Brandon J. Lesando
Director of Bands, Blue Valley Southwest High School
Mr. Lesando is the Director of Bands at Blue Valley Southwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas after previously serving as the assistant. Starting his music education career in North Florida, Lesando taught instrumental music at Duncan U. Fletcher High School and St. Augustine High School where ensembles under his direction excelled in local and state performance arenas with thriving membership growth. Lesando is a graduate of the University of North Florida where he studied Horn and Euphonium and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Cum Laude. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music Education degree from the University of Colorado – Boulder and is this year’s ECKMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator of the Year.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Lesando enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2004. His assignments included serving as a submarine nuclear weapons technician onboard the USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740 GOLD) and as a Navy Formal Schools instructor for incoming students and fleet sailors at the Trident Training Facility in Kings Bay, GA. In 2011, Lesando was Honorably Discharged from active duty as a Missile Technician, 1st Class (Submarines) with awards for achievement, volunteer service, and good conduct. email
Assistant Director of Bands, Blue Valley Southwest High School
Ms. Bock is the Assistant Director of Bands at Blue Valley Southwest High School and also teaches 5th grade beginning band at Timber Creek Elementary, Morse Elementary, and Wolf Springs Elementary. She currently plays flute and piccolo in the Mid America Freedom Band and the Crossroads Wind Symphony and maintains a small private flute studio.
As a young musician, Bock grew up in central Maryland where she was an active member of the band and orchestra programs at Westminster High School. She completed a double concentration in Music Education and Flute Performance at James Madison University, graduating Summa Cum Laude, With Distinction in Music, and as an Honors Scholar. In the summer of 2011, Ms. Bock toured the country with The Glassmen as a baritone player in the DCI circuit. The following fall, she accepted a position at Walker Upper Elementary School in Charlottesville City Schools where she was fortunate to teach 5th and 6th grade beginning band students alongside Mr. Robert Dunnenberger. While at Walker, she also played second flute and piccolo with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, won second prize in the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair's 2013 Piccolo Young Artist Competition, and served as the District XIII representative to the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. From 2015 to 2017, Bock completed her master's degree in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin and recently presented her culminating research project in poster sessions with Dr. Judith Jellison at both the TMEA and NAfME Research conferences. email
Michelle Van Unen
Director of Bands, Aubry Bend Middle School
Ms. Michelle Van Unen has been the band director at Aubry Bend Middle School since the school opened in 2011. Prior to joining the Blue Valley District, Ms. Van Unen earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Arizona State University; taught junior high band for four years in the Mesa (AZ) Public Schools; and subsequently earned her Master of Music in Conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where she served as a graduate teaching assistant for the band program. Additionally, she has experience working with high school marching bands in Gilbert and Tempe, AZ, and has studied at numerous summer conducting symposia, including Northwestern University, University of North Texas, and Michigan State University. email
Adjunct Music Faculty
British saxophonist Alastair Wright has been praised by Classical Voice of North Carolina for his "dulcet-like tone...with a luminescent sheen." As a soloist, he has performed with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra (as finalist in the Fifth Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competition), Convivium Singers, the Thallein Contemporary Ensemble, the Sutton Coldfield Orchestra and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra, and has presented recitals of new music throughout the US, UK and France. He has seen success with his chamber groups Dionysus and Dasch Quartet in national and international competitions, with first place wins in the ENKOR International Chamber Music Competition, and the North American Saxophone Alliance National Quartet Competition. Dasch Quartet released its debut CD "Necessary Edges" in 2016, described as "immaculate" and "exquisitely done and played" (Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain). Alastair is a current doctoral student at the University of Missouri Kansas City and holds performance degrees from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, UK and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Alastair is an endorsing artist for Conn-Selmer, and has been teaching saxophone at the University of Central Missouri since 2016.
Kevin Clark graduated from the prestigious Peabody Conservatory, and immediately found work as timpanist of the Daejeon Philharmonic in South Korea, where he stayed for 10 years. Kevin was asked to take over the KC Youth Percussion Ensemble in 2016 upon the retirement of percussion education legend Keith Larson. Through the KCYPE students have the opportunity for private instruction on all percussion instruments, riveting ensemble music performance (including performances at the Kauffman Center) and zasterclasses. The KCYPE placed 10 percussionists in Kansas District band in 2017, with 6 going to the Kansas State Band in 2018.
Director of Kansas City Youth Percussion Ensemble
Director of KC Studios
Principal Timpanist, Principal Percussion (retired)
Trevor Stewart has 17 years of clarinet experience, and he teaches students privately throughout the KC Metro area. He is expanding his studio this summer and throughout the 2018-2019 school year. He can assist students with District/State audition materials, scale preparation, Solo/Ensemble materials, band music, college auditions, and anything else clarinet-related! Trevor uses a fun and creative teaching approach, rooted in good fundamentals, that caters to each students' individual needs.
