Concert Band Faculty

Alexandra Berndt is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in bassoon performance with a secondary emphasis in music theory at the University of Minnesota.  She received her Master of Music with honors in bassoon performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.  While in Boston Alexandra was a member of the Vento Chiaro wind quintet.  She received her Bachelor of Music in bassoon performance summa cum laude and with program honors in woodwinds from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  Currently teaching bassoon and piano in the Twin Cities, Alexandra was previously the bassoon instructor at the Boston University Young Artists Wind Ensemble program in Lenox, MA, and served as a chamber music coach at the Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA.  She has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra, and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and as soloist with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artist Wind Ensemble and with the Charles River Wind Ensemble in Boston.

Having been teaching private lessons since 1996, Heather Bolton has been an oboe instructor at Shell Lake Arts Center since 1997 and happily maintains a studio of seventy to eighty private oboe and piano students.   She attended both the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and at River Falls.  These institutions awarded her a bachelor degree in preK–12 instrumental and vocal music education as well as high honors in both oboe and piano performance.  Mrs. Bolton is often asked to assess and work with teachers of all specialties, helped set-up new music programs, revamped existing ones and enjoyed teaching in the public school setting for several years.  As a guest soloist, she has traveled many places around the world and throughout the United States.  Mrs. Bolton can often be seen performing, judging competitions, and working as a clinician. Her sounds can be heard on several recordings with her performing, arranging, and composing.  In 2006, Heather became the owner and full-time operator of Ashland Academy of Music, located in Mahtomedi, MN.  The Academy is 100% Music, open year-round, and serves up to 400 private lessons on virtually every instrument each week throughout its 14 personal studios.  All of the instructors are master educators and performers.  Ashland students receive the highest marks at competitions and contests; are able to easily receive scholarships and admittance into honors programs.  The Academy also hosts an array of master classes and guest artists, facilitates day camps and group classes, and has even had music videos and recording sessions made within.  Aside from teaching and running Ashland, Heather is also actively involved with the music ministry at her church.  She runs the services for two to three weekends each month and leads the children’s choir.  Mrs. Bolton is a member of MMTA (Minnesota Music Educators Association), NMTA (National Music Teachers Association), SPPTA (St. Paul Piano Teachers Association), MDRS (Midwest Double Reed Society), and IDRS (International Double Reed Society).

Dr. Paul J. Budde is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he teaches Music Education I (Elementary), Music Education II (Secondary), Music for Elementary Teachers, and World Music, as well as supervises music students during Student Teaching. Previously, Budde served as an adjunct Professor of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College, Inver Hills Community College, Mankato State University, St. Cloud State University, and the University of St. Thomas, where he taught Music Education, Music Appreciation, Music Theory, History of Rock & Roll, World Music, and Applied Tuba/Euphonium; directed Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble; and supervised student teachers. In addition, he taught middle and high school music in the public schools of Wisconsin and Minnesota for eight years. As an instructor, Budde is passionate about finding ways to blend the best of traditional music education with forward-looking ideas that align with the ever-changing needs of students in the 21st century.

Dr. Budde’s research trajectory involves investigating various teaching methods in an effort to find more effective ways to teach tonguing/articulation to young musicians. His dissertation study, An Analysis of Methods for Teaching Middle School Band Students to Articulate (University of Minnesota, 2011) was a first step in this regard. He was the creator and chairperson of Tubonium, a two-day tuba and euphonium workshop that brought low-brass enthusiasts and world-renowned guest artists to this Minnesota event. In addition, he released an album titled Practice Room Grooves, which is made up of accompaniment tracks that serves as a means to improve fundamentals during independent practice. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Band Director’s Association.

