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Faculty
David Waybright
Jay Watkins
Chip Birkner
Scott Wilson
 
Staff
Elise Kashmiry
 
Graduate Assistants
Josh Pace
Colby Vasquez
Joseph McFarland
Ethan Spencer
Will Ely
Morgan Skelley
Lindsay Gassman
Avi Kohan
Ana Mattos

 

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

Professor 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

Faculty

Dr. Archie G. Birkner, IV

Associate Professor of Music, Assistant Director of Bands

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

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   |   Booking and Clinic Info

STAFF

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

GRADUATE ASSISTANTS

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Josh Pace

Doctoral Conducting Associate

jpace1@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

View Bio

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Morgan Skelley

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

mskelley@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Colby Vasquez

Doctoral Conducting Associate

colbyvasquez@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Lindsay Gassman

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

Lindsaygassman@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

 

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Joseph McFarland

Graduate Teaching Assistant​

Joseph.mcfarland@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Avi Kohan

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

akohanshohet@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Ethan Spencer

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

ethanspencer@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

Ana Mattos

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

amattoslebron@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Will Ely

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

w.ely@ufl.edu

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

BIOS

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 Associate 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.

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Josh Pace is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida studying under Dr. David Waybright. His responsibilities include fulfilling the graduate assistantship roles of working alongside University bands, professors, and students. Mr. Pace has been awarded the Van Horn Award for Conducting and Graduate Student Teaching Award during his time at the University of Florida.

 

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Mr. Pace received his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Grace University where he studied under Dr. Greg Zielke, Dr. David Albee, Dr. Cristina Vlad, and Mr. Jeff James. In addition to studying piano, percussion, and voice, Mr. Pace participated in multiple university choirs, bands, and small ensembles. He was also the recipient of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Collegiate Award.

 

Mr. Pace became the Band and Orchestra Director at Omaha Northwest High School in 2017, where his teaching responsibilities included the Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Class, Brass Class, Woodwinds Class, and Orchestra. During his time at Northwest, Mr. Pace was the recipient of the CHI Health Top Teacher Award as well as the Nebraska State Band Masters Outstanding Young Band Director Award.

 

From 2017-2021, Mr. Pace attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln, earning a Masters in Music Education while studying under Dr. Glenn Nierman, Dr. Carolyn Barber, Dr. Brian Moore, and Dr. Rhonda Fuelberth. His professional affiliations include Nebraska State Band Masters Association, Nebraska Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and National Association for Music Education.

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Colby Vasquez is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida. He serves as a staff member with the Gator Marching Band and as a mentor in undergraduate conducting courses. 

Prior to attending The University of Florida, Colby was the Associate Director of Instrumental Music at Clovis West High School in Fresno, California from 2020-2023 where he directed the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Marching Band in addition to assisting with instruction for the Wind Symphony, String Orchestra, and Color Guard classes. Before that, he was the Director of Instrumental Music at William C. Overfelt High School in San Jose, CA from 2016-2019 where he directed the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Orchestra, in addition to teaching piano courses and overseeing all other aspects of the instrumental music program. In 2018, Colby was voted Teacher of the Year by his fellow WCOHS teachers and awarded the Crown Award: Medal of Merit by the school site administrators. 

Colby is originally from Tollhouse, California, a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He graduated from California State University Fresno in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. He was a member of The Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band and the Bulldog Beat scholarship pep band. He then attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where he earned a Masters of Music Education with a focus in Wind Conducting in 2016. He now serves as the Drill Writer for the 400-member University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band. Colby has also been very involved in the drum & bugle corps activity. He marched in the Santa Clara Vanguard for 3 years, 2010, 2011, & 2012. Since “aging out” Colby has worked as a staff member for the Vanguard organization in several roles, including Visual Caption Manager for both the Vanguard & Vanguard Cadets. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Santa Clara Vanguard. 

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Mr. Joseph McFarland is currently pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting with a cognate in Clarinet Performance. He serves as a teaching assistant with the concert bands, the Gator athletic bands, and as a mentor in the beginning conducting classes. Additionally, Mr. McFarland supervises the UF Band Library.

Mr. McFarland received his undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education in April of 2022 from the University of Florida. During his time there, he studied clarinet with Professor Mitchell Estrin and performed with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Clarinet Ensemble. He was also a member of the Fightin’ Gators Marching Band for four years, serving as section leader for his last three. Mr. McFarland was actively involved in the UF chapter of the National Collegiate Association for Music Education, as well as the Alpha Eta chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi. He has worked with many band programs in the state of Florida, including Howard Bishop Middle School, Forest High School, Buchholz High School, Union County High School, Ponte Vedra High School, and most recently King High School in Tampa. Mr. McFarland also spends his summers working with several music camps, some of which include Smith Walbridge Clinics and Gatorland Band Camps. He actively continues to teach clarinet students in the Alachua and Marion areas.

Mr. McFarland’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Music Education Association, the Florida Bandmaster’s Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.

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Ms. Lindsay Gassman is pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting. She serves as a teaching assistant with the UF concert bands, marching band and undergraduate conducting classes. She co-leads the UF Volleyball Band and UF Clarinet Choir.

 

Ms. Gassman earned her Bachelor's degree in Music Education at the University of Florida, where she studied clarinet with Mitchell Estrin. She performed with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Clarinet Ensemble, and Marching Band. She completed an honors thesis, entitled "The Role of Modern Band in the 21st Century Secondary School Curriculum," and was the recipient of the    Russell L. and Brenda Robinson Musician Educator Award.

