Musicians

DWIGHT WAGES, founder/cornet/flugelhorn, is a Chemical Engineering graduate of Iowa State University, but music has always been an important activity and creative outlet for him. Dwight is a former member of Clairon Brass Quintets (in Springfield, MA; Cincinnati, OH; and in Belleville, Ontario) and he has recently established another Clarion Quintet “franchise” here in Tennessee. While living in England, Dwight was exposed to the UK’s hugely popular brass band movement which piqued his interest and resulted in the past 10 years of involvement in brass bands including the Cincinnati Brass Band and the Intrada Brass Band of  Toronto, Canada. Dwight is President and Founder of the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass. Dwight performs with the Cookeville Community Band and Crossville Community Band, the Swing Street Big Band, and is a frequent soloist for concerts, weddings and church services.

DR. STEVEN SUDDUTH, conductor, is in his third year as director of bands and low brass at the University of the Cumberlands (Kentucky).  He earned the doctor of musical arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He holds masters degrees in trombone performance and composition from Western Michigan University and the University of Central Arkansas.  Previously he has served as director of bands at the University of South Dakota, Dickinson State University, North Dakota and, Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. He is very active as a conductor and clinician and is frequently sought as a guest conductor at state and regional honor bands. Dr. Sudduth has performed professionally with the South Dakota Brass Quintet and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, Roanoke Opera Company, and the West Shore Symphony Orchestra (MI).

He has had extensive involvement with the International Trombone
Association (ITA), serving as historian, and performing and presenting at various International Trombone Festivals (ITF).  He has won several composition awards, including the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National composition contest and he was the 2005 commissioned composer for the State of North Dakota Music Teachers Association.

ADAM FEATHERSTON, principal trombone, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. While at UT, Mr. Featherston studied trombone with Don Hough and performed with the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Trombone Choir, and played lead trombone in the Jazz Big Band. Mr. Featherston also holds a Master’s Degree from Tennessee Tech University, where he studied wind conducting with Mr. Joseph Hermann, past president of the American Bandmasters Association.

Currently Mr. Featherston is the band director at Station Camp Middle School where he teaches 6ththrough 8th grade band and also works with the band program at Station Camp High School. He began his teaching career in 2002 as the assistant band director at Gresham Middle School and Central High School in Knoxville, TN. He has also been the high school band director at Smith County High School. Under his direction, ensembles have received Superior and Excellent ratings at festivals within the state of Tennessee and Florida.

As a trombonist, Mr. Featherston is an active performer and clinician in the Middle Tennessee area. He has been with the Southern Stars Symphonic Band since the groups founding in 2006 and is the trombone player and horn arranger for Nashville’s own Rodeowaves.

CHRIS MCCORMICKflugelhorn,  is Professor of Jazz Studies at TTU. Mr. McCormick directs TTU’s two jazz ensembles. In addition, he teaches jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz history, Harmony, Ear Training, and Computer Applications in Music. Mr. McCormick is an active clinician, and adjudicates at festivals throughout the United States and Canada. As a trumpet player, Mr. McCormick is an active performer in both jazz and classical styles. He has performed all over the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. At TTU he is a member of the Bryan Symphony and the Brass Arts Quintet. In addition to playing in groups such as the Kadillacs, Jazz Arts Group, Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Paul Ross Orchestra, Top Brass, Jimmy Dorsey Band, and the Guy Lombardo Band, he has worked on cruise ships and backed such artists as Dennis Deyoung, The Temptations, The “Four Tops, Trace Adkins, and The Blues Brothers. Mr. McCormick is an active composer and arranger. His compositions include works for small and large jazz ensembles, and for brass quintet. Mr. McCormick holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Capital University, and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

STEPHEN COLLINS, Eb Soprano cornet, is a native of Carthage, TN.   Stephen Collins holds music degrees fromTennessee Technological University and The University of Kansas.  He has performed with the St. Joseph Symphony, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, the TTU Faculty Brass Quintet, and the Kansas Brass Quintet.  Stephen previously serves on the music faculty of Crown College and the Crown Music Conservatory in Powell, TN.  Steven currently is in the insurance business.  He resides in Knoxville, TN with his wife and four children.

JEFF WHITE, cornet, is a web developer for TAP Publishing.  He holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Journalism from Austin Peay State University, where he was the trumpet soloist with the Jazz Collegians Big Band for three years.   Jeff plays lead trumpet in the Big Band Sound, and has played professionally with a variety of groups including the Establishment Big Band, The Bo Thorpe Orchestra, and in the pit for several productions at the Cumberland Co. Playhouse.  He has studied privately with Rick Steffen and Brad Goode, and has had individual lessons with Bobby Shew, Jerry Coker and Pat Harbison.

JOSEPH (JOE) CHRISTIAN, trombone, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2002 with a degree in College Scholars and emphases in Pre-Law and Music.   While at UT, he was an active member of the trombone studio where he studied with Prof. Don Hough and performed with the Trombone Choir, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band and various small ensembles.   For the 2000 and 2001 football seasons, Joe served as the Drum Major for the Pride of the Southlands Marching Band.

After graduating college, Joe attended Vanderbilt University Law School and is now a practicing attorney in Knoxville. He currently plays with the Old City Brass Quintet and is an active member of the Sevier Heights Baptist Church Celebration Orchestra. Joe’s wife, Megan, is the Director of Bands at Bearden High School.

