SPIRIT OF SAN ANTONIO - FACULTY
RON ELLIS -
Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands
Ron Ellis serves as Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Prof Ellis is the principal conductor and music director of the UTSA Wind Ensemble, and oversees all activities of the UTSA Band Program that includes the UTSA Symphonic Band, The UTSA University Band, and the UTSA Athletic Bands.
A nationally recognized guest conductor, adjudicator, and composer/arranger, his works for concert band, orchestra and choir are performed by university, community, High School and professional wind bands as well as in Carnegie Hall. He also currently serves as a Music Director for Walt Disney Attractions Entertainment in Orlando where he has directed the Toy Soldiers and the Student Musician Program since 1993.
He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. He is also an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma.
Prof Ellis received his Bachelor of Arts in Trombone Performance from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Music in Wind and Orchestral Conducting from the University of South Florida where he was a conducting student of William Wiedrich.
JOHN ZARCO -
Associate Director of Bands
John Zarco is currently the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he conducts the UTSA Symphonic Band, & Wind Ensemble, University Band, and Chamber Winds on occassion, in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting, wind literature, and music education. Dr. Zarco is the founder and conductor of the San Antonio Chamber Winds. He has recently been named conductor of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) Symphonic Winds, starting in the 2014-15 season.
Dr. Zarco received a D.M.A. in conducting from the University of Minnesota as well as B.M. and M.M. degrees from California State University, Sacramento. His primary teachers include Craig Kirchhoff, Robert Halseth, and Harvey Benstein. In 2006, he was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, an honorary music fraternity.
In addition to being an active clinician and guest conductor, Dr. Zarco is a published contributor to the GIA Publications resource series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. He serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Music Educators Conference and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, and the Texas Bandmasters Association.
BENJAMIN PYLES -
Director of Athletic Percussion and Ensemble Arranger
Benjamin Pyles is currently the Director of Athletic Percussion at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, Ben majored in music education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Lamar University, with a primary focus in Percussion. His most intensive studies came under the direction of Chris Hestin, Mike Macintosh, Travis Fife, and Michael Kingan.
Ben has several years of World Class performing, and instructional experience, including the Bluecoats from Canton, OH; The Crossmen from San Antonio, TX; Monarch Independent from Houston, TX; Glassmen from Toledo, OH; and Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta, GA. Ben currently serves as the Percussion Caption Head and Designer for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, Iowa.
Along with teaching, Benjamin is also an active arranger and composer for multiple Indoor and Outdoor ensembles across the country. Ben is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Inc. and Pearl and Adams Percussion.
RANDI MILES -
Head of Auxiliaries
Randi L. Miles graduated Magnum cum laude from Texas State University-San Marcos in December 2006 where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Dance and her Teacher’s Certification for the secondary level. May 2011 marked her graduation from Arizona State University with her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance.
Ms. Randi Miles has performed locally, nationally, and internationally. She has made performance and choreographic appearances in Opening Door Dance Theatre, American College Dance Festival, 10 Minutes’ Max, the Promising Artists of the 21st Century (Costa Rica), Phoenix Fringe Fest, Breaking Ground, Eureka Dance Festival (D.C.), and most recently the Big Range Austin Dance Festival. Her hard work has earned her the Connie Webb Brown scholarship for performance/choreography, the inaugural Karen Earl Memorial Scholarship, the Hope & Robert Heimann Scholarship, the ASU School of Dance Outstanding Education Practice Award, among many others.She has studied with and had the opportunity to perform with such artist as Michelle Nance, Tammy Fife, Katherine Duke, Shouza Ma, Karen Schupp, Mary Fitzgerald, Thomas Lehmen, Carley Conder, Rebecca A. Ferrel, John Jaspers, to name a few.
Miles was a performing member with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (2001-2004) as well as the Blue Devils (2005) where she was awarded Rookie of the Year! She has also taught with the Crossmen (2007-2008) and the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps (2010). And now works with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2013-current) from Denver, Co. as the movement specialist and choreographer for the color guard. Randi has worked with many color guards including Dripping Springs High School, Winston Churchill High School, Richland High School, Arizona State University, FeniX Independent and Cypress Independent.
Currently, Randi works full time at the University of Texas at San Antonio as the Head of Auxiliary with the Spirit of San Antonio (SOSA) Marching Band. She is also dance faculty at UTSA where she continues to focus on developing her own technical style, unique choreography, and discovering her own personal choreographic process. Her classes include Modern 2, Contemporary Jazz, Modern 3, and Introduction to Dance.
MIKE STEINER -
assistant Director of Athletic BAnds
Michael Steiner is an alumnus of the Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, and a graduate of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL. While at Florida State, he was a Classical Trombone and Voice major, and participated in the Symphonic Band, Philharmonia, Jazz for Dancing, and the World-renown Florida State University Marching Chiefs. While attending the University of North Florida, Mr. Steiner played in Jazz Ensemble III, II, and the revered UNF Jazz Ensemble I. His major teachers have been David Schmidt (Stetson Univ.), Dr. John Drew (FSU), Dr. Joseph Frye (FSU), Dr. Ed Morse, and the former Lead Trombone and Director of the US Air Force "Airmen of Note", Dave Steinmeyer. In 2001, Mr. Steiner performed with the London Symphony Orchestra during their summer residency in Daytona Beach, FL. His jazz playing has taken him to play alongside some of the best in the business: Harry Connick, Sr., Bob Newhart, Dave Steinmeyer, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Conrad Herwig, Ed Calle, Dick Oatts, and Terrell Stafford
As an educator, Mr. Steiner has taught with some of the top programs in Florida, Seabreeze HS, Spruce Creek HS, and Timber Creek HS, to name a few. In addition to teaching at the high school level, Mr. Steiner was the Assistant Brass Caption Head for the Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps from 2007 to 2011, and helped them make the push into Drum Corps International's World Class. He has also served as an adjudicator for the Florida Marching Band Coalition since 2009.
Mr. Steiner is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma. His professional affiliations include the International Trombone Association, Jazz Educators Network, Florida Music Educators Association, College Band Directors National Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Jazz Educators Association, and the Texas Music Educators Association.