Director

John Miliauskas

Director of the Towson University Marching Band
jmiliauskas@towson.edu

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, John Miliauskas, Director of the Towson University Marching BandNJ) 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, 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 following professional organizations: The National Association for Music Education (MENC), National Band Association (NBA), and College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA).

Assistant Director

Taylor Yozwiak

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

Color Guard Director, Band Administrative Assistant

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 bAmy Brown, Administrative Assistant and Color Guard Directoregan 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 begin this journey with the Towson University Marching Band and is looking forward to assisting in the growth of this incredible program.

Color Guard Staff

Michael Vazquez

Color Guard Designer

Michael J. Vazquez began his marching band and colorguard career at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury, PA, under the direction of Denny Schnader. Since then he has performed with Reading Buccaneers, New York Skyliners, and Frontier drum and bugle corps, Classics THE Guard Winterguard, and ATX Senior Winterguard.

He has directed and instructed at award winning marching bands, drum corps, and scholastic and independent color guards in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Maryland. He served as director of Austin Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from 2009-2010, and was the founder of ATX Winterguard in Austin, TX, and its co-director from 2008-2017.

Michael began judging in 2006 in the South Florida Winterguard Association and is currently a judge, clinician, and consultant for marching band and indoor guard circuits and programs around the country. He operates MJV Design and Consulting, a national pageantry-focused design company out of Pasadena, MD, where he currently resides.

Jessica Dunkly

Movement Technician

Jessica Dunkley has been a lover of dance until her discovery of colorguard her freshman year at Broadneck High School in 2010. She found a passion for the activity and since then has performed over 13 seasons between both marching band and WGI. Jessica has performed with In Theory Youth Services as well as Main Line Independent. She has had formal training in modern dance and is well versed in jazz and ballet. Jessica performed with her high school’s dance company and continued her education in the arts throughout her time in college. In 2016, she had her first DCI audition at Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. Jessica was offered a contract however prior to leaving for spring training suffered a back injury prohibiting her from performing. Jessica took two years away from performing to recover but has been actively teaching as the Colorguard Caption Head at her former high school and is now supporting as a dance tech for the Towson Colorguard.

Katie Clausius

Flag Technician

Megan Murphy

Flag Technician

Jalen Swain

Flag Technician

Jalen Swain is from Columbia, MD and is an avid performer and instructor of the performing arts. He began his marching career during his senior year of high school playing trombone at Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County, MD. He joined the TUMB in the fall of 2012 and marched in the Low Brass section for all four years of his college career, serving the last two years as one of the Marching SMAC. In the winter of 2016 at the end of his college tenure, Jalen started down a new path and began learning the art of color guard by joining the Towson University Winter Guard under the direction of Amy Brown-Merritt.
Jalen continued to follow his new found passion of color guard by attending summer spin clinics hosted by WGI groups on the east coast. He later joined Emanon Winter Guard as an alternate performer, excelling to performing in World Class in 2017 and Open Class in 2018 in the flag and dance line. Jalen also served as a volunteer flag/dance technician for the Loch Raven High School Marching Band during their 2018 season.
Outside of the marching arts, Jalen helped recharter a non-major theatre club at Towson University and became a sister of Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority. After earning his degree in Psychology with a minor in Theatre at Towson, Jalen has worked in the field of Education and County Recreation in Baltimore County and Montgomery County. In his spare time, he performs in local Theatre productions and choreographs for local and musical dance projects. Jalen aspires to be a Theatre Teacher and Color Guard Technician/Director for the public school system.
Jalen is excited about returning home to the TUMB in a professional role to help develop the next generation of artists and innovators.

Layne Thompson

Weapon Technician

Percussion Staff

Alexander Merritt

Program Consultant

Morgan House

Snare Drum Instructor

Morgan is excited to be returning as a second-year member of the Towson University Marching Band’s Professional Staff, where he will be continuing his role as the snare technician in the 2019 season.

Morgan was a member of the TUMB from 2013 to 2016, and credits a large portion of his marching music experiences thereafter with joining the band as an undergraduate student. After his first season with the band, he became a member of the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps, where he marched during the 2014, 2016, and 2017 seasons. Additionally, he was a member of multiple WGI ensembles, including Field of View’s Indoor Percussion Ensemble, the Imperial Dynasty Arts Program, and the George Mason University Indoor Drumline, where he aged out in 2018.

