More Conductors

  The first conductor and organizer of the Marshall Community Band sponsored by the Rotary Club was John Beery, in 1979, who was also Marshall Public Schools Director of Bands at that time. Dave Conklin took over both positions from 1984 until 1996. Duane Sitkiewicz was conductor for the 1997 season. Since then, guest conductors have been invited for each concert. Guest conductors have included Ken Bauman, John Madden, Martin Erickson, Alison Shaw, Christien Rupp, Ed Zentera, David Conklin, Ross VanNess, Phil Clissold, Dick Day, Dan Phillips, David Larzelere, John Beery, Tony Bush, Daniel Alt, Josh Eash, Tom Evans, Jeananne Nichols, Brian Shetterly, and Sam McIlhagga.

  Brooks Grantier, has been Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church in Marshall since 1965. Known for his expertise on the piano and organ, Brooks is who you call if you have an accompaniment no one else can play. He has also been the Battle Creek Boy Choir Music Director since 1989. Brooks grew up playing clarinet and saxophone in the Minot Municipal Band in North Dakota. He earned his B.S. degree in music education from Minot State University and his Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado at Bolder. Brooks has an interest in all kinds of music, and he composed a new march for concert band, Rotary Special. That march premiered at the July 4 concert in 2007; and it was the opening march of 2008. In 2010, Brooks composed a concert band suite with three movements (Fountains and Memories) , and it was premiered by the band during that summer season.

Grantier 1

  Dr. VanNess lives in Muncie, Indiana for most of the year, but he spends his summers at Coldwater Lake with his wife, Harlean. Ross was director of bands for Marshall Public Schools from 1961 to 1968 and Assistant Principal at Marshall High School during his last year in Marshall (1968-1969). Since his retirement from Ball State University as a Professor of Continuing Education, he has been playing and conducting for Marshall Community Band.
  Ross holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Arts in Music and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Michigan. Since 1970, he has made over 1000 appearances as a speaker, consultant, seminar leader, facilitator, and guest presenter throughout the United States and abroad. He has written three self-help books, and he is currently president of Growth and Effective Management Associates, a training and consulting firm in Muncie.
  Ross remains active in Indiana where he sings in a 70-voice choir and plays his trumpet in the Westminster Orchestra as well as a brass quintet. Ross returned from New York a few years ago where he sang in a chorus of 180 voices at Carnegie Hall for Mendelssohn’s Elijah . He conducts for local musical theater productions and serves on the Board of Directors for the Muncie Academy for Community Leadership and Christian Ministries of Delaware County. And above all else, he likes participating in Marshall Community Band where he plays and sometimes conducts. Ross has been featured for the past several years in the trumpet trio of Conklin, VanNess, and Root for the Independence Day Celebration at Brooks Fountain.


Dr. Samuel McIlhagga, is associate professor of music, chair of the music department and director of bands at Albion College where he directs the "British Eighth" marching band and symphonic band in addition to teaching courses in popular music, music as a creative process, and instrumental music education. As of 2011, McIlhagga is also director of the Cereal City Community Band, based in Battle Creek. A native of Michigan, McIlhagga has taught in the public schools and also at the collegiate level since 1993. He earned his M.M. in Wind Conducting (1993) from Northwestern University studying with John P. Paynter and earned his Ph.D. in Music Education (2006) from the University of Minnesota studying conducting with Craig Kirchhoff. McIlhagga began his career as director of bands at Grand Valley State University, his alma mater, in 1993. In 1994 he served as a visiting professor and director of bands at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio where his wind symphony performed at the OMEA state conference in 1995. McIlhagga and the community bands also worked closely with composer/conductors Dr. Timothy Mahr and Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr. through the "Composer-In-Residence" Concert Series. McIlhagga went on to become band director at Sparta High School in Sparta, Michigan, a position he held for five years (1996-2001). While at Sparta, he developed a strong band program earning superior ratings for both concert and marching ensembles at the district and state level.
McIlhagga maintains and active conducting, adjudication, and clinician schedule. He was invited to guest conduct the Lenawee County and Jackson County Honor Bands. For over 15 years, he has adjudicated and been clinician for marching and concert bands both in Michigan and around the mid-west. His Albion College bands have performed in New York's famous Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine as well as marched in “America's Thanksgiving Day Parade” in downtown Detroit. In 2012, McIlhagga was invited to present at both the Michigan Music Conference and the CBDNA Regional Conference. In 2010, his peers named him Albion College Faculty of the Year. McIlhagga serves as faculty advisor to both Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – Albion College chapters. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), College Music Society (CMS), The National Association for Music Education: MENC, Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE), Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), and the Michigan Music Education Association (MMEA).

Dick Day

  Dick Day was a professional musician for over 50 years. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University and studied music theory and composition at the graduate level at Michigan State University. Dick taught vocal and instrumental music for Marshall Public Schools from 1960 to 1965. He taught for one year at Western Michigan University and worked in television production for the Kellogg Company. Dick worked extensivly in the entertainment business. He has worked with and accompanied artists such as The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Milton Berle, Hildegard, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Lenny Dee, Frank Fontaine, Somethin’ Smith and the Redheads, Art Linkletter, Captain Kangaroo, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Tony Marvin.
  Dick was a keyboard wizard and an excellent clarinetist. He was the leader for a new dance band called Swing City. Dick also did scoring arranging, and recording for individuals and radio stations. He was a piano technician (17 years). Dick was a member of the Marshall Community Band Board of Directors and the music coach and rehearsal director for vocal ensembles featured by Marshall Community Band. Dick died in a car accident in 2008. As a memorial to him, a march which he wrote especially for Marshall Community Band (MCB) opened the 2009 season.

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