Dr. Budde is an active performer (tuba) and clinician. He is a member of the St. Anthony Brass Quintet, an ensemble that represented the United States during performances at the 2014 Harbin Summer Music Festival in China. In addition, he has performed in numerous Twin Cities ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, National Lutheran Chorale, Lake Wobegon Brass Band, and VocalEssence. Budde’s collegiate tuba quartet, The Pistons, was the first-place winner of the first-ever International Tuba/Euphonium Quartet Competition in 1992. His primary tuba instructors have been Jerry Young and Ross Tolbert, but he has also studied with Arnold Jacobs, Sam Pilafian, and Patrick Sheridan.

Dr. Budde, who currently lives in Lakeville, MN with his wife Kimberly and their four boys, earned a Bachelors Degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1993), a Masters Degree in Tuba Performance from the University of Minnesota (2004), and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota (2011).

Nyla Clements graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012 with a degree in Music Education. Through her studies, she worked and volunteered with some incredible musicians and educators in the area to help bring music to the children of Milwaukee.  Miss Clements began her teaching career in the Milwaukee area where she worked with musicians of many different ages and disciplines anywhere from pep band to gospel choir.  She has since accepted a position in Mukwonago, WI where she teaches band to multiple schools in the district as well as general music classes.   Miss Clements currently performs with the Milwaukee chapter of the American Legion Band as well as some small groups in southeastern Wisconsin.

Brandon Delbow is a 2014 graduate of the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul) and still resides in the Twin Cities.  In his undergraduate formation, he studies trumpet with Dr. Andrew Dziuk, Dr. David Baldwin, and principally with Mr. Chris Volpe.  With a BM Education degree and a K-12 Instrumental teaching license, Mr. Delbow began a career in education at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in New Brighton, teaching K-6 general music and grades 4-8 band.  He is currently the Middle School Band director at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, teaching band classes and small group lessons for all band students grades 5-8.  He also maintains a small studio of private trumpet students after school.

Mr. Delbow performs primarily on trumpet as a member of the Centennial Community Band (Circle Pines, MN) under the direction of Barry Zumwalde, and he actively pursues playing opportunities at area churches and more.  He has been hired to play for school and community theater productions and has been known to guest-conduct and perform with the University of St. Thomas Brass Choir. He also regularly sings tenor/baritone with his church choir. 

Nick Fox is a performing percussionist and teacher. He is pursuing a D.M.A. in percussion performance at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  He has received degrees in percussion performance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (B.M.) and Northern Illinois University (M.M.). He is a founding member of the percussion duo Undue and the percussion quartet, Tofu Dump Truck. These groups focus on contemporary chamber works and the commissioning of new pieces. Undue finished a concert tour in 2015, which involved performances and masterclasses at seven universities in four states. Fox recently finished a Midwest tour as a solo performer in 2016; this tour included five concerts at universities throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. In 2012, Fox was awarded an undergraduate research grant. This helped to commission a piece by composer Matthew Burtner (Song for Low Tree). This work was presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research at Weber St. in Ogden, Utah, and at the state conference held at UW-Whitewater. Since 2012, Fox has worked with Burtner to record several of his percussion quartets: Syntax of Snow, Siku Unipkaaq, and The Winter Raven. He has commissioned five more works from various composers in the past four years. Fox performed at the 2013 Latino Music Festival and Chicago Arts Club in 2014 with Ensemble Dal Niente in Chicago, Illinois. Fox performed at the opening concert of the 2012 Unruly Music Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was chosen as a member of the Wisconsin All-Star Percussion Ensemble several times, performed at CMENC (College Music Educators National Conference), and has presented many recitals throughout his professional/educational career.

Based in Bowling Green, Ohio, Dave Herdan is a saxophonist focused on performance and education. Herdan is currently an adjunct faculty member at Terra State Community College, teaching Applied Saxophone, Clarinet, and Jazz/Contemporary Music. He earned his Master’s Degree in Music Performance- Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls. Dave Herdan has taught private lessons and has directed numerous jazz ensembles. He has also taught at a number of music camps, and has performed as a featured soloist and guest clinician with ensembles across the Midwest. This diverse saxophonist has performed alongside artists such as Jimmy Heath, Ernie Watts, Mike Stern, Bobby Vee, Cloud Cult, The Shirelles, The Crickets, and Tim Hagans, among others. Herdan actively performs in the Toledo/Sandusky, Ohio and Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota metro areas. He is a member of the Jazz Education Connection of Ohio, National Association for Music Education, Minnesota Music Educators Association, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, and the North American Saxophone Alliance.

