Faculty

David Waybright

Jay Watkins

Chip Birkner

Scott Wilson

 

Staff

Elise Kashmiry

 

Graduate Assistants

Bryan Braue

Noah Graben

Abigail Mistretta

Gabrielle Tordi

Justin Trainor-Renzi

Nieves Villaseñor III

 

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

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   |   Booking and Clinic Info

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

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Bryan Braue

Doctoral Conducting Associate

b.braue@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio   

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Noah Graben

Graduate Teaching Assistant 

grabes@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

E-Mail   |   View Bio  

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Abigail Mistretta

 Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

 

amistretta@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901 

 

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

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Gabrielle Tordi

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

g.tordi@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

 

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Justin Trainor-Renzi

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

jtrenzi@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

E-Mail   |   View Bio

 

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Nieves Villaseñor III

Doctoral Conducting Associate

nievesvillasenor@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

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.

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Bryan Braue is currently a candidate for the Doctorate of Music Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida, studying under Dr. David Waybright. His responsibilities include Co-teaching the Introductory Conducting Course, Assisting with the University’s Wind Symphony, Conducting the Monday Night Concert Band, and Assisting with the Gator Marching Band.

 A native of Vero Beach, Florida, Mr. Braue earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Stetson University while studying under Dr. Bobby Adams, Mr. Anthony Hose, and Dr. David Coash. In 2006, Mr. Braue became the Director of Bands at Clearwater High School where his teaching responsibilities included the Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Music Theory, and Music History. In addition to his Clearwater High School responsibilities, Mr. Braue also served as the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Clearwater Christian College, was the District Chairman for the Florida Bandmasters Association District IX, and was Chairman for the Pinellas All-County Secondary Bands.

 From 2011-2013, Mr. Braue attended the University of South Florida, earning a Masters in Instrumental Conducting while studying under Dr. John Carmichael, Dr. Matthew McCutchen, and Dr. William Wiedrich. Upon his graduation in 2013, Mr. Braue was appointed as the Assistant Director of Bands for the University of South Florida. From 2013-2019 he worked with the University’s Marching Band, Basketball Pep Band, Show Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Bands. Additionally, Mr. Braue taught courses in Music Education and served as the Executive Director for the School of Music Summer Music Camps, Festival of Winds, and Symphonic Celebration.

 Outside his responsibilities at UF, Mr. Braue is an active clinician, guest conductor, freelance percussionist, and adjudicator throughout the state of Florida. He is a member of the Florida Music Educators Association, The Florida Bandmasters Association, The National Band Directors Association, The College Band Directors National Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
 

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Noah Graben is a graduate assistant at the University of Florida studying instrumental conducting with Dr. David Waybright and saxophone performance with Dr. Johnathan Helton. His current duties as a graduate assistant including teaching the saxophonists of the Gator Marching Band, co-directing UF basketball bands, conducting UF concert bands, and teaching weekly conducting lessons to undergraduate students.

 

Mr. Graben entered the University of Florida in 2015 studying music education. In 2018, he was awarded the Dr. Kenneth Webster saxophone scholarship for achievement and leadership in the UF saxophone studio. Mr. Graben received his bachelor’s degree in music education with a performer’s certificate from the University of Florida in 2019. During his undergraduate studies, Mr. Graben completed internships at Fort Clarke Middle School and Buchholz High School under the direction of Everett McConn and Shawn Barat. Most recently, Mr. Graben was named the 2020 UF concerto competition winner in the graduate division.

 

In addition to studies at the University of Florida, Mr. Graben frequently teaches in the Alachua County area. He has been on staff at the University of Florida Gatorland camps, Fort Clarke Middle School band camp, and Eastside High School band camp. Graben currently works as the saxophone instructor for Fort Clarke Middle School, Howard Bishop Middle School, Kanapaha Middle School, and Eastside High School. Mr. Graben also teaches a private studio of saxophone students from the Gainesville area.

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Ms. Abigail Mistretta is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting with a special concentration in Clarinet Performance. She serves as a teaching assistant with the concert bands, the Gator athletic bands, and as a mentor in the beginning conducting classes.

 

Ms. Mistretta received her undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education in May of 2020 from the University of Florida. During her time there she performed as a clarinetist in both the UF Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, University Symphony Orchestra on both Bb and bass clarinet, and in the University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble. In the summer of 2019, she had the opportunity to travel to France with the UF Wind Symphony as the bass clarinetist where the group performed in the Festival des Anches d’Azur in La Croix-Valmer. She also served on the Gator Band leadership team as a section leader for one year and a drum major for two, served on the EBoard for UF collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education, and was an active member of the music service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. She completed her student teaching in both Alachua and Bradford county while working primarily with middle and high school students. She actively continues to teach clarinet to high school students in the Alachua area.

 

Ms. Mistretta’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Music Educator’s Association, and the National Kappa Kappa Psi Alumni association.

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Ms. Gabrielle Tordi is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and Clarinet Performance. She works as a teaching assistant with the Gator Marching Band, concert bands, and mentors students in undergraduate conducting courses. 

