Faculty

David Waybright

Jay Watkins

Chip Birkner

Scott Wilson

 

Staff

Elise Kashmiry

 

Graduate Assistants

Alyssa Arkin 

Joshua Davis

Michael Halcovage

Marguerite Kreitsek

Christopher Schletter

 

Dr. David Waybright

Professor and Director of Bands

Specialization: Instrumental Conducting

 

dwaybrig@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3153

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   |   Booking and Clinic Info

Prof. Jay Watkins

 Director, Gator Band, Associate Director of Bands, Associate Professor of Music

Specialization: Band/Conducting

 

watkins@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3152

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   |   Booking and Clinic Info

Dr. Chip Birkner

Assistant Director of Bands, Assistant Professor of Music

Specialization: Band/Conducting

 

chipbirk@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3170

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   |   Booking and Clinic Info

Scott Wilson

Director of Jazz Studies

Specialization: Jazz/Trumpet 

 

swilson@arts.ufl.edu

T: (435) 851-6363
F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

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Elise Kashmiry

Administrative Associate

 

 

ekashmiry@arts.ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

E-Mail   |   View Bio

Alyssa Arkin

 Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

alyssa.arkin@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   

Joshua Davis

Doctoral Conducting Associate

davisjm@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

E-Mail   |   View Bio  

Dustin Ferguson

 Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

 

dusty12254@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901 

 

 

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Garrett Griffin

Doctoral Conducting Associate

 

glgriffin@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

 

Michael Halcovage

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

mhalcovage@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

 

Marguerite Kreitsek

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

mkreitsek@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

 

Christopher Schletter

 Doctoral Conducting Associate

 

schletter@gmail.com

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901 

 

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   

Dr. David A. Waybright received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at Marshall University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  He taught initially at Wahama High School in Mason, West Virginia and since that time has served as Director of Bands at Ferrum College, Plymouth State College, and Director of Bands and Orchestra at McNeese State University.  Dr. Waybright is currently Director of Bands at the University of Florida, where he holds the rank of professor and is the head of the conducting area.  He directs the wind symphony and supervises the band program and the graduate and undergraduate conducting curricula.  Dr. Waybright is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician with wind bands, orchestras, and choirs, and has appeared in that capacity in most of the 50 states, throughout Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. He has held residencies at many of the nation's leading music schools.  In addition, he is active in the commissioning and performance of new music and has won the praise of composers such as Dana Wilson, Michael Torke, Donald Grantham, John Corigliano and Leslie Bassett for his interpretation of their works.  There are many recordings available featuring the University of Florida Wind Symphony under his direction. He is founder and principal conductor for the American Chamber Winds, a professional touring and recording ensemble. Dr. Waybright is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association where he has served on the Board of Directors for two terms and is a Past President of the organization. (2013-14) He is a lifetime member of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He is also a member of the College Band Director's National Association, Music Educators National Convention and Florida Music Educators Association. Ensembles under his direction have performed invited concerts at conferences sponsored by all of those organizations.  Dr. Waybright is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha, Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi. He is a National Arts Associate honorary of Sigma Alpha Iota. 

Mr. John M. “Jay” Watkins, Jr. serves the Gator Nation as the Associate Director of Bands, Assistant Professor in the School of Music and as the Director of the “Pride of the Sunshine” - The Gator Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at UF, he served as Assistant to the Director of Bands, Assistant Director of the Longhorn Band, and Conductor of the Longhorn Basketball, Volleyball and Concert Bands at The University of Texas at Austin, where he was the principle guest conductor of the Symphony Band and the show designer for the Longhorn Band. In the past, ensembles under his direction have performed and recorded with over 36 Grammy-award winning artists in a program he developed to integrate the academic, athletics and live music communities of Central Texas. Prior to his appointment at Texas, he served as the Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Charleston Southern University (SC), where he was also the Coordinator of Instrumental Music Education. Mr. Watkins has received recognition as the CSU Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year and as a recipient of the National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence”, and was the founder, Music Director and Conductor of The Lowcountry Winds, a professional wind ensemble based in Charleston, SC. He has also served as the Director of the U.S. Navy Drum & Bugle Corps and the Director of Instrumental Music at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and as a teacher in the public schools in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. Prior to his work in music education, he worked for the US Naval Research Laboratory as a research associate in the areas of liquid fuel propellants and their stability and published over 75 articles in refereed science journals. 

 

Mr. Watkins is a native of Falls Church, VA and earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Music Education degrees from George Mason University and Valdosta State University. He holds professional memberships in numerous organizations, served as South Carolina State Chair and Southern Division Chair for the National Band Association, and is an elected member of Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmaster’s Fraternity. Mr. Watkins remains very active as a designer, clinician and adjudicator throughout the country. He is married to the former Natalie Kay McLain of Duncan, SC; they have one son, Jacob.

Dr. Birkner serves the University of Florida as Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Bands, where he directs the University Concert Bands, the New Music Ensemble, Gator Pep Bands, and is Associate Director of the ‘Pride of the Sunshine’ Marching Band.  Additionally, he serves the UF School of Music teaching courses in conducting and music education.  Prior to his appointment at the University of Florida, Dr. Birkner taught in the public schools of The Woodlands, TX, Tomball, TX, and La Porte, TX.

