Executive Committee and Appointed Positions


Beth Steele - President
Michael Burch-Pesses- President-elect
Gail Brechting- Past President



Craig J. Erhard -Treasurer 
Nancy Michalek - Marketing Director
Sarah McElfresh - National Membership Chair, Web Administrator
Sandy Cleveland - Journal Editor/Designer
Gerald Guilbeaux - Historian
Judith Shellenberger - Life Member Chair, International 
Donna Caneen - ASCAP/BMI Compiler 
Amy J Steiner - Recording Secretary,  Convention Project Manager
Scott McElfresh  -  Regional Connections Events Coordinator
Col. Thomas Rotondi (US Army) (ret.) - Advisory Council Chair
Susan Sands- Past Presidents Council Chair
Keith Kelly- International
Tom Seaton - Awards Chair


Beth Steele
Beth Steele
Breckenridge, CO

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.

Beth Steele
Michael Burch-Pesses
Hillsboro, Oregon


 Michael Burch-Pesses is Director of Bands at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, and teaches courses in conducting and music education. He holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Since coming to Pacific University in 1995 he has received two awards for excellence in teaching, and in 2017 Pacific University named him a Distinguished University Professor. In 2018 the Oregon Music Educators Association gave him the John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award, the highest award Oregon bestows on a music educator.

He enjoyed a distinguished career as a bandmaster in the United States Navy before arriving at Pacific University. During his Navy career he served as Leader of the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland, Assistant Leader of the Navy Band in Washington, DC, and Director of the Commodores, the Navy's official jazz ensemble.

Dr. Burch-Pesses also is the Conductor and Musical Director of the award-winning Oregon Symphonic Band, Oregon's premier adult band. In 2006 the band performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic, and in 2007 the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the band the Sudler Silver Scroll, recognizing them as one of the outstanding community bands in the nation. Dr. Burch-Pesses is the author of “Canadian Band Music: A Qualitative Guide to Canadian Composers and Their Works for Band,” and is a regular contributor to the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” series from GIA Publications.

His professional affiliations include the American Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, Association of Concert Bands, Northwest Band Directors Association, Oregon Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education. He is Past President of the Oregon Band Directors Association, and a founding member of the Oregon chapter of Phi Beta Mu.

Gail Brechting

Gail A. Brechting

Spring Lake, MI
Past 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.


Craig J. Erhard
Buffalo, NY


 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
Marketing Director


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. Now living in Dallas, she plays percussion in the Plano Community Band and 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 and Editor of the ACB Journal from 2010-2022. Nancy is currently the Marketing Director for ACB.

Sarah McElfresh
Sarah McElfresh
National Membership Chair 
Web Administrator

Newport News, VA
(757) 874-9270


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.

sandy cleveland

Sandy Cleveland
Tres Piedras, NM 75034


Sandy Cleveland, Editor and Graphic Designer for the ACB Journal, got an early start in both music and the print industry. Her first memories include sitting next to her mother as she ran a linotype machine, and being featured on her family’s Christmas card singing The First Noel when she was two years old (she was really yelling at her dad not to take the picture). Her parents purchased a flute for her oldest brother the year she was born, so she learned how to blow a flute at a very early age She started her vocal performances at church after singing her first solo when she was four. Her youth choir director taught her how to breath from her diaphragm when she was in 3rd grade and she started performing solos, duos and singing in the choir through high school, adding the flute wherever she could. She started helping in her family’s printshop, collating the West Texas regional football booklet, when she was six and learned all the basics of printing from her father, a retired minister. After typesetting her high school newspaper, and receiving the John Phillips Sousa Award three years in a row, she got a band and debate scholarship and attended Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX where she met her ex-husband and followed him on his dream of becoming a big-time disc jockey. On that journey she worked in various print shops, big and small, mostly typesetting and/or working in the bindery. But during this time she was taking an unwanted hiatus from her music. After her divorce Sandy continued her journey in El Paso, TX, working for Midhoff Advertising in their production department, then working as a typographer for a company that provided both English and Spanish typesetting. She also played flute and piccolo in a production of Peter Pan and started to get her chops back. But the mountains called, so she and her new-found love packed up and moved to Colorado. After serving as a typographer for the Breckenridge Journal in the early 1980s, she took over as Production Manager and went on in the years to come to manage the Production Department of, not only the Journal, but the Summit Sentinel, Top of the Rockies and Schuss Magazine. Sandy has owned two publications, High Country Adventures magazine and High Country Trader, a classified newspaper that covered most of the Colorado Rockies. Her writing skills she attributes to both her parents; her editing skills to Miles Porter, former editor of the Breckenridge Journal and owner of Ten Mile Times in Frisco, CO. In 1982, Sandy, with the help of Steve Maher, started the Summit County Community Band, renamed Summit Concert Band in the1990s. After playing flute for several years, she picked up tenor sax and has played it since, though she still likes to sit in at open mic nights with her flute and strong vocals. Although Sandy “retired” with her life partner, Bob Holder, to Tres Piedras, NM in 2017, she remains active in the band, serving as their graphic designer and attending concerts and Music at the Summit Adult Band Institute when possible.

Gerald Guilbeaux
Lafayette, LA


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.


