Youth Education in the Arts, in fulfilling its “Forward March!” initiative launched last month, is excited to announce the new USBands advisory board. Through this initiative, YEA! revealed its plans to create new advisory board comprised of six to twelve band directors, adjudicators and volunteers representing the three main stakeholders in the program.
"We wanted a diverse board with individuals from different geographical areas and experiences,” said Jon Swengler, Director of USBands. “We are excited to work with people who have shown a passion and dedication towards music activities."
YEA! is still looking for a Texas Band Director to join the board. If you are a Texas Band Director interested in learning more, please contact Jon Swengler at or 610.821.0591.
Meet the members of the new USBands advisory board:
Mike Harrison, Director of Bands at Urbana High School (Ijamsville, MD). During Mr. Harrison's six-year tenure, the marching band has nearly doubled in size and competes actively in USBands and Bands of America. Urbana’s indoor guard and percussion ensembles have a combined ten Winter Guard International (WGI) Regional finals appearances in the last five years. Urbana has hosted indoor, marching band, and drum corps competitions for USBands, Frederick County Public Schools, Keystone Indoor Drill Association (KIDA), and Drum Corps Associates (DCA), and has even hosted rehearsals for The Cadets and Cadets2. They have also hosted educational events and clinics featuring members of their own instructional staff as well as national leaders in the marching arts. In addition to his work at Urbana, Mr. Harrison has been a percussion instructor with The United States Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps since 2009 and a judge in the KIDA circuit, where he was elected to the position of Percussion Representative in 2016.
Chris Vitale, Director of Bands at Westfield High School (Westfield, NJ). Mr. Vitale currently serves as the Central Jersey Music Educators High School Band Chair and is a member of the New Jersey Music Educators Association's All-State Procedures Committee. He was selected as the 2016 Teacher of the Year by the Parent Student Teacher Association at WHS, where he oversees ten performing ensembles. Since his arrival in 2011, enrollment in WHS Bands has doubled. In addition, the Wind Ensemble has performed at the New Jersey Music Educators Conference and at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. The WHS Bands have toured Austria, Czech Republic, and Italy. And the WHS Marching Band was the 2015 USBands Group 5A Northeast Regional and National Champions. In addition to this, Mr. Vitale holds a Bachelor of Music Education as well as a Master of Music in Conducting Performance from the University of Delaware. He has an extensive background in the drum corps activity spanning over 15 years. After marching with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps he served as an instructor or caption head with the Crossmen, Jersey Surf, Hawthorne Caballeros, and the Reading Buccaneers. Mr. Vitale is also an active visual designer for high school bands in Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Brian Langdon, Director of Bands at Boyertown Area Senior High School (Boyertown, PA). Mr. Langdon has been teaching since 2013 and has been active within USBands since 2015. Prior to Boyertown, he taught in the Pottstown School District where he led the elementary school band. Mr. Langdon received his Bachelor of Music Education from West Chester University and his Master of Education at Lehigh University. In 2016, Mr. Langdon was selected as a Music Education Idol by the National Association of Music Education in association with 21st Century Fox and the Give A Note Foundation. Mr. Langdon was also a member of the brass staff for Cadets2 Drum and Bugle Corps in 2017.
Kacey Howard, Director of Bands at Plainfield High School (Plainfield, CT). During Mrs. Howard’s tenure at Plainfield, the instrumental music program has experienced tremendous growth in both size and regional exposure. Under her direction, the concert band performed as an honor ensemble at the Connecticut Music Educators Association Convention last spring and consistently receives superior ratings at festivals and clinics. In addition, The Panther Marching Band has more than tripled in size and has become a five-time USBands New England States class champion, an overall effect caption winner at the 2015 USBands National Championships, and the regional class champion at the 2016 Bands of America competition in Newark, Delware. The Plainfield Band also participated in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC in 2013. Meanwhile, she added winterguard and indoor percussion programs that have also earned titles in their respective divisions. In April 2016, Mrs. Howard was a presenter for “Behind the Scenes of a Successful Program: A Professional Development Day for Aspiring Music Educators” at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education, sponsored by the UCONN National Association for Music Educators chapter. Mrs. Howard earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of South Carolina and her Master of Music Education from Florida State University. Some of her research conducted while at FSU, “A Look at Lifelong Effects of Early Music Programs on Young Children,” was published and presented at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in 2007.
