Staff

Staff

Tyler Austin – Graduate Assistant

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Tyler Austin is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University. He previously served as Director of Bands and Music Teacher at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Frederick, MD, taught applied lessons and music coursework at Hagerstown Community College, and maintained an active freelancing career as a bassoonist and conductor.

Austin received his Bachelor of Music Education at Susquehanna University (2012) and his Master of Music degree in Bassoon Performance at the University of North Texas (2014). His primary teachers have included conductors Kevin Sedatole, Andrew Yozviak, and Eric Hinton, and bassoonists Kathleen Reynolds, and Anna Claire Ballard-Ayoub. Austin has professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

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).