Concert Band Faculty

Dr. Alexandra Berndt is an active performer and teacher based in the Twin Cities. She joined the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra as the Associate Principal Bassoon in 2016 and performs throughout the Twin Cities. In addition to maintaining a large private studio, she also serves as the adjunct bassoon professor at St. Cloud State University and the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. Previously she was the bassoon instructor at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artist Wind Ensemble in Lenox, MA and was on faculty at the Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA as a chamber music coach.

Dr. Berndt earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Bassoon Performance with a Secondary Emphasis in Music Theory from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and while living in Boston was a member of the Vento Chiaro Wind Quintet. Vento Chiaro was a two-time recipient of the Free For All Concert Fund Grant while she was a member. She earned her Bachelor of Music summa cum laude and with Program Honors in Woodwinds from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

A 2010 Tanglewood Music Center Fellow, she also attended the summer music festivals at the Brevard Music Center and the Banff Music Centre. Her primary teachers include John Miller, Richard Ranti, Suzanne Nelsen, Christopher Millard, Lewis Kirk, and David Seidel.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, cycling, wakeboarding, gardening, and traveling. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their tuxedo cat.

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 with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012 with a degree in Music Education. While at UWM, she studied clarinet under the instruction of Todd Levy--Principal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera.  

Clements is currently the director of elementary bands in Mukwonago, WI.  She also co-teaches at the high school as a woodwind technician and is the music director for the marching band. Clements started a private clarinet studio in 2016 and it has been steadily growing with some wonderfully talented and driven students.  Clements makes a point of continuing to perform in the area as an active member of the Milwaukee chapter of the American Legion Band and constantly seeks out other performing opportunities including church masses, chamber ensembles, and local musical theatre.

Brandon Delbow is the Middle School Band Teacher at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis. He teaches concert band classes and small group lessons for all band students grades 5-8, an integrated arts course to all 6th graders, and before-school jazz band.  He also maintains a small studio of private trumpet students and beginning instrumentalists. Delbow is a 2014 graduate of the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), where he studied with Mr. Chris Volpe and received a BM Education degree as well as a K-12 Instrumental teaching license. 

Delbow performs primarily on trumpet as a member of the Centennial Community Band (Circle Pines, MN) under the direction of Barry Zumwalde and is an active trumpeter at multiple area churches.  He plays occasionally for school and community theater productions and has been known to guest-conduct and perform with the University of St. Thomas Brass 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.

Diane Hallberg is the director of Band and Orchestra and the head of the Fine Arts Department at the Upper School of Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she recently received a distinguished teaching award. She has led numerous performance tours in the US and overseas with a special interest in incorporating service learning into these experiences. She is active as a clinician and contest judge in the Twin Cities and has served as the director of the high school flute choir for the Upper Midwest Flute Association.  She is a member of the artistic staff of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) where she is a section coach and has also been a member of the faculty of the Shell Lake Arts Center Summer Band Camp. Ms. Hallberg performs with the Minnesota Symphonic Winds. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in music education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and has pursued graduate work at The University of Minnesota and The University of St. Thomas.

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.  Over the past 8 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, Brass Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble, Brass quintet, and the UWRF Jazz Band which performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in their Swinging Nutcracker concerts. 

In addition to his public school teaching career, Krasin plays trumpet in area ensembles and churches 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.


Casey Palbicki is an active performer, clinician, and music educator in the Midwest. He teaches a multitude of instruments within the drumming world as well as electric/upright bass, and piano. Casey also excels in teaching music theory, classical/jazz composition, and has led hand drumming and drum circle clinics for high schools, universities, and public audiences across the U.S. Casey is currently working on a Ph.D in Music Composition at the University of Minnesota, where he also teaches various courses in music. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and a Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Northern Iowa where he directed percussion ensembles and the jazz big band group “The Inglorious Jazzers.” Casey has had the opportunity to perform and study with artists such as Peter Erskine, Carl Allen, Matt Wilson, Donny McCaslin, John Clayton, Steven Bryant, Eric Whitacre, Fred Sturm, Ernie Watts, Michael Colegrass, Cake, Rhythmic Circus, and two artists from NBC’s “The Voice” Jesse Larson and Nicholas Mrozinski. Casey also teaches individual percussion and bass study at Sound Check Music School in the Twin Cities. He is a member of the Jazz Educators Network, the American Composers Forum, the Film Composers Society of Minnesota, and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

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 the Twin Cities, MN. Her performances have been described as "innovative," "engaging," "displaying rich phrasing and dynamics," and by Twin Cities critic Larry Fuchsberg as "beyond all praise." Sarah works in a variety of genres, including new music, classical, funk, experimental hip hop, and improvisation. She performs regularly with ensembles and organizations including the Minnesota Clarinet Quartet, Spitting Image Collective, Ars Electroacoustica, the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, and Zeitgeist, and teaches clarinet, bass clarinet, and chamber music at the MacPhail Center for Music, Chanson Voice & Music Academy, and her private studio. Recent grants and awards include the MacPhail Artist Development Grant (2016) and the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (2015). Her debut solo and chamber music album, History is going to change, featuring all new and recent works for clarinet and bass clarinet by Minnesota composers, was released on the Avid Sound Records label in November 2015. Sarah lives in Crystal, MN with her husband Nate, their new baby (to arrive in April), their dogs Penny and Jackson, and cat Peter.

Connie Root recently retired after 41 years of being a middle school band director. She taught 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 thirty-one-year member of the St. Croix Valley Community Band and performs with the UW-River Falls University Band.  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 has served three terms for the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) as 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.

Mr. Root earned his Bachelor of Music Education 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 thirty-one-year member of the St. Croix Community Band. 

Root has served for 38 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.