Michael Oubre was the band director at Pickens High School in Jasper, Georgia. He taught for twenty-two years and was Band Director at Pickens High School for 11 years. Previously, Mr. Oubre was the band director at Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, GA from 2007-2011. Mr. Oubre is currently employed as the Customer Relationship Manager at Big Note Music in Cartersville. A native of Sumter, SC, Mr. Oubre graduated from Furman University in 1998 and UGA in 2000 with music education degrees and earned his Specialist Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Piedmont College. Mr. Oubre has served two GMEA Districts as Band Chair, Treasurer, LGPE Organizer, Solo and Ensemble organizer, First Round All-State audition organizer, and more. He served as Chair for GMEA District 9. He has also been a clinician for various honor bands, camps and colleges. At PHS, Mr. Oubre served as department head and also served as the county Fine Arts Director. His bands have performed at the University of Alabama, Kennesaw State University, Columbus State University, and the Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival at Georgia State University. Mr. Oubre has received the Citation of Excellence on three occasions from the NBA. He has presented clinics at the GMEA State Convention and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2021. Mr. Oubre was named STAR Teacher for Pickens High School in 2015 and 2016. His WBHS Symphonic Band was recognized as a Commended Winner in the National Wind Band Honors. Mr. Oubre is a member of GMEA, NAfME, NBA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Mr. Oubre is married to Leslie Still Oubre, a small business owner. They have one son, Jonah, who is a welder.
Neil Ruby is the Fine Arts Coordinator of the Carroll County School System. He taught HS Band for 30 years in Carroll County, most recently for 24 years at Central-Carroll High School, in Carrollton, Georgia. Mr. Ruby received a B.M. Degree in Music Education from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, and a M.M. Degree in Music Education from the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois.
Mr. Ruby is the President of the Georgia Music Educators Association. He also served four years as the GMEA State Band Chair, four years as the GMEA District Seven Chairman, and as a member of the Music Selection Committee, Nominations Committee, Marching Band Committee, All-State Committee, and as a Mentoring Teacher for the State of Georgia. He is also a GMEA-Certified Head Adjudicator for the Large Group Performance Evaluations. Mr. Ruby has received the prestigious National Band Association Citation of Excellence on six occasions. He is a Teacher of the Year recipient in Carroll County and was chosen as the STAR teacher of Central-Carroll High School on 5 occasions and has twice been chosen as the STAR Teacher for the Carroll County School System. Mr. Ruby was selected as the Teacher of the Year by the Wal-Mart Foundation and the STAR 94 “Teachers Make a Difference” recipient as a Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Mr. Ruby is the Instrumental Director at Roopville Road Baptist Church and is the proud dad of a four-year-old Yorkie, Oliver Simon.
Dr. Kerry Bryant serves as Director of Instrumental Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Reinhardt University. Most recently he served as Director of Bands at Young Harris College, and as Adjunct Instructor of Music Education at Reinhardt University. Prior to his collegiate career, over a period 32 years, Dr. Bryant served primarily as Director of Bands for several prominent high school band programs in GA, as well as a Fine Arts Coordinator for the Barrow County Schools (GA) and as an elementary music teacher. Thus, Dr. Bryant’s music education experience spans the continuum of all ages, from kindergarten through graduate-level music courses.
Concert ensembles under his direction have been invited to perform at many college and regional band clinics, conventions and symposia, including the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, The University of Southern Mississippi All-South Band Clinic, the Troy State University Southeastern U.S. Honor Band Clinic, Tri-State Honor Band Clinic at Florida State University, the University of Alabama Band Clinic and the University of South Carolina Band Clinic. He has performed at the Mid-West International Band Clinic as a former member of Tara Winds two times. He has numerous arrangements, transcriptions and editions of concert band worksin various private and school libraries and catalogs, including Schirmer Rental and Arrangers Publishing. Dr. Bryant maintains an active travel schedule throughout the southeastern U.S. with guest conducting, evaluation, and clinician services for many band programs and state music associations.
