Mr. Chris Janowiak, Director of Bands
Mr. Janowiak is in his eighth year of teaching and his third as Director of Bands at Antioch High School, part of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Antioch, Tennessee.
In just one year at Antioch, Mr. Janowiak grew the band program by nearly 50%. By the beginning of his third year, the band had doubled it size making it one of the largest band programs in Metro Nashville. Referred to as “the best Antioch Band ever” by numerous judges during the 2015 season, the AHS Marching Band made huge strides during that season. The band captured a “superior” rating at the prestigious “Contest of Champions”, the first such rating at that contest in the bands history. Janowiak's tradition of superior ratings translated to concert season, as both the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble earned superior ratings from every judge in every category at the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association’s Concert Performance Assessment. The Wind Ensemble earned additional honors as they were awarded the “Award of Distinction in Concert Performance” by the American School Band Director’s Association. Awarded to bands that achieve a perfect score both on stage and in sight reading, the award was only given to three other high school bands in the state of Tennessee.
Prior to his arrival at Antioch, Chris Served as Associate Director of Bands at Mattawan Consolidated Schools in Mattawan, Michigan. Chris’ responsibilities included working with the sixth through twelfth grade concert bands, the 180 member Mattawan Marching Band, and directing the concert band. Under the direction of Mr. Janowiak and colleagues, Mr. Bill Boswell and Mr. Josh Garcia, the Mattawan Bands continued their tradition of excellence as one of the most decorated band programs in the state of Michigan in both the marching and concert idioms.
Before taking that position, Chris served as the drumline instructor at Mattawan High School, Forest Hills Eastern High School and Zeeland High School, all while being the director of choirs at Mattawan Middle School. As director of choirs, the groups saw significant growth, nearly doubling in size during Chris’ tenure. The groups experienced much success performing in MSVMA festivals, home concerts as well as musicals directed by Mr. Janowiak. Distinguished events included a special invite to attend a concert by the band “Needtobreathe”, a private meet-and-greet with the band “Parachute” and a performance by selected students alongside Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Sara Bareilles.
Chris is a graduate of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. While at WMU, Chris was a member of the WMU drumline, a percussionist in the university concert band, a vocalist in the world-renowned Gold Company Vocal Jazz program, all while studying his primary instrument, the piano, with Lori Sims and Dr. Stephan Zegree.
In his spare time, Chris loves to travel and has spent four summers in Europe as a staff member with the Michigan Ambassadors of Music. He will travel to Europe for the fifth time this summer with a similar group in Tennessee. Janowiak is a staff member with the Music City Drum Corps in Nashville, Tennessee. Chris is also an active performer/singer/songwriter and can be seen playing piano and singing with his pop/rock band, We Know Jackson.
Mr. Mike Chiodo, Assistant Director of Bands
Mike Chiodo comes to the Antioch High School Band out of retirement from Lake Park High School in Roselle, Illinois where he had been the Director of Bands since August 2004. He served as both the percussion instructor and the percussion arranger for the Lake Park Marching band from 1985-2003. He taught for thirteen years in Mundelein, Illinois both at Mundelein High School and Carl Sandburg Middle School.
Mr. Chiodo has consulted, instructed and arranged for numerous marching and musical organizations including the Rosemont Cavaliers, the Colts, and the Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps as well as the University of Memphis’ “Mighty Sound of the South” marching band. Mike has also been a freelance percussionist in the Chicago area performing in a variety of musical groups including Gloria Estefan, Jonathan Bradmeier, and the Chicago Skyliners Big Band.
Mike holds a Master of Instrumental Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.
Mr. Greg Snyder, Assistant Director of Bands
In addition to being Assistant Director of Bands at Antioch High School, Gregory Snyder directs the Nashville Youth Wind Ensemble and is director of bands emeritus for Lakota West High School, West Chester, Ohio. He is an adjunct professor for Belmont University and Bowling Green State University. Snyder is also a Side-by-Side Director for Metro Nashville Public Schools. He taught and conducted high school band for 35 years. At Lakota West, Mr. Snyder directed Symphonic Winds; Symphonic Red Band; Symphonic White Band and the Marching Firebirds. He assisted with concert band and three Lakota West Freshman bands.
Under Mr. Snyder’s direction, Lakota/Lakota West Symphonic Winds earned a superior in Class AA Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) state competition since 1992. For two decades, Lakota/Lakota West students were awarded the most positions in OMEA All-State Ensembles each year. Mr. Snyder partnered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), performing Community Concerts in 2007 and 2010. In 2015 he had the rare privilege of performing with Symphonic Winds at the iconic home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Music Hall. Other major performances include: Great Southern Contest of Champions, Orlando, 1990; Bowling Green State University New Music Reading Clinic, 1993 and 1998; Dixie Classic Music Festival (grand champion award), Chattanooga/Atlanta/Richmond, 1995, 1998 and 2010; Toronto Music Festival, 1996; Music in the Parks Festival, Chicago, 1999; 30th Annual Ohio Band Directors Conference, University of Akron, 2001; New Concert Band Music Reading Clinic, Capital University, 2002; OMEA State Convention, Cincinnati/Dayton/Columbus/Cleveland, 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2015; European tour with performances in Paris, Brussels, and London, 2004; won the Jupiter National Concert Band Competition, performing with the Boston Brass, 2008; Youngstown State University Wind and Percussion Invitational, 2008; Rutgers University Music Festival, New Brunswick, 2010 and Branson Music Festival, 2013. Symphonic Winds was invited to perform at the world-renowned Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago three times, a first for Ohio, in 2000, 2006 and 2011.
The Lakota Marching Thunderbirds and Lakota West Marching Firebirds earned more than 70 grand champion awards under Mr. Snyder’s direction. They were invited to march in the Reds Opening Day Parade and to perform as the Bengals’ halftime show several times over the years. Additional major performances include: The Great Southern Contest of Champions, Orlando, 1990; the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1991. Disney’s Magic Music Days, Orlando, 1993; the Citrus Bowl Parade and MusicFestival, 1996; the Hollywood Christmas Parade, 1999; the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, 2003; Pearl Harbor and the Waikiki Holiday Parade, Maui, 2005; the 119th Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, 2008; Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando, 2010; the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City, 2013, and the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, 2015.
Mr. Snyder was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Bowling Green State University, College of Musical Arts, in 2014. In recognition of his accomplishments and “extraordinary success,” the Ohio State House of Representatives and Ohio Senate officially commended Mr. Snyder in 2014. Frequently requested as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor, his most recent engagements include: The Idaho High School Music Festival; the East Tennessee All-State Band; the Sutherland Wind Festival at Fresno State University; the Northern Kentucky Select Band, Jackson High School Conservatory Day and Thompson High School Band Clinic. Mr. Snyder crafted a proprietary program on how to develop musicians through chamber music in 2000, presenting how-to-style clinics at the 2004 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and the 2005 OMEA State Conference. He is recognized as a visionary on the topic, penning an article for the TRIAD professional journal, Chamber Playing’s Impact: Bringing Your Students out of the Audible Shadow. Serving as both large group and solo and ensemble adjudicator for OMEA, Mr. Snyder has chaired many OMEA adjudicated events, including the 1994 and 2002 Ohio All-State Band; he served as All-State Chair in 2010. Mr. Snyder is past-president of OMEA, District XIII.
Mr. Snyder has a bachelor of music degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and a master of music education degree from VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, Illinois. He acquired additional post-graduate work from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Miami University and Boston University.
To solicit their expertise, Mr. Snyder invited many prominent composers and conductors to conduct Lakota/Lakota West Bands, including: David Booth, John Bourgeois, Geoffrey Brand, Marcellus Brown, John Climer, Eugene Corporon, Raymond Cramer, James Curnow, Elliot Del Borgo, Stephen Gage, David Gillingham, Gary Gilroy, Gary Green, Joseph Hermann, Robert Jorgensen, Brant Karrick, Mark S. Kelly, Craig Kirchhoff, Barry Kopetz, Edward Lisk, Donald McGinnis, Stephen Melillo, Stan Michalski, Russel Mikkelson, Glenn Price, Ryan Nowlin, Alfred Reed, David Shaffer, Robert Sheldon, Phillip Sparke, Gary Speck, James Swearingen, Mallory Thompson, Jan van der Roost, Myron Welch, John Whitwell, Frank Wickes, and Rodney Winther.
Mr. Snyder is an elected member of the exclusive American Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of Phi Beta Mu, National Association for Music Education and TMEA. In addition to consulting with Belmont, BGSU and Metro Nashville Public Schools, he is a conductor for American Music Abroad, leading student music groups on high caliber performance tours throughout Europe. He is also a clinician for VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Jupiter Music. He adjudicates for Central States Judging Association. Mr. Snyder and his wife Sandra reside in Mount Juliet, TN. They have two sons. Alexander is a band director at Two Rivers Middle School in Nashville, TN; Adam is an attorney with Girard Bengali, APC, in Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. Frank Zimmerer, Assistant Director of Bands
Frank Zimmerer has recently been named Assistant Director of Bands at Antioch High School in Antioch, Tennessee, a historic program who has earned superior ratings in marching and concert contests as well as TBA Sweepstakes awards. Prior to Antioch, Mr. Zimmerer was the Director of Bands at East Nashville Magnet High School in Nashville, Tennessee. At East, he directed the concert band, marching band, pep band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, and color guard. Additionally, Mr. Zimmerer presided over all administration of the band program, drill writing, and musical arrangements. While at East, the band tripled in size, re-established the marching band program, opened a new band room facility, and regularly performed in marching contests (with superior ratings), concert performance assessments (with superior ratings), parades, and community events. In 2015, the band was featured in the Russell Athletic Bowl halftime show performance in Orlando, Florida. Additionally at East, Mr. Zimmerer served as the 11th grade Paideia Team Leader and taught courses in Music History, Beginning Band, and Music Theory. From 2014-2015, Zimmerer also was the director of the East Middle School band program (5-8th grade bands) in addition to his work at the High School. In 2016, Mr. Zimmerer was named an Outstanding Music Teacher of the Year recipient for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Zimmerer attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he majored in Music Education (saxophone emphasis) and Studio Music/Jazz Performance (piano emphasis). He participated in the wind ensemble, jazz band I, jazz combos, saxophone large and small ensembles, as well as his own personal jazz trio/quartet groups. While at UT, he served as an Undergraduate Assistant to The Pride of The Southland Marching Band. He graduated from UTK summa cum laude and was named an Outstanding Graduate from the School of Music. His principle teachers included Dr. Connie Frigo, Donald Brown, Dr. Gary Sousa, Dr. Donald Ryder, Gregory Tardy, and Jay Romines.
Zimmerer earned his Masters degree from Florida State University, where he attended on a full graduate teaching assistant scholarship in the Jazz Studies department. At FSU, Zimmerer taught group class piano, undergraduate piano studio majors, jazz small ensembles, and conducted Jazz Big Band III. Additionally, Zimmerer assisted with the administration of the jazz program, Tri State Music Festival, and organized personal jazz groups for performances in the North Florida region. Since 2016, Zimmerer has served as a staff big band director for the FSU Summer Music Camps/Jazz Camp.
Zimmerer has maintained an active performing schedule throughout his time in Atlanta, Knoxville, Tallahassee, and Nashville. Highlights have included an engagement at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City, Joan Rivers Live, and masterclass performances with artists that include Branford Marsalis, Monty Alexander, and Marcus Roberts. Mr. Zimmerer continues to write and arrange for small and large jazz ensemble as well as marching and concert band.
Mr. Zimmerer holds professional memberships in Middle Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association (MTSBOA), Tennessee Bandmasters Association (TBA), NafME, North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA), and Jazz Educators Network (JEN). He is also a proud Eagle Scout and supports the Scouting Movement among all youth. He and his wife Jen, a full time private clarinet teacher, live in Nashville, Tennessee with their two cats.
Mr. Daniel Long, Color Guard Instructor
J. Daniel Long was born in North Carolina and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. His love for music and the fine arts began as a young child playing piano. The percussion section was his primary focus through high school and college. He dedicated many hours to the Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra and attended Governor’s School for the Arts in 2006. Mr. Long started his colorguard journey soon after grade school when he marched for two years with the Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2008 he moved to Dallas, Texas where he found his passion for inspiring others and teaching high school color guard. Once Mr. Long moved to Nashville, he spent 4 years actively performing with Eklipse Winterguard and would later join the staff for that ensemble. Now, Mr. Long is a full time Real Estate Agent and dedicated coach to local high school music programs.
Ms. Whitney Blankenship, Color Guard Instructor
Whitney first found a love for performing through her high school theatre program and was involved in stage productions all four years. It wasn't until junior year that she auditioned for the color guard, and it's become a huge passion of hers since. She then went on to join the color guard program at Tennessee Technological University for two fall seasons.
Whitney marched three years with Eklipse, an independent Winter Guard organization based in Nashville, TN. She also spent two summers with the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps in 2014 and 2016. It has always been a dream of hers to perform in WGI World Championship Finals since she first discovered the activity in high school, and she finally accomplished that dream in 2017 with Lexis Independent World.
"Color Guard has honestly changed my life and has made me into the person I am today. It has taught me confidence, how to push through anything, discipline, and how to work together as a team. Performing is a feeling that you can't really recreate, and it is something that allows you to really express yourself. It is truly a joy to be able to teach students what I have learned and to be able to pass on the things that color guard has brought into my life."
Mr. William "Taz" Wright, Marching Instructor
Taz is a 2012 graduate of Antioch High School and an alumni of the band program. With his wealth of musical knowledge, his talents and techniques as a marcher, and his history and emotional investment with the program, Taz is a very valuable part of the AHS band staff.
Taz explains, “Growing up, I always loved music and musical instruments. In junior high I learned to play the clarinet and saxophone. In high school, I continued to play the saxophone until the summer leading into my sophomore year when I learned how to play the french horn. During my freshman year, I was in the bottom 10% for music and marching performance and during the summer when I started on french horn, so I set out to change that. It’s truly amazing what happens when you devote time to individual practice and realize that doing so is helping to build success within a large group of people”.
Mr. Griffin Cantrell, Marching / Visual / Music Tech
As an alumni of Antioch High School, Griffin Cantrell has been involved with the AHS band program for years. He spent four years there as a student in the band and three of those were spent as a section leader in the trumpet and / or mellophone sections. Griffin has returned many times to help with the band's participation in contests.
In addition to his performance experience as an instrumentalist with the MTSU Band of Blue, Griffin has marched two season with Elysian of MTSU, the universities independent winter guard. He spent both years on all equipment and was a featured soloist during both seasons. He also spent one year with the Eklipse Winter Guard in Nashville, TN, and a year with the Madison Scouts.
Griffin brings a wealth of eclectic knowledge to the staff at Antioch and he is very excited to help develop the program at his alma mater.
Mr. Benjamin Easley, Music Arranger
Benjamin Easley currently serves as Director of Bands at Nolensville High School, the newest Williamson County Schools high school which opened its doors August 2016. Prior to opening NHS, Mr. Easley began his Tennessee teaching career at John Overton High School, where the competitive marching band membership increased by 58% during his tenure. Easley previously served as Associate Band Director at Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas, where his concert ensembles achieved the UIL Sweepstakes Award and the Mighty Ram Band performed his original compositions as finalists at the 2012 TX UIL 5A State Marching Contest and multiple Bands of America Regional Championships.
