Faculty
David Waybright
Jay Watkins
Chip Birkner
Scott Wilson
 
Staff
Elise Kashmiry
 
Graduate Assistants
Dr. Dré Graham
Josh Pace
Ryan Klitz
Brianna Meissner
Joseph McFarland
Preston Ridgell
Joey Riedl

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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Dr. Dré Graham

 

Doctoral Conducting Associate​

thedocta@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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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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Ryan Klitz

 Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

 

ry.klitz@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901 

 

 

View Bio

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Brianna Meissner

Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

bmeissner@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

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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Preston Ridgell

 Graduate Teaching Assistant

 

 

ridgellp@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3144

F: (352) 392-3716

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

View Bio

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Joseph Riedl

Graduate Teaching Assistant​

jriedl@ufl.edu

T: (352) 273-3146

F: (352) 392-0461

Address:

P.O. Box 117901

Gainesville, FL 32611-7901

 

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 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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Dr. Dakeyan (Dré) Graham is currently a candidate for the Doctorate of Music Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida, studying under Dr. David Waybright.

 

A product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, Dr. Graham served as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School in Tampa, FL, for 11 years. During his tenure, his teaching responsibilities included the KHS Marching Lions, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber, Symphonic, and Concert Orchestras, Percussion, and Lionettes Dance Team. He also served as an adjunct professor for Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee teaching Dual Enrollment Music Theory 1 and Music Appreciation, respectively. In 2016, his students were selected to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. Following his selection as the 2019 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year, Dr. Graham was selected to represent the state of Florida as the 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year and Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education. 

 

Dr. Graham holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education from the University of Florida, where he studied with Drs. Russell Robinson, Time Brophy, and Charles Hoffer; a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, and a Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting from the University of South Florida, where he studied with Drs. William Weidrich, Jennifer Bugos, David Williams, and Victor Fung.

 

Outside his professional responsibilities, Dr. Graham is an active clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator throughout the state of Florida. He is a member of the Florida Music Educators Association, The Florida Bandmasters Association, The Florida Orchestra Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

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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. 

 

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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Mr. Ryan Klitz is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Euphonium Performance with a special concentration in instrumental conducting at the University of Florida. He currently serves as a teaching assistant with the tuba euphonium studio, a staff member with the fightin’ Gator marching band, and as a mentor in undergraduate conducting courses. 

Mr. Klitz received his undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education in December of 2020 from the University of Florida. During his undergraduate studies Mr. Klitz was an active member in Tau Beta Sigma National Band Service Sorority where he served as the Vice President of Service and Chapter President. He also served a term as the District Committee Chair of the Southeastern District publication The Eighth Note. Mr. Klitz was also an active member in the University of Florida Gator Marching Band where he served the marching band as a baritone section leader for two years. Inside the band hall, Mr. Klitz could also be found working in the music library as a band librarian to aid the concert bands. 

 

Mr. Klitz has worked with several middle and high school band programs across the state of Florida as a private lesson instructor, sectional instructor, and a full band rehearsal technician. Mr. Klitz has previously held the title of Brass Caption Head at Ponte Vedra High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, however, he currently holds the position of Assistant Band Director. 

 

Outside of teaching, Mr. Klitz also has a diverse performance portfolio. He has marched two seasons of Drum Corps at the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corp. He has made several appearances at regional euphonium competitions. During his time in his undergraduate studies he performed as a euphonium player in both the University of Florida Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, University Symphony Orchestra, and in the University of Florida Tuba Euphonium Ensemble. He also spends his free time writing and arranging for a small ensemble called “the Quarter Sized Tuba Quartet,” which he has been a member of since 2016. Mr. Klitz’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Music Educators Association, and the Florida Bandmasters Association. Mr. Klitz also holds alumni statuses in honorary band service organizations including Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi.

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Ms. Brianna Meissner is pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and Choral Conducting at the University of Florida.

