KEITH A. GRIFFIS - DIRECTOR OF BANDS
Keith Griffis is the Director of Bands at Walter L. Sickles High School in Tampa, FL where he oversees all band activities and ensembles including Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz, and the Marching Wall of Sound.
Bands under Mr. Griffis’ direction consistently earn superior ratings in concert, marching, and jazz assessments and has earned multiple Florida Bandmasters Association’s “Otto J. Kraushaar” awards for straight-superior ratings at both the district and state levels. Recognized as having one of the largest band programs in the greater Tampa Bay area, Sickles High School is represented annually in All-County, All-State, and All-National Honor Ensembles, and has a proud legacy of alumni performing in collegiate and professional ensembles.
Mr. Griffis is active as an adjudicator, presenter, and conductor. He has been invited to present clinics at several professional conferences including the Florida Music Education Association Conference, the Florida Bandmasters Association Summer Conference, and at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL. He has enjoyed several guest conducting appearances with professional ensembles including the United States Air Force Concert Band in Washington, DC.
Mr. Griffis has been recognized as the Sickles High School “Teacher of the Year”, the Hillsborough County Parent-Teacher Association’s “Instructional Person of the Year”, and has been a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator Award. His professional affiliations include the Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Education Association, the National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters fraternity.
Mr. Griffis holds a Master of Arts in Music Education degree from the University of South Florida, and is a graduate cum laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree as well as a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance degree. While at FSU Mr. Griffis served as the Head Drum Major of the world-renowned FSU Marching Chiefs. He and his wife, fellow high school band director Amanda, live in Tampa along with their son Clay and dog, Nola.
HEATHER LUNDAHL - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF BANDS
Heather Lundahl began her music education in Monroe, New York where she studied flute with Kathleen Affigne, Ron Naroff and Beatrice Keram and performed in band under the baton of Dr. John Lynch. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Music Education and Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, Bloomington where she performed in multiple ensembles including principal flute in the top Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. While at IU, she studied flute with Jacques Zoon and Thomas Robertello and conducting with Ray Cramer and Stephen Pratt.
Her career as a middle school band director began at Mabry Middle School in Marietta, Georgia and continued at Shorewood Intermediate School in Milwaukee Wisconsin before moving to Florida. In 2002, she developed the vision for the band program at Blake Academy in Lakeland, where she taught students in grades three through eight. She began teaching band and orchestra in Hillsborough County in 2010 and was the Director of Bands at Walker Middle Magnet International Baccalaureate World School, which under her leadership was awarded the FMEA award for student participation in music and has been a demonstration band for clinics at the FMEA Convention. Recently, Mrs. Lundahl was the Director of Bands at Cambridge Christian School, overseeing band in grades 4 through 12. Mrs. Lundahl is active as an All County Clinician and adjudicator. Mrs. Lundahl’s bands and orchestras have consistently received superior ratings throughout her teaching career. Her memberships and professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education, Florida Music Educators Association and the Florida Bandmasters Association.
Mrs. Lundahl’s entire family are instrumental musicians including her son Ryan, a trombonist in the Sickles band program. She is thrilled to be a part of the Sickles band tradition of excellence and is looking forward to the upcoming year.
ALLIE ANDERSON - COLORGUARD COACH
Allie Anderson is entering her 4th year as the Sensations Coach. She is a Sickles Alumni, Class of 2013. She was a member of Sensations for all 4 years, and served as captain for 3 of those years. Allie graduated from the University of South Florida where she majored in Communication.
During her time at USF she was a member of The Herd of Thunder Marching Band from 2013-2017, serving as captain her senior year. She was also a member of The University of South Florida Winterguard from 2014-2016. Allie received a silver medal at the WGl World Championships in 2015. She also received the Green and Gold award from her time in the Herd of Thunder for her dedication, leadership, and musicianship skills.
Allie currently works in HR at Masonite and loves to spend her spare time hanging out with her beloved dog, Penny.
JAYDA PEACOCK - COLORGUARD COACH
Jayda Peacock is a Sickles High School Alumni from the class of 2020. In her time at Sickles she was a four year member of the Sensations Colorguard, serving in leadership her last two years. She had recently spun for the University of South Florida’s Marching Band from 2020-2023.
Currently she’s an active member of the University of South Florida’s Winterguard, approaching her fourth season with the team. Jayda received a gold medal at WGI world championships with USF in 2022, she also serves as Chairman for the programs current Diversity Committee. She looks forward to being back with the Wall of Sound for another great year!
PAUL E. GAVIN - PERCUSSION INSTRUCTOR
Paul Gavin is a drummer, music educator and composer/arranger in Tampa, FL. He’s currently a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies. Paul plays in jazz ensembles at USF and does musical theater work in Naples, FL as well. Paul also teaches private and group lessons and writes marching percussion arrangements.
While in High School at the Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts in Ft. Myers FL, Paul held leadership positions in the marching band and was principal percussionist in the wind ensemble. He also was principal percussionist of the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and winner of the concerto competition. Paul played the drums for the school’s Jazz program as well as two of the musical theater productions, “Sweet Charity” and “The Producers,” both of which winning county and state honors.
Paul is now a senior at the University of South Florida. He has narrowed his interested to drum performance and education pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies. Paul plays drums for musical theater groups in Naples, FL, in a brass group that plays at Adventure Islands in Tampa, FL, and in his own brass band Drum’N'Brass.
