Executive Director: Katy will serve as Executive Director of the organization and will continue as director of MBI Indoor Percussion. She has served on the MBI visual staff since 2013 and has been the corps’ managing director since 2014, also providing member support for the corps’ winter ensembles. She currently teaches music in the White Bear Lake School District in suburban St. Paul, and teaches private lessons, summer band and high-school marching band. She lives in Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Corps Director: Sam Springer has been a part of the marching community since 2004 when she joined the Irondale Marching Knights for both of their fall and winter programs. She continued after graduating, marching with Minnesota Brass Drum & Bugle Corps from 2008-2016, and from 2014-2016 also sat as a chair on the Minnesota Brass Board of Directors. During that same time she worked as a music and visual instructor for the Champlin Park, Anoka, and Rosemount High Schools, as well as the River City Rhythm winter drumline. From 2014-2016 Sam worked as a music instructor at Andover High School while serving as Assistant Director for the Andover Marching Huskies. In 2017 she became the Director of the Andover Marching Huskies and in 2018 led the group to their first Class A State Championship at the Youth In Music competition. Sam holds a Master’s in Special Education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and currently works as a special education case manager at Saint Paul Public Schools.
Creative Director and Percussion 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 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 has been the director of instrumental music at Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul since 1997.
Dr. Ward Miller
Brass Arranger and Consultant: Ward Miller hails from Loachapoka, a small farming community near the city of Auburn, Alabama. He earned his bachelors of music education from Auburn University in 2001, where he served as webmaster, arranger, and an undergraduate teaching assistant with the Auburn University Marching Band. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2003 with a masters in Trombone Performance. While in the Phoenix area, he served as a part-time assistant and clinician with the Paradise Valley High School bands, the Mesa Community College Wind Ensemble, and the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra. He taught public school in Alabama for three years, 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 with Dr. Myron Welch in Band Conducting. While at Iowa, he also worked as a teaching assistant with the Hawkeye Marching Band, where he wrote, taught, and conducted multiple arrangements and halftime drills. He also conducted the Iowa University Concert Band, and earned the 2008 outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Miller graduated in 2011 from the University of Iowa with his D.M.A. in Band Conducting. Since 2014, Dr. Miller has been the Brass Caption Head for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crosse, WI. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN where he spends his time arranging and composing, and working as a music education consultant.
Frontline and Sound Arranger: Originally from all over, Chris Judd made his way to Minnesota to further his education by receiving a degree in Music Business and Composition from McNally Smith College of Music. Chris has been involved with drum corps and indoor percussion ensembles for over 15 + years. He is an alumni of Minnesota Brass Indoor and Jersey Surf. He spends his time educating and consulting music ensembles throughout the state Minnesota such as River Valley Percussion Theater and Eastview High School. Chris spends his days in Sales working with Albrecht Sign, writing music and traveling. He drives to bring motivation, passion and innovative elements that contribute to the building blocks of music and performance.
Brass Caption Supervisor: John was a performing member in the Minnesota Brass tuba section for five seasons (2010-2014), receiving recognition for excellence in both visual performance and musicianship. In the summer of 2018, he was an instructor for the MBI SoundSport ensemble. John is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he was a member of the Pride of Minnesota, and earned his degree in Music Education. He has been teaching competitive parade and field marching bands since 2007. He previously taught at Andover High School and was the Head Director of the Marching Band. John is currently the Band Director at South St. Paul Secondary.
Visual Caption Supervisor: Gretchen began her career in the marching arts as a mellophone player for Eden Prairie High School from 2007-2009. She then marched for Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps in 2010,2011, and 2016. She also marched mellophone for the world class Santa Clara Vanguard in 2012. Although she has a hornline performance background, she is eager to move ahead with her career as a visual instructor and designer in the indoor drumline and summer drum corps activities. In the past, she has worked with the Eden Prairie High School Eagle Band and is currently the assistant band director at Park Center High School. She is also spending her second season with Grove Area Percussion in Maple Grove, MN. This will be her second year on staff with Minnesota Brass.
Percussion Caption Supervisor: Joe has been an active percussion educator and performer in the Twin Cities area since 2009. He has instructed and arranged for marching band and indoor percussion at Rosemount HS, Eden Prairie HS, 728 Cadets, River Valley Percussion Theatre, Blaine HS, Armstrong HS, among many more. At the independent level he has been a snare drum technician with Minnesota Brass Indoor, percussion caption head/arranger for Chops Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as battery coordinator for Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps. Joe holds an Associate in Fine Arts/Music degree from Normandale Community College and is currently studying at the University of Minnesota to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.
