Band Director

Taylor Smith

Currently the Assistant Director at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Ca. Marched RCC Fall 3 years and was featured trombone soloist. Traveled to BOA twice with RCC and Rose Parade 4 times. Marched the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps for two years on Euphonium 2010 and 2011. Taught Blue Devils B Drum and Bugle Corps, Pacific Crest D&B Corps, and The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for two years. Earned Music Education Degree and Jazz Performance Degree from CSULB under Jeff Jarvis. Has been seen on several Television commercials, movies, and tv shows as a performer/background actor. I have written drill for indoor drumline, and marching band.

Any time

Sue Cechal

36 years in the classroom as HS band instructor, guard instructor and drill writer. In retirement, write drill and guard choreo for several schools, serve as resource for others.

Any time

Ryan H. Turner

Ryan H. Turner brings a rich history in the marching and pageantry arts activity that covers over 35 years of experience as a performer, designer, instructor, administrator, and adjudicator.

Ryan graduated from Pasadena High School in 1984 after a successful high school music career, performing on trombone, euphonium, and tuba, and serving as drum major and marching instructor for the marching band. He moved on to Pasadena City College, where he served two years as the drum major for the PCC Lancer Marching Band as well as the world-renowned Official Tournament of Roses Honor Band. During those same years, Ryan began his three-year stint with the very popular Drum Corps International World Class Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps from Anaheim, California, serving one year as a lead baritone in 1985, and then the next two years as drum major. He was also a member of the highly regarded California State University at Long Beach “Big Brown Music Machine” Marching Band for two years. In his performing career, Ryan has performed in multiple idioms of music with over sixty performance ensembles as a specialist in low brass with some of the top names in southern California music education and entertainment.

Ryan’s love of drill design is evidenced in the over 225 shows he has designed since 1984 for high school and collegiate marching bands, drum and bugle corps, winter guards, and indoor drum lines across the country, garnering awards and praise in multiple judging circuits. He has instructed and designed as well for both DCI and DCA corps, including the Velvet Knights, Anaheim Kingsmen, Pacific Crest, Impulse, Capital Sound, City Sound and So Cal Dream All-Age Drum and Bugle Corps.

Administratively, Ryan served as Vice President of Contests for the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC) from 1990-1994, and was part of the Executive Management team that propelled the WGASC to its current status as the top “local” winter guard circuit in the world. After two years on the Board of Directors with the Pacific Crest and So Cal Dream Drum and Bugle Corps’, he served on the Board of Directors for the Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps in a public relations role as well as on the Executive Steering Committee for So Cal Dream. He has worked both with the WGASC as a Contest Director, and the Marching Band Open Series (MBOS), a division of the WGASC, assisting the organization with management, strategic planning, and promotions.

Ryan’s adjudication skills have taken him nationwide, and he is currently certified as a visual performance and effect judge for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), the Southern California Judging Association (SCJA), the American Drumline Association (ADLA) and US Bands (formerly the United States Scholastic Band Association–USSBA). He is a sought-after leadership consultant for drum majors and student leaders in the southern California region, and has taught at the acclaimed California Leadership Academy with nationally-renowned leadership expert Dave Kuhns. As well, he has offers his own “Dynamics of Leadership” workshops to great reviews, working with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps and several marching band programs across the country.

Often referred to as the “Voice of Southern California”, he has served as announcer and Master of Ceremonies for a multitude of drum corps, marching band and winter guard shows across the southwest region over the past 30 years. He has announced for DCI, WGI, SCSBOA, and WGASC, as well as having the honor of announcing for the 2007 DCI Division II/III World Championships in Pasadena, California and for the Anaheim Kingsmen Alumni Corps’ semi-finals performance at the 2007 DCI World Championships in the Rose Bowl.

While Ryan’s love is in the marching and pageantry arts, he also serves in a very rewarding career in public safety and has been recognized for contributions in the public safety emergency communications and management industry during his 25+ year career. He is currently the Senior Fire Communications Supervisor of Education and Training for the fourth largest fire department in California, the Orange County Fire Authority, in Irvine, California. He assists in managing a workforce of 26 full-time 911 dispatchers and supervisors in a state-of-the-art Emergency Command Center. He resides in Brea, California, with his wife and three children.

He brings to the Mentor Program what you need most–friendly, humorous, and honest opinions and advice for the LOVE OF THE MARCHING ARTS.

Any time

Michael Th. Embrey
45 years

Former University Marching Band Director (NIU) having created the first Drum Corps style college Band. Music arranger and show designers for universities and High Schools. Drum & Bugle Corps experience including Music arranging for Cavaliers and other corps. Former musician/music arranger USAF Drum & Bugle Corps. Music Judge for various groups, past & present: CSJA, DCI, and independent organizations. Currently hosting several National Music Festivals and Executive Director for the ALL-Illinois Marching Band.