Trevor serves as principal clarinetist of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, with whom he was featured as a soloist in 2013. He has performed with the Missouri Symphony, Fort Smith Symphony, the Arkansas Philharmonic, the Conway Symphony Orchestra, and the Interlochen Philharmonic.
Currently, he is pursuing an Artist Certificate in clarinet performance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he studies with Jane Carl and holds the Clarinet Teaching Assistantship. He was a member of the nationally recognized UMKC Conservatory Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet for three years. Stewart holds a Master of Music degree in clarinet performance from UMKC, and he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where he studied clarinet with David Carter.
Stewart was the winner of the Arkansas state round of the MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition, and served as principal clarinetist of the Arkansas All-State and Intercollegiate Bands for five years. In 2013, he won the principal clarinet position of the College Band Directors National Association Small College Intercollegiate Band. He was a finalist in the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium Young Artist Competition in 2006, the same year he attended the Interlochen Arts Camp.
Principal Clarinet, Wichita Symphony Orchestra
Principal Clarinet, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas
Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Dr. Maddy Tarantelli is a freelance musician in Kansas City teaching private horn lessons and performing around the United States. She has performed with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony, and the Fountain City Brass Band. Maddy is a member of the Trilogy Brass trio with Dr. JoDee Davis and Dr. Jen Oliverio. Maddy has received two grants from the UMKC Women’s Council and was one of 32 recipients of the American Scandinavian Foundation for intensive study with Frøydis in Oslo, Norway during January 2018. Maddy also takes interest in music theory and has taught theory at Interlochen Arts Camp from 2015-2017. She aged out from DCI with the Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps in 2011. Maddy earned her DMA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, her MM from the University of Miami, and her BA in music education from Florida Gulf Coast University. Her primary teachers include Frøydis Ree Wekre, Denise Tryon, Marty Hackleman, Sam Pilafian, and Kirsten Bendixen-Mahoney.
Facebook: Maddy Tarantelli, Horn
Elizabeth Valle is currently completing a Masters from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Music Theory. She also has an undergraduate degree from Midamerica Nazarene University in Harp Pedagogy. During graduate school, she was the principal harpist for the UMKC Orchestra, as well the featured harpist for the Midwest Chamber Ensemble in 2013 and 2014. She has also performed with multiple other professional ensembles in the Kansas City area. Elizabeth has been teaching music to students in the Kansas City area for fourteen years, and has been active in many of the local music associations such as OMTA, KCMTA, and MAMA. In addition, she is currently the President of the Kansas City Lyra Chapter of the American Harp Society. Elizabeth has also chaired or co-chaired many large events in the KC area, including: the OMTA Solo Festival, the Lyra Chapter KC Harp Weekend, and the KC Harp Competition.
A native of Kansas City, bassoonist Austin Way joined the faculty at Washburn University as the Professor of Bassoon in the fall of 2017 and also performs as a freelance musician with groups such as the Kansas City Symphony and other local ensembles. Prior to this he was the Second Bassoonist of the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes during its 2015 to 2016 season, and served as Acting Principal Bassoonist for the 2016 to 2017 season, where he had the opportunity to tour with the orchestra throughout Mexico, including a performance in December of 2016 in Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the orchestra.
As a chamber musician Mr. Way performed with Pittsburgh’s Incidental Chamber Players during its inaugural season of 2014 to 2015, as well as collaborating with musicians across to country in chamber music performances in Los Angeles, Aspen, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh among others. As an advocate for new music he has had the opportunity to work with many composers, and can be heard performing as the Principal Bassoonist on a recorded collection of concertos for soloists with wind ensemble by Leonardo Balada, recorded for the Naxos Label. Mr. Way has also performed as part of a double reed consort in recital at the 2010 International Double Reed Society Conference in Norman, Oklahoma as both a bassoonist and contrabassoonist. From 2012 to 2015 he held a bassoon and contrabassoon fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he spent these summers performing in the faculty orchestras.
Involved in the community as well, Mr. Way has maintained a focus on community outreach, including his partnership with Musicians With A Mission during his time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through this organization he was able to team up with colleagues and take programs of solo and chamber music to retirement homes and senior groups around the city, as well as performing selections of music from around the world for the University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms, a festival to celebrate the cultures of the world. Mr. Way holds degrees from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance as well as Carnegie Mellon University. His primary teachers include Marita Abner, Nancy Goeres, and Per Hannevold.
Professor of Bassoon
Washburn University, Department of Music