 

Ms. Meissner received her undergraduate degree in instrumental music education with choral certification in May of 2018 from the University of North Dakota. During her time there, she served as principal flautist and section leader of the University of North Dakota Wind Ensemble. Ms. Meissner was an active member of the University of North Dakota Allegro Women’s Choir, Hockey Band, Basketball Band, Flute Ensemble, and Pride of the North Marching Band where she was a member of the colorguard for two years and Drum Major for two years. Ms. Meissner had the opportunity to guest conduct performances with both the University of North Dakota University Band and Flute Ensemble. She was also selected as a finalist in the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.

 

After graduation, Ms. Meissner became the director of bands and choirs at Cavalier Public School in Cavalier, North Dakota. She was responsible for teaching General Music and directing Beginning Band, Middle School Band, Middle School Choir, High School Choir, High School Band, and Pep Band. Ms. Meissner’s professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education, North Dakota Music Educators Association, and American Choral Directors Association.
 

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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 North-Central Florida area, most recently completing his student teaching with Howard Bishop Middle School and Forest High School. 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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Mr. Preston Ridgell is currently pursuing a Masters of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Florida, studying under Dr. David Waybright, Mr. Jay Watkins, and Dr. Chip Birkner. He serves as a teaching assistant with the concert bands, the Gator athletic bands, and as a mentor in the beginning conducting classes.

 

Mr. Ridgell received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from East Carolina University, where he studied trombone under Mrs. Nicki McCaslin, and Mr. Terry Mizesko. He also studied conducting under Dr. Scott Carter, and Dr. William Staub. In addition, with performing with ECU's top ensembles, such as their wind ensemble and symphony orchestra, Mr. Ridgell also was a member of the Marching Pirates for two seasons where he performed as a member on the drumline. During his collegiate years, Mr. Ridgell participated in various marching arts activities, such as Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International. While performing with groups such as Wake Forest Independent and Carolina Crown, he also helped out at local high school programs that competed in Bands of America.

 

After graduating from East Carolina University, Mr. Ridgell became the Associate Director of Music at Havelock High School in Havelock, North Carolina. During his time at Havelock High School, Mr. Ridgell has help lead his groups to various accolades, as well as other groups throughout his community. During the fall seasons, Mr. Ridgell arranged music for the marching band to play during football games, as well as lead them through successful competitive seasons where the band was awarded grand champions at multiple competitions. During the winters, he worked with various indoor percussion groups competing and becoming finalist/medalist in both WGI (Winter Guard International) and their local circuit. In the Spring seasons, Mr. Ridgell co-conducted the wind ensemble and symphonic bands, helping to lead these groups to consistent superior ratings at their state music festival. In the Summers, Mr. Ridgell worked with Multiple Drum Corps as a part of the DCI (Drum Corps International) summer tour, as well as assisted with high school marching bands in the surrounding areas.

 

Mr. Ridgell's professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Zeta Psi Music Fraternity, North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA), as well as the North Carolina Bandmasters Association (NCBA).

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Mr. Joseph Riedl is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting.  He serves as a teaching assistant with the concert bands, the Gator athletic bands, and as a mentor for undergraduate conducting and music education classes.

 

Mr. Riedl received his undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education in the spring of 2020 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  During his time there, he performed as principal trombone in the University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds.  He was also involved in the UL Echelon Brass Quintet, the UL Trombone Choir, the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band, The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, Ragin’ Brass Basketball Band, and he substituted for the Louisiana Brass Quintet and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra.  He served leadership positions in the Pride of Acadiana as a section leader for one year, and a drum major for three years.  He also served as a baritone section leader and a drum major for the Cavaliers.  He was an active member in the Delta Epsilon chapter of Phi Mu Alpha serving on the E Board as warden, music director, vice-president, and president. He completed his teacher residency in the Lafayette Parish School System focusing on middle school and high school instruction.  He has actively continued to teach as a private lessons instructor through the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Riedl’s professional affiliations include the Louisiana Music Educator’s Association (LMEA), Florida Music Educator's Association (FMEA), the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and the Delta Epsilon chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.