Morgan graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology in 2017 and currently works in Baltimore as a Direct Support Professional for neurodiverse adults.

Ian Wysham

Tenor Drum Instructor

Joe Dennis

Bass Drum Instructor

Nicholas Breidigam

Cymbal Instructor

A 2012 graduate of Towson University with a B.S. in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and former TUMB member 2007-2011 and 3 year SMAC for the Cymbal line, Nick then became a Cymbal technician and educator for Towson University Marching Band in 2012 and continues to this day. He graduated from Dulaney High School in 2007 and was in the Lion’s Roar Marching Band for his entire high school career.  Currently he serves as the Percussion/Drumline Director at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. He also consults and writes for several high school percussion sections throughout the country. Nick is heavily involved within the international cymbal instruction community as being innovative every year and a source of leadership within this cymbal community.
 
He received his A.A. in Music with a concentration in Percussion from the Community College of Baltimore County in 2010. In May of 2018 he received his M.A. in Theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University located in Baltimore, MD.
Nick marched in the Bridgemen Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps from Bayonne, NJ from 2006-2008 and with the help of Dennis Delucia has had a great impact on him as a musician, composer and educator. He then went out to Dubuque, IA to march cymbals with Iowa’s Ambassadors of Music, the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps from 2009 to 2010 his age-out year. It is the experience at the Colts with the cymbal knowledge and teaching styles of Diaz Clark, Jack Borland, Ben Gervais, Lauren Sakowski, Max Mullinix, Brett Kuhn, Thein Quoc Pham-Tran and Chase Higgins and many others that would define the kind of instructor he is today. Then Nick went to be on the Visual staff for Fusion Core from Morris County, NJ in 2012 to gain more experience in how a show can be told with varying body movements and visuals that he and the staff came up with. He was on the Administrative staff at Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps from Camden County, NJ in 2015. As of 2014, he has become the drill designer for Medellin Vanguardia (MEVA) from Medellin, Colombia, South America, a position to create a positive change in the lives of the people of Colombia, Medellin, and throughout Central and South America. Currently he works as a freelance drill writer for a band of any size and instrumentation in the United States.
He is a member and supporter of “Kymbos” a DCI (Drum Corps International) and WGI (Winter Guard International) cymbal scholarship fraternity. Nick enjoys traveling, composing music, eating world cuisine, learning languages, hanging with friends and playing cymbals whenever he gets a chance. Nick looks forward to this upcoming season with this ensemble and the Cymbal section. 

Nick Mullen

Front Ensemble Instructor

Andrew Pretzello

Front Ensemble Instructor

Natalie Pretzello

Front Ensemble Instructor

Natalie Hogg Pretzello is a music educator and percussionist from Laurel, Maryland. She has worked with the front ensemble of the Towson University Marching Band since 2017.
 
Natalie graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education. At University of Maryland, Natalie was privileged to study with Tony Ames, Principal Percussionist of the National Symphony Orchestra, and Dr. Lee Hinkle. The Washington Post wrote about her choreographed performance with the UMD Symphony Orchestra of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of A Faun and Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony: “[Pretzello kept] leaving to play passages offstage, and once the bombshell percussionist had established her physical authority… in the Debussy, she held attention even as one of a team of percussionists in the symphony”.
 

Natalie is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Music Education at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she is advised by Dr. Harlan Parker and Dr. Laura Parker. Natalie is a recipient of the Semper Fidelis award for Musical Excellence presented by the Marine Corps League and is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Society. She has been recognized by HCPSS as an Outstanding GT Educator. Natalie is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society, the Maryland chapter of the National Association for Music Education (Maryland Music Educators Association), and the Howard County Education Association.

In addition to her work as a band director in the Howard County Public School System at Gorman Crossing Elementary School, Natalie is a frequent consultant and clinician for award-winning concert and marching ensembles around the Mid-Atlantic region. She is the percussion coordinator for the HCPSS High School Honor Band, HCPSS Elementary School GT Band, and HCPSS Elementary School Honor Band. Since 2011, Natalie has instructed the front ensemble of the four-time state champion Marriotts Ridge High School Marching Band. She was also a front ensemble instructor for the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016. Natalie is an alumna of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps of San Antonio, Texas.

