Executive Committee and Appointed Positions

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Gail Brechting- President
Beth Steele - President-elect
Susan Sands- Past President

APPOINTED POSITIONS

Nada Montgomery - Secretary
Craig J. Erhard -Treasurer 
Nancy Michalek - Editor
Sarah McElfresh - National Membership Chair, Web Administrator
Gerald Guilbeaux - Historian
Mary Kate Wright - Marketing Director
Judith Shellenberger - Life Member Chair, International 
Donna Caneen - ASCAP/BMI Compiler 
Jim Caneen - Convention Coordinator
Col. Thomas Rotondi (US Army) (ret.) - Advisory Council Chair
Susan Sands- Past Presidents Council Chair
Amy Steiner - Recording Secretary
Keith Kelly - International


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Gail BrechtingGail A. Brechting

Spring Lake, MI
e-mail
President

 

Gail Brechting is in her twenty-fifth year as the conductor of the award-winning West Michigan Concert WINDS. Under her direction, the WINDS received the John Phillip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Silver Scroll Award, America’s most prestigious community concert band award. She has organized five international tours with the WINDS. She has had the privilege of conducting the WINDS in Chicago’s Symphony Hall, as well as the historic Carnegie Hall in New York City. Before becoming conductor, Mrs. Brechting was principal trombone with the WINDS and performed with many area music ensembles including the Traverse City Symphony, the Lansing Concert Band, The Lake Effect Brass, and the West Shore Symphony. In addition, she is a much sought-after soprano vocal soloist in West Michigan.

From 1996-1999 Mrs. Brechting represented MSBOA as the State Representative for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. For forty years, she has been an active district and state level adjudicator for low brass, band and orchestras as well as teaching private trombone and tuba lessons to students of all ages.
She has been the guest conductor with the Acadia Winds in Louisiana, Hot Springs Community Band in Arkansas, was the featured conductor with the Louisiana Middle School Honors Band, and she served as guest clinician and conductor with the Winter Park High School in Florida. She is the 2019 & 2022 recipient of the Harry Begian Conductor Scholar award, through Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

Mrs. Brechting is presently the President of the Association of Concert Bands, also serving two previous terms on the board of directors. She has recently been named the Director of the Adult Music Program with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She is a member of the National Band Association, the College Band Directors Association, an Emeritus member of Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, P.E.O. and the Women Band Directors Association. She is the first woman selected by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to serve on the Sudler Silver Scroll Award selection committee. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Arts degree from West Michigan University. Mrs. Brechting is on the music faculty of Muskegon Community College and retired in 2019, after a 40-year public school music education career, 34 of those with the Reeths-Puffer Schools in Muskegon, MI. In her spare time, she trains and competes as a US Masters swimmer, recently attaining two gold and silver medals.

Mrs. Brechting lives in Spring Lake with her engineer/pianist husband Frank. Their daughter Annelise, is a second year Physician Associate graduate student at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.


Beth Steele
Beth Steele
Breckenridge, CO
e-mail
President-elect
 

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.


Susan Sands

Susan Sands
Past President
Past Presidents Council Chair
Sewickley, PA
e-mail

      

Susan Sands served on the ACB Board of Directors for 6 years before being elected to serve as President of the organization. Susan received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education, specializing in oboe, from Susquehanna University and her MEd in Music from The Pennsylvania State University. She taught music in the Midd-West and Moon Area School Districts in Pennsylvania, St. Bernadette’s in Monroeville, and in Connecticut in the Glastonbury Public Schools. In 1990, she became director of the East Winds Symphonic Band and a dedicated advocate for community bands. Under her direction, East Winds developed as an organization and in 2008 was recognized by the John Philip Sousa Foundation with the prestigious Sudler Silver Scroll, the highest award for excellence for a community band. East Winds Symphonic Band was selected to perform for ACB national conventions in Corning, NY (2008) and Muskegon, MI (2011). East Winds hosted “Three Rivers Rhapsody” the 2016 ACB National Convention in Pittsburgh. In 2004, EWSB established the Three Rivers Community Band Festival to further awareness of community band music in western Pennsylvania, to encourage quality performance, and to encourage collaboration among community band musicians from many different organizations. Susan is a member of the Pittsburgh Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota and Women Band Directors International. In her community, Susan serves on the board of directors for Parish Mansions, a senior housing initiative. She resides in the Sewickley neighborhood of Pittsburgh with her husband Tom, a computer engineer and has three children.

