Overall Commentator

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Dr. Debra Traficante – University of Oklahoma – Norman, Oklahoma

Dr. Debra Traficante graduated in December 2001 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, cum laude, from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). Upon graduation, she served as Director of Bands at New Smyrna Beach High School, receiving Volusia County’s First Year Teacher of the Year Award. She returned to the University of Florida in August 2005 to pursue a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Wind Band Conducting, while simultaneously serving as Assistant Director of Bands at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida. In August 2007, Dr. Traficante was awarded an Alumni Fellowship at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK) to begin a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Band Conducting degree, completing the degree in 2010. Dr. Traficante began her service as Assistant Professor/Assistant Director of University Bands at the University of Oklahoma in July 2009 and served as Interim Director of The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band in the spring of 2013. Currently, Dr. Traficante serves as Assistant Professor of Music/Assistant Director of University Bands at the University of Oklahoma where she conducts the Symphony Band – the second of the major wind ensembles, chamber groups, teaches conducting lessons to graduate and undergraduate students, serves as the lead teacher for the undergraduate conducting and methods course, and oversees music education students. Dr. Traficante frequently judges, guest conducts, and clinics ensembles across the United States, and has conducted at the International World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference in Singapore in 2005. As an active percussionist, she presented a clinic at the 2009 Oklahoma Music Educators Convention on “How to Inspire a More Musical Percussion Section within the Wind Band.” She currently serves on the Executive Board as the National Vice President for Professional Relations for Tau Beta Sigma. Dr. Traficante is an Honorary Member of the Delta Chapters of the Kappa Kappa Psi National Band Fraternity and Tau Beta Sigma National Band Sorority, of which she is also Chapter Sponsor. Additionally, she was honored in 2010 as a Distinguished Member in Sigma Alpha Iota and has been awarded the Martha Starke Memorial Scholarship for Women Conductors. Her professional memberships include the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, The College Music Society, and The Percussive Arts Society.

Band Adjudicator Panel – Prelims & Finals

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Johnny Folsom – Abraham Baldwin College – Tifton, Georgia

Johnny Folsom has spent thirty-eight years as a successful high school band director.  He spent twenty-five years in Alabama, first at Geneva (8 years) and then at TR Miller, Brewton (17 years), and Folsom spent 13 years with the prestigious Cairo High School Band in Georgia. Over the years Folsom’s bands have won numerous awards both on the field and on the concert stage.  In December, 2009, the Cairo Band performed in downtown Orlando for 80,000 people and for a national television audience at the Florida Citrus Parade.  The Syrupmaker Band has performed as the featured halftime band in exhibition at the 2000 Notre Dame-Navy football game in Orlando, at Troy University football games in 2002 and in 2003, in 2007, and most recently in 2008 and 2009 at the Valdosta State football games.  Folsom’s bands have also performed at the 1995 Sugar Bowl, the 1998 Auburn-Virginia football game, the 1997 Troy State-Eastern Kentucky game, the 1989 Auburn-Pacific game, and the 1985 Livingston State Sesquicentennial Homecoming game. On the stage they have performed at the 1987 Tri-States Band Festival at Florida State University, at the 1989 Southeastern United States Band Clinic at Troy State University, and at the 1998 Alabama Music Educators Conference at Auburn University.  And in 2008, the Cairo Symphony Band performed at the Southeastern United States Concert Band Festival at Troy University. Folsom is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association and is the current chairman for district 2.  He is also a past president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association.  Troy State University’s music faculty selected Mr. Folsom as its 1996 Alumnus of the Year.  He has judged numerous marching and concert festivals in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.  Mr. Folsom was recently inducted into the Alabama Bandmasters’ Hall of Fame and into the National High School Band Directors’ Hall of Fame. Johnny and his wife Betty Ann have two married daughters, both of whom were band members and majorettes at Auburn University.