Reed Kimmel

Electronic Engineer/Designer

Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, 2020 will be Reed’s third year on the Towson University Marching Band’s staff. He has worked with Cadets Drum Corps the past 4 summers, spending most his time on the road with the corps operating as their Audio Caption Manager. Reed’s start to the marching arts was in middle school, marching his way from snare to marimba in his 7 years. After graduating in 2012 his marching career came to an end and he pursued a path toward audio. Since then, Reed has been heavily involved in the audio community, working with several high schools, Cadets Winter Percussion, United Percussion, Cadets 2, George Mason University and most recently at Cadets.

Graduate Assistants

Voice of the TUMB

Gary Williams

Voice of the TUMB
williams.gary@gmail.com

Gary Williams returns to the TIGER Marching Band for a sixth year as a member of the instructional staff. A member of the band from 2000-2004, Gary marched in the trumpet line as a freshman before serving as the TIGER’s Head Drum Major for next three years. Gary was the recipient of the 2003 Director’s Award for outstanding dedication and service to the Tiger Band. He is also an alumnus of the National Honorary Band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi.

In addition to the TIGER Marching band, Gary is the assistant marching band director at his high school alma mater, Franklin High School. Gary was member of the Franklin Marching Band from 1996-1999 and served as Drum Major from 1997-1999. A member of the FHS staff since 2000, his current responsibilities at Franklin include show and drill design along with marching, music, and brass instruction.

For the past 11 years Gary has worked for Williams Scotsman, Inc. in the Information Technology and Marketing departments. Over the past 3 years he has served as the company’s Online Services Manager with strategic and tactical responsibility of the companies Internet/Intranet/Extranet properties as well as online marketing programs.

Music Arranger

Scott Boerma

Music Arranger
Madison Music Works

Media Production Specialist

Kendall Appleby

Kendall Appleby is a recent graduate of Towson University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media and Film in spring of 2018. She was a member of the flute/piccolo section of the TUMB for all four years of her college education, and is an alumna sister of the National Honorary Band Sorority Tau Beta Sigma.

While at Towson, she was a crew member of the WMJF studio; she helped direct, shoot, and edit videos for Towson University’s own television station.

In 2017, Kendall produced an award-winning PSA for the Maryland State Police Vehicle Theft Prevention Council and the Maryland/DC Anti-Car Theft Committee that is currently playing on WBAL Radio 1090 AM. She has also produced several documentaries, promotional videos, and parody sketches.

Despite being a recent TUMB alumna who is no longer marching, Kendall is excited to remain a part of the TUMB by doing what she loves with who she loves.

Volunteer Coordinator

Abby Lemen

Abby Lemen wears many different hats, but one of her favorites has to be her job with the TUMB! The 2019 season will be Abby’s sevenths season with the band. She joined, originally, in 2013 as a marching member after getting a preview at the 2011 and 2012 High School Marching Arts Camp. During her time with the TUMB, Abby played the piccolo, was a sister of Tau Beta Sigma,  participated as a SMAC member during the 2016 season, and won Spirit of the TUMB for 3 consecutive seasons.
After graduating in 2017, Abby took on the roll as the resident TUMB uniform Mom and Volunteer Coordinator. Abby loves when people don’t forget their shoes and have perfect looking hems on their pants. Her joy and excitement are like no other on an early morning band day, and she’s not afraid look ridiculous wearing her cozy, rainbow bathrobe to brighten your day. She also enjoys all the loving and wonderful parents, families, and friends that she gets to work with during gamedays!
In addition to driving vehicles, setting up tailgates, and riding on podiums at Towson, Abby also works as a visual consultant with the Loch Raven High School Marching Band. Outside of the band world, Abby is a middle school English/Language Arts teacher at Thomas Viaduct Middle School in Howard County, Maryland, a resident of Baltimore City, and an avid nap taker. She looks forward to making the 2019 season the best yet!