Director of the Towson University Marching Band
Mr. John J. Miliauskas III has a lifetime of experiences in instrumental music and marching activities. His father was the band director at Lake-Lehman High School (Lehman, PA) for thirty-six years. After graduating from Lake-Lehman himself in 1981, John played mellophone in the Penn State Blue Band (University Park, PA) in 1981 and 1982, as well as in the Garfield Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (Garfield, NJ) in 1982 and 1983. John continued his marching experiences at West Chester University (West Chester, PA) as drum major for three years, from 1984-1987. He also was drum major for the Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps (Reading, PA) in 1986.
Following his marching experiences, John moved on to gain many accomplishments as a drill designer. He started with his father at Lake-Lehman High School, where he was a member of the instructional staff from 1982-1988, performing various duties including marching and music instruction, programming, drill design, and assistant director. During these years, the band won the Cavalcade of Bands American Class State Championships in 1984 and 1987, as well as the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1988.
After his father’s retirement, John expanded his high school drill writing to numerous programs including the 1989-2000 Red Land High School Marching Bands (Lewisberry, PA). During this time, the program achieved three Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships, six Chapter VI Championships, and a Macy’s Parade appearance in 1998. John also for the 2001-2003 Quakertown High School Marching Bands (Quakertown, PA), as well as the Cypress Creek High School Marching Band (Orlando, FL), which won its division and made finals at the 1994 Bands of America Southeast Regional, placing fourth overall. In addition to these advanced level programs, John has written dozens of shows at the basic and intermediate levels for bands having anywhere from forty total members to over 250 total members.
In his twenty years of writing since his start at Lake-Lehman, some of the more notable programs he has designed drill for beyond the high school level include the 1992 and 1993 Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (Philadelphia, PA). Crossmen were Drum Corps International World Finalists during both seasons. In 1992, the corps placed sixth in the DCI Finals Championship, earning their highest finish ever to that point. John has also written for the West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band from 1984-1987 and 2000-present, the 1991 Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps (Orlando, FL), the 1988 and 1989 Reading Buccaneers Senior Drum and Bugle Corps, and the 2001-2003 Govenaires Senior Drum and Bugle Corps (St. Peter, MN).
As a well-rounded drill designer, John has written for many indoor color guard and indoor drumline ensembles, including the 1987 and 1988 Threshold Indoor Color Guards (West Chester, PA), the 1996-2000 Red Land High School Indoor Color Guards (Lewisberry, PA), the 2002 Penn State Eclipse Indoor Color Guard (University Park, PA), the 2002-2003 Huntingdon High School Indoor Drumlines (Huntingdon, PA), which was the 2002 TIA All-Chapter Scholastic A Champion, and the 2002-present Bpex Winter Guards (Wilmington, DE). Several of these groups have achieved such accomplishments as Winter Guard International semi-finalists and finalists on both the regional and national levels, along with regional circuit champions.
Mr. John Miliauskas was the Director of Bands at Crossroads Middle School in the West Shore School District (Lewisberry, PA) from its opening in 1993 until 2002. During his tenure, the Crossroads Band Program commissioned Robert W. Smith to compose At The Crossroads, A Dedicatory Fanfare, which was published through Belwin Publications and is widely performed. From 1994-2000, the Crossroads Bands received consistent superior ratings at PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) Concert Band Adjudication Festivals. This culminated with a performance at the PMEA State Conference in April of 2001 by the Crossroads Wind Ensemble. In addition to this honor, the Crossroads Bands have performed with guest soloists including Dr. Brian Bowman on euphonium from the University of North Texas, Mr. Matt Niess on trombone from the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and Capitol Bones of Washington, DC, and Mr. Seneca Black on trumpet from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra of New York, NY.
A brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, Mr. John Miliauskas completed his Masters of Music in Music Education with a performance option in conducting at West Chester University in May 2004. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA). John resides in Glen Rock, PA with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters Ava and Ella.
Dr. Christopher Cicconi
Director of Bands, Assistant Professor of Music Education
Dr. Christopher M. Cicconi is Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Towson University. Conductor of the Towson University Symphonic Band, he also teaches courses in conducting, methods of teaching instrumental music in secondary education, and brass methods. Prior to his arrival in Maryland, Cicconi earned a Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Miami, where he was awarded a Henry Mancini Fellowship.
Previously, Dr. Cicconi served as Director of Bands at Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Power Ranch Elementary and Middle School (Higley, AZ), and Payne Junior High School (Chandler, AZ). As an orchestra conductor, Cicconi has held positions and guest conducting appointments with orchestras in the United States, Argentina, and China. Most recently he served as associate conductor with the Broward Symphony Orchestra, the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra, and the Walenstein Youth Symphony.
Dr. Cicconi completed a Master of Music Education Degree, with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting, from Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Music Education Degree (summa cum laude) from Youngstown State University. He is a member of College Band Directors National Association, Florida Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Pi Kappa Lambda, and an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma.