APPOINTED POSITIONS


Nada Vencl Montgomery

Nada Montgomery
Secretary
Independence, OH
(800) 726-8720
(216) 524-1897
e-mail

 

 

Nada is a piccolo/flute/piano player from Independence, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She plays with the Lakeland Civic Band (a Sudler Silver Scroll award winner), the Lakeland Civic Summer Band, and the Lakewood Hometown Band. Nada is also an accompanist at Lakeland Community College for the Civic Chorus and Independence Middle School and High School where her daughter is the choir director. She has recently retired from a family-owned moving company where she worked for 44 years. A musical or two annually and private students help fill in her schedule. She is currently the President of Windjammers Unlimited - a circus music historical society. Nada is a Life member and former board member of ACB and became the ACB secretary in 1996. In 1997 and 2017 she was awarded the ACB's Leland A. Lillehaug President's Award. She truly enjoys talking with and meeting community band people from around the country. Nada is married to Mike Montgomery. They reside in Independence, OH and Bradenton, FL. She is the mother of two grown daughters, Gretchen and Heidi, and is totally captivated by her three grandsons, Nolan, Kyle, Devin, and granddaughter, Alana.


Craig J. Erhard
Treasurer
Buffalo, NY
e-mail

 

 Craig J. Erhard is a founding member, trombonist and treasurer/board member of the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band since its inception in 2003. He was Finance Chair of ACB 2018 – Forte’ in Buffalo. Craig has performed in many community wind bands, big bands and musical pit orchestras for the past 35 years, and has served as treasurer for a few of those groups. Craig is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of NY and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He currently serves as CFO of Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, a leading arcade and amusement game company based in Clarence, NY with a worldwide presence. He currently resides in Kenmore, NY and has three grown sons.


Nancy Michalek

Nancy Michalek
Editor
Frisco, TX 75034
(972) 839-8217
e-mail

 

Nancy Michalek has over thirty years experience leading business and information technology initiatives for General Motors and EDS (Electronic Data Systems) and retired from Hewlett-Packard in 2007. Nancy is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She lived in California and Spain before moving to Texas. She plays percussion in the Plano Community Band in Plano, Texas, served on the band board for 20 years, and led the group to host the ACB 2010 Convention. She also plays in flute ensembles and plays percussion in the McKinney Community Band. Nancy has been a Life Member of ACB since 1997 and served as an ACB Board Member from 2005 - 2011. She served as ACB Publications Coordinator from 2010 - 2019. Nancy is now the Editor of the ACB Journal and serves on several committees.


Sarah McElfresh
Sarah McElfresh
National Membership Chair 
Web Administrator

Newport News, VA
(757) 874-9270
e-mail

 

Sarah is mother of two daughters who finds time to play Euphonium between being a Mom-taxi and volunteer work. Her first experience with community bands was as a child in Massachusetts carrying the banner and later as musician with the Canton Community Band. She currently plays with the Peninsula Concert Band in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.  Prior to that she has played with the Longwood University Wind Symphony and is a founding member of the Heart of Virginia Community Band, both in Farmville, VA;  Piedmont Wind Symphony and Historic Bethabara Park Concert Band in Winston-Salem, NC. Prior to moving to NC and then VA, she lived in Pennsylvania, playing with many community bands, including 9 years with the Sulder Silver Scroll recognized East Winds Symphonic Band. While in Pittsburgh, she was a founding member of the Three Rivers Community Band Festival and introduced the “Festival Band” that is similar to the ACB Convention Band. Introduced to ACB in 2000 by her husband Scott (member since 1994), she has participated in several conventions (since 2006) and has served or is serving as Regional Membership Coordinator for PA (2008-2012), NC (2011-) VA (2012 -). In 2016 she received the Leland A. Lillehaug President’s Award from ACB. Educated in geology with a BS from St. Lawrence University in NY and MS from the University of Pittsburgh, she has spent time at the front of a college classroom, but now enjoys time at home with her family. In her role, she plans to continue supporting adult concert bands, to make people aware of the organization and to encourage bands to acquire the BMI/ASCAP Blanket License.