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Kim Shuttlesworth – James Bowie High School – Austin, Texas

Kim Shuttlesworth is currently the Director of Bands at James Bowie High School. She has been working in the Austin Independent School District for five years teaching at both middle school and high school levels.  Ms. Shuttlesworth holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from The University of Texas at Austin. While at Bowie, her ensembles have received superior ratings at UIL Marching Contest, UIL Concert & Sightreading Contest and Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest.  She is the director of the Steel Drum Program which has performed all around the Austin area including Sunset Valley Arts Festival, Inside Out Steel Drum Community Concerts, Capital 10K, for the Governor, and multiple Austin ISD ceremonies. While at The University of Texas, she studied trumpet with Ray Sasaki, and conducting with Dr. Robert Carnochan and Prof. Glenn Richter.  Ms. Shuttlesworth was involved with various organizations including Tau Beta Sigma-Beta Gamma Chapter, and Longhorn Band, in which she served as Drum Major during the 2005-2006 National Championship Season. Ms. Shuttlesworth has worked with summer programs over the past ten years including Longhorn Music Camp, Music for All Summer Symposium, and the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. Ms. Shuttlesworth holds professional affiliations with the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Tau Beta Sigma.

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Paula Thornton – Jacksonville – Duval School District – Jacksonville, Florida

Paula Thornton has been a music educator in Florida for thirty-five years.  She currently works as Director of Arts for the Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville. Her bands at Buchholz High School performed at the Midwest Clinic, the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and The Today Show.  They received the Sudler Flag of Honor in 2003. Ms. Thornton is a member of the American Band Association, and served on the Midwest Clinic Board for six years.  She is a member of Phi Beta Mu Omega Chapter, and a member of the board of the National Band Association.  She is a Past President of FBA, and a member of the FBA Hall of Fame.

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Alex Kaminsky – Buchholz High School – Gainesville, Florida

Alexander Kaminsky is currently Director of Bands at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL and is active as an adjudicator and guest conductor/clinician throughout the southeastern United States.  Bands under his direction consistently earn Superior ratings at District and State Concert, Jazz, and Marching Assessments.  Mr. Kaminsky’s bands have received Superior ratings at the State Concert Band Assessment for the last 17 consecutive years, and in 2009, Mr. Kaminsky became the only director in the history of the Florida Bandmasters Association to have three concert bands earn straight Superior ratings at State.  Kaminsky’s bands have performed at prestigious state and national festivals and conferences including the Midwest Clinic (2005 and 2009), National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), College Band Directors National Association and National Band Association Southern Division Conference (2004), National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009), University of Florida Concert Band Invitational (1998 and 2001), and the Stetson University Concert Band Invitational (1999).  The Buchholz Wind Symphony has also accepted invitations to perform at the 2014 FMEA Conference, 2014 CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference, and the 2014 ABA National Convention.  Marching bands under Kaminsky’s direction consistently place in the Florida Marching Band State Championship Finals, winning Grand Champion awards at many FMBC Regionals as well as the State Championship (1999), 1st Runner-up (2009), and 1st Place in the State Championship Semifinals (2010 and 2012).  His bands have also performed abroad in France, Italy, and Monaco. Mr. Kaminsky is a five-time recipient of the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence and has been recognized with numerous individual achievement awards for education including the Florida Bandmasters Association’s Oliver Hobbs Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Reader’s Digest American Hero in Education, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.  Kaminsky has been featured in several periodicals including The Instrumentalist Magazine, School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” and Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators.”  In 2012, Mr. Kaminsky was elected into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. Mr. Kaminsky received a B.M.E. with high honors from the University of Florida, an M.M. with highest distinction from Indiana University, and is a National Board Certified Teacher.  He is an FMEA mentor teacher and is on the FBA State Music Performance Assessment Committee.  His professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, National Band Association, American School Band Directors’ Association, Florida Music Educators’ Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha and Kappa Kappa Psi. In addition to his music education activities, Mr. Kaminsky is a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Westside Baptist Church where his family is actively involved in ministry. His wife, Kathy, is a teacher and they have two sons, Ryan and Ethan.