Paul Krasin is a music teacher in Hudson, WI, where he has been teaching for 7 years.  Over the past 7 years he has taught middle school band lessons as well as elementary general music.  Krasin received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2006.  During his time at UWRF, he was a very active trumpet player in Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Brass Ensemble, and Trumpet Ensemble. 

In addition to his public school teaching career, Krasin plays trumpet in area ensembles as well as teaching private trumpet lessons.  In his trumpet studio, he teaches all levels students from beginners to very advanced players in all styles of music.  He is currently a member of the UW-River Falls University Band and plays with a brass quintet.  Krasin is also a trumpet instructor at Shell Lake Arts Center during the summer Concert Band camp.

Melissa Morey is a free-lance professional horn player, teacher, and singer, who holds a Master of Music degree in horn performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with Douglas Hill. Morey earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal music education (with departmental distinction) from St. Olaf College where she studied horn with Priscilla McAfee and voice with Margaret Eaves-Smith, and was a member of and soloist with the St. Olaf Choir, St. Olaf Band, and St. Olaf Orchestra.

Morey has performed in numerous professional vocal and instrumental groups throughout the Twin Cities region, most notably the Minnesota Orchestra and the Dale Warland Singers, and currently serves as the principal horn for Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. She was recently featured as the alumni soloist with the St. Olaf College Band for the 2013 Homecoming Concert, as a with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra in 2015, and as a faculty soloist with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

In addition to running Morey Horn Studio (her home teaching studio of about 50 private students), Morey is also 1/3 of the Mélange à Trois horn trio (Cara Wilson - violin, Stephen Self - piano) and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter) and Concordia University-St. Paul. She has many years of experience in arts administration -- she previously served as Director of Operations for the Minnesota Chorale, International Tour Coordinator for Gateway Music Festivals & Tours, and board president and member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Morey lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Nicholas Ellison, and three music-loving pets.

Brian M. Olson has been Director of Instrumental Music at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1986. He teaches band, orchestra, jazz, music history and theory, and music technology. Mr. Olson has also taught junior and senior high school band in Wisconsin Rapids and Mauston, Wisconsin. He holds a BME in Instrumental Music and an MM in Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Mr. Olson has taught for the SLAC Jazz Camps, Hudson Schools Summer Music Camp, served as saxophone section coach for Minnesota All State Bands and as coordinator for the Tri-Metro Honor Music Festival. His published original compositions can be found in the catalogs of Grand Mesa Music, C. L. Barnhouse Company, and Bourne Company Music Publishers. He has been commissioned to compose works for concert band, string orchestra, choir and brass ensemble.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Casey Palbicki has solidified a strong reputation as an educator, session drummer, and “hired gun” for a variety of bands, orchestras, and ensembles in the Twin Citiesand the surrounding areas. Casey holds a master’s degree in jazz pedagogy from the University of Northern Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance from the University of Wisconsin– River Falls. As the director of the big band “The Inglorious Jazzers” at the University of Northern Iowa, Casey was praised for his ability in producing a high level of musicianship among mostly non-music majors.

Casey has had the opportunity to perform and study with outstanding drummers such as Peter Erskine, Carl Allen, Matt Wilson, Tom Giampietro, and Dr. Rich McDonald. He has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Donny McCaslin, Matt Harris, John Clayton, Fred Sturm, Ernie Watts, Michael Colegrass, Cake, Nick “The Feelin’ Mrozinski (The Voice), The River City Symphony Orchestra, Michael Israelievitch, and Bob Lark. Casey also spent several years as a touring musician with the award winning R&B group 8 Switch. His teaching philosophy is one of positive reinforcement that aims to blend the technical aspects of drumming with music theory and history. It’s important for the student to understand the origins of what they are performing as well as their role within the band or ensemble. He believes that the most important aspect of being a musician is to embrace all styles of music and strive for fluency in each.

