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2024 All-Colorado Honor Band, 71st Annual Festival

The festival is February 15-17, 2024. We are pleased to announce this year’s guests! Our conductor is Dr. Mark Bonner, Assistant Director of Bands, University of Central Missouri. Our Soloist/Clinician is John Pirillo (trumpet).

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Highlights of the 71st Festival

Participation highlights for your students include:

  • Music making under the baton of Dr. Mark Bonner (Assistant Director of Bands, University of Central Missouri)
  • Performance with John Pirillo as soloist
  • (Optional) Scholarship Auditions to attend WCU as a music major, music minor or non-major time slots are available
  • Social Activities
  • Music making under the baton of Dan Bell

Performance highlights include: 

  • Western Colorado University Symphonic Band
    • Featured Soloist: John Pirillo (trumpet)
  • Faculty Recital including Woodwind, Brass and Percussion performers

Band Director Happenings:

  • Band Director Banquet Friday Evening with guest artists

About the Guest Artists

Guest Conductor – Dan Bell

Headshot of Dan BellDaniel (Dan) Bell has taught for 34 years in the districts of Fort Lupton (CO), Rangeview HS (Aurora), and Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs) as a high school assistant and junior high band director. Dan – now retired – is happily married to his wife, Kari and has 3 kids, Ryan, Katie, and Kyle; grandson Johnny, and granddaughter Kirby. Mr. Bell is a proud University of Iowa and Colorado State University alumnus. In the past 26 years, Mr. Bell’s jazz band and symphonic band have been selected to perform for the Colorado Music Educators Clinic/Conference thirteen times. This year, the Ascent Big Band has been selected to perform at CMEA representing the CSYSA in January! He is also director of the Pinnacle Jazz Band, the intermediate jazz band with the youth symphony in Colorado Springs.

Dan currently teaches private lessons to brass students, teaches sectionals in D11, D12, D20, and makes appearances at many Colorado schools to help out when available. Dan directed the Western Wyoming Select HS Band in November, and is also the director of the Peak Big Band – an adult jazz band in the Colorado Springs area – that plays performances throughout the year. Dan has been the band director at the CMU (Colorado Mesa University) Summer Middle School Music Camp for the past 10 years.

Dan was recently elected to the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA) Hall of Fame in July of this past summer, and was inducted into the Pikes Peak Music Educator Hall of Fame last February. Dan is a member of Phi Beta Mu (and past president), CMEA, CBA, NAfME, and was inducted into the NBA (National Band Association) in 2014.

Guest Conductor – Dr. Mark Bonner

Mark Bonner

Mark Bonner, Jr. is a music educator, composer, and clinician from Memphis, TN, who serves as the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Central Missouri after finishing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at the UMKC Conservatory with Prof. Steven D. Davis. Mark is an active music arranger for high school and university programs across the country, with arrangements still being performed throughout the United States. He was recently a part of a collaboration for the LSU marching band show entitled “Binge-Watch,” which received national recognition on ESPN and by cast members of “The Office.” Mark has recently commissioned and premiered works by Thomas Odenheimer and Leigh Anne Robichaux, as well as his own transcriptions for wind and chamber ensembles.

Mark holds a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from Louisiana State University, where he studied conducting with Damon Talley and Dennis Llinas and euphonium with Joseph Skillen. As a member of the LSU Band Staff, Mark assisted with and performed in the LSU Wind Ensemble during their 2019 CBDNA tour. Mark also had the responsibility of guest conducting on concerts presented by the LSU Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, and Symphonic Band. The elite athletic band programs allowed Mark the opportunity to arrange for and work with the Bengal Brass Pep Band and the Sudler-winning Golden Band from Tigerland. Mark also regularly performed with the LSU Brass Band, Tuba- Euphonium Ensemble, and the Four-Guys Tuba Quartet.

Before attending LSU, Mark was the Director of Bands at Cordova High School and Cordova Middle School in Cordova, TN, where he grew the band from 40 members to 220 and guided the program in receiving superior ratings at all concert, marching, and jazz festivals. Mark served as a clinician, music arranger, and musician in the Memphis area as a member of Big Band Swing, Mt. Moriah East Gospel Choir, and the Memphis Wind Symphony on trumpet, trombone, and euphonium, respectively.

Mark earned his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education at the University of Memphis, where he studied euphonium under Dr. Kevin Sanders and music education under Dr. Albert Nguyen and Dr. Armand Hall. While attending the University of Memphis, Mark was drum major, trombone section leader, euphonium section leader, and a student arranger for the Mighty Sound of the South Marching Band. Mark served as Vice President and a Founding Member of the Theta Lambda Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and Fraternal Education Officer of the Theta Rho Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mark was a member of the Bottomline Tuba Ensemble as a euphonium soloist and music arranger on multiple CDs released on Spotify and iTunes. Mark was also a member of the “iTuba” Quartet, which competed as finalists for the International ITEA Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2012 and 2013. Mark holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, West TN School Band and Orchestra Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Tau Beta Nu.

Guest Soloist – John Pirillo (Trumpet Soloist)

John PirilloJohn Pirillo is a professional trumpet player and educator residing in Fort Collins, Colorado. He holds degrees in Trumpet Performance from Florida Southern College (BM, 2020) and Colorado State University (MM, 2023) and has studied with Don McLaurin and Stanley Curtis. John enjoys an active freelance schedule, performing with groups such as the Fort Collins Symphony, Opera Steamboat, Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Brass, Musical Dinner Theater, Neue Polka Colorado, and local funk bands. His musical versatility has provided him with opportunities to share the stage with greats like Clay Jenkins, Harold Danko, Gabriel Mervine, and Sherisse Rogers.

John is currently working to expand his private trumpet studio and