Gerald Guilbeaux
Historian
Lafayette, LA
e-mail

 

A member of the Lafayette Concert Band since its inception in 1982, Gerald Guilbeaux has been the Conductor/Music Director of the band since 1993. He is also the founder and conductor of the Acadian Wind Symphony, a select wind ensemble which performs during the summer months and at special events. Under his direction, the Lafayette Concert Band became the 1999 recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll, an international award recognizing excellence in adult community bands, administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

He has earned a national reputation as an advocate for the adult community music movement and is Past-President of the Association of Concert Bands. He has twice been awarded the Citation of Excellence by the National Band Association and received the Diploma of the Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Mr. Guilbeaux is an active guest conductor, serves on the Selection Committee for the Sudler Silver Scroll and is Vice-President of Development for the John Philip Sousa Foundation. He is the administrator and assistant conductor of the Sousa Foundation’s National Community Band. He was elected Chair of the Associate Member Committee of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of ABA.

He is the proud father of three daughters, Amy, Lynn and Chrissy. Granddaughters, Carly and Cameryn O’Quain, Addison Thompson, Lily Bone and grandsons Lucien Bone IV and Mark and Henry Thompson add tremendous joy to his family life.



Mary Kate WrightMary Kate Wright
Marketing Director
Perrinton, MI 
e-mail 

 

Mary Kate Wright is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts from DePaul University and a background in sales and marketing. She and her husband are newly minted Michiganders. Mary Kate loves to hike, swim, knit and read. Volunteering is an important aspect of Mary Kate's life. She is an active participant of a committee that aids an impoverished music school in Africa. Although Mary Kate is not a musician, she greatly enjoys concert band music. Mary Kate is excited to learn an instrument and is taking recommendations! 


Judy

Judith Shellenberger
Life Member Chair
Williamsport, PA
e-mail

 

Judith B. Shellenberger has been a Life member of ACB since 1994. She received the Leland A. Lillehaug President's Award in 2009. She served as an ACB Board member for six years and became president of ACB in 2011. Judy retired in June 2005 after serving 36 years as a Band Director in the Williamsport (PA) Area School District. After retirement, she graduated from Mt. Nittany Institute of Natural Health and is a Certified Massage Practitioner. She holds a BS degree in Music Education from Mansfield University with graduate work at S.U.N.Y. Potsdam, University of Michigan, Penn State University, and Lycoming College. She received the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s “Citation of Excellence” Teaching Award. Judy was elected to the National Band Association’s Board of Directors as an Elementary-Middle School Representative. She has served as an adjudicator for bands and orchestras in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She has been a middle school band consultant in Connecticut and clinician for PMEA. Judy has played French horn in the famous Repasz Band (Est. 1831) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the past 56 years, and has served as their Business Manager since 1984. She plays euphonium in the Central Pennsylvania Community Band, and co-directs the “Encores”, Williamsport’s New Horizons Band. She is a member of Windjammers Unlimited, Inc., the National Band Association, the International Military Music Society, Bugles Across America, Taps for Veterans and the Canadian Band Association. Judy shares her love of music with her husband Tom, her daughters, Anna and Carol, their husbands, and her seven charming granddaughters.


