ALEX BLUE V // ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Alex Blue V is a Predoctoral Fellow at Ithaca College, where he teaches courses in the School of Music's Theory, History, and Composition Department. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is writing his dissertation on hip-hop, geography, representation, and spatial reorientation in Detroit, MichigAn. He also holds degrees in Trombone Performance and Jazz Studies, from Texas Tech University and the University of North Texas, respectively.
Alex enjoys a busy schedule as an academic, performer, clinician, arranger, and adjudicator, working with performing arts ensembles and presenting research around the world. Since aging out as a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2007, he has enjoyed many years of teaching in Drum Corps International and WGI, having taught a number of groups including Spirit of Atlanta, Colts, Orange County Independent Winds, and The Cavaliers. Since 2017, Alex has been a brass instructor for the 18-time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps from Concord, CA.
TIM DARBONNE // VISUAL DESIGNER
Tim Darbonne began his performing career as a baritone player in the Erath High School Band from Erath, Louisiana. After graduating he went on to march Lead Euphonium with the 18 time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps and aged out in 2007 as a part of the corps' 12th DCI Championship. In 2011 Tim returned to Concord to join "BD" as a member of the visual staff, a position he holds to this day. During his seven years on staff the corps has won four DCI World Championships, four Best Visual Performance Awards, and has placed no lower than second overall.
Tim has designed for ensembles in 19 different states and 3 different countries. The ensembles he has designed for have earned numerous "Superior" ratings, "Best in Class" awards, State Champion awards, and BOA Regional Finalist awards. Tim made his drum corps design debut in 2011 with The Music City Drum and Bugle Corps from Nashville, Tennessee. He then went on to be the drill designer for Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps from Diamond Bar, California in 2013 and 2014. Under Tim's tenure, Pacific Crest received it's highest placement and composite score in the corps' history. Tim was a co-founder of the Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps where he was also the Visual Designer/Supervisor in 2014 - 2015. In 2017, he designed the drill for the Long Island Sunrisers, a storied drum corps within the DCA Circuit. Tim was the drill designer for The Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps during the 2018 season which was also the corps' highest placement and composite score in the it's history.
Aside from being purely a drill designer, Tim has also been a visual instructor/caption head for numerous nationally acclaimed high school bands including Flower Mound High School, Hebron High School, LD Bell High School, and the Blue Springs Golden Regiment. Prior to being asked to join The Blue Devils Visual Staff, Tim instructed the Academy, the Madison Scouts, and the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. He returned to the Academy in 2016 as a visual consultant and was part of the corps first appearance in DCI Finals competition, finishing 11th place overall. Tim is currently the Visual Coordinator/Caption Head for the WGI Independent World Silver Medalist Crossmen Winter Winds Ensemble from San Antonio, Texas.
Tim is an alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and enjoys meeting up with fellow brothers to sing at any event possible. He currently lives in The Colony, Texas and in a rare moment of free time he can be caught at live sporting events, musical concerts, and embarrassing himself at Topgolf.
DOUG THROWER // BRASS ARRANGER
Douglas Scott Thrower is a free-lance music composer and arranger.
Currently, he is the brass arranger for the Canton Bluecoats, a top competitive marching ensemble of Drum Corps International and the 2016 world champion. Doug has been in this role since 1997 and is considered one of the best music arrangers in the marching activity.
You only have to listen to the voice and unique sound he gives the Bluecoats’ brass section. He is associated with signature music features, well known in the marching activity, that include Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer, Creep from Radiohead, The Great Gig In The Sky by Pink Floyd, and the wistful ballad Hymn of Acxiom by singer-songwriter Vienna Teng who personally sent him accolades when she heard the Bluecoats rendition.
Doug has instructed and arranged for a number of bands and drum corps over the years including The Bluecoats, Pacific Crest, The Troopers, Dutch Boy and the Canadian Knights (1986 Class A World Champions). Doug also composes and arranges for a number of high schools and university bands across North America. That list includes Western Carolina University, Marshall University, the University of Texas and University of Utah. In addition to arranging music for marching ensembles Doug writes for various ensembles (jazz and symphonic) and theatre groups.
Doug was a student of Don Johnson in trumpet performance at Humber College (Toronto) and studied jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal. He has recorded performances for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and can be heard on four recordings by the McGill Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Gordon Foote.
Doug and his wife Evelyn Blackwell have two daughters, Shelby and Claire, and make their home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
MATT PENLAND // PERCUSSION ARRANGER
Matt Penland is a percussion performer, educator, and arranger based out of Washington, D.C. where he is a percussionist in the U.S. Air Force Band, Ceremonial Brass. Matt is on the instructional staff for The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps and George Mason University Indoor Drumline, as well as arranges music for several marching percussion groups across the country.
Displaying a comprehensive background in both classical and marching percussion, Matt has been 3rd Prizewinner at the 2014 TROMP International Percussion Competition in the Netherlands, Top Prizewinner of the Atlanta Modern Snare Drum Competition and a Southern California Marimba Competition Semifinalist. As a marching percussion soloist he was the 2011 DCI Individual and Ensemble Tenor Champion and the 2009 PASIC Collegiate Tenor Solo Champion.
Matt has performed and given masterclasses at the International Percussion Festival Seoul in South Korea, the Northwestern Percussion Symposium, the Nebraska PAS Day of Percussion, the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, the Texas Music Educators Association convention and others. He was a section percussionist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before joining the Air Force, and was also a Music Academy of the West percussion fellow. As a rudimental percussionist he was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, and Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.
Matt earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music Performance degree from Northwestern University. His teachers included She-e Wu, Christopher Lamb, Vadim Karpinos, James Ross, Paul Rennick, Christopher Deane, and Mark Ford.
Matt proudly endorses Innovative Percussion, Remo, and Dynasty USA products.
TYLER SAMMONS // PERCUSSION ARRANGER
Tyler Sammons is currently the percussion director at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Originally from nearby Seguin, Texas, He graduated in 2011 from the University of North Texas with a degree in percussion performance and music theory. Since then, he has taught at several schools across the country, including Marian Catholic High School (IL), LD Bell High School (TX), Hebron High School (TX), and most recently at Tom Glenn High School in Leander, Texas. Tyler is heavily involved in the drum and bugle corps (DCI) activity, having served as a member of the percussion staff for Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps since 2012. Santa Clara Vanguard won the Fred Sanford Award for best percussion in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. SCV was also the DCI silver medalist in 2017, and DCI world champion in 2018. Prior to teaching at Vanguard, he taught the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and was a marching member of the Crossmen (TX) and Phantom Regiment (IL), capturing the DCI world championship with the Phantom Regiment in 2008, and the Fred Sanford award for best percussion in 2008 and 2010. Tyler is an active arranger, clinician and adjudicator in the marching arts, and is a proud Innovative Percussion and REMO artist.