Department of Music Welcomes Visiting Band Directors

Categories: News Tags: Music

The Department of Music has announced the appointment of two visiting band directors for the 2021-22 academic year, filling positions left vacant by Director of Bands Shawn Smith, who has accepted a position at Brigham Young University, and Associate Director of Bands/Director of Athletic Bands Shayna Stahl, who has accepted a position at the University of Kentucky.

Brett Penshorn will join the Department of Music as Visiting Director of Bands. Dan Fischer will join the Department as Visiting Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands, leading the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band.

“We are pleased to welcome Brett Penshorn and Dan Fischer to our music faculty for the coming academic year, “ said Department Chair Joe Skillen. “Both bring a diversity of experiences that will enrich the musical growth of our students, faculty, and the larger community.”

Brett Penshorn (pictured above, left) is currently finishing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at the University of North Texas, where he studies with Eugene Migliaro Corporon. At the University of North Texas, Mr. Penshorn served as the conductor and instructor of record for both the University and Concert Bands, taught undergraduate conducting, and served as a guest conductor and teaching assistant for six concert ensembles comprised of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate instrumental music students. Penshorn also oversaw the graduate staff and Wind Studies library.

Penshorn advocates the wind band as a medium of serious artistic merit and has been actively involved with GIA Publications. He served as the Coordinator of Research Associates and as a contributor to the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series. He also contributed to several recording projects, such as the Windworks and Composers Collection recording series.

Penshorn is a strong advocate for community outreach and served as Assistant Conductor, Personnel and Artistic Manager for the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. He has coordinated residencies with groups such as the international Barcelona Clarinet Players and the Canadian Brass. In 2019, he worked as a production assistant on the Grammy-nominated One for All (2020) album.

Penshorn received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree in Band/Wind Ensemble Conducting from The Pennsylvania State University under Dennis Glocke. During his time at Penn State, he conducted the Concert and Campus Bands, was a teaching assistant for undergraduate conducting classes, guest conducted the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, and assisted with the Penn State Marching Blue Band.

His teaching career began in the Schertz/Cibolo/Universal City Independent School District in Texas, where he was Head Band Director at Barbara C. Jordan Intermediate School as well as an assistant director at Byron P. Steele II High School. Following his Masters degree, he was Assistant Band Director in the Luling Independent School District, where he taught the Junior High Varsity Band, the High School Concert Band, and assisted the Luling High School Eagle Marching Band. During his tenure, both ensembles earned First Division awards from the UIL Concert-Sight Reading Contest, and the marching band made its fourth consecutive appearance at the UIL State Marching Band Contest.

Professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, the Conductors Guild, Phi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity, North Carolina Music Educators Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Dan Fischer (pictured above, right) is completing his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Washington in Seattle. For the past three years, at the University of Washington, he has served as the Graduate Assistant Director for the Husky Athletic Bands and served as a graduate teaching assistant of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Campus Band. He is a conducting student of Timothy Salzman.

Fischer earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Ottawa University (Arizona), where he studied with Robert Hunter, Denny Monce, and Josh Whitehouse. After earning this degree, he served as a band and orchestra director in the Scottsdale Unified School District (Arizona) for three years. From there, he went on to earn his Master of Music Education degree at Auburn University, where he studied with Rick Good and Corey Spurlin. During his matriculation at Auburn University, he served as a graduate teaching assistant for the band program, assisting and directing all three university concert ensembles, assisting with the 380-member marching band, and co-teaching undergraduate conducting courses. Prior to his doctoral studies, he served as the Director of Instrumental Music at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School (Burien, Washington) for three years.

In addition to teaching, Fischer has worked as a brass and visual clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator in Arizona, Alabama, and Washington. He also had the honor of being a performer with The Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from 2005 to 2008. He currently is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Washington Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, the College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda.