From a Spirit press release: Matt Banks, Mike Madonia and Ray Vasquez have joined up with Errick Prince and Scott Carter under the direction of Chip Crotts to round out the Spirit brass staff for 2006. "This is a fantastic group of teachers and performers we have assembled and are extremely excited about the upcoming year. Each teacher brings something unique and different to the table, and we feel this a good fit for our program at Spirit," said brass caption head Dr. Chip Crotts.

Matt Banks will serve as tuba/low brass consultant with the corps. He is currently the assistant director of bands at Alton High School in Alton, Ill., and a former assistant at Union high School in Tulsa, Okla. Banks received his music education degree in tuba and euphonium from Illinois State University and toured for several years with the Tony-Award winning show "Blast!" He is a former member of the Cavaliers and has been on the brass staff of the Madison Scouts. In addition, he is a summer assistant with the Bands of America Summer Symposium in Normal, Ill.. "Matt brings much knowledge and experience to Spirit and will be an excellent addition as a tuba and low brass specialist. He is an exciting and enthusiastic teacher and his passion for education will fit in perfectly with our philosophy at Spirit," Crotts said. Ray Vasquez will serve as a trumpet/high brass specialist this year. Currently a professor of trumpet at Auburn University, he is no stranger to the drum corps activity as a former soprano soloist and staff member of the Phantom Regiment. He has also served as the brass caption head for the Blue Stars and brass staff for the Minnesota Brass. As a performer, Vasquez is equally gifted and has worked with artists such as the Four Tops, Barry Manilow, Chaka Khan, Doc Severinsen, Marcus Roberts and Arturo Sandoval as well as with the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Ballet, Minnesota Opera, Big Time Jazz Orchestra, and as lead trumpet of the world famous University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band.

As a clinician and educator, he has given master classes throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia and is very active in the international trumpet community. Vasquez holds degrees from Northwestern State, North Texas and is currently completing a degree at the University of Minnesota.

"Ray brings a wealth of knowledge to the activity and is equally at home as a player and teacher. This is often a rare combination and we are extremely thrilled to have Ray as part of the Brass Staff for the upcoming season," Crotts said.

Errick Prince returns for his fourth season on the brass staff with Spirit. He is currently the band director at the Tift County High School Northeast Campus in Tifton, Ga. He is also the assistant band director and brass caption head at the Tift County Main Campus. Prince has been a teacher in the Thomasville (Ga.) city schools and received a degree in music education from Valdosta State University. He has also done graduate work at Jacksonville State University, where he served as music caption head for the Marching Southerners and as a teaching assistant in the jazz studies program. Prince is no stranger to DCI, as he was a marching member and soloist of the Spirit of Atlanta/Georgia and Bluecoats. He has served on the brass staff for the Cadets, Bluecoats and Spirit of JSU. Prince has also been in demand as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the Southeast and maintains a busy schedule as a consultant and brass performer. "Errick is an exceptional teacher and motivator and has been a brass educator for more than 10 years. His passion for teaching and love for Spirit has made him an invaluable member of the Brass Staff for the past few years. We are glad he is back and look forward to more great years ahead," Crotts said.

Mike Madonia comes to Spirit this year as a new brass staff member and is in his 26th year of music education. He is currently in his 16th year as director of bands at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Ill. His previous positions include director of Bands at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School and Bishop Noll Institute. During his tenure at these schools, his marching and concert bands have won numerous awards at festivals including Bands of America regional finalists and Illinois State Marching championship finalist. Madonia received his a music degree from De Paul University in Chicago, and a masters of music education degree from VanderCook College in Chicago. He has also been active in the drum corps community as a past brass caption head of Pioneer. In addition to teaching, he is a consultant to many band programs throughout Illinois, and serves as an adjudicator and conductor for various music festivals. Outside the classroom, Mike is very active as a trumpet player in various musical ensembles in the Chicagoland Area.

"I am very honored and excited to be part of the educational environment at JSU. I look forward to working with the rest of the Brass Staff and the members of Spirit on a long tradition of excellence that has been established. I have always been a fan of the organization and have been inspired by their performance and professionalism."

Scott Carter will be returning this season to Spirit as a low brass tech and breathing instructor. Carter is a senior euphonium player at Jacksonville State University currently pursuing his bachelor's degree in Music. Carter marched in Southwind from 1993-1997. From 1999-2001 Carter served as tour manager for Southwind, and was a visual tech there from 2002-2003. In 2004 he joined the Spirit staff as the baritone brass tech and continued in that role in 2005.

Scott is from Pass Christian, Miss., and has performed with the JSU chamber winds, symphonic band, Marching Southerners, JSU jazz I, II, and III, the JSU pep band ("Hardcorps"), brass choir, and tuba/euphonium ensembles. "We are excited to have Scott back this year and he will be a tremendous asset to the brass staff. Scott is an excellent musician and his experience and rapport with his fellow students at JSU make him an ideal fit to round out this year's brass staff," Crotts said.