Dr. Bryant was awarded Music Educator of the Year in 2016 by the Georgia Music Educators Association. He was also selected as a 2011 Honoree for the Woodruff Arts Center (Atlanta, GA) Salutes Georgia Arts in Education Leaders. He has been awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence six times. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu National Honorary Bandmasters, and has served on the editorial board for the Music Educators Journal. He has served as an instrumental music education standards writer and reviewer for the Georgia Department of Education.
Dr. Bryant has degrees from the University of Kentucky (BME, 1986), University of South Carolina (MME, 1993), Lincoln Memorial University (Ed.S, Administration and Supervision, 2005) and Liberty University (Ed.D., Education Leadership, 2012). He lives in Waleska, GA, with his wife Kelly, a professional flutist in the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Flute Artist Affiliate at Reinhardt and Kennesaw State Universities. They have two children: Jack, age 26, a horn player in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and Helen, age 22, a piano performance and musicology graduate student at the Universitie de Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Mr. Dennis Naughton currently serves as a professor of music education at Reinhardt University where he serves as a student teaching supervisor, percussion ensemble, athletic bands, methods classes, and co -conductor of the Reinhardt Wind Symphony. In June of 2020, he retired as the director of bands at Flowery Branch High School in Flowery Branch, Georgia. During his 30 year teaching tenure, he was also director of bands at North Springs High School, Riverwood International Charter School and East Coweta High School. His bands received invitations to perform at the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, the University of Southern Mississippi, Kennesaw State University, and Georgia state University. In addition to his teaching experience, he has also spent 14 summers as a staff member of the Encore Music Camps in Milledgeville, Georgia, the Spirit U summer Camp, Spirit Camps, and he spent a year as a staff member of the Atlanta Olympic Band.
He received his B.S. in Music Education from Georgia State University in 1990 and his Masters of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2008.
As an active member of the GMEA, he has served on the instrumental council, served on the GMEA board, hosted the GMEA performance evaluation, honor bands, and numerous all-state auditions. He has also presented clinics and performed at the Georgia Music Educators’ in-Service Conference held annually in Savannah, Georgia. He is member of the Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmasters Fraternity and has been awarded the NBA citation of excellence on 5 occasions. Mr. Naughton has worked with the Southern Star Music Festival for 20 years serving as the instrumental coordinator.
Mr. Naughton lives in Woodstock, Georgia with his wife Christy Naughton. She is the band director at Northwestern Middle School in Fulton County.
Dan Grass currently serves as administrator at DeSana Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia. Prior to his role in administration, Mr. Grass served as Assistant Director of Bands at Forsyth Central High School For 11 years, where he served as drill designer, colorguard coordinator, and director of wind studies for the Flash of Crimson Band. Prior to his time at Forsyth Central Mr. Grass was band director of Forest Hills High School in Marshville, North Carolina.
During his tenue as band director, Mr. Grass has won numerous awards including Scholastic A Second Place at WGI Championships as well as numerous sweepstakes and superior ratings. As a designer, Mr. Grass has drill writing credits for programs in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Most recently Mr. Grass has been invited by Brass Off! a division of Music Generation Arts Council in Dublin, Ireland as guest clinician.
Mr. Grass has been on staff with the Phantom Regiment from Rockford, IL and has served as Visual Caption head at Music City Drum Corps out of Nashville, TN. Mr. Grass holds his Master from Kennesaw State University, and received his Bachelors degree from the University of Memphis under direction of Dr. Albert Nguyen.
Dan Grass currently lives in Cumming Georgia with his wife Elizabeth and their two children.
Tracy D. Wright is is the Director of Bands at Ringgold High School. For 23 years he served as the Director of Bands at Ringgold Middle School and Assistant Director of the Marching Tiger Band. He also serves on the Operations Staff for the American Band College in Ashland, OR and the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, WA. Mr. Wright was named the RMS Teacher of the Year for the 2000-2001 academic year and has received three Citation of Excellence awards from the National Band Association (2002, 2005, 2011). Mr. Wright is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an elected member of the American School Band Directors Association and Phi Beta Mu (Honorary Band Directors Fraternity). He has served GMEA on various committees, District VII band chair, and is currently the Vice-President of All-State events for the State of Georgia.
