The Academy is in the midst of preparing for what is sure to be another stellar season for the corps. The first step of assembling the primary leadership within the design team and instructional staff is now complete. We are excited to introduce this core group of new and returning talent to The Academy for 2018. Next comes the assembly of the multitude of other designers and instructors that work within the various captions. Look for those announcements in the coming weeks.
Early Audition events for the corps begin in November, with the official audition dates being held in December. Visit the program page for all of the details and audition application form.
2018 Primary Design and Instructional Leads Include:
Lindsey Vento is in her 18th year in the pageantry arts where she has served as an instructor, program designer, adjudicator and choreographer. She has worked with and designed for bands and color guards all across the country as the visual designer and artistic coordinator for Vento Music and Visual Designs, where she and her husband work side by side. Lindsey’s program designs have earned numerous finalist accolades in the WGI and BOA arenas and she is a highly sought after clinician and consultant in both the fall and winter seasons.
She has her bachelors of music education degree and was an active dance instructor and adjudicator before she decided to focus all of her efforts into the pageantry arts.
Lindsey also serves on the visual team at Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps as the movement specialist and brass choreographer and will continue to do so in conjunction with her new role with The Academy.
As passionate as she is about her work in the arts, Lindsey’s proudest accomplishments are her three sons, Jack -16, Maxwell – 9, and Samuel – 8.
Music Designer, Brass Arranger
Klesch is an arranger and clinician for numerous high school and college marching bands across the country. He is the staff arranger for both the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band and the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band. His degrees come from West Chester University, a B.S. in Music Education, and from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters in Music. Mr. Klesch has a long and successful career in the Drum Corps activity as a performer, music arranger, and program consultant.
Mr. Klesch was a performer with the Garfield Cadets and finished out his career there as drum major of the 1983 DCI World Champions. After aging-out of drum corps in 1983, Mr. Klesch then served on the Cadets brass staff in 1984 and as the brass arranger for the Cadets from 1985 – 1992 (World Champions in 1985, ’87, and ’90). He has served as brass arranger for the Phantom Regiment and Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and currently serves as the brass arranger and musical director for the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2012 Michael was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame. This will be his seventh season designing for The Academy, having previously designed the 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2017 seasons for the corps.
His professional memberships include: M.E.N.C., MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators As-sociation), Phi Delta Kappa, and the College Music Society. He is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma as well as Kappa Kappa Psi (of which he was a founding brother of the chapter at West Chester University).
Mr. Klesch resides in Hadley, Massachusetts with his wife, Heather and their son, Robert.
Jaime Holly is a full time drill designer, visual instructor and consultant living in Long Beach, CA with his wife Rebekah and daughter Parker. He began his marching career in the soprano line of the Concord Blue Devil B Corps in 1989, moving to the World Champion A Corps in 1991 through 1993. He returned to the Blue Team in 1997 where he is currently the co-drill writer and visual instructor.
His affinity for mathematical problems can be traced through his Bachelor of Science degree from Fresno State in Mathematics. Jaime earned a teaching credential from Cal State Hayward and was a math teacher at James Logan High School before he decided to give it up for the fame and fortune of drill writing.
Jaime is the visual caption head and designer for several award winning groups in DCI, WGI and nationally recognized high schools in BOA and WBA. He has also served on the DCI Task Force. Currently, he has the pleasure of working with the Soka Renaissance Vanguard from Tokyo, Japan.
He takes great pride in helping some up and coming organizations reach their respective Finals for the first time in their history. Namely, The Academy reached DCI Finals, Dark Sky Indoor Percussion reached WGI Finals and Blue Springs High School reached BOA Finals.
Some of the Drum Corps he has had the opportunity to work with are: The Blue Devils, Academy, Bluecoats, Troopers, Mystikal, Pacific Crest and Fusion Core. The high school groups have included: Blue Springs, LD Bell, Eden Prairie, Homestead, Arcadia, Cy-Fair, Upland, Fountain Valley, Churchill, Clovis West, and James Logan, to name a few. He has been making a name for himself within the indoor drumline world as well, working with RCC, Dark Sky, United Percussion, Freelancers, and Black Knights.
2018 will be Jaime’s eight season designing for The Academy, having worked with the team in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2017.
Percussion Arranger/Caption Coordinator
Mark is a freelance percussionist and educator based out of Lawrence, New Jersey. He holds a DMA Percussion Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mark is a frequent performer for the Princeton Sound Kitchen premiering new works by composers at Princeton. As a teacher he works with the percussion programs at Hunterdon Central and Hopewell Valley High School and maintains a private lesson studio in the Princeton area. Before moving to New Jersey, he worked at the University of Texas-Brownsville as a lecturer of percussion and prior to that appointment was a freelance performer and teacher in Chicago.
He has appeared as a soloist with the University of Texas-Brownsville Wind Orchestra, Roma High School Percussion Ensemble, University of Illinois Wind Symphony and Wind Orchestra as well as the Overton High School Wind Ensemble from Memphis, TN. In 2010, he was selected as one of the thirty finalists to compete in the TROMP International Percussion Competition, held in the Netherlands. Mark also performed as a member of the University of Illinois Gamelan Ensemble, at the 2009 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and the 2008 Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar, Bali.
