Board of Directors

Term 2015-2018

Thomas Rotondi
Beth Steele

Term 2016-2019

Gail Brechting
Lorelei Conrad
Chris Wilhjelm

Term 2017-2020

Patrick Hennessey
Tom Ridley
Jan Turnage


Gail Brechting Gail A. Brechting

Spring Lake, MI
e-mail
2016-2019

 

 Mrs. Brechting is in her twentieth year as the conductor and music director of the West Michigan Concert WINDS. Under her direction, the WINDS performed at the 2005 and hosted the 2011 National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands. In May of 2015 had the honor to perform in Symphony Hall in Chicago and in June of 2016 will perform in Carnegie Hall in New York City. The WINDS are the 2005 recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll, an international award recognizing excellence in adult community bands, administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Arts degree from Western Michigan University. She is an active trombonist and a much sought after soprano vocal soloist in the West Michigan area.

The WINDS have toured three times abroad. She has guest conducted in Michigan, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida. From 1996-1999 Mrs. Brechting represented MSBOA as the State Representative for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival.

Presently, she is the band director at Muskegon Community College and is in her thirty-seventh year of music education, the past thirty with the Reeths-Puffer School District. Mrs. Brechting is a national board member of the Association of Concert Bands, the National Band Association, the College Band Directors Association, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, P.E.O. and the Woman Band Directors Association; recently finishing a six year term as a national board member of the Association of Concert Bands, and was the first woman selected to be a member of the John Philip Sousa Foundations, Sudler Silver Scroll Award Selection Committee.

Mrs. Brechting lives in Spring Lake, MI with her engineer/pianist husband Frank, their daughter Annelise.

Lorelei Conrad Lorelei Conrad

Sahuarita, AZ
e-mail
2016-2019

 

  Lorelei Allison Conrad, LCDR, USN, Ret., began her professional career as a US Navy Musician first as an enlisted trumpet player with the US Naval Academy Band and later making naval history as the first woman to receive a commission as Ensign, becoming the first woman to serve as a Navy Limited Duty Bandmaster. Her assignments included Director of Navy Band San Francisco, Associate Conductor, US Navy Band, Washington, DC, Interim Music Liaison Officer for Chief of Information at the Pentagon, Fleet Bandmaster, US Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, Director of Training Armed Forces School of Music, and Fleet Bandmaster, US Atlantic Fleet. Conrad has performed throughout the United States and the Far East Region including Russia, China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Guam, Saipan, and Japan. She has conducted performance with renowned artists such as Eddie Fisher, Lee Greenwood, and Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan as well as three performances with the Tokyo Symphony. Recently she conducted one of the Community Bands as Sea tours of the Mexican Riviera and enjoys staying active as a guest conductor and clinician. Locally she is Musical Director and Conductor of the Tucson Concert Band, performs on trumpet with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and Desert Mountain Brass, and gives clinics and performances on EWI, Electronic Wind Instrument with EWI and the Keys. Conrad earned her Master of Music in Wind Conducting from Northwestern University, studied music education at Carthage College, and completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Trumpet Performance at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Her most influential teachers include Dr. Antonia Brico, Mr. John P Paynter, and Dr. Mallory Thompson.


Patrick Hennessey
Patrick Hennessey
Titusville, Florida
e-mail
2017-2020

 

