Andrew Carr, Director of Bands, is a graduate of Lakota West High School now in his 17th year of teaching. Mr. Carr holds music degrees in music education from Miami University of Ohio. Mr. Carr’s teaching responsibilities include directing the nationally recognized Lakota West Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band. He assists with two freshman bands, as well as being the director of the Marching Firebirds.
The Lakota West Marching Band has continued its tradition of excellence under Mr. Carr’s leadership. In addition to competitive success with their field shows they also performed at the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade and were the featured performers at the 2017 Disney Magic New Year’s Eve Parade. The Marching Firebirds have been finalists at Bands of America Regionals and have performed at Grand Nationals. The Marching Firebirds consistently qualify and have been subsequently awarded superior ratings in OMEA State Level Competition.
The concert bands have been awarded superior ratings at district and state level festivals since the schools opening in 1997. They have performed at the Music for All Regional Concert Band Festival and at OMEA State Convention. The Lakota West Symphonic Winds have maintained a tradition of excellence, performing great masterworks for concert band, as well as hosting a large group of distinguished guest conductors and composers with the band each year. This group also has multiple students selected from the ensemble each year for the Ohio All-State Ensembles.
Prior to his appointment to Lakota West High School Mr. Carr has been the Director of Bands at New Richmond High School, Associate Director of Bands at Kettering Fairmont High School, as well as the Director of Jazz Studies at Lakota West High School.
Mr. Carr marched with Lakota West, Miami University, and he has a DCI world championship ring earned with the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps during the 2000 season. He has traveled extensively throughout the world singing and playing throughout his career. Mr. Carr remains an active trumpet player and trumpet teacher. He is an active member and judge in the Ohio Music Education Association, regularly attending OMEA contests and conventions. He hosts several local music events for area music students, and has acted as the chair of All-State ensembles. In addition to OMEA, he is an active member of NAfME, a Conn-Selmer VIP, MSBA, ITG, and JECO. Mr. Carr resides in West Chester with his wife Alyssa and two sons, Chandler and Maddox.
Tom Racic, Freshman Director and Percussion Director, has worked with the Lakota bands since 2008. Mr. Racic has been the percussion director and arranger for the Marching Firebirds for seven years and the assistant marching band director for the past four seasons. Under Mr. Racic’s direction, the high school percussion ensembles have been awarded several superior ratings each year at OMEA solo and ensemble contest and have performed in yearly concerts that recently featured the Miami University Steel Band and the NKU Percussion Ensemble. He has also been the Concert Band and the 8 O’clock Jazz Band director at Lakota West. Mr. Racic has been the sixth grade band director at Cherokee, Freedom, Heritage, and Woodland elementary schools. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Northern Kentucky University. Mr. Racic was also a member of the percussion staff at Capital Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps. His responsibilities at Lakota West include Freshman Director, Director of Percussion for the six high school concert bands and Marching Firebirds, assistant marching band director, and percussion arranger. He also directs the seven high school percussion ensembles. Mr. Racic is a member of Music Educators National Conference, Ohio Music Education Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Vic Firth Education Team. He lives in West Chester with his wife Amy and two children.
Aaron Todahl, Jazz Band Director at Lakota West Main Campus as well as Lakota East Main and Freshman Campuses, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a Specialization in Jazz from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). During his time at CCM, he had the opportunity to perform with the CCM Jazz Orchestra, John Von Ohlen, Fareed Haque, Steve Allee, and many others including performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Todahl still continues to perform regularly as a trumpet player and guitarist in the Greater Cincinnati area.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude from CCM, Mr. Todahl was the K-8 Music Director for Cardinal Pacelli School in Mt. Lookout, OH for the 2017-2018 school year. Mr. Todahl’s current responsibilities at Lakota include directing the jazz ensembles at Lakota West Main Campus and Lakota East Main Campus. He also assists with Symphonic Winds, works with the pep band, and will be conducting the pit orchestra at East. Mr. Todahl is a Lakota East alum and is proud to be involved in the continued excellence of the programs at Lakota East and West.
