Frequent Conductors

  Ed Zentera was a guest conductor for the first time in 1999. Mr. Zentera earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in music education at the University of Michigan. He has taught music for 41 years, 32 years at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. Ed plays cornet in the Brass Band of Battle Creek. Ed retired from his faculty position at KCC in 2008. Ed has conducted more Rotary Band concerts than any other conductor.

  Jeremy Root is Director of Bands for Marshall Public Schools. He is a 1997 graduate of Marshall High School, and he graduated from MSU with his Bachelor of Music degree in June of 2002, where he studied trumpet with Rich Illman and Mark Thompson. While at MSU, Jeremy served as trumpet soloist and principal trumpet in the Spartan Marching Band. Jeremy has performed as principal trumpet with the MSU Symphony Band, and has also played in the MSU Wind Symphony and the Brass Band of Battle Creek. Jeremy has studied conducting with John T. Madden and Dr. Wes Broadnax (MSU) and Dr. Scott Lubaroff, Director of Bands at the University of Central Missouri. Jeremy was recently appointed as the Director of Education and Outreach for the Brass Band of Battle Creek. He has been a member of Marshall Rotary Band throughout his high school and college years, and he conducted it for the first time as a guest conductor during the July 4 concert of 2001. Jeremy has conducted the band every year, since his first year in 2003 as a band director for Marshall Public Schools.

Amanda Burdette graduated from Central Michigan University in 2008 with a bachelors in Music Education and recently earned her Masters in Educational Leadership from Western. While at Central, Amanda was a member of the Chippewa Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and various chamber ensembles. She was also the founding president of the Lambda Tau Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a National Honorary Band Fraternity. In 2014, after teaching for Battle Creek Public Schools for five years, Amanda was hired as Associate Band Director for Marshall Public Schools teaching with Mr. Jeremy Root at both the Middle and High school. Along with playing with the Marshall Rotary Band, Amanda plays horn and is the assistant director for the Cereal City Concert Band. Amanda lives in Battle Creek with her husband John and toddler Nora and their two dogs. Amanda's favorite activity outside of music is running and she is proud of her many races including three half-marathons.

  Christien Rupp was born in Brighton, Michigan; and he earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Western Michigan University, where he was the drum major of the Bronco Marching Band. As a clarinetist, he studied with Brad Wong and participated in the WMU Concert Band and the WMU Symphony Band. He earned his Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music and was elected Class President by his peers. Chris was Director of Bands for Marshall High School and Marshall Middle School from 1998-2000. He is currently Director of Bands at Eaton Rapids Middle School and Greyhound Intermediate School. His bands regularly perform the National Anthem at Lansing Lugnuts games and have performed on WILX TV’s Hometown Holiday program. He also serves as Director for play and musical productions at Eaton Rapids High School and Middle School. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Grant and Bella. Chris is also a competitive triathlete.

Dr. Samuel McIlhagga, is professor of music, chair of the department of music, and director of bands at Albion College where he directs the symphonic wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, and oversees the “British Eighth” marching band. A strong advocate for contemporary classical and popular music, McIlhagga teaches courses on 20th century composers and composition, rock and roll in our society, and music performance as a creative process. While at Albion, he founded the Albion Chamber Players, a professional ensemble devoted to performing a wide variety chamber wind music. McIlhagga has been actively involved in community bands since 1994 when he directed the Sinclair Community College Wind Symphony and Concert Band. He has since had the honor of leading the Cereal City Concert Band, as well as guest conduct the Albion Community Band and Marshall Rotary Band. In fall 2018, McIlhagga was appointed artistic director and conductor of the Lansing Concert Band.

McIlhagga earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota, a Masters of Music from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors of Music Education from Grand Valley State University. He has studied conducting with professors Craig Kirchhoff and the late John Paynter. Active as a guest conductor and clinician, McIlhagga has worked with high school and middle school bands as well as honor bands and community bands across the Midwest. He has presented at the Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference, the College Band Directors National Association, the Michigan Music Conference, and the MMEA Collegiate Conference. Dr. McIlhagga is an active member in The CBDNA, National Association for Music Education, and Michigan Music Education Association.

During his 12-year career as Director of Bands for Marshall Public Schools, David Conklin was also choir director at the Presbyterian Church in Marshall. He was born in Owosso, Michigan and graduated from Battle Creek Central High School. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree at Michigan State University where he studied trumpet with Byron Autrey. David taught for eight years in Gladstone, Michigan before coming to Marshall in 1984. His fascination with the Civil War era beckoned him to Pennsylvania in 1996. The Conklins reside in Gettysburg, and David participates in Civil War festivities there. He taught music in Gettysburg including general music, 7th grade chorus, and band at the middle school and high school. He retired from teaching in 2017, but he still conducts two adult choirs at the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church and is Principal Cornet with Spires Brass Band in Frederick (Maryland). Dave has traveled back to Marshall several times to conduct the band. David is an excellent cornet player, and he often plays a difficult cornet solo when he returns to Marshall.


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