He received his Bachelor of Music Education with Performer’s Certificate, Master of Music in Percussion Performance, and Ph.D. in Music Education/Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida.

Dr. Birkner has conducted ensembles across the United States, Europe, and South America.  He is an active performer holding the Principal Timpani chair with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra.  He remains active as a guest conductor, performer, and clinician throughout the southeastern United States.  Additionally, Dr. Birkner served as Program Director for the 2018 Vienna Summer Music Festival's Conducting Institute held in Vienna, Austria.  He holds professional memberships with the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the College Band Directors National Association, the Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Professional Music Fraternity.  In addition, Dr. Birkner holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. 

Trumpeter Scott Wilson has established himself as one of the rising stars of jazz – both as a performer and as a pedagogue. Since earning two masters degrees from the University of North Texas and paying his dues on concert stages from Orlando to Osaka, Scott is in constant demand as a player, composer and educator. In addition to his dynamic live and recorded performances on trumpet, he is regarded as one of the world’s foremost proponents of the electronic valve instrument (EVI).  Wilson has diverse international performance credits having shared the stage with jazz luminaries including Benny Green, Wayne Bergeron, Gordon Goodwin, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Coffin, Shelly Berg, Denis DeBlasio, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Terrell Stafford, Ron Blake, John Pizzarelli, Ed Shaughnessy, Alex Acuna, and others.  He has served as Musical Director for Universal Studios Japan, staff composer for Grand Link World in Qingdao, China, consultant for Walt Disney’s “Magic Music Days” jazz workshops and has been a featured trumpet soloist for Tokyo Disney Sea and Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Orlando.  

 

Wilson has hosted the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Camp, four Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshops and served as faculty for the Jam Camps in Utah. The Garden Music School now hosts the Scott Wilson Jazz Combo Sessions annually in Florida (a week long intensive jazz camp for young musicians), and, in 2011, Warburton Mouthpieces released the Scott Wilson Jazz Mouthpiece that is designed to be a more supportive and functional mouthpiece for young trumpet players.. His jazz texts, The Ultimate Jazz Tool Kit and Ultimate Music Workbook, are published by Kendall Hunt Publishing and accompanied by 35 Jazz Instructional Videos that cover topics ranging from jazz theory to song writing.  Wilson has consistently been at the forefront of the design and use of innovative online platforms for jazz education.  His nationally published online platforms include Jazz Fundamentals 1, Jazz Fundamentals 2, Jazz Aural Skills and Jazz History.  Through Kendall Hunt Publishing these courses can be adopted and delivered to colleges and public schools nationwide. Wilson now serves as Artist Director for Lakeshore Music Jazz Series in Arizona and is the former Artistic Director for the famed Crescent Super Band (Downbeat Award winners 2006-2012). 

 

Scott Wilson is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Florida and has developed a new Jazz Minor and designed six new jazz courses which allow students to receive current industry skill sets, technology training and learn creative approaches to problem solving.

Ms. Elise Kashmiry serves the University of Florida as Administrative Specialist to the University Band Department and assistant to its Director, Dr. David Waybright.  Ms. Kashmiry is an alumnus of the University of Florida receiving both her Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Communication Studies degree and Master of Business Administration specializing in Entrepreneurship degree.  During her time at UF, she was a Gatorette and member of the Gator Band serving in a leadership role three of her four years with the program.  Ms. Kashmiry has a background in finance, administration and event planning/production bringing 10 years of business and admin experience to the department.

Ms. Alyssa Arkin is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and Clarinet Performance at the University of Florida. Ms. Arkin is a graduate teaching assistant with the Gator Marching Band, conducting studio, and concert band.

 

Ms. Arkin received her Bachelor of Music Education degree and a minor in German with Highest Honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her time at Illinois, Ms. Arkin was a clarinetist in the Illinois Wind Symphony and the Marching Illini. She also served as Vice President of the Sigma Delta chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity, and received the Sword of Honor and National Collegiate Honor Award. Her primary teachers at Illinois include Dr. Linda Moorhouse and Prof. Barry Houser.

 

Prior to her graduate studies, Ms. Arkin taught grades 4-12 music and band at El Paso-Gridley school district in Illinois. Her teaching responsibilities included beginning band, junior high and high school concert and jazz ensembles, and high school competitive marching band. She also coached high school scholastic bowl. Previously, Ms. Arkin taught clarinet and saxophone lessons to students in grades 5-12. She also served as a woodwind marching band staff member for Buffalo Grove High School and Monticello High School in Illinois.

 

Ms. Arkin’s professional affiliations include Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity.

Joshua Davis is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Florida where he is studying Conducting with Dr. David Waybright. His responsibilities include: co-teaching the introductory Conducting course, assisting with the Wind Symphony, conducting the Monday Night Concert Band, and assisting with the Gator Marching Band. This past summer, he traveled to Europe with the American Chamber Winds for whom he compiled and edited program notes, and provided planning and logistical assistance. 

