TONY MENCIO // VISUAL CAPTION HEAD
Tony Mencio was born and raised in Cedar Park, TX and is a 2007 graduate of Cedar Park High School. Tony attended The University of North Texas and graduated in 2015. His performance experience includes 4 years with the Santa Clara Vanguard as a trumpet player (2008-2011) where he was honored to be chosen to lead the hornline as Horn Sergeant during his age-out year. He is an alum of both Kappa Kappa Psi’s Alpha Omicron chapter and Phi Mu Alpha’s Gamma Theta chapter. He also holds membership in the Texas Music Educators Association.
Tony currently is the Head Director of Music at Arlington Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, TX where he is responsible for the Marching, Jazz, and Concert bands, as well as the Orchestra, Varsity and Non-Varsity Choirs, and Classical Guitar classes while also being the Fine Arts lead for his campus. Before he became a director, he held numerous tech and private lesson positions in multiple organizations including Frenship High School (TX), Cedar Park High School (TX), Byron Nelson High School (TX), Coppell High School (TX), Chisholm Trail High School (TX), South Pointe High School (SC), Lake Dallas High School (TX), The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, The Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, Vigilantes Indoor Percussion and the Orion Wind WGI Indoor Winds ensemble. This will be his 4th year on The Guardians Visual Staff.
When Tony is not teaching music or visual he enjoys playing/watching sports, going to concerts or other music events, hanging with friends and family, or playing around with his puppy, Willow.
NATHAN AUPIED // ASST. VISUAL CAPTION HEAD
Nathan currently serves as the Assistant Band Director at Kerens ISD. He studied music education at the University of Louisiana.
Nathan previously marched for 4 years with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. This will be his 4th year on staff with the Guardians visual team.
GEO AYALA // VISUAL TECH
Geovani Ayala is a Band Director at Wilkerson Intermediate school in Conroe ISD. Geovani holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Sam Houston State University graduating with Honors distinction. Aside from college marching band, Geovani also marched with The Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps for 5 consecutive years.
Geovani is very involved in the marching arts. His experience includes working at The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands College Park High School, Caney Creek High School, Cy-Ridge High School and more. Additionally, Geovani has also worked with the Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps for the past 3 years serving as a visual tech, as well as the Corps photographer. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer, trumpet gigs, and spending time with his wife and family.
SAMANTHA BROWN // VISUAL TECH
Samantha Houston Brown has been involved in the marching arts since 2004. In high school, she competed in Bands of America and Winter Guard International with Odessa High School Band of Distinction, Odessa, Missouri. While attending the University of Kansas, she served as a 3-year guard captain with the Marching Jayhawks, 3 seasons with Synchronicity Winterguard, 3 seasons with Avidity Independent Winterguard and a summer performing with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, from Santa Clara, California.
Samantha has experience instructing and choreographing for high school and collegiate color guards in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Texas, Hawaii and Nebraska. This is her first year as the Color Guard Instructor for the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band and her second year as the Lincoln Southeast High School Color Guard Instructor. In addition to writing choreography and being a clinician, she is a visual staff member with The Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps. She has her Music Education Degree from the University of Kansas and is a teacher at Pure Barre in Lincoln, Nebraska.
JARED DELGADO // VISUAL TECH
Jared Delgado is currently an Assistant Band Director at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas. He marched 2 summers with the Crossmen and a season of indoor percussion with UTSA Indoor. This will be Jared’s fourth year working with the visual staff at Guardians.
RICHARD FALLS // VISUAL TECH
D'LAINEY FORRESTER // VISUAL TECH
d’Lainey Forrester currently lives in San Diego, California, and is an alumnus of San Marcos High School in which she performed in Wind Symphony, Jazz Band, and served as Drum Major in the Knight Regiment marching band. After graduating, she continued to earn her Bachelor’s in Music Performance from UCLA in 2017. During her time in college, d’Lainey studied clarinet under Gary Gray, Principal Clarinetist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In addition to woodwinds, d’Lainey also studied low brass (concentration in Euphonium) with Aubrey Foard, Principal Tuba of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She performed on trombone in the UCLA Bruin Marching Band and served as Principal Euphonium in the UCLA Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Travis Cross.