Judith Shellenberger
Life Member Chair
Williamsport, PA


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 59 years, and has been the band's Business Manager since 1984.  She plays Tenor Horn and occasionally Baritone Horn in Williamsport Symphony's "Billtown Brass Band". She directs the “Encores”, Williamsport’s New Horizons Band. She is a member of Windjammers Unlimited, Inc.,  the International Military Music Society; Bugles Across America; Taps for Veterans; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and the DAR. Judy shares her love of music with her daughters, Anna and Carol, their husbands, and her seven charming granddaughters.

Donna Caneen

Donna Caneen
BMI/ASCAP Compiler
Arkport, NY


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.

Scott McElfresh

Scott McElfresh
Regional Connections Events Coordinator
Newport News, VA


Scott McElfresh is currently the coordinator for the ACB Regional Connections initiative. An ACB member since 1994, he has served ACB as a regional membership coordinator and as member of committees including Technology, ACB Connects! and ACB Conventions.

Scott is a computer scientist who currently teaches at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where he also performs on bass clarinet in the CNU Wind Ensemble. Outside of the university, he plays clarinets and saxophones in concert bands and a rock cover-band.

He was introduced to community bands during graduate school in New Hampshire, where the Upper Valley Community Band was a welcoming music environment for all within the community. His computer science career has had him relocating to various spots in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic parts of the country. Upon each move, he was always a part of the area's community band scene, often playing in multiple bands and participating in their organizational leadership. In Pittsburgh, he helped to create the Three Rivers Community Band Festival, a one-day event bringing bands and musicians together. In North Carolina, he was in the Piedmont Wind Symphony and performed on stage with performers such as Arturo Sandoval, the Irish Tenors and Paul Anka. In 2014, he and his wife Sarah founded the Heart of Virginia Community Band in central rural Virginia to bring concert band music to that community, and Scott conducted that ensemble for 5 years.

He lives with his wife Sarah and daughter Elizabeth and keeps in touch with his daughter Kathryn who is now in college, and is also an ACB member. An occasional treat is when Scott gets to play at ACB events with his wife, daughter, and father-in-law in the same ensemble.


Thomas Rotondi

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


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, Convention Project Manager
Buffalo, NY


Amy J. Steiner, 2-time Grammy nominated Conductor and Music Educator, began her career as a Band Director 1996, in the City of Buffalo. Ms. Steiner is also co-founder, Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Wind Symphony. 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 McKinley High School. Ms. Steiner also initiated several community projects including "Arts Day"; “BWS 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.  Am'ys 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, traveling, reading, and morning coffee at the Lake House.

Keith Kelly

Keith Kelly
Ballyforan, Ireland


Keith, a former Irish military musician and conductor of the Ballinasloe Town Band in Galway, is a worldwide music creator/thinker. Having served as principal clarinetist of the Band of the Western Command for over 12 years, he was actively involved within Irish community banding as an educator, and conductor. Keith assisted in the founding of successful Irish concert bands such as the Clara Town Band and Midlands Wind Ensemble, the former of which would go on to win national awards at the IABCB (Irish Association of Brass and Concert Band) and South of Ireland Band Championships.

Keith served as the General Manager of the Artane Band and School of Music from 2014 -2017, where he oversaw the implementation of a major three-year strategic plan and the 1.6 million redevelopment of the school. In 2014, Keith spearheaded a team of passionate performers and music educators to found the Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra. This ensemble has worked with icons such as Johan de Meij, Philip Sparke, and Mark Heron as well as being invited to perform at the WASBE International convention in the Netherlands in 2017. Keith currently serves as Chairperson of this national ensemble.

Keith now conducts the Ballinasloe Town Band, a community concert and marching band in Galway, Ireland. In 2020 in response to the Corona Virus outbreak, Keith established The Global Bandroom online community and podcast creating opportunities for ensembles and musicians to connect, learn, and perform together across borders.

Keith is a regular guest conductor in the USA where he promotes the work of Irish wind band composers and serves as the International Chair for the Association of Concert Bands.

Keith Kelly

Tom Seaton
Awards Chair
Roseville, CA


Tom Seaton has been the music director of the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band since 2003. He is a 1990 graduate of California State University Northridge. As a performance major, he studied clarinet with Dr. Charles Bay and performed under the batons of Dr. David Whitwell and Mr. Gary Pratt.

Mr. Seaton earned his Master of Science in Arts and Letters Degree in 1998 through the American Band College at Southern Oregon University. Through ABC, Mr. Seaton has had the opportunity to play under the batons of Dr. Frederick Fennell, Dr. Alfred Reed, Elliot Del Borgo, Frank Erickson, Robert W. Smith, Col. Arnald Gabriel, Dr. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Col John R. Bourgeois (former US Marine Band conductor) and other European composers such as Johan de Meij, Jan van der Roost and Australian Composer Ralph Hultgren. He has also had the opportunity to work with Michael Levine and the Dallas Brass for the Nutcracker Project in 1999. Tom was co-chairman of the committee for the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band in hosting the 37 th Annual Association of Concert Bands convention held in Rancho Cordova and in May of 2018, Tom was a clinician at the 40th anniversary convention for the Association of Concert Bands teaching on small ensembles. Most recently Tom has been a member of the ACB Convention Committee, helping design, create and launch the ACB Connects! Live Zoom presentations. Mr. Seaton has been a music educator since 1990 and is currently teaching 7-12th grade music at Creative Connections Arts Academy in North Highlands, CA.