Ms. Tordi received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Florida. During her undergraduate study, she performed in the UF Wind Symphony, Clarinet Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Gator Marching Band, as well various chamber groups. Ms. Tordi served as President of the UF CNAfME chapter, and also as a School of Music Ambassador. She has also performed with the New World Symphony Orchestra, and remains an active freelance clarinetist throughout central and south Florida. Ms. Tordi maintains an active studio of private clarinet students in the Gainesville area, and works as a regular clinician with several middle and high schools throughout central Florida. 

Ms. Tordi’s professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity (SAI). 
 

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Mr. Justin Renzi is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and Horn Performance at the University of Florida. He works as a graduate assistant with concert bands, volleyball band, Gator Marching Band, and mentors undergraduate conducting students.


Mr. Renzi received his bachelor’s degree in music education with a performance certificate in french horn performance from the University of Florida. He studied conducting with Professor Jay Watkins and Dr. Chip Birkner, and horn with Dr. Paul Basler. During his time at the University of Florida, he participated in Gator Marching Band, serving on the leadership team as section leader for two seasons, and as drum major for one. As a performer, he actively performed with the Gator Horn Studio, University Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony. He also performed in Salzburg, Austria where he took lessons with the principal player of the Mozarteum Orchetsra, Rob Van de Laar. He completed his student teaching experience in Alachua County working extensively with middle and high school concert band programs. Mr. Renzi continues to teach in the Alachua County area at Fort Clarke Middle School and East Side High School. 


Mr. Renzi’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA), Kappa Kappa Psi, and was treasurer for the University’s CNAfME chapter.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Nieves Villasenor is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida, studying under Dr. David Waybright, Mr. Jay Watkins, and Dr. Chip Birkner. His responsibilities include co-teaching the Introductory Music Course and assisting with all of the university’s concert and athletic bands.

After graduating from White Oak High School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Mr. Villasenor began his music studies at East Carolina University, where he studied saxophone under Dr. Jeff Bair and conducting with Dr. Christopher Knighten, Dr. John Franklin, and Dr. Scott Carter. In addition to performing with the ECU Wind Ensemble, he also served as drum major to the East Carolina University Marching Pirates for two seasons. After attending ECU, Nieves attended Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, North Carolina where he studied saxophone under Mr. Fletcher Stubbs and was awarded an Associates in Fine Arts in Music and Music Education.

Mr. Villasenor continued his music studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance in saxophone, studying under Dr. Frank Bongiorno. He also studied conducting under Dr. John LaCognata while performing with the UNCW Chamber Winds, Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble. He also founded the North Carolina-based saxophone ensemble group, DubSax Quartet, where they toured Eastern North Carolina and south central Texas as part of their education outreach initiatives.

After completing his undergraduate study, Mr. Villasenor relocated to San Antonio, Texas and began his Texas Teaching Certification through the University of Texas at Permian Basin. During this time, Nieves was the Head Director of Secondary Music at Jubilee San Antonio Charter School and developed the school’s first-ever band and color guard program.

As a strong advocate for community music and avid collaborator of area musicians, Nieves was the founder and artistic director of the San Antonio Chamber Winds, a program offering of Crossmen Productions, Inc. and ensemble-in-residence at Texas A&M University San Antonio. During his tenure as artistic director and conductor, Nieves grew the ensemble from 15 to 60 musicians, coordinated a five-series concert season that featured the finest contemporary wind band literature, and collaborated with area ensembles including the Live Oak Singers, Mariachi Entertainment System, and County Line Community Band. His ensemble also co-premiered composer Charles Booker Jr's, Celestial Lights Fantasy for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble, featuring University of Texas at San Antonio saxophone professor, Dr. Rami El-Farrah.

Mr. Villasenor was also a performer in the Winter Guard International (WGI) Independent World Class Silver Medalist Indoor Winds ensemble, Crossmen Winds, and a saxophonist with the River City Big Band. He has also performed with several community bands across the United States including; Onslow Winds Community Band, Tar River Community Band, San Angelo Community Band, Association of Concert Bands Convention Band, Brunswick Concert Band, Wilmington Symphonic Winds, Pride of San Antonio Showband, Heart of Texas Concert Band, and the Lyncourt Community Band.

Following his time in Texas, Mr. Villasenor attended Syracuse University, earning a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting while studying under Dr. Bradley Ethington and Dr. Timothy Diem. In addition to his duties as graduate teaching assistant with the SU Bands, Mr. Villasenor became an avid project starter in the central New York region. After competing with Drum Corps Associates (DCA) Open Class Finalist corps, White Sabers Drum & Bugle Corps, he became co-founder, staff music coordinator, and show music designer of the region’s first competitive independent indoor winds ensemble, Vortex Indoor Winds, based out of Syracuse, New York. Vortex Indoor Winds was the 2019 New York State Percussion Circuit Gold Medalist Independent Winds A group and was a listed competitor for the 2020 WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

During the summer, Mr. Villasenor serves on the instrumental music faculty of the east campus of the North Carolina Governor’s School at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, the nation’s oldest statewide summer residential program for academically and intellectually gifted high school students. 

Nieves’s professional affiliations include Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Association of Concert Bands, College Band Directors National Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, Texas Music Educators Association, North Carolina Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the New York State Percussion Circuit.