Front Ensemble Supervisor: Erin VanBurkleo started her percussion career with the Eagan High School winter drumline in the front ensemble in 2001. After graduating from Eagan, she performed with The Academy drum and bugle corps in the front ensemble in 2007. Starting in 2005, Erin performed with the Minnesota Brass drum corps and continued in 2006, and from 2008-2014. Erin has taught as a front ensemble instructor at Eagan High School’s winter drumline from 2004-2013; River City Rhythm 2011-2012; Eden Prairie High School winter drumline since 2013; Rosemount High School marching band since 2005 and Minnesota Brass Indoor since 2013. Erin offers private lessons for keyboard percussion and is a graduate of St. Olaf college with a B.A. in History and Classics.
Battery Technician: Vlad is a proud alumnus of South St. Paul High School, where he participated in the marching band and indoor drumline from 1997–2002. He also marched with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps (2001–2002), the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2004–2006), and the Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps (2003, 2007–2008). Vlad has a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and works in editing and Web site communications. In his spare time, he enjoys petting strangers’ dogs and writing his bio.
Battery Technician: Nick “Taco” Edwards is a percussion instructor and arranger grown from the Midwest marching arts community. He was most recently the percussion caption head for the River Falls High School marching band (River Falls, WI), Ensemble Coordinator for Grove Area Percussion (Maple Grove, MN), Assistant Snare Tech with River City Rhythm Drum and Bugle Corps (Anoka, MN) and the program coordinator, percussion caption head and battery arranger for the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps (Saint Peter, MN). Nick has had the opportunity to learn under the instruction of Joel Matuzak, Nick Moreno, Roger Carter, Thom Hannum and Nick Angelis.
Battery Technician: Excited and eager, Jordan enters his 4th summer teaching cymbals with Minnesota Brass. In addition to Minnesota Brass, Jordan also teaches at Irondale HS, Rosemount HS and MBI Winter Percussion. He also does consultation work with various high schools. Jordan has been teaching marching percussion since 2010. He has taught clinics and various groups in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Some of those groups include: Buffalo HS, Osseo HS, Baldwin-Woodville HS, Park Center HS, Champlain Park HS, Phoenix, River City Rhythm Indoor and River City Rhythm Drum & Bugle Corps.
Battery Technician: Connor’s marching career began at Eden Prairie High School and continued with MBI Indoor Percussion in 2016 and 2018. He also was a member of the 2018 Oregon Crusaders bass line. Connor currently teaches at Menomonie high school and Eden Prairie high schools. This will be his first season as a member of the staff at Minnesota Brass.
Visual Technician: Jordan Warfield is excited to be joining Minnesota Brass Inc. for his 4th year on visual staff. Jordan has been teaching marching ensembles for 17 years. He currently works at Groth Music in Bloomington, MN as a School Services Sales Representative. After aging out of the The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps he rejoined the Visual Staff in 2010 until 2015. He and his wife Jennifer live in Shakopee, MN.
Visual Technician: Christopher began his marching career as a trombone/baritone player for the Waseca Marching Jays. After his high school marching journey had ended, he went on to start his drum corps career. He began marching with the Govenaires in 2000. After a year of all age drum corps, he spent 2 seasons in DCI. After his age out season, he came to Minnesota Brass and has been a part of the organization since 2003. He taught brass/music in DCI for 4 years. In the past, he has worked with Andover High School marching band in visual and music. He currently helps with visual and brass for the Waseca Marching Jays. This will be his first season on staff with Minnesota Brass.
Visual Technician: Walter Baumann has brought his enthusiasm to performing, instructing, and adjudicating the pageantry arts for nearly twenty years. He marched nine seasons of drum corps between the Americanos, Govenaires, and Minnesota Brass, and has instructed Midwestern high schools and drum corps for an additional ten seasons, including serving as the percussion caption head for back-to-back WSMA high percussion awards for River Falls (WI) High School.
Walter’s judging experience includes battery individual and ensemble contests, winterguard competitions in the general effect caption, and a variety of captions for indoor drumline. He is 200-level certified as a judge by Winter Guard International.
In his free time, Walter enjoys biking, hiking, cooking, and traveling the world.