Staff

Staff

Brent Echols – Graduate Assistant

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Brent Echols is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University. Before attending MSU for graduate study, Echols was the Percussion Director and Assistant Band Director at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Texas, and most recently served as Director of Bands at Plantation High School in Plantation, Florida. During his time in the public high schools, Echols taught percussion ensemble, marching band, concert band, and chamber wind ensemble. Echols originally hails from Troy, Illinois, and graduated with his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Michigan State University in 2013.

Sebastian Buhts – Graduate Assistant

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Sebastian Buhts is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion from Michigan State University. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Sebastian teaches applied percussion, percussion methods, percussion ensemble, and assists with the Spartan Marching Band Drumline. He is also on the percussion faculty at the MSU Community Music School. Prior to his appointments in Michigan, Sebastian was an adjunct percussion instructor at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

As a freelance musician, Sebastian has performed as a soloist in the U.S., Scotland, Austria, and Germany. He has performed with several regional orchestras including the Lansing, Jackson, and Midland Symphony Orchestras, and has collaborated with chamber groups such as the Nashville Composer Collective and the Tri Star Brass Ensemble—comprised of faculty musicians from Vanderbilt, Belmont, and Middle Tennessee State Universities.

Sebastian earned his Master and Bachelor of Music degrees in percussion along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German from Belmont University. He has also studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden, Germany, the Aspen Music Festival and School, Zeltsman Marimba Festival, Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar, and Summer Tabla Workshop with Shawn Mativetsky.

For more information, please visit www.sebastianbuhts.com.

Travis Higa – Graduate Assistant

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Travis Higa is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University. Prior to attending MSU, Higa was the Director of Bands at Williams & Glenbrook Middle Schools in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Music Director and founder of the Youth Wind Ensemble of Springfield, and taught applied trumpet lessons at the Community Music School of Springfield.

Higa is originally from Kaneohe, Hawaii. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2011) and his Master of Music degree from the University of Montana (2013). His primary conducting teachers include Kevin Sedatole, James Smart, and Takayoshi “Tad” Suzuki.

Hunter Kopczynski – Graduate Assistant

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Hunter Kopczynski is currently pursuing a masters degree in wind conducting at Michigan State University, where he is active in all aspects of teaching and administration of the band program in the College of Music. Prior to graduate study at MSU, Kopczynski taught in the public schools of Virginia, most recently serving as Director of Bands at Warhill High School in Williamsburg.

A native of Yorktown, Virginia, Kopczynski graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Tech with a bachelors degree in music and a masters in education. His primary musical mentors at Virginia Tech include Dr. Allen Bachelder and Dr. John Adler (trumpet) and David McKee and Dr. Travis J. Cross (conducting). At MSU, Kopczynski is a conducting student of Dr. Kevin Sedatole.

Branden Steinmetz – Graduate Assistant

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Branden Steinmetz is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University. Previously, he served for 4 years as a band director at Woodbury High School in Woodbury, MN where he taught band, marching band, percussion ensemble, and 2 winter drumlines, while maintaining an active performance career with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra (WI).

Steinmetz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumental Music Education at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (2011) and a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Minnesota (2013). His primary mentors include Dr. Kevin Sedatole and Dr. Christopher Werner (conducting), Professor Fernando Meza and Dr. Tammy Fisher (percussion), and Dr. Jack Stamp (composition).

Simon Holoweiko – Graduate Assistant

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Simon Holoweiko is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University as a student of Dr. Kevin Sedatole. Prior to beginning his DMA , Holoweiko spent one year as the interim Assistant Director of Bands and Associate Director of the Spartan Marching Band at Michigan State University where he conducted the MSU Concert Band, the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony, assisted with the Spartan Marching Band and Spartan Brass, and taught courses in the College of Music.

Simon completed his Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting at Columbus State University as a student of Dr. Jamie L. Nix where he guest conducted the CSU Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, directed the CSU Cougar Pep Band, and administrated the annual CSU Conductors Workshop. Prior to his Master’s degree, Holoweiko received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Michigan State University and taught in the Florida public schools where was the Director of Bands at Martin County High School (Stuart).