James Phillips (Hendersonville) – Music Performance

James Phillips is the current Director of Bands at Hendersonville High School.  He is currently in his 22nd year of teaching. He has adjudicated concert and marching bands all over North Carolina and has served on North Carolina Bandmaster District and State Committees.  Mr. Phillips is an alumnus of Brevard College, Appalachian State University and University of Phoenix. He is a member of the WNCBA, NCMEA, NAfME, NBA, and the ASBDA. He currently lives in Henderson County with his wife, daughter and dog. 

Katie Ebert (Waxhaw) – Music Effect

Katie Ebert is the Director of Bands at Cuthbertson Middle School in Waxhaw NC, having served in this capacity since the school’s opening in 2009.  The Cuthbertson Middle School concert bands have consistently earned superior ratings at local, district and regional music festivals. Under Mrs. Ebert’s baton the middle school program has grown to a current enrollment of approximately 340 music students.  Mrs. Ebert also serves as the Assistant Director of Bands at Cuthbertson High School.

A graduate of Lassiter High School in Marietta GA, Mrs. Ebert holds degrees in the Bachelor of Music Education and Music Performance from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah GA and a Master of Music Education from Western Carolina University.  She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and holds professional associations in the National Band Association, the National Association for Music Educators, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the American School Band Directors Association, the South Central District Bandmasters Association, and the Union County Bandmasters Association.  Mrs. Ebert was awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence in 2015 and was recognized as Cuthbertson Middle School’s Teacher of the Year in 2016/17. She currently serves as a district representative on the state MPA committee.
Mrs. Ebert serves as a guest clinician of both All District and All County bands, an adjudicator, and a clarinet performer.  She resides in Waxhaw, NC and team teaches the Cuthbertson band program alongside her husband Todd.

Tammy Reyes (Hickory) – Visual Performance

Ms. Tammy Reyes is currently the Band Director at Grandview Middle School in Hickory, NC.  Ms. Reyes is a 1999 graduate of UNC-Charlotte, earning her Bachelor of Music Degree. She has had successful band programs at Greene County Middle School, West Rowan High School, Hickory High School, and now Grandview Middle School.  Her bands have consistently earned high ratings, and travel each year to perform in and outside of NC. She has adjudicated Marching Bands in NC, SC, and VA for the past 20 years. Ms. Reyes is a member of NAFME and the Northwest District Bandmasters Association.  She resides in Hickory, NC.

Brad Slusarczyk (Charlotte) – Visual Effect

Brad Slusarczyk began his musical career marching tuba with Carolina Crown in 2003.  After marching three years with Crown, he marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard (‘08), and the Concord Blue Devils (‘09).  His drum corps teaching experience includes Carolina Gold (‘09-‘12), Spirit of Atlanta (‘10-‘11), and he was the Visual Caption Head with the Crossmen (‘13-‘15).  Currently, Brad is the Assistant Director of Marching Activities at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, SC.

Also an active tubist, Brad holds a B.M. in Instrumental Performance – Tuba from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  While in college, Brad competed as a soloist, placing third in the Youth Artist Solo Tuba Division at the 2006 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Denver, CO; and placed third in the Solo Tuba Division at the 2007 Southeast Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference.  Brad is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia

Brad resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Koey, and Lexi.

Christyl Barber (Belmont) – Percussion

Christyl Barber holds a degree in music education from Appalachian State University where she attended from 2003-2007.  Ms. Barber works as the head percussion instructor for the North Lincoln “Band of Knights” where she has been working on staff as instructor for marching, concert and Indoor percussion for the past 9 years. Over the years

Christyl has helped to establish the award winning North Lincoln Percussion ensemble program at North Lincoln High School.  North Lincoln Percussion has received many superior ratings under her direction and instruction including: being named the 2014 CIPA Indoor Circuit, PSA class Champions, 2015 CIPA PSA Bronze medalists and most recently the CWEA Circuit PSA 2016 Silver Medalists.

Over the past 7 years Ms. Barber has made a name for herself by writing and arranging percussion books for both the outdoor and indoor arena for a number of schools which include: North Lincoln High School, Chase High School, St. Stephens High School, East Burke High School and Gaffney High School.  Over the past 3 years, Ms. Barber has been working as percussion specialist in the schools teaching beginning to advanced percussion to North Lincoln High School, North Lincoln Middle and East Lincoln Middle School students. Ms. Barber has been working as a private percussion teacher giving lessons to students year round in the Lincoln County area since 2008.  Many of her students have auditioned and been accepted into honors bands, universities and other higher level performing ensembles.

Brandon Nichols (Denver) – Colorguard

Brandon Nichols is the Colorguard Director of the UNC Charlotte “Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band. A native of Denver, North Carolina, he is a graduate of East Lincoln High School (class of 2011). Brandon also graduated with a degree in music education from Western Carolina University (class of 2015).

Over the years, Brandon has worked with many programs in North Carolina. He is currently a Colorguard Instructor with the North Lincoln High School “Band of Knights” (2017– present) and on staff with Metanoia Winterguard (2017–present). Brandon has also served on staff at Tuscola High School (2012–2013), East Lincoln High School (2015–2016) and Mooresville High School (2016).

Brandon has performed with Etude Winteguard (2016–2017, 2019), Olympic Independent (2015), Reynolda Winterguard (2014) and WCU Winterguard (2013). He also performed in the WCU “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band (2011–2014) on trumpet and colorguard.

Aside from his active colorguard schedule, Brandon is the Director of Bands at Long Creek Elementary School in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Dr. Chesley Black (Charlotte) – Drum Major

Dr. Chesley Black is the Student Leadership Program and Media Director of the UNC Charlotte “Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band.  In this role, Dr. Black trains and coordinates the drum majors and Student Leadership team. He also manages the band’s media planning, digital marketing, branding, online reputation and web development. 

While an undergraduate student at East Carolina University, Dr. Black served as Head Drum Major of the ECU Marching Pirates for several years. He has 23 years of experience teaching drum majors at the high school, university and drum corps level, and has been involved with the marching band activity for a total of 27 years. Dr. Black is also an active clinician and adjudicator for several programs and competitions. Dr. Black served as the Drum Major Instructor of the ECU “Marching Pirates” (2009–2014), the North Lincoln High School “Band of Knights” in Lincolnton, North Carolina (2003–2018) and the East Lincoln High School “Mustang Band” in Denver, North Carolina (1999–2003, 2010–2014).

Dr. Black received his doctorate in organizational leadership/higher education administration from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He also received a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology, a Graduate Certificate in Performance Improvement, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems, and a Certificate in Business and Technical Communication from East Carolina University. 

Aside from his active band schedule, Dr. Black is also the Vice President of Workplace Experience, Americas Region at ISS Facility Services, Inc.