Phil Chumley, Director of Bands at Lakota Plains Junior School,, is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and pursued his Master’s Degree in Clarinet Performance there as well. He was Band Director at the Robert Goddard Junior High School in Lanham, Maryland, where his bands consistently received Superior Ratings at County Band Festivals. In 1998, he joined the music faculty at Northern Kentucky University where he was Adjunct Professor of Clarinet. Mr. Chumley became band director at Lakota Plains Junior School in 2003. During his first seven years there, the Eighth Grade bands performed in Class A at the OMEA District XIII Large Group Adjudicated Event and consistently received Superior Ratings. In 2006, the Eighth Grade Band performed in a clinic session at the OMEA Convention in Cleveland, OH, and, in 2008, the 8th Grade Band was selected to perform at the OMEA Convention held in Cincinnati. Mr. Chumley was transferred to Lakota West in 2010 as Assistant Director of Bands. During his time there, the Lakota West Symphonic Winds were selected as a feature performer at the 2011 Midwest Band Clinic for the 3rd time in twelve years, and the Marching Firebirds were invited to perform in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. With both the retirement of Joe Tignor and Greg Snyder, he transferred back to Lakota Plains where he still teaches. Currently the band program at Lakota Plains is very strong with 200 students comprised of 2-eighth grade bands and 4-seventh grade bands. He also directs both 8th grade and 7th grade Jazz Band after school. In addition to his work with the band program, he is a sought-after private instructor for clarinet performance with a large studio of students. He has 2 children, Lauren, a professional equestrian athlete and trainer who lives and works in New Jersey, and his son, Scott, is Lead IT Systems Engineer with Progressive Insurance at their headquarters in Mayfield Heights, OH. Mr. Chumley plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Sherri Vortek, Director of Bands at Lakota Ridge Junior School, is in her second year of instruction of at Lakota Ridge after serving for several years in the Lakota East band program. She leads all seventh and eighth grade bands as well as the after-school Jazz band program.
Chris Considine , Marching Band Visual Instructor
Abby Hinson, Marching Band Woodwind Instructor, is in her fourth year on the staff at Lakota West. Mrs. Hinson is a 2013 graduate of Bowling Green State University and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. While at Bowling Green, she studied saxophone with Dr. John Sampen. Mrs. Hinson is a Band Director at E.H. Greene Intermediate in the Sycamore Community School District and maintains an active private lessons studio.
Evan Sasowsky, Marching Band Front Ensemble, is a front ensemble fanatic, having begun his career as a marching mallet player at the University of Cincinnati, in the Bearcat Marching Bands, under Percussion Director Nick Angelis. His experience there quickly inspired him to seek independent marching activities, landing him on a marimba at the Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble (PIA/PIO) in the 2014 WGI season. Evan followed his first season of indoor with a season at Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble (PIW), where he was the center marimba player and section leader of the front ensemble in the 2015 season. For his final two seasons as a performer in WGI, Evan chose to march at Rhythm X (PIW), where he played marimba for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, marching for his age-out DCI season in 2016 at the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio, TX.
Evan currently lives in Cincinnati, OH, where he is a front ensemble instructor at Cincinnati Tradition (DCA A Class Champions and High Percussion Winner, 2017), Tates Creek Indoor (WGI, PIO), Colerain High School, and Elder High School. In his free time he likes to play and stream video games, go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival, quote The Office, and play board games with his roommates. This is Evan’s second season teaching at Lakota West and he is excited to be back working with the talented staff and wonderful students of West!
Tim Coady, Color Guard Director, was born and raised in the St. Louis area. While living in Missouri, Tim performed with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps and the Pride of Missouri State winter guard. After moving to Ohio, Tim broadened his horizons at Zydeco Colorguard, where he was honored with being the 2014 Member of the Year, and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, where he served as colorguard captain for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Tim has a passion for inspiring students through colorguard, and has worked with programs across the United States. He has been involved with instructing other awarded programs such as Centerville HS, La Salle High School, Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, Miami University, and Juxtaposition Winter Guard. Tim currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, serving as a colorguard educator in the Miami Valley.
Shelby Adkins, Color Guard Director, began her color guard career at Centerville High School with the Centerville Jazz Band (Marching Band) and the Centerville World Winter Guard. Prior to joining color guard, she trained in ballet, pointe, modern, and jazz at BalletMet Columbus, and then as a member of the Dayton Ballet Pre-Professional Company. Shelby continued her passion for performance after high school by performing with The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps (World Champion 2011), Pride of Cincinnati Winter Guard (World Champion 2013), Zydeco World Winter Guard, and the Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble. Additionally, she toured Japan in 2014 with the cast of the Emmy and Tony Award winning show, Blast!, as the female Visual Ensemble Swing. Some of Shelby’s teaching and choreography experience includes Bellbrook High School, Archbishop Alter High School, and Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps. In addition to teaching, Shelby works full-time in supply chain and operations for a Dayton-area manufacturing company.
Kayla DiLorenzo, Color Guard Staff