From a Southwind press release: Steve Vento and Mike Loeffelholz will team up as Southwind's program coordinators for the 2004 season. Vento will also serve as brass arranger, while Loeffelholz will be writing Southwind's drill. Joining them on the design team will be Jim Yakas (percussion arranger), Eric Willie (front ensemble arranger), and Cedric Nicholson (color guard designer). Serving as caption heads for Southwind this season will be Vento (brass), T.R. Fitz-Gibbon (percussion), Mark Palise (visual) and Barry Artis (color guard). Vento is currently finishing his tenth year at Broken Arrow (Okla.) Public Schools, where he is one of the directors and arranger/composer for the "The Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band." This isVento's second year as brass caption head for Southwind, and his first year as arranger for the group. Vento received a masters degree in music education from the University of Tulsa in 1999, and has written for over 100 marching bands and drum corps in the last eight years. Loeffelholz will enter his 27th season of drum corps in 2004. Mike marched with the Madison Junior Scouts (1978-1980) and Madison Scouts (1981-1987) before joining the Scouts' visual staff for the 1988 DCI Championship season. Loeffelholz was the primary drill writer for the Scouts from 1994-1998, and also wrote for Southwind in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Loeffelholz also served as program coordinator for Southwind in 1999, the corps' first season in Lexington, Ky. Loeffelholz has written drill for many college bands, high school bands, and drum corps around the country and is looking forward to teaming with Vento as Southwind's program coordinators. Jim Yakas started his marching career with the Plymouth Centennial Educational Park Marching Band, winning the BOA Grand National Championships in 1990. He went on to march four years with the Madison Scouts, from 1992 to 1995, playing snare drum. Graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in music education, Yakas was also a part of the internationally recognized, award-winning North Texas drum line. Yakas' drum corps teaching accomplishments include the Phantom Regiment Cadets, Bluecoats and Madison Scouts. Yakas received a master's degree in music percussion performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University. Yakas stayed active as a performer with the world renowned NIU Steel Band, playing in Trinidad's World Steel Band Festival in 2000 and the Seoul Drum Festival in Korea in 2001. Yakas took over the percussion program at the University of Central Florida this past year while professor Jeff Moore was on sabbatical. Yakas is a published composer and remains an active artist, adjudicator and clinician. Eric Willie is currently a percussion specialist for the Sherman Independent School District in Sherman, Texas. Additionally, he is pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of North Texas, where he studies with Jose Aponte, Christopher Deane and Mark Ford. Willie completed a master's degree at the University of Kentucky under James Campbell and his BMME at Austin Peay State University under David Steinquest. He has been on the teaching staffs of the Madison Scouts, Carolina Crown and the Americanos. Willie has worked with the University of Kentucky Drum Line, Music City Mystique, the University of North Texas Green Brigade Drum Line, and the University of North Texas competition line. Willie has served as Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and has been on the faculty of the Bands of America World Percussion Symposium. Willie has been a featured performer at the Bands of America Concert Festival, the World Saxophone Congress, with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and most recently at the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Louisville, Ky., with the Bain Percussion Group. He has presented clinics and master classes throughout the Midwest and southeastern United States and his articles have appeared in such magazines as "Percussive Notes" and "The Instrumentalist." Cedric Nicholson enters his fifth season with Southwind (2000-present) and his first as color guard designer/choreographer. "I am excited about the upcoming season for the corps," said Nicholson. Nicholson marched drum corps with the Glassmen in 1995 and Madison Scouts from 1996-1999. His winter guard performance experience includes Pride of Cincinnati (1998-1999) and Northern Lights World Guard (2002). Nicholson currently teaches Northern Lights Winter Guard (2001-present) as well as many other winter guards and high school guards in the Portland, Oregon area. Nicholson will teach and perform with Northern Lights World Guard for the 2004 WGI season. Nicholson is currently studying dance at Reed College in Portland, Ore. T.R. Fitz-Gibbon is starting his fourth year as a staff member of Southwind, and his first year as percussion caption head. Fitz-Gibbon graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a degree in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. His involvement in drum corps started in 1994 when he marched snare for the Madison Jr. Scouts. He continued with the corps as it became Capital Sound, marching snare in 1995 and 1996. Fitz-Gibbon then joined the Madison Scouts, performing in the snare line in 1997 and 1998, and was the drum major in 1999 and 2000. After aging out in 2000, Fitz-Gibbon. joined Southwind's percussion staff, teaching the bass line in 2001 and the snare line in 2002 and 2003. This will be Fitz-Gibbon's 11th season with the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps Association. Mark Palise is entering his fourteenth year in drum corps. After playing baritone for the Madison Scouts from 1991-1996, he taught visual for two years with the Glassmen before coming to Southwind for the rebirth of the corps in 1999. Palise worked from 1999-2002 as the visual instructor for the percussion section. Last year, he assumed the role of visual caption head, a role that he is honored and excited
to be reprising this year. "With the talented staff and the aggressive, effective drill we can expect this year, I anticipate our visual program and our entire corps will have its most successful year yet," said Palise. Barry Artis returns for his second season with Southwind. A resident of Gainesville, Fla., Artis has been on the staff of Paradigm Independent Winter Guard of Lake City, Fla., for the past nine seasons. He also writes and instructs for several local school programs in Florida. Artis has previously instructed color guard with The Florida Visual Ensemble of Gainesville; Art 101 of Columbus, Ohio; and spent two seasons on the visual staff for the Carolina Crown. He has marched with the Bluecoats, Avant Garde, and the Crossmen, as well as with Threshold Winter Guard of West Chester, Pa. In addition to instructional and design positions, Artis currently holds positions on the Board of Officers for the Florida Federation of Color Guards Circuit, and with Winter Guard International. Director Mike Loeffelholz said, "I am looking forward to working with such a talented group of individuals this season. I know we can expect great things from the "Yellow Team" as our design staff creates an entertaining show for the audience as well as a challenging show for our members. 2004 promises to be a breakthrough season for Southwind, and we look forward to sharing the experience with drum corps fans across the country."