as front-ensemble coordinator for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps of Dubuque, Iowa, as well as designing and educating for Minnesota Brass Indoor and the drumlines at Eden Prairie, Minn., and Waconia, Minn., high schools. He also educates a studio of 20 young percussionists through private lessons, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Percussion Association.

As a performer, Myers received First Place honors in the 2009 St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra Young Performers Concerto Competition and is a recipient of the David Swenson Scholarship for Percussion. He has performed as a world finalist with several marching ensembles, including Dayton, Ohio’s Rhythm X (2008 WGI Independent World champions), The Cadets Drum and Bugle Crops (Allentown, Pa.) and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps (Canton, Ohio), along with numerous Minnesota percussion and wind ensembles. He has performed with the orchestra for the Merce Cunningham Dance Group’s production of “Ocean,” which the Los Angeles Times described as “One of the Top Ten Musical Events of 2008”, and participated in the Northwestern University 2009 Percussion Symposium.

Myers received his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance degree from Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University.

Ward Miller
Miller earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Auburn University in 2001, where he served as arranger and undergraduate teaching assistant with the Auburn University Marching Band. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2003 with a master’s degree in Trombone Performance, and served as part-time assistant and clinician with the Paradise Valley (Phoenix, Ariz.) High School bands, the Mesa Community College Wind Ensemble and the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra. He has also taught in Alabama public schools, serving as director of bands at Andalusia High School and at Pleasant Grove High School. In 2006, he accepted a graduate teaching assistantship at the University of Iowa, where he studied band conducting. While at Iowa, he also worked as a teaching assistant with the Hawkeye Marching Band, for which he wrote, taught, and conducted multiple arrangements and halftime drills. He also conducted the University of Iowa Concert Band and earned the 2008 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Miller graduated in 2011 from the University of Iowa with a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Band Conducting.
In 2014, Miller was appointed brass caption head for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crosse, Wis. He is an associate member of College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Phil Snyder
A graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he studied music education, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied trumpet performance, Snyder currently is band director for the Waconia (Minn.) School District, where he directs middle- and high-school ensembles. He is also an accomplished drill designer; bands that have performed Snyder’s designs have won 11 state championships and numerous sweepstakes awards. He has also been involved with drum and bugle corps for the past 17 years as a performer, instructor and designer for DCI World Class, DCI Open Class and DCA ensembles, most notably with Minnesota Brass and the Dubuque, Iowa-based Colts and Colt Cadets.

John Ebert
John Ebert is adedicated performer and volunteer with Minnesota Brass. He marched nine seasons on trumpet and two on mellophone between 1998-2010. He has also played trumpet and baritone with Minne-Brass since 2005. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Directors, instructed with Minne-Brass and served as a driver for the corps equipment trucks. John designed and produced the distinctive geodesic globe for the 2014 Supernova production.

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