Assistant Director of the Towson University Marching Band
Taylor received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Massachusetts in 2013. While at UMass, Taylor had the privilege of studying with professors Ayano Kataoka and Thomas Hannum. Through his studies and experience at UMass, Taylor began to develop his own unique perspective on percussion, striving to combine his marching and rudimental background with his passion for solo, classical, and chamber percussion music.
Throughout his performing career, Taylor has won numerous awards for outstanding musicianship. These awards include the 2012 Vic Firth Scholarship, the Chancellor’s Talent in the Arts Scholarship from the University of Massachusetts, and the “Semper Fidelis” award for Musical Excellence presented by the Marine Corps League. During his two years as the Timpanist for the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, Taylor won a World Championship with the Corps in 2011 and was awarded the Cadets Distinguished Service Award in 2012. Most recently, Taylor was a prize-winning soloist in the 2015 Atlanta Modern Snare Drum Competition and was honored to be featured as a Vic Firth artist and educator.
Taylor has led and arranged for programs at the high school and collegiate level in Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, and Florida. These programs include the University of New Haven Chargers Marching Band, Atholton High School, Mount Holyoke College, and The University of Miami. Taylor also spent four years as a percussion staff member with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. During Taylor’s first year as a Cadet Staff member, the Cadets Percussion section won the Fred Sanford trophy for high percussion performance. Currently, Taylor works as a percussion instructor for the Boston Crusaders, a drum and bugle corps based out of New England.
Taylor completed his Master of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from the Frost School of Music. During this time, Taylor studied with world-renowned percussionist Svet Stoyanov, directed the Miami “Frost Band of the Hour” Drumline, and performed throughout the rich musical scene in Miami. After graduating from The University of Miami, Taylor moved to Orlando, Florida to work as the Assistant Director of Bands/Director of Percussion Studies at William R. Boone High School. During this time, Taylor maintained an active performance schedule throughout central and southern Florida while appearing with groups such as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony, and the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra.
Having worked as a musician, educator, and arranger throughout the country, Taylor originally grew up in Columbia, Maryland. Towson University played an important role in Taylor’s music education at that time, and he is thrilled for the opportunity to move home and give back to this great program.
Administrative Assistant, Color Guard Director
Amy Merritt is from Hagerstown, MD and has been involved with music performance since she began playing the piano and flute in 4th grade. She participated in concert band in elementary, middle, and high school. In elementary school, Amy was a member of the Washington County Show Kids majorette group where she discovered “flag twirlers.” It was in high school where Amy began her passion for color guard: performing with the North Hagerstown High School Marching Band as well as the Indoor Color Guard.
After graduating from high school in 2004, Amy continued developing her skills as a performer with marching in DCI for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from 2004-2007. While with the Crossmen, she was on the weapon line all four years and served as Color Guard Captain in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, she marched WGI with The Black Watch and was part of the rifle line. Unfortunately, due to an injury, she had to end her WGI season early.
In the past 10 years, Amy has instructed, choreographed, and directed numerous High Schools across the tri-state region. Her color guards have won numerous “Best Guard” Awards at TOB, BOA, and USBANDS Marching Competitions and won Championship Medals in the KIDA Indoor Circuit. Amy returned to her alma mater 3 years ago and held the Color Guard Designer/Choreographer position for North Hagerstown High School. They recently placed 3rd at the 2015 KIDA Championship Competition. In 2010, Amy was an instructor for the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps. During the 2014 Drum Corps season, Amy was the Color Guard Caption Head for the Thunder Brigade Drum and Bugle Corps, which is the first Maryland Drum Corps.
Amy received her Bachelor Degree in Sociology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2011. Over the past 4 years, she has worked at a Juvenile Placement Facility as a Counselor and a Life Skills Supervisor; and as a Paraprofessional in Washington County Public Schools for Alternative In School Instruction. In her spare time, Amy provides Respite Therapy for a child who is on the Autism Spectrum through Penn Mar Human Services.
Amy is incredibly excited to continue her journey with the Towson University Marching Band and is looking forward to assisting in the growth of this incredible program.
Drum Major Clinician
Carol Cox currently teaches elementary band and orchestra at George T. Cromwell Elementary and Brooklyn Park Elementary in Anne Arundel County where she doubled the enrollment in their instrumental music programs in the last ten years. She’s a proud graduate of Towson University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education.
Ms. Cox is passionate about the marching arts, having served as a drum major of the Towson University Marching Band, a member of the band service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, and a baritone horn player in the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2006. She currently has the pleasure of being a drum major & leadership consultant for the Urbana High School Marching Band in Frederick, MD, and the Stevenson University Marching Band. In the past, she’s enjoyed working with the marching band students and/or leadership of Towson University, Patuxent High School, in Lusby, MD, Spring Creek High School in Goldsboro, NC, and Williamsport High School in Williamsport, MD.
In 2013, Ms. Cox completed her Masters degree from Gratz College with a concentration in Classroom Climate and Management and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2015. In 2014, she had the honor of being nominated for Teacher of the Year in AACo.