Patrick Hennessey possesses a wide breadth of experience as a professional musician, educator, and ensemble director / conductor. A native of New Orleans with extended residencies in Southern California and Hawai’i, Patrick’s performance credits include numerous touring Broadway shows, professional symphony orchestras, and many renowned entertainers. In addition, he held the position of principal trombone in the Royal Hawaiian Band, retiring after twenty-six years of distinguished service. An experienced and versatile educator, Patrick directed the jazz ensemble at the University of Hawai’i for twenty-five years and held adjunct faculty positions at both Brigham Young University – Hawai’i and Chaminade University of Honolulu. During his final year in Hawaii, Patrick served as the Director of Bands at Hawai’i Pacific University, concluding his tenure by leading the wind symphony in concert in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. He is currently the Jazz Ensemble Director at Stetson University in DeLand, FL.
Patrick earned his Ph.D. in musicology and has presented his research both nationally and internationally. He has published in the Journal of Band Research, the New Grove Dictionary of Music, the Internationale Gesellschaft zur Erforschung un Förderung der Blasmusik Mitteilungsblatt, and Alta Musica. Upcoming projects include a book on the music of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, with particular emphasis on the participation of John Philip Sousa and his band, and nineteenth-century brass bands in New Orleans.
Patrick, who now resides in Titusville, FL, maintains an active career as a professional musician and college educator. However, he continues to perform with numerous community organizations, including the Florida Wind Band, Central Florida Winds, Space Coast Symphony and Symphony Winds, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Melbourne Municipal Band.



Thomas Rotondi Thomas Rotondi
e-mail
Kingsport, TN

2015-2018

 

Colonel Thomas Rotondi, Jr. retired from the United States Army in 2011 following a distinguished 34-year military career culminating as the eighth Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, DC. Originally from Chicago Heights, Illinois, Colonel Rotondi holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. While at Millikin University, Colonel Rotondi was active in Phi Mu Alpha and was selected for Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity.

Colonel Rotondi joined the United States Army as a trumpet player in 1977. He received his commission in 1982 through Officer Candidate School, where he was an honor graduate. Prior to his assignment in Washington, DC, Colonel Rotondi held multiple assignments including staff conductor and administrative intern, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth, Texas (as part of the Army’s “Training with Industry” program); Commander/ Conductor, United States Continental Army Band, Fort Monroe, Virginia; Commander/Conductor, United States Army, Europe, Band and Chorus, Heidelberg, Germany; and Commander/Conductor of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, New York.

Colonel Rotondi performed at numerous national events including the State Funeral for President Gerald R. Ford and the first inauguration for President Barack Obama. Colonel Rotondi has also conducted throughout Europe as well as Japan and China. He holds the distinction of being the first United States military band officer to conduct the Peoples Liberation Army Band in Beijing, China.

Colonel Rotondi studied conducting with Eiji Oue, Conductor Laureate of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, and with John Giordano, Conductor Emeritus of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He twice attended the Conductor’s Seminar at the Tanglewood Music Center (summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) where the faculty included Seiji Ozawa, Maurice Abravanel, and Gustav Meier.

Colonel Rotondi was elected to membership into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2004, was awarded the Alumni Merit Award from Millikin University in 2007 and was inducted into the Bloom Township High School Hall of Fame in 2010. Besides serving on the Board of Directors for the Association of Concert Bands, Colonel Rotondi also serves as the Advisor to the Director for the Music At The Summit Adult Band Institute in Breckenridge, Colorado and continues to serve on the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Colonel George S. Howard Award Committee.

Colonel Rotondi and his wife, Karen, retired to Kingsport, Tennessee, where he remains active as a freelance conductor, musical consultant and clinician.



Tom Ridley
Huntington Beach, CA

e-mail
2017-2020

 

Mr. Ridley has been involved with music all his life. He earned both BA and MA degrees in music from California State University Long Beach where he studied conducting under H. Robert Reynolds. During his time at CSULB he studied clarinet with Kalman Bloch of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He also holds a Lifetime California Teaching Credential and an Administrative Services Credential.

Tom enlisted in the 72 nd US Army Band as a clarinet player and also acted as Assistant Conductor. He taught instrumental music and served as Assistant Principal in Southern California high schools. Following his career in education, he became a sales representative in the financial printing industry. He then established his own printing brokerage company and remained self-employed for 23 years.

During the time his three sons were growing up, Tom spent 15 years serving school age children in the Huntington Beach area.

Mr. Ridley has been the director of the Huntington Beach Concert Band since 1977, director of the Covina Concert Band since 2011, and is also currently ACB’s Regional Membership Coordinator for Southern California.