Don Pashby received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1994, where he performed under Robert Baca and Ron Keezer. From 1996 to 2000 he played saxophone and clarinet with the Army’s 1st Armored Division Band in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.  Since then, Mr. Pashby has relocated to Rice Lake, where he has an extensive music studio and teaches English for the Rice Lake, WI School District.  Currently, Don plays for the Minnesota Army National Guard Band, as well as a number of small ensembles and big bands.  He was deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010, where he entertained troops while playing with the 34th Infantry Division Band.

Aimee Pashby teaches high school band at Rice Lake High School where she conducts two concert bands, two jazz ensembles, a jazz combo, and marching band.  Prior to teaching in Rice Lake, Mrs. Pashby taught 5-12th grade instrumental music in Shell Lake for 12 years.  She also taught music for two years in the Department of Defense Schools in Baumholder and Bad Kreuznach, Germany. Mrs. Pashby holds a Bachelors of Music Education degree from UW-Eau Claire and a Masters degree in conducting and band pedagogy from American Band College of Sam Houston State University. She has previously been the flute and oboe coach for the Wisconsin State Middle Level Honors Band and the Wisconsin State High School Honors Band, and the woodwind coach for the State Middle Level Honors Orchestra. In addition to teaching at Rice Lake High School, Mrs. Pashby also maintains a private piano and wind instrument studio, which includes students from the surrounding area.

Sarah Porwoll-Lee is a clarinetist and music educator based in Minneapolis, MN. She teaches at the MacPhail Center for Music, Chanson Voice and Music Academy, Chanhassen High School, and as adjunct faculty at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Additionally, she writes music history and theory lessons for Study.com, and serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Zeitgeist New Music in St. Paul. Sarah has performed throughout the United States and Australia as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as with numerous professional orchestras and wind ensembles. Her first solo and chamber music album, History is going to change, was released in November 2015. Sarah has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and the MacPhail Artist Grant (funded by the McKnight Foundation). She joined the Official Artist Roster of Artist Reach in 2016. Sarah holds a Master of Music Degree in clarinet performance from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Music Degree in clarinet performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Visit sarahporwoll-lee.com for more information.

Connie Root is in her 40th year of being a middle school band director. She teaches 6th and 8th grade concert bands, as well as lessons to 6th through 8th graders in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Root received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1976 and her Master’s Degree in Arts Education from UW-River Falls in 2008.  In addition to public school teaching, she maintains a private trumpet studio and performs regularly in area ensembles.  She is a twenty-nine year member of the St. Croix Valley Community Band both as a musician and has served as a board member.  Ms. Root is a faculty member at the Shell Lake Arts Center, teaching trumpet at the summer’s Concert Band Camp.

Root is an active Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) master level adjudicator and has also served as a clinician for area school district festivals.  She is now serving as Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) Vice President of the Northwest region of Wisconsin, and has been active with the Wisconsin Honors Project, serving as brass coach for the High School Honors Orchestra, Coordinator of the Middle Level Honors Band, and State Chair of the Middle Level Honors Project.  Mrs. Root was chosen by the UW-River Falls faculty as Outstanding Music Educator of the Year, is a recipient of the Hudson Education Foundation’s “Star Excellence” Education award, was chosen as the Wisconsin music teacher that “Makes a Difference” from the national School Band and Orchestra magazine, and was recently selected as the recipient of WMEA’s Michael G. George Distinguished Service Award.

