Minnesota Brass is thrilled to announce the addition of Blue Devils luminary John Meehan as arranger and brass consultant. He joins a world-class staff made up of drum corps veterans who know how to build a champion and foster innovation in the marching arts.
John is most widely known as an instructor and arranger with the Blue Devils of Concord, Calif., helping to guide the corps to six DCI world championships (including 2014) and nine high brass awards since 1994. He also has been instrumental in establishing the Blue Devils B and C corps as musical forces, with Blue Devils B winning DCI’s Open Class championship this year. John has established himself as a highly sought-after arranger and show creator with a variety of musical ensembles around the globe, from the award-winning James Logan High School Marching Band of Union City, Calif., to Drum Corps Japan champion Yokohama Scouts.
As if making a major splash in the marching arts weren’t enough, John is an accomplished composer, too. His key writing credits include the album “The Music Of WYLAND,” the score for the film “Mind Games” and the commissioned concert-band piece “Circe’s Curse.” His performance achievements include playing in a world-champion Blue Devils hornline and soloing in Germany with his college jazz ensemble.
“We’re very excited to welcome John Meehan to our design team,” said Eric Molho, executive director of Minnesota Brass. “He will help push our creativity and strengthen the experience for our members, which makes him the perfect addition to Minnesota Brass.”
And John isn’t the only new member of the corps’ staff. Also coming aboard are alumni Joe Asleson as visual caption supervisor and Craig Myers as front-ensemble arranger and supervisor — along with Scott Palmer as brass caption supervisor, in his first full season in that role.
They join a veteran team — led by program coordinator Joel Matuzak — that has guided Minnesota Brass to the upper echelon of the marching arts, including the 2011 Drum Corps Associates Open Class championship. These proven staff members include Andy Classen as drill designer, Wil Furnstahl as color-guard caption supervisor and Paul Terry as assistant brass caption supervisor.
Here’s a little more about the 2015 Minnesota Brass staff:
Joel Matuzak (program coordinator and percussion caption supervisor/arranger): 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, including the University of Arkansas, Governaires drum and bugle corps, Irondale High School, Waseca High School and Eden Prairie High School. 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.
Joe Asleson (visual caption supervisor): Joe is the director and visual designer for Minnesota Brass Indoor Drumline and now takes on visual duties for the full field corps. In 2014, he was voted Instructor of the Year by the Minnesota Percussion Association. He serves as the percussion caption head and battery arranger for the Eden Prairie High School Marching Band, as well as battery arranger and visual designer for the Eden Prairie Indoor Drumline. For the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he served as snare technician as well as battery visual instructor and choreographer for the Colts drum and bugle corps of Dubuque, Iowa. He has instructed and designed at various high schools in Minnesota. In 2010 and 2014, he served as the snare section leader with Minnesota Brass, where he first performed in 2005. In 2008, he performed with the Madison Scouts, serving as snare section leader for his age-out season. He performed with Minnesota Brass Indoor in its inaugural season in 2008 and with Music City Mystique (bronze medalist) in 2009.
Andy Classen (drill designer): Andy has been involved with Minnesota Brass since 1986, including arranging music and writing the drill for the corps’ 2011 DCA championship show, “Valhalla.” He has been involved with many drum corps, including the Colts, and marching bands from around the country. He is professor of trumpet and jazz studies at Drake University, a position he has held since 1992. He is principal trumpet with Orchestra Iowa, leader of the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra and has performed with world renowned artists including T.S. Monk, Ray Charles and the Moody Blues. He has performed as a soloist at the International Trumpet Guild Conference and has given master classes around the world. He is a noted jazz composer, with works published through C.L. Barnehouse and Really Good Music, and is very active in the field of computers in music.
Wil Furnstahl (color-guard caption supervisor): Wil has led Minnesota Brass’ color guard for several years, including the 2011 DCA championship season, when his unit won top honors. He also is the director of MBI Winter Guard, which he has built into a consistent WGI Independent Open Class finalist. He has led several winter guard champions in the North Star Color Guard Circuit, including Park Center High School, Eclipse and Elk River. He has performed with 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.
Craig Myers (front-ensemble arranger and supervisor): Craig is a percussion educator, clinician, composer and arranger who has worked with many programs throughout the Midwest, including Eden Prairie High School, the Colts and Waconia High School. He also is a staff composer/arranger for JKS Music, and serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Percussion Association. He started his performance career at Minnesota Brass in 2003 and also has performed as a World Class finalist with Rhythm X (2008 WGI PIW World Champions), the Cadets (Allentown, Pa.) and the Bluecoats (Canton, Ohio). At Eden Prairie High School, he is the front ensemble/sound design arranger in addition to the assistant director of the program’s percussion ensembles. He received his degree in percussion performance from St. Cloud State University.
Scott Palmer (brass caption supervisor): Scott returns to Minnesota Brass to lead its hornline, as well as spend a second season as an instructor on the horn staff of the Blue Devils, which won the DCI championship in his first year with the corps. He has performed with Minnesota Brass and the Madison Scouts. He is in his ninth year of teaching at Eden Prairie High School, where his many roles include directing the Eagle Marching Band and Winter Drumline. Under his direction, the marching band has been a Bands of America Super Regional finalist and Minnesota State Marching Band Championships runner-up. He is a graduate of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music with a degree in music education and is working on his master of music in conducting from the American Band College through Sam Houston State University. He is an active member of the music education community in Minnesota as an adjudicator, coach and clinician.
Paul Terry (assistant brass caption supervisor): Paul has been on the Minnesota Brass horn staff since 2007 and helped lead the corps to back-to-back high brass awards in 2010 and ’11, as well as the 2011 DCA Open Class Championship. He performed with Minnesota Brass in 2005-06. In 2014, he joined the Colts as a low-brass technician. He directs the bands and orchestras at Maple Grove Junior High School and teaches the Anoka High School Marching Tornadoes. He also has served as trombone coach for the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s All-State Jazz Band for several years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree from Boston University.
“Our 2015 design team is a great mix of familiar and new faces who are each amazing teachers and writers,” Molho said. “I’m thrilled we have assembled such a talented group to make this season extraordinary.”