 

Mr. Davis received a Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee Technological University. While there, he studied conducting with Joseph Hermann, clarinet with Dan Hearn and Dr. Anne Thurmond, and flute with Dr. Roger Martin. Additionally, Davis has studied conducting privately with Kelly Corcoran and has attended workshops given by Drs. Roby George, Abel Ramirez, and Rodney Dorsey. His graduate assistant duties included mentoring undergraduate conducting students, assisting with the band administration, assisting the Golden Eagle Marching Band, and conducting the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band. He has been recorded on Mark Custom Records (The Works of Greg Danner, Vol. 3, "On Great White Wings" - 2015).

 

As an educator, Mr. Davis has taught music in both private and public schools to children of all ages. His teaching experiences include concert band, jazz band, class guitar, music appreciation, choir, and elementary music.

 

Mr. Davis served three years as a clarinetist with the 101st Airborne Division Band and four years with the 129th Tennessee Army National Guard Band. In 2008, Davis was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation: Enduring Freedom. He is a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

 

Mr. Davis has performed with The Jazz Alliance, The Cedar Creek Community Band, The Nashville Praise Symphony, The Cumberland County Playhouse, and Lamplighters Theatre. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Phi, The Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, College Music Society, College Band Directors National Association, and The National Association for Music Education.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Michael Halcovage is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida. He works as a graduate assistant with symphonic, concert, and basketball bands, the Sudler Trophy winning Gator Marching Band, and mentors undergraduate conducting students.

Mr. Halcovage received bachelor’s degrees in music education and music from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. At LVC, he studied conducting with Dr. Christopher Heffner and Dr. Johannes Dietrich, saxophone with Tom Strohman, and bassoon with Gail Ober. He was an active leader in the band program, serving as drum major, band manager, and librarian, and he guest conducted the LVC Symphonic Band in concert. He also served as music director for the Wig and Buckle Theater Company’s 2016 season. Additionally, he conducted and assisted with the Lebanon Valley College Middle School Bandfest, an annual student-run festival in which music education students plan, coordinate, rehearse, and conduct two ensembles of middle school students from around the college community. As a woodwind player, he actively performed on and off campus with the LVC Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and chamber groups. He also enjoyed playing locally in jazz bands and pit orchestras. He completed his student teaching experience in the Cornwall-Lebanon School District in Lebanon, PA, where he worked extensively with concert, marching, and jazz bands.

           

Mr. Halcovage was a member of the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2017, where he served as the horn sergeant for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. His professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Ms. Marguerite Kreitsek is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Instrumental Conducting at

the University of Florida. Ms. Kreitsek is a graduate teaching assistant with the Gator Marching

Band, Gator Basketball Band, concert band, and conducting studio.

 

Ms. Kreitsek received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education with Performance Honors at

Syracuse University. During Ms. Kreitsek’s time at Syracuse University, she participated in the

Syracuse University Marching Band and served as Drum Major for two seasons. She also

participated in the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, Eta Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma,

and served as president for Syracuse University’s NAfME chapter.

Christopher Schletter is an international conductor and performer as well as an accomplished music educator.  He has most recently performed with and conducted the American Chamber Winds during a European tour the summer of 2017.  He is currently working toward his Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting studying with Dr. William Bauer and Dr. David Waybright at the University of Florida.  His experiences include conducting the UF Wind Symphony, the UF Orchestra, one of the UF Concert Bands, and works with the highly recognized UF Gator Marching Band. In addition, he teaches undergraduate music education courses, assists with conducting students, is the director of the volleyball pep band, and coordinates with directors on the summer Gatorland Band camp.

 

Prior to coming to Gainesville, Christopher received a Master in Music for Instrumental Conducting under the teachings and guidance of Dr. Kyle Prescott from Florida Atlantic University.   During his time at FAU, he conducted the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band, instructed the FAU Owls Marching Band also assisting with show design with his own arrangements and drill writing, culminating in producing the 2015 Homecoming halftime show. In addition, he received the Florida Atlantic University 2015-2016 Graduate Fellowship for Academic Excellence.

 

After receiving his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of South Florida, Christopher performed for two years with the Broadway show Blast!  He performed with the company in various cities throughout the U.S. and Europe including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, on Broadway in New York, Disney Land in California, as well as London and Zurich.  Eventually, Christopher left the cast to pursue his career in music education and was appointed his first position as Director of Bands at Charles W. Flanagan High School in the Spring of 2003.  After growing as a director for 3 years Mr. Schletter made his move to Cooper City High School in the Fall of 2006. There the band program elevated to levels of excellence not yet experienced by Cooper City, receiving many awards and recognitions including Florida State Marching Band Class 4A Champions, multiple year recipient of the FBA Otto J. Kraushaur award, and performed at the Band of America/Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.

 

Christopher is a member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, National Association of Music Educators, and College Band Directors National Association.  He was also active in drum and bugle corps and participated as a member of the Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as a brass instructor with other drum corps such as Carolina Crown, Magic of Orlando, Boston Crusaders, and Glassmen.