While completing her undergrad, d’Lainey participated in five seasons of Drum Corps International in the World Class division, performing on euphonium and consistently marching in World Class finals every year. d’Lainey performed with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2013, 2014, and 2015, Bluecoats in 2016, and the Blue Devils in 2017. In 2016, d'Lainey earned the title of DCI World Class Champion with the Bluecoats, earning the group’s first championship in history. Additionally, in 2017 she earned her second DCI Championship title with the Blue Devils, earning the group’s 18th total championship and winning the John Brazale Visual Performance award. Outside of DCI, d'Lainey spent the 2017 winter season with Pulse Percussion in the WGI World Class Percussion division, earning a bronze medal at WGI finals.
Upon finishing her career in the marching arts, d’Lainey worked as a musician in Tokyo, Japan, for Kyoto Tokyo Inc. Theater Company. During her stay in 2018, she performed nearly thirty live shows in the Tokyo International Forum Hall. d’Lainey also worked as a woodwind clinician during her time in Japan, teaching students at various high schools and junior high schools in the Yamagata Prefecture.
At home in San Diego, d’Lainey works in various roles and positions as a music teacher at local high schools and middle schools. Her duties include woodwind and brass specialist, marching technician, and private lessons instructor. d’Lainey currently works at San Marcos High School as a woodwind specialist and is the director of the Symphonic Band. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education.
JAKE HILLE // VISUAL TECH
Jake Hille is currently a full-time Master’s student at Texas Christian University pursuing a degree in Wind Band Conducting. He is a conducting student of Mr. Bobby Francis, and a tuba student of Mr. Richard Murrow. In addition, he maintains a private lesson studio in Texas teaching low brass students in Fort Worth ISD and Red Oak ISD, as well as staying active in the marching arts by designing drill, teaching at Dallas-Fort Worth high schools, serving on visual staff with The Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps, and on brass staff with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps.
Mr. Hille earned his Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 2015. During that time, he was an active performer at the campus level and national level. On campus, Mr. Hille performed with various groups including the OU Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Orchestra, Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, Horn Ensemble, and Marching Band. At the national level, he performed with the Kappa Kappa Psi National Intercollegiate Band, Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, and Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. Hille was recognized two years in a row as the outstanding undergraduate tubist, and was honored to serve as the drum major of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band in 2014.
Prior to attending Texas Christian University, Mr. Hille held a position as assistant band director at South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas. His responsibilities included teaching the concert band, teaching the jazz band, and assisting with all other bands. His jazz bands received consistent superior ratings at contests and festivals, and he led the concert band to their first ever UIL concert and sight-reading competition.
Mr. Hille’s professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Jazz Educators Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi. He and his wife, Jessica Hille, currently reside in Fort Worth, Texas with their loveable puppy Kenji.
AUSTIN MELASS // VISUAL TECH
Austin is a Texas native, born and raised in Houston, TX.
He is currently working on an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and previously marched Santa Clara Vanguard from 2012-2014.
This is Austin's 3rd year as a Visual Tech at Guardians. Fun fact about Austin, he boasts a 50-inch vertical jump.
RUSSELL WILEY // VISUAL TECH
Russell Wiley has been a member of the Guardians visual staff since 2017 and has been involved with drum corps since 1997.
He is a former member of The Commandant’s Own, The US Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and lives in Temple, TX with his wife and kids where he is pursuing a degree in music education at Temple College.
HUNTER REED // VISUAL TECH
Hunter went to the University of Georgia and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. He is currently working and studying for the LSAT in preparation for Law School.
Hunter’s marching experience includes having marched with Glassmen in 2012, Blue Knights in 2013, Vanguard in 14, 16, 17, 18 – Winners of the John Brazale best visual performance award in 2018.
Hunter is a 2nd year visual staff member at the Guardians. A fun fact: His father marched mellophone for Suncoast Sound in 1984, his mom and aunt marched in the Colorguard with the Bluecoats in the early 80’s, and his uncle marched bass with the Cavaliers in the late 1970’s.
ZACK RILEY // VISUAL TECH
Zack Riley is returning to the visual staff for his 4th season at Guardians. He is currently in his 2nd year as an Assistant Band Director at Lamar High School in Arlington TX where he conducts the Symphonic Band, co-directs the freshman band and brass techniques class, teaches the woodwind technique class and is the Director of Jazz Studies. Zack has been a marching clinician, instructor, and adjudicator in the Arlington, Northwest, Van Alstyne, and Keller school districts.
In his drum corps career, Zack spent two seasons marching mellophone with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle corps, with his age out being in 2014. He then taught visual at Crossmen (2015) and Guardians (2017-present).