A native of Union City, Tennessee, Mr. Easley graduated summa cum laude with a B.M. in Trombone PerformanceM.M. in Instrumental Conducting, M.M. in Music Education, and M.M. in Music Theory Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. As a performing artist, Mr. Easley has collaborated and performed live with Grammy-winning recording artists including Josh Groban, Norah Jones, Victor Wooten, and Bela Fleck. As a freelance composer and arranger, Mr. Easley designs and arranges competitive shows for high school marching band programs throughout the Southeast. He currently resides in Nolensville with his wife, Sarah, and their 2-year-old daughter, Ella.
Mr. Nick Mason, Percussion Instructor
Nick Mason is a Nashville native and 2016 graduate of LaVergne High School in LaVergne, Tennessee.
Nick's marching career includes three seasons of indoor drumline with WGI Independent Open Class group Chattanooga Independent Percussion Ensemble, based out of Cleveland, Tennessee from 2014 to 2016. While a member of that ensemble, Nick received a silver medal in WGI Percussion Independent A Class (2014) as a member of the front ensemble, and was a WGI Percussion Open Class Finalist in 2015 and 2016 as a member of the snare-line. Nick then marched the 2017 season with eight-time WGI Independent World Class gold medalists, Music City Mystique, from Nashville, Tennessee as a member of the snare-line, receiving a gold medal in WGI Percussion Independent World Class.
Currently, Nick is a full-time student at Middle Tennessee State University studying Audio Production and Music. He is also a part-time employee at Dunkin' Donuts, freelance percussion artist, and personal percussion instructor in the Nashville area. Nick is excited to join the Antioch High School Marching Band for the 2017 season as the battery coordinator and writer.
Kim Li, Percussion Instructor
Kim Li is from West Tennessee and now lives in Nashville pursuing her desire to share music. She is currently a student at Belmont University earning her degree in Music Education. At a young age, she studied piano and then pursued percussion when introduced to marching band. After high school, she continued her love for the marching arts by becoming a member of the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps front ensemble for three seasons (2014-2016). She is excited to be working with the Antioch Band for her second year focusing on the front ensemble. At Belmont, she continues her studies in both piano and percussion, collaborates with recording artists, and composes and arranges music.
“My goal is to not simply teach music to students, but to transfer the skills, work ethics, and discipline gained through music and apply it outside of the classroom.”
Trianne Newbrey, Percussion Instructor
A native to Hawaii and raised in Middle Tennessee, Trianne Newbrey is currently a student at Middle Tennessee State University studying for her B.A. in Music Industry and Mass Communication. There, she hopes to build on her career through marketing, writing and arranging music, and collaborating with fellow musicians. She interned with Rowl-off Productions in 2017.
Her love for the marching arts did not end when she graduated high school. Since then she has worked with front ensembles at both Oakland High School and Macon County High School. Trianne is proud to be returning for her second year as one of the Front Ensemble Coordinators for Antioch’s 2017-2018 season.
Mr. J.R. Seals, Drill Design
J.R. Seals is an Obion County native and is a resident of Union City, Tennessee. He studied Business and Organizational Management at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.. J.R. has led the creative development and programmming for Union City High School Marching Band since 2001. Since 2003 he has been the Drill Designer. In that time Union City has received numerous awards including five Finalist Placements at the Middle Tennessee State University Contest of Champions and sevenBOA Regional and Super Regional Class Championships in Indianapolis, Murfreesboro, and St. Louis.
He is a consultant, drill designer, for marching bands and adjudicates marching competitions, festivals and parades throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. J.R. has co-directed community theatre musicals for Masquerade Theatre in Union City, Tennessee and was the costume designer for the local production of " Cats". Mr. Seals is beginning his 18th year with the Union City High School Band and will serve as the Contest Director for the 2016 Union City Invitational held September 17th, in War Memorial Stadium on the Campus of Union City High School.