James Root earned his Bachelors Degree in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1978.  After 15 years of public school teaching in Wisconsin, Jim began teaching private lesson and maintains a very active piano, percussion, guitar, and brass private lesson studio in the St. Croix Valley.  Jim enjoys composing and arranging for his students in various music ensembles and venues.  His students consistently earn superior ratings at solo and ensemble festivals and many of his students have become members of the State Honors Band & Orchestra programs in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

Mr. Root performs regularly as a soloist in many ensembles; performing at concerts, weddings, musicals, and community events throughout the Midwest. In addition, Root is a 27-year member of the St. Croix Community Band. 

Root has served for 37 years as an active Wisconsin School Music Association adjudicator and clinician for area school district festivals.  He teaches trombone, euphonium, and advanced music theory and arranging at the Shell Lake Arts Center summer Concert Band Camp.  He has served as president of the New Richmond Fine Arts Center Board and as President of the St. Croix Valley Music Educators Association.

Program Director

Kristin Tjornehoj holds a Ph.D. in music education and a M.M. from the University of Minneapolis, and a B.M. degree in music education and performance from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.   Dr. Tjornehoj is a full professor and chair of the department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. At UW-RF she has taught courses in wind conducting, music education, instrumental literature, music appreciation, and world music. 

She is active as a conductor and clinician/lecturer, which has taken her across the U.S., Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Iceland, and Scotland.  She maintains a busy conducting/lecture schedule in both professional and educational settings, and is currently the leader of the Symphony Band, St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra, St. Croix Valley Community Band, and the adult choir at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Afton, MN.  She has led ensembles on performance tours throughout the United States and abroad. Recent experiences include World Music and Music Appreciation study groups throughout Europe with a UW-River Falls International Traveling Classroom in February touring Edinburgh, London and Paris.

Dr. Tjornehoj is the co-founder of the Three Rivers Concert Band.  This ensemble boasts a multi-generational, high quality group of performing musicians from Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The group collaborates for concerts and cultural experiences both at home and abroad.  Repertoire selections represent the country of exploration, plus popular music of the United States.   

Dedicated to the creation of new compositions, her credits of commissioned works or premiers by prolific composers includes Joel Blahnick, Todd Coleman, Michael Colgrass, Gregory Fritze, Lars Jansson, Daniel Kallman, David Maslanka (May 5, 2016 premier), Johan de Meij (November 17, 2016 premier), Joanne Metcalf, Craig Naylor, David Revill, Michael J. Roy, Jared Spears, Jack Stamp, Michael Torke, Joseph Turrin, Amy Williams (April 6, 2016 premier), Charles Young, and John Zdechlick.  Dr. Tjornehoj collaborates with composers and performers on a regular basis, producing concerts for wind symphony, orchestra and chamber ensembles. 

A participating member in several professional scholarly, music and community organizations, she currently serves on boards/committees throughout the greater St. Croix Valley as an arts advocate including St. Croix Valley Foundation, Phipps Center for the Arts, and ArtReach St. Croix.

Dr. Tjornehoj is the director the Shell Lake Arts Center Band Camp (July 10-15, 2016) and Ensemble Camp (July 17-22, 2016).  She is dedicated to working with middle and high school level students with clinics, master class settings, and as a guest conductor.  

Jill Westermeyer teaches private clarinet lessons in her home studio and middle school band in St Anthony, Minnesota. She also frequently serves as a contest judge and plays clarinet in the Minnesota Symphonic Winds. From 2001 to 2014, she taught band at the Minnehaha Academy Upper School in Minneapolis. Prior to teaching at Minnehaha Academy, she taught middle school band in Ankeny, Iowa and 4-12 grade band in Parkston, South Dakota. Westermeyer grew up in Spanaway, Washington where she studied clarinet with Dileep Gangolli. She graduated cum laude from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. While attending St. Olaf, she studied with JoAnn Polley, and was assistant principal clarinet in the St. Olaf Band and St. Olaf Orchestra. She has done postgraduate work at University of South Dakota, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin River Falls.