Under Mr. Wright’s direction, the RMS Band performed at the Southeastern United States Band Clinic at Troy University (2002, 2011), the Georgia Music Educators In-Service Conference (2003), and the University of Georgia Middle School Music Festival (2005). The RMS Band also performed in Washington, DC, Orlando, FL and Baltimore, MD.
The RMS band received a commendation from the Governor of Georgia in 2000. The band also received numerous superior ratings at GMEA festivals and other regional festivals in concert, jazz, and chamber ensembles. GMEA awarded the Ringgold Middle School Band with the prestigious “Exemplary Performance Award” in 2012. The RHS Marching Tiger Band has won numerous championships, performed in the New York City Veteran’s Day parade (2006, 2012), the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade (2011), various college football games, and traveled to The Bahamas and Canada.
A marching, concert, and jazz band clinician and adjudicator throughout the Southeast, Mr. Wright was awarded the Master of Music in Conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University in 2004. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL in 1992. At JSU, Mr. Wright studied saxophone with Dr. Ronald C. Attinger, directed the basketball pep band, served as a drum major of the nationally renowned Marching Southerners, and was a student of the legendary David L. Walters.
A native of Ringgold, Georgia, Mr. Wright is a member of Quitman Lodge No. 106, Free & Accepted Masons, and is a member of the York Rite and Scottish Rite. He also teaches and lectures on Catoosa County and Georgia history and lives in Chickamauga with his wife Amy, the media specialist at Ringgold Primary School, and their daughter Georgia Lou. Mr. Wright serves as an Elder and is active in the music department at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Chattanooga, TN.
Patrick Gallagher is a sales associate for Student Group Tours and an adjunct instructor at Pickens High School. Patrick Gallagher’s career spanned 40 years as a band director at Ashworth Middle School, Eastbrook Middle School, Forsyth County High School, Pickens High School, and West Forsyth High School.
Mr. Gallagher received a B.M. Degree in Music Education from Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia, a M.M. Degree in Music Education from the Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and postgraduate study at the American Band College in Ashland, Oregon.
Mr. Gallagher served 8 years as the GMEA District Nine Chairman, 12 years as the GMEA District Nine Band Chair, over 24 years as the GMEA HS All-State Band Organizer. He has served on numerous GMEA LGPE Adjudication panels and an Adjudicator for numerous marching contests throughout Georgia. He has also been a clinician for various honor bands and camps around Georgia. He was twice chosen as the STAR Teacher for the Pickens County School System.
Mr. Gallagher is an active member of Bugles Across America and has Sounded Taps over 150 times for Military funerals. Mr. Gallagher is married to Lea Meador Gallagher. They have two daughters, Hayley and Tricia.
Hayes Bunch joined the faculty of Young Harris College in the Fall of 2022 as Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music. He conducts the Young Harris College Concert and Jazz Bands, teaches Percussion Class and Advanced Conducting for music education majors, and Applied Major Percussion lessons.
As a conductor, Bunch has led works and collaborated in rehearsal and performance with Oberlin Conservatory’s Stephen Hartke, Harvard Professor Emeritus and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Bernard Rands, University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory professor and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Zhou Long, and eighth blackbird. He has contributed research on the music of Donald Erb at the College
Band Directors National Association National Conference, on programming possibilities for electronics and ensemble at the Southwestern Division Conference of the College Band Director’s National Association,
and has participated in conducting symposia with Richard Clary, Eugene Corporon, Michael Haithcock, Craig Kirchoff, Gary Lewis, H. Robert Reynolds, Kevin Sedatole and Mallory Thompson. Bunch has also served as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for various concert, marching, chamber music, solo, and continuing education events in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, Missouri, Texas, Michigan, and Tennessee. Bunch has served on the faculty of the University of South Carolina Aiken, the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (MI), the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX), the Temple Independent School District (TX), the Interlochen Arts Academy (MI), and the Obion County Schools (TN).