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Randy Sonntag – Jupiter, Florida

Randy Sonntag has been a member of the Florida Bandmasters for 38 years and an adjudicator of bands, orchestras, solos and ensembles for 30 years.  He is also a member of the American School Band Directors Association, The International Trumpet Guild and the National Band Association.  He is also the recipient of the prestigious Bandworld “Legion of Honor” award for outstanding contributions to bands and band music, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Randy has retired from full time teaching in the Palm Beach County school system but maintains a very active adjudication, consulting, and conducting schedule.  He plays trumpet as a member of the Orchid City Brass Band, maintains and active trumpet studio in Jupiter, FL and is also the conductor and artistic director of the Palm Beach Gardens Concert Band.

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Kristen Lewis – Lauderhill, FL

Kristen Lewis is currently the Vocal Director at Parkway Middle School of the Arts in Lauderhill, FL. She is also currently the Visual Caption Head at Taravella High School in Coral Springs, FL and a Visual Technician at Reef Independent Percussion Ensemble. Ms. Lewis received her Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University, where she studied clarinet. Ms. Lewis also played mellophone in multiple marching ensembles, including The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, The Florida State University Marching Chiefs, Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps, and Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps.

Percussion Adjudicator – Prelims & Finals

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Brandon Cruz – Florida International University – Miami, Florida

Brandon Cruz has been involved in a variety of musical settings. As a classical percussionist, he has performed with the New World Symphony, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Miami Master Chorale, Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, and in 2011 he was timpanist for the Fundacion Sinfonica Orchestra in Santo Domingo for their biannual National Festival of the Arts. He was also timpanist and Latin percussionist for the World Champion Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps in 1995 and 1997. As a jazz musician, Brandon has performed with several groups including the big bands of Sam Lussier and Barry Mann, the FIU Jazz Lab Band, and NEC Jazz Orchestra. He has shared the stage with Peter Cetera, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Bob Moses, and Dave Liebman among many others. In addition to a wide spectrum of performance experiences, Mr. Cruz has always been actively involved as a writer, arranger, and educator. He has written percussion music and arranged for several Miami-area high schools. Over the past 18 years he has directed several Miami-based percussion programs and has regularly performed clinics, set up workshops, and consulted area schools throughout. Since 2008 Mr. Cruz has also been an adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association. In 2010, Mr. Cruz joined the faculty of his alma mater, Florida International University, as Director of Marching Percussion. In 2012, with the cooperation of FIU, Mr. Cruz created Velocity Indoor Percussion. The group is an independent A-class organization based on campus which competes at events sponsored by SFWGA and WGI. In addition to these activities, the focus for Mr. Cruz currently is as Founder/Director of the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts. The SFCPA is the most comprehensive resource for drums & percussion in South Florida. Mr. Cruz received his Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Performance from Florida International University in April 2000. He earned his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music in May 2003. He is currently endorsed by Vic Firth, Remo, Zildjian, Grover, Dynasty, and Mapex.

Auxiliary Adjudicator – Prelims & Finals

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Vicki Nolan – Jacksonville, Florida

Vicki Nolan currently serves as the Director/Coach of the University of South Carolina Dance Team, the “Coquettes”.  She retired from public school teaching in 2007 after thirty years of producing award-winning auxiliary units in Florida.  Her dance teams and choreography have consistently been lauded at all evaluative and competitive events, and her visual ensembles were ranked first in several categories at regional and national dance competitions.  Her marching auxiliary ensembles were judged “best in class” at numerous marching band contests.  Ms. Nolan is highly respected in the areas of leadership training and precision dance coaching.  She has served as a clinician and as an adjudicator in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, South Carolina, and Texas.  She is an active member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, currently serving as Chair of the Auxiliary Committee. Her responsibilities include training of adjudicators for FBA performance assessments.  She is a charter member of the Florida Drill Team Directors Association, and is also a member of the National Association for Music Education.  Ms. Nolan has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Florida Drill Team Directors Association.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Florida State University.

Drum Major – Prelims

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Jessey Andris – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Jessey Andris is a former Florida State University Marching Chiefs Head Drum Major. She has been an instructor at the FSU Marching Band Leadership Camp and was recently invited to perform as the FSU Alumni Band Drum Major in 2012. She is currently the band director at St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.