After graduating, Ms. Gassman taught several band classes per week at Fort Clarke Middle School, accompanied for Solo and Ensemble, and assisted the Director of Bands, Everett McConn. Additionally, she conducted the Gainesville Clarinet Choir, substitute-taught in Alachua County, and worked weekly with the Union County High School Band. 

 

During summers, Ms. Gassman teaches chorus, music theory, and conducting at Camp Encore Coda in Sweden, Maine. Ms. Gassman holds memberships in the National Association for Music Education and Tau Beta Sigma.

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Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, Mr. Avi Kohan-Shohet is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting at the University Florida, studying under the baton of Dr. David Waybright. His graduate assistant roles include working with the Gator athletic bands, indoor ensembles, and mentoring undergraduate conducting students.

 

Mr. Kohan-Shohet received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Performer’s Certificate from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in May of 2023. There he studied under Professor Dale Underwood, former principal saxophonist of the U.S Navy Band, among other virtuosic faculty. Mr. Kohan-Shohet performed with the Frost Symphonic Winds, Frost Saxophone Ensemble, and the Frost Band of the Hour, where he was awarded with leadership positions and conducting opportunities. In addition, he volunteered at multiple Miami-Dade public schools as marching band staff and worked as a private woodwind instructor. Finally, Kohan-Shohet completed his student teaching at Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer school in the spring of 2023 under John Bixby and Erich Rivero. 

 

Mr. Kohan-Shohet is a member of the National Association for Music Education and Florida Music Education Association. Aside from music education, he has also been a member of the Alpha Mu Music Therapy Club and a volunteer for Miami Jam Sessions, both music therapy organizations in South Florida. 

Staff
Faculty
Graduate Assistants
Waybright Bio
Watkins Bio
Wilson Bio
Birkner Bio
Kashmiry Bio
Colby bio
Joseph bio
Josh bio
Lindsay bio
Avi bio
Morgan bio
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Morgan Skelley is a low brass student, performer, and educator in the Gainesville, Florida area. Currently serving as a Graduate Assistant for the University of Florida Bands, Morgan assists with teaching the marching band and concert bands, along with Tuba/Euphonium Studio. Her duties include teaching undergraduate lessons, performing in ensembles, and teching music for the Gator Band baritones.

 

In 2020, Morgan graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Euphonium Performance. She has studied under Ms. Emily Wilkinson, Dr. Justin Clarkson, Dr. Michael Wilkinson, and Dr. Danielle VanTuinen. After leaving USC, Morgan worked as a freelancer in the NC Triangle area and as an Instrument Repair Tech at SWEENEYBRASS.  

 

In the years following her graduation from USC, Morgan was also privileged to perform as a soloist at the International Women’s Brass Conference. Since then, she has been a part of the Membership Development Committee for the conference.

 

Morgan currently resides in Gainesville, FL with her fiancée, Savannah, and her cat, Mahler. 

Ethan bio
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Hailing from south-central Pennsylvania, Ethan Spencer is a sought-after trombonist and music educator who recently relocated to Florida. Ethan earned his B.M.E. in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University where he studied trombone and spent a semester at IES Vienna, where he was mentored by William McElheny of the Vienna Philharmonic. Ethan then earned a M.M. in Trombone Performance and Graduate Certificate in University Teaching at West Virginia University where he studied with Hakeem Bilal. He is currently pursuing a DMA in Trombone Performance at UF.

Hailing from south-central Pennsylvania, Ethan Spencer is a sought-after trombonist and music educator who recently relocated to Florida. Ethan earned his B.M.E. in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University where he studied trombone and spent a semester at IES Vienna, where he was mentored by William McElheny of the Vienna Philharmonic. Ethan then earned a M.M. in Trombone Performance and Graduate Certificate in University Teaching at West Virginia University where he studied with Hakeem Bilal. He is currently pursuing a DMA in Trombone Performance at UF.

 

Ethan can be found playing in Big Bands, Musicals, Orchestras, Chamber Ensembles, and more. He formerly served as Associate Instructor of Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba for the WVU Community Music Program and Instructor of Trombone at Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts.

Ethan can be found playing in Big Bands, Musicals, Orchestras, Chamber Ensembles, and more. He formerly served as Associate Instructor of Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba for the WVU Community Music Program and Instructor of Trombone at Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts.

Ana bio
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A native of Puerto Rico, Ana V. Mattos-Lebron began taking piano lessons with her father at age three and began playing the clarinet at age eight. Ana holds a B.M. in Music Performance from Florida Atlantic University where she studied with Prof. Stojo Miserlioski. Ana is a past winner of the Concerto and Aria Competition at Florida Atlantic University and was awarded second place in the 2018 Palm Beach Post Pathfinder Scholarship in the instrumental music category. Most recently, Ana participated in the recording of Moldovan composer, Natalia Rojcovscaia-Tumaha’s debut album: Philosophy of Miracle, produced by Donemus Records. She is also a part of the MusiCaribe Project Chamber Orchestra, a professional group established in South Florida. In addition to being a Graduate Assistant with UF Bands, Ana is currently pursuing a Master of Music in clarinet performance at the University of Florida, and actively performs with the UF Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Clarinet Ensemble, and New Music Ensemble. 

Will bio
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Will Ely was born in Ohio and moved to Utah in grade school. He studied trumpet performance at the University of Utah under Dr. Peyden Shelton and Professor Travis Peterson. After graduating in 2022, Will was accepted at the University of Florida as a master's student, studying trumpet performance and working as a band assistant. In his spare time, Will freelances in Florida and Georgia. 

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