Paul’s most recent accomplishment is winning the VSA International Young Soloist Competition. On June 14 – 16th he and 3 other winners will be flown to Washington DC for a weekend of workshops culminating at a performance on June 16th at the Kennedy Center.
Paul is not only a player but a music educator. He takes the process and study of passing on the knowledge of music as an honor, privilege and a duty. Paul enters his 3rd year as the Percussion Instructor and Arranger for the Sickles High School Wall of Sound, his 4th working with the group. Under his direction the group has received only Superior ratings at MPA’s.
KELSIE MCKAY - WOODWIND INSTRUCTOR
Kelsie McCay is the Band Director at Farnell Middle School in Tampa, FL where she teaches Concert, Symphonic and Jazz Ensembles.
Ms. McCay graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education. While at FSU, Ms. McCay studied conducting and music education with Dr. Patrick Dunnigan and Dr. Steve Kelly. She also studied oboe and English horn with Dr. Eric Ohlsson and performed in the Concert and Symphonic Bands. She was also principal oboist and English hornist in the Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Dr. Alex Jimenez.
Outside of teaching at Farnell, Ms. McCay also gives private oboe lessons to students in both middle school and high school and performs with the Florida Wind Band.
Prior to teaching at Farnell, Ms. McCay completed her internship with Kassandra Cochran at Davidsen Middle School here in Tampa, FL. Ms. McCay loves what she does and loves being a part of the Sickles Marching Wall of Sound!
TONY NEGRON - CLARINET INSTRUCTOR
Tony Negron, a native to Tampa Bay, has enjoyed a richly varied career as a professional clarinetist, chamber musician, concerto soloist, and as an educator. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s in Music Education and from Duquesne University with a Masters in Clarinet Performance, where he studied with Ron Samuels of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As a performer, Tony serves as principal clarinet with the Florida Wind Band and second clarinet with the Punta Gorda Symphony. He has performed with The Florida Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, and Disney Candlelight Orchestra. Tony has won several competitions, including first place in the Robert Shankovich Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition with Scott McAllister's Black Dog. He has been a featured soloist with Alia Musica Pittsburgh, both the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra & Wind Ensemble, the Florida Wind Band, served as a resident artist with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and has been a featured artist on Pittsburgh’s Classical Music Radio Station WQED 89.3. Tony has also performed alongside notable musical acts including Celtic Thunder, the Italian pop opera trio Il Volo, Il Divo, and with Sarah Brightman during her Hymn World Tour.
Outside of his performance duties, Tony is highly sought after for lessons, masterclasses, lectures, and presentations. Most recently, Tony has served as Clarinet Professor on the woodwind faculty at the 2018 & 2019 Clazz International Music Festival held in Arcidosso, Italy. He has presented at the Florida Music Educator's National Conference, at the University of South Florida, and has presented masterclasses throughout the Tampa Bay area. He maintains a strong and active private studio, teaching between 30-40 students weekly. Tony has received the 2017 Rising Star in Music Education award from the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Educators Council and was selected as the director for Hillsborough County Public School's Honors Handbell Choir during the 2018 Fine Arts Festival.
In 2019, Tony was awarded a Professional Development Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County for the purchase of a Buffet 1193 Bass Clarinet. In 2022, Tony was awarded a Professional Development Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County for the purchase of a Di Zhao 700 Series Professional Flute.
Tony performs exclusively on Buffet Prestige R-13 clarinets and Vandoren mouthpieces and reeds.
JEFFREY TRASTER, DMA - LOW BRASS INSTRUCTOR
Jeffrey L. Traster, DMA is Music Professor Emeritus at The University of Tampa where he served as Director of Bands and Head of Music Education for nineteen years, including Music Department Chair for six years. Traster has taught in Texas, Ohio, and Florida. He is an active guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, composer, tuba player and low-brass instructor.
Traster earned degrees from Baylor University (BME), The University of Colorado at Boulder (MM), and The University of Texas at Austin (DMA). Primary amongst his conducting instructors and mentors are Richard Floyd, Allan McMurray, and Tom Lee. He is a member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors National Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and ASCAP.
Traster began composing and founded Allegrezza Music Publications in 2015. Much of his music is composed for his students, Honor Bands, and special occasions. His oeuvre includes music for concert band, low brass choir, jazz band, voice, a VBS curriculum with original songs (created and produced in collaboration with colleagues from Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa, FL), and solos for trumpet, trombone, euphonium, or tuba with piano. Twenty-two pieces by Traster have been added to the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) Solo & Ensemble List.
Commissioned by the FBA for the Nine Star Honor Band, WAY DOWN for Concert Band, premiered in Florida at the 2022 FBA Summer Conference.
TOM ZIEGELHOFFER- JAZZ SPECIALIST
Mr. Z served as a music educator in Hillsborough County for 36 years. The last 10 years as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum of Fine Arts at Howard W. Blake Performing Arts High School until his retirement in 2008. His other credits include serving as a clinician for the All-County Middle School Jazz Bands for Hillsborough and Pasco Co.
He was also instrumental in the revival of the All-Star High School Jazz Band with featured soloist, Jeff Rupert in 2018. Mr. Z is a Veteran serving in the Navy Band, during the Vietnam Crisis. As a professional musician he performs locally with many groups, Dick Rumore's Jazz Cellar Orchestra, Encore IV Big Band, Tomcats Jazz Orchestra. J. R. Farley Orchestra, Anclote Symphonic Winds, to name a few. Currently Mr. Z is doing adjunct teaching at many high schools in Hillsborough and Pasco Co.