This year will mark his 22nd year of involvement with Drum Corps International. He spent ten years as a member of the Phantom Regiment organization from 1995-2004. From 2008 to 2010, he was a Front Ensemble instructor for the Santa Clara Vanguard, serving as Co-Caption Head in 2010. He is excited to return for his sixth year with The Academy, where he started in 2013 instructing the front ensemble. He stepped into the arranging role for The Academy in 2014, and looks forward to another fantastic year serving as Percussion Arranger and Percussion Coordinator in 2018.
Percussion Arranger/Percussion Caption Head
Osman “Cisco” Hance currently resides in Port St. Lucie, FL. He has been involved with DCI since 2003. He started marching with Magic of Orlando under the instruction of Colin McNutt and Brian Tinkel. In 2005 he joined Carolina Crown and acted as center snare and percussion section leader from 2005-2007. While at Crown he was under the instruction of Brian Tinkel, Jeff Queen, Ian Hale, Lee Beddis, Zach Shlicker, and Luis Rivera. Cisco has also been teaching WGI Open Class “Stryke Percussion” since 2008. Stryke has placed in the top ranks at WGI finals for several years, receiving the bronze medal in 2008, and silver in 2010 and 2011 in the Independent Open Class. Now in the Independent World Class, the group most recently received WGI’s “Fan Favorite” award for the Independent World Class. Cisco remains as the group’s and Battery Arranger and Ensemble Director.
In 2009, Cisco worked as the snare tech for the Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps, where he helped the corps successfully transition into DCI’s World Class. Subsequently, Cisco became the snare technician for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Today, Cisco serves as the Percussion Director/Arranger for the Park Vista Marching Band in Lake Worth, Florida as well as the Director of Percussion at Jupiter High School in Jupiter, FL. For The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps he served as the Percussion Coordinator in 2014 , as Percussion Manager in 2016, and is looking forward to designing and leading the Percussion Caption in this capacity beginning in 2017.
Visual Caption Head
Shant is involved with both the musical and visual aspects of the marching arts. His marching career began with Pacific Crest in 2006. In 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 he marched with the 18-time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, serving as Trumpet Section Leader his last year.
Shant has had the privilege of working with a vast number of ensembles including Rancho Verde High School, Rancho Cucamonga High School, Chino Hills High School, Etiwanda High School, Mission Viejo High School, Colony High School, Chaffey High School, Upland High School, Pioneer Jr. High School, Blue Devils “B” Drum and Bugle Corps, and Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. In the summer of 2015, Shant made his international debut working with the Calgary Stampede Showband of Calgary, Alberta, Canada as a clinician. He is currently the Brass Caption Head at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, California, and the Visual Caption Head at The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from Tempe, Arizona. Shant also writes drill for several High Schools including San Marino High School, Mohave High School, and Anaheim High School.
Receiving his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University, Fullerton and alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Shant is now Director of Jazz, in addition to Brass Caption Head at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, Ca. He is also a private trumpet teacher and a freelance trumpet player, performing in a variety of venues, including Disneyland.
Brass Caption Head
Ben Hylton is an active composer, music educator, trumpeter, and clinician currently residing in Austin, Texas.
Ben arranges and composes music for all types of ensembles and commercial music groups as well as designs competitive shows for the pageantry arts. In 2008 Ben provided musical arrangements for Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame inductee Percy Sledge and in 2015, Ben arranged music for WGI silver medalist Stryke Wynds. Ben’s musical and conceptual design clients are successful at the state, regional, and national level.
Over the past 10 years Mr. Hylton has been an elementary music teacher, middle school, and high school band director in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida; most recently, Mr. Hylton was The Director of Music at The Pine School in Hobe Sound, Florida where he coordinated an extensive classical and jazz chamber music program. Ben also served as music caption head for the 3 time Florida State Champion Jupiter High School and the 3 time Florida State Champion and BOA Atlanta Regional Finalist Park Vista High School.
In the drum and bugle corps activity, Ben was a member of the Blue Knights and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps then went on to teach with The Madison Scouts, The Blue Knights, The Phantom Regiment, The Crossmen, and The Academy.
Ben has performed as a trumpeter throughout Southeastern United States and in the Caribbean. As a classical artist Ben performs as a soloist for ceremonies and special events as well as with brass quintets; as a jazz artist, he has performed with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Percy Sledge, Carnival Cruise Lines and more recently with Reggae-jazz artist Eugene Grey, Jazz Pianist Donald Brown, among others.
Ben received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from East Carolina University, a Master’s Degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and he completed additional graduate studies in Jazz at Florida State University.
Guard Caption Head
Gabe Escobedo’s color guard career began in 1999, at Palmdale High School. After graduating in 2003, Gabe became an active member of Riverside Community Colleges marching arts program. Performing with The RCC Marching Tigers in 2003-2004, and Independent World class winter guard, Fantasia, in 2005,206,2008, and 2011, where he earned two WGI world championships titles, and served as captain in 2011. Gabe’s drum corps experience includes Yamato Drum and Bugle corps from Osaka, Japan in 2004, and Santa Clara Vanguard, 2006.
Gabe began his teaching career at a young age with his alma mater, Palmdale High School, 2003-2011. Where He gained experience in instruction, choreography, and design, as well as various programs throughout Southern California, Arizona, and Utah such as Ayala High School, Fountain Valley High School, RCC Marching Tigers and Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. Gabe currently teaches at Nogales High School and Rancho Cucamonga High School.
Gabe resides in Riverside, California with his partner of 5 years and is very excited to return for his 8th season with the Academy in 2018.