Any time


Bill Ratcliff holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Music from the University of Arkansas. Mr. Ratcliff is a frequent guest clinician and adjudicator in Arkansas and surrounding states. Recently retired, Mr. Ratcliff served as the Director of Bands at Alma HS in Alma Arkansas. Previously he taught at Northside HS in Fort Smith AR , Kimmons Junior High School in Fort Smith AR and at Jonesboro HS in Arkansas. As a professional musician he has performed with the North Arkansas Symphony, Fort Smith Symphony, Ozark Mountain British Brass Band, and The Marshals of Swing Big Band. Mr. Ratcliff’s professional affiliations include the Arkansas Bandmaster’s Association, Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association, National Band Association, Texas Bandmaster’s Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster’s Fraternity, American School Band Director’s Association, and was included in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 editions of “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”

Any time

Dominick Ferrara

Dr. Dominick Ferrara currently serves as Associate Professor of Music Education, Director of the Day Sessions Young Performers Summer Program, and Conductor of the Symphonic Winds at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he teaches courses in instrumental music education and conducting. For his work at Berklee, Dr. Ferrara was awarded the Professional Education Division’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008.
Formerly, Dr. Ferrara served as the Founding Director (2003-2006) of the Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck, NJ) Pep Band, the Founding Director (1997-2009) of the Wind Ensemble at Montclair State (NJ) University’s Stokes Forest Music Camp, and Director of Bands (1996-2006) at Lenape Valley Regional High School (Stanhope, NJ). While at Lenape Valley Regional High School, Dr. Ferrara’s bands won 2 USSBA (now USBands) Group I-A All-States Marching Band Championships and received numerous Superior ratings at concert festivals throughout the United States. For his public school teaching, Dr. Ferrara was awarded a Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award by the State of New Jersey Department of Education in 2000 and was named as a 2005 Finalist for the Princeton University Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching.
He holds a BA in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Montclair State University and both an MAT in Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Rutgers University, where his specializations were Educational Administration/Supervision and Wind Conducting. He is an active adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, educational consultant, and free-lance performer. Among his many performance credits are concert appearances with The Temptations; Broadway star, Bernadette Peters; the Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestra; and the United States Coast Guard Band and Chamber Players. He is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association.

Any time

Travis Coakley

Mr. Coakley has been the Director of Bands for the Biloxi Public School District and Department Chair for the Performing Arts at Biloxi High School since 2011. Beginning in 2015 he will serve the Biloxi Public School District as the Fine & Performing Arts Director. In that time, the Biloxi Band has consistently received the highest ratings for marching band and concert band performances. Biloxi High School was awarded the Sweepstakes Award for the first time in school history in 2012-2013. Biloxi High School was recently named a Grammy Signature School Semi-Finalist for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years and the Biloxi Public School District was named by the NAMM Foundation as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” in 2014. In 2015 Biloxi High School was named by the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education as its “School of Excellence” for making arts an essential part of education and received the SupportMusic Merit Award by the NAMM Foundation.

Mr. Coakley directs the 200-member Biloxi High School Marching Band and the Biloxi Wind Ensemble. He is currently serving as the National Treasurer for the American School Band Director’s Association, the Awards Chairman for the National Band Association, and as President of the Gulf Coast Band Director’s Association.

Mr. Coakley was recently named the “Thad Cochran Distinguised Arts Educator for Music” in the state of Mississippi (2013), the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce Secondary Teacher of the Year (2013-2014), Biloxi Public School District Teacher of the Year (2013-2014), Biloxi High School Teacher of the Year (2013-2014), the Gulf Coast Band Director’s Association High School Band Director of the Year (2013-2014), and one of SBO’s 50 “Director’s Who Make a Difference” in 2014.

Mr. Coakley is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi (Bachelor of Music Education, 1999, Master of Music Education, 2002). He has memberships that include Phi Beta Mu (PBM), the American School Band Director’s Association (ASBDA), National Band Association (NBA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Mississippi Bandmaster’s Association (MBA), Gulf Coast Band Director’s Association (GCBDA) and the International Trombone Association (ITA).

Any time

Chris Church

Chris Church is a 35-year Veteran Band Director. He served as the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chairman in Willard, Missouri for 32 years and is currently in Springdale, Arkansas teaching at Har-Ber High School, Southwest Junior High, and Helen Tyson Middle School. His marching bands and jazz bands have consistently placed at or near the top in all festivals attended and he has also worked as a drill designer for numerous bands throughout the Midwest. His Wind Symphony earned State Level Honor I Ratings for 32 consecutive years.

Chris spent 13 seasons with the World Champion Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois where he served on the Marching/Visual Staff. He has provided marching clinics and adjudicated marching bands throughout the United States while also judging concert and jazz ensembles. Chris is currently serving as a Visual Judge for Drum Corps International (DCI) and as a Winter Guard Judge for the Mid Continent Color Guard Association (MCCGA) and the Winter Guard and Percussion of Oklahoma (WGPO). He is a graduate of the Marching Roundtable Judges academy and also adjudicates concert bands, solo & ensemble, and jazz festivals.

Any time


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