Bunch performed as a percussionist under the baton of Leonard Slatkin on the Grammy Award Winning recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and Experience (Naxos), internationally at the Beijing Modern Music Festival at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, stateside with The Fountain City Brass Band (MO), Temple Symphony Orchestra and Temple Jazz Orchestra (TX), Plymouth Symphony (MI), and with artists Randy Brecker, Allen Vizzuti, Gordon Goodwin, Bill Watrous, among others. He also performed with the award-winning Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Bunch currently enjoys playing with the Tri-State Community Band in Blue Ridge, GA.
Bunch holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in Conducting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, the Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University
of Michigan, and the Bachelor of Music in Music Education (K-12 Instrumental) from the University of Tennessee – Martin. Bunch’s professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National
Association, National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, Percussive Arts Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, as well as honorary memberships with Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa
Color Guard Judge
Dianne Hartness is from Newberry, South Carolina, where she is in her 23rd year of teaching high school English at her alma mater. A graduate of Newberry High School, she was a member of the NHS Blue Brigade color guard and a French horn player in the school’s symphonic band, under the direction of renowned SC director, Lorraine Paris. She went on to perform with the Mighty Sound of the Southeast at the University of South Carolina as a member of the color guard. Dianne began teaching high school color guards immediately after high school graduation and has continued to do so throughout her teaching career. She has worked with multiple award-winning programs across the state of South Carolina in both marching bands and winter guards.
Drum Major Judge
Ms. Holly Kinsey
Ms. Holly Kinsey is in her seventh year as a music educator serving as Band Director at Clear Creek Middle School and Assistant Band Director at Gilmer High School. A 2012 graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnel Hill, Georgia, Ms. Kinsey began conducting at the age of 15 when she was first selected as a drum major for her high school band for her sophomore year. Before graduating, Ms. Kinsey was selected six times to the GMEA District 7 Honor Band, five times to the GMEA All-State Band, and was a 2012 member of The United States Army All-American Marching Band, an honor given to only 125 high school seniors nationwide. Ms. Kinsey also performed frequently with the Chattanooga Clarinet Choir in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In her senior year, Ms. Kinsey was named a National Merit Scholar, which granted her a full-ride to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Ms. Kinsey is a 2016 Magna Cum Laude Honors College graduate of The University of Alabama where she earned both a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music Education and a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance. While at UA, Ms. Kinsey was a four-year member of The Million Dollar Band, serving her sophomore year as clarinet section leader and as drum major her junior and senior year. As a part of this ensemble, Ms. Kinsey traveled across the country cheering on the Crimson Tide Football Team to two National Championships and three SEC Championship wins. In addition, Ms. Kinsey performed as the bass clarinetist with The University of Alabama Wind Ensemble and The Huxford Symphony Orchestra. While in college, Ms. Kinsey was involved with Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity focused on service through music, and The University of Alabama Community Music School where she taught private lessons to clarinet students. Ms. Kinsey graduated with a Master’s of Music Education in May of 2023 from the University of Florida.
Under Ms. Kinsey’s direction, the Clear Creek Middle School Band have consistently received superior ratings at LGPE. Her students have been selected for ensembles such as GMEA District Honor Band, GMEA All-State Band, University of Alabama Honor Band, Young Harris Honor Band, and others. Ms. Kinsey is a member of Georgia Music Educators Association, Alabama Music Educators Association, National Band Association, and the International Clarinet Association.
Majorette/Dance Team Judge
Dr. Rogers has judged the Blue Ridge Mountain Marching Festival for the past eight years. She works with auxiliaries and judges other marching festivals throughout the Southeast. After 32 Years of teaching Mathematics and Education at Piedmont University, she retired in June. Now, she teaches mathematics nationally through Varsity Tutors.