CHUCK LYONS, bass trombone, is a charter member of the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass. While Chuck is currently employed as an IT consultant in Nashville, he has had the opportunity to pursue his love of music through teaching high school music at McGavock and White House High Schools in Middle Tennessee as well as performing in numerous groups throughout the region from quintets and ensembles to bands and orchestras.

A 1985 graduate of Tennessee Technological University with a B.S. in Music Education, he has had the privilege to perform with such notables as The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Slide Hampton, Marvin Stamm, Don Menza, Ernestine Anderson, David Baker, Dominic Spera, Bob Mintzer, Dave Liebman, Deborah Brown, Buddy Baker, Deborah Brown, Lorna Luft…just to name a few. Chuck currently resides in Goodlettsville, TN, with his wife, Missy, and their children Brittany, Chelsey and Brandon.

JOHN GARDNER, cornet, currently holds the position of Director of Instrumental Music at Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN. There he serves as the administrator of the church’s School of Performing Arts, as well as directing the 30-piece orchestra and leading worship for a 20somethings worship service on Tuesday nights. A graduate of Tennessee Technological University, where he studied Music Therapy and Psychology, John loves performing music of nearly all genres whenever his job affords him the time.

When he’s not making music, John can usually be found drinking coffee while taking in a play, reading a book, or at a hockey game. On March 8, 2008, John married the love of his life, and is now living the high life with his beautiful bride, Laurie.

JACK STROTMAN, baritone, began his musical career in Philadelphia Pa where he studied trumpet with Victor Hugo of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and trombone with Michael Buglio, formerly of the West Point Academy band. Following a brief career with the 505th Air Force Band of the Mid West on trombone, Jack returned to the Philly area and resumed playing in various ensembles. A transfer with General Electric brought him to middle Tennessee in 1969 where he has performed with various groups ranging from R&B to big bands. Most notably, a 34-year stint with the Nashville-based “The Establishment” big band, one of the areas most popular dance/jazz bands and a group that was featured with the Nashville Symphony as part of their pop series. Now retired from the business world, he continues to play both the high and low brass in his church praise band, several area community bands, and the Swing Street Big Band which plays regularly at Fairfield Glade in Crossville.

JOEL TILLMAN, cornet, is the middle school band director in Kingston, TN and has 20+ years of teaching in the public schools of East Tennessee.  A freelance performer, he has also performed or is currently performing with the KnoX Brass Quintet, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra of Madison, WI, the Knoxville Wind Symphony, and the Oak Ridge Symphony.  In addition to his performing duties, he is an active clinician for the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, The Tennessee Secondary School’s Band Director Association, and has conducted for the Middle Tenessee School Band and Orchestra Clinic. He is a member of ETSB&OA, TSSBDA, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Beta Mu, Music Educator’s National Conference and Professional Educators of Tennessee.

GREG DANNER, principal alto horn, is Professor of Music at Tennessee Technological University, where he teaches music theory and composition. Dr. Danner has received annual ASCAP awards for composition since 1989. Other awards include the College Band Directors National Association Music for Young Band prize, vocal category and grand prize in the Delius Society composition contest, first prize in the Composers Guild composition contest, first prize in the Taghkanic Chorale composers competition, and the Louisiana Music Teachers Association Composer Commission Award.

An active performer (horn), he has held positions with the Baton Rouge and Acadiana orchestras in Louisiana and has performed with the Huntsville (AL) Symphony, the Lake Charles and Rapides orchestras in Louisiana and the Saint Louis, Saint Louis Municipal Opera, and Webster Groves orchestras in Missouri. Dr. Danner is currently hornist with the Brass Arts Quintet, the Bryan Symphony Orchestra, and Murfreesboro Symphony. He frequently performs on alto horn with the Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band and is a freelance and studio musician in the Nashville area, and is a full-time musician in the pit orchestra of the Cumberland Co. Playhouse.

CARROLL GOTCHER, baritone,  is employed as the director of bands in Jackson County (Gainesboro) TN.  He is also a freelance brass teacher and active performer on euphonium and trombone. He plays principal trombone in the Cookeville Community Concert Band, lead trombone in the Big Band Sound Orchestra, principal euphonium in the Nashville Wind Ensemble and is a founding member of Euphouria, a professional tuba/euphonium quartet.

Carroll is in demand as a clinician and guest conductor around the Middle Tennessee area. He is also active as a music transcriptionist and arranger. Carroll lives in Cookeville with his wife Jane Anne and children Kira (8) and Vance (5).

>MIKE MITCHELL, cornet, resides in Knoxville, TN with his wife Tamara and daughter Isabella. His occupation is Vice President for Vinylex, a custom extruder of plastic materials primarily supplied to the Appliance, Automotive and Construction Industries.  He received a BSCHE from Purdue University in 1986.  Mike enjoyed playing in the very fine bands and ensembles there with most of his experience at Purdue in the Symphonic Band and pit orchestras.

He gave up playing for a few years after graduation, but got the bug again. He plays as a hobby, but enjoys it immensely.  Mike currently performs with the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass and the Brass Choir at Cokesbury United Methodist Church. His playing experience also includes work with Community Concert Bands, Church Orchestras and Wind Ensembles, and big band ensembles.

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