Donna Caneen

Donna Caneen
BMI/ASCAP Compiler
Arkport, NY
e-mail 

     

Donna Caneen has served as the Compiler of the performance lists for the ACB Blanket Performance License with BMI and ASCAP since 2010. Prior to that she was the regional membership chair for New York State, and had also served as the National Membership Chair. The Association of Concert Bands is an important aspect in her life. She feels it is an important organization for community bands and their members. In 1990, her home band, the Hornell Area Wind Ensemble performed at the 1990 ACB convention held in Rochester, NY and then again in 2008 when the convention was held in Corning, NY. A life member of ACB since 1997, she has attended every ACB convention since 1994. She is very passionate about the mission of ACB and encourages people everywhere to become members. In her home band, out of the 60 members, 31 are current members of ACB. In 2013, she was awarded the Leland A. Lillehaug President’s Award for her dedication of time and service to the organization. “Music for Life” describes her involvement as a flute and piccolo player in the Hornell Area Wind Ensemble and the Corning Area Community Concert Band. She and her husband Jim busy themselves by traveling the country to participate in Music at the Summit, the John Philip Sousa National Community Band, Windjammers Unlimited, the Great American Community Band, and the Liberty Classic Community Band Festival, and each and every ACB Convention band. In her pre-retirement days, Donna was an elementary school teacher. She and her husband live in Arkport, NY.


Jim CAneenJim Caneen
Convention Coordinator
Arkport, NY
607-725-1282
e-mail 

 

 


Thomas Rotondi

Col. Thomas Rotondi (US Army) (ret.)
Advisory Council Chair
Kingsport, TN
e-mail 

 

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 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 was elected to membership into the American Bandmasters Association in 2005, 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 as the Association of Concert Bands Advisory Council Chair, 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.


Amy Steiner

Amy J Steiner
Recording Secretary
Buffalo, NY
e-mail 

 

A native of Eden, NY and 2-time Grammy Nominated and semifinalist Music Educator, Ms. Amy J. Steiner attended SUNY Fredonia earning her Bachelor and Masters in Music Education with an emphasis in Conducting. Amy studied under conductors Dr. Russell Mikkelson, Dr. Richard Larson, and Dr. Paula Holcomb. As a bassoonist, Ms. Steiner has performed with the Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Players, Cheektowaga Symphony, Erie County Wind Ensemble, and Amherst Chamber Ensembles. Amy is currently Musical Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band (BNCB).

Ms. Steiner's career as a Band Director started in the fall of 1996, in the City of Buffalo. Throughout her career, Amy earned Teacher of the Year in 2007, was recognized as a pilot program for VH-1 Save the Music, instituted a district-wide yearly Music Camp, conducted the All-City Band, and currently serves as Director of Bands at City Honors School. Ms. Steiner also initiated several community projects including "Arts Day" “BNCB Summer Music Camp”, All-City Jazz Initiative and coordinated the "Extreme Makeover" Home Edition Food Drive Challenge, where she and her team broke the national volume record of food raised. Ms. Steiner was founder and project manager of “forGOT music?”, a movement to save the instrumental music programs in the Buffalo Schools.  Amy's many achievements do not go un-noticed. In 2006 and 2007 she was recognized by "Who's Who Among American Teachers";, in 2010, she received a Forty Under 40 Award from Business First, in 2017 named Western New York Instrumental Music Teacher of the Year through Buffalo State College, and in 2017 she was 1 of 5 music teachers worldwide recognized by “Be Part of the Music”, an international music advocacy organization.

In her free time, Amy enjoys being a mom of her three children, Gavin Liam, London Gabrielle, and Lucas Kennan, and also enjoys gardening, cooking, and reading in her home she shares with her partner, Mr. Craig J. Erhard.


Keith Kelly

Keith Kelly
International
Ballyforan, Ireland
e-mail 

 

Keith Kelly, a former military musician and music school administrator, is a worldwide music creator/thinker. He manages a Facebook group titled Bands of Ireland and, due to the COVID19 lockdowns and the need to connect, Keith started The Global Bandroom Podcast discussing the struggle of community bands during this crisis.