Beth Steele
Beth Steele
Breckenridge, CO

e-mail
2015 - 2018

 

Beth Steele began her musical career playing the violin and piano and later switched to trumpet after hearing a Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performance of "Pictures at an Exhibition" with legendary principal trumpet Adolph "Bud" Herseth. Beth earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and a Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

After receiving her commission in 1988, Beth began a stellar conducting career in the US Army. From the White House to Carnegie Hall, Moscow's Red Square, London's Horse Guards Parade Ground, Arlington National Cemetery, New York City's "Ground Zero" and everything in between, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Beth Steele was honored to lead professional Army musicians in performances and witness first-hand, the tremendous power of music to inspire, reassure, exhilarate, influence and unite people. During her last assignment in Europe, Beth developed enduring partnerships with European musicians and was awarded the German government's highest peacetime award of the "Silver Cross of Honor." It was during her time in Europe that Beth was poignantly reminded of the enduring and universal nature of music. She returned to the US committed to ensuring that community music, especially community bands, remain a vital part of our national fabric. To this end, she started Music at the Summit an Adult Band Institute, with professional staff leading sectionals, rehearsals and master classes. The Institute was a rousing success and she intends to improve and expand it to include even more musical opportunities.

Beth recently retired from the Army and she and her husband, Mike, also a retired military musician, live in Breckenridge where she is an advocate for community music. Beth currently conducts the Summit Concert Band, the Summit Community Orchestra, the Alpine Orchestra, teaches trumpet, and enjoys biking and hiking with their dog, Mocha.


Turnage
Jan Turnage
Chandler, AZ
e-mail
2017-2020

The ACB has been a big part of Jan's life for 28 years. She has attended all but two conventions and served two board terms about ten years ago. As a Life Member, I believe in the organization and promote it consistently. At several conventions Turnage established and led the Round Table Clinics which were well received. Turnage is a Regional Membership Chair for AZ and UT. For over 36 years she helped organize and manage several community bands including the Plano Concert Band, the San Jose Wind Symphony and am co-founder of the Coastal Communities Concert Band. I have also set up groups for nonprofit status, bylaws, handbooks, and worked with directors and Marketing/Board to prepare new seasons. As Executive Director of the San Jose Wind Symphony, I submitted information for the Sudler Silver Scroll Award, performances at WASBE in Switzerland and San Jose, CA and three performances at ACB conventions. My duties also included planning many seasons of five to six formal concerts per year, and con tracting all guest artists. I truly believe in music for life!


Chris Wilhjelm Chris Wilhjelm

Glen Rock, NY
e-mail
2013 - 2016

 

Chris Wilhjelm has been the Conductor and Music Director of the critically acclaimed Ridgewood Concert Band since it’s founding in 1983. From 2000-2005, he was the Music Director of the legendary Goldman Band in New York. He served as the director of the New York University Wind Ensemble during the 2006-2007 school year presenting three premiere performances. Dr. Wilhjelm also enjoyed a 40 year career as a public school music educator Wilhjelm graduated from the New England Conservatory where he studied horn with Harry Shapiro of the Boston Symphony. He was the principal hornist with the Conservatory Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gunther Schuller and the Conservatory Wind Ensemble under the direction of Frank Battisti. He received a Master of Music degree from The College of New Jersey and a Doctor of Education degree from Teachers' College, Columbia University. Dr. Wilhjelm has performed as a French hornist with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops and, as a principal, with the Boston Ballet Orchestra, the Boston Opera Orchestra and the Richmond, Virginia Symphony, and he continues to perform professionally as a hornist with the brass quintet in residence at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. Active as a guest clinician and conductor, Dr. Wilhjelm has instructed youth and adult ensembles throughout the world. His has worked with ensembles from throughout North America including, Florida, Texas, California, and Hawaii in addition to international ensembles from as far as Brazil, the West Indies, Australia and China. Under his leadership, the Ridgewood Concert Band has commissioned and premiered works of many contemporary composers of wind band music. Chris resides in Glen Rock, New Jersey, with his wife, Jacqueline Sarracco, Director of Bands at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ and their family.