Judy (Tomko) Ulchinsky, Adjudicator (Branchville, NJ). Ms. Ulchinsky is an accomplished professional in both the educational and musical arts arena. She earned a master’s degree in Learning Disabilities and holds certification in School Administration (Principal/Supervisor), Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant, and Health and Physical Education/Recreation working for many years in schools and teaching at the high school and college level. She continues to work in schools as an educational consultant. Ms. Ulchinsky began her musical arts performance background joining drum corps at age six and continuing on to become the first female guard captain of The Garfield Cadets. She taught the two-time National Championship color guard, Scarlet Cadets, and went on to teach, and continues to consult with many bands and color guards. Her adjudication career began in DCI and includes WGI, Bands of America, DCA and many band and guard circuits. She currently adjudicates in four guard circuits on an annual basis, band shows throughout the country, and drum corps in the summer. Ms. Ulchinsky is a member of the New Jersey Network of Judges.
Todd James, Adjudicator (Oklakoma City, OK). Mr. James is skilled in pagentry production and is a successful entrepreneur. Todd is the former Program Coordinator, Visual Designer, and Colorguard Director at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education from Texas State University. In the world of field pageantry, he has choreographed for more than twenty San Antonio Schools in the annual Battle of the Band/Battle of Flowers Band Festival. He staged the the Alamodome Grand Opening Celebration, and was responsible for bringing together over 4,000 vocal students and colorguards for the Northeast Fall Festival. He has also served as a guest speaker for Texas Bandmasters Association. Additionally, he served as the Director of Musical Theater at the Northeast School of the Arts (NESA) in San Antonio, Texas. Under his direction musical theater productions were selected for both Texas and National Thespian Convention performances, as well as the 1999 Fringe Festival. Furthermore, he serves as Clinician, Consultant, and Choreographer for various high schools, pageant systems, and dance studios, both regionally and nationally. Meanwhile, as the owner of Thompson's Creations, a specialty fabric store in Oklahoma City, he provides winning looks and designs for a multitude of groups and individuals throughout performance genres. Mr. James currently serves as an adjudicator for USBands with emphasis on Overall General Effect, Visual, and Colorguard, serving on adjudication panels for both Nationals and numerous State Championships.
Jim Sheeley, Adjudicator (Branchburg, NJ). Mr. Sheeley is an experienced educator; he has been a high school Band Director for twenty years, an Arts Education Administrator for fifteen years and a school Principal for five years. He has a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Mansfield State College, a master's degree in Music Education from Mansfield State College and in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey. He currently works as a Music Director for Whitehouse Wind Symphony and has been a USBands Adjudicator for nineteen years.
John Devlin, Volunteer/Event Staff (Madison, NJ). Mr. Devlin moved from a marching career with junior, senior and alumni corps, to a volunteer for USBands (as well as The Cadets, Crossmen and Jersey Surf) throughout its long history, beginning with The Cadets Marching Band Cooperative and a handful of events in 1995. He is a familiar face on the sidelines in New Jersey and national events. Mr. Devlin also serves as a Timing and Penalties Judge for the New Jersey Network of Judges and the Mid Atlantic Indoor Network, color guard circuit.
Teri Woods, Volunteer/Event Staff (Kuna, ID). Ms. Woods has had a passion for band and music since elementary school. In 2012, she became the booster president for the local high school band and helped the organization obtain nonprofit status. In 2013, she discoverd USBands through a happenstance, a last minute callout for volunteer coverage at a local show. Once there she fell in love with the mission and culture of USBands.
Sheila Angalet, Volunteer/Event Staff (Edison, NJ). Ms. Angalet is a former cheerleading coach, professional dancer, and children's theatre actress. As a coach she she was a finalist for National Cheerleading Coach of the Year in 2004 and worked with individuals at different levels: recreational, high school, all-stars and semi-professional. She was also a nationally accredited cheerleadering judge. Her involvement with USBands began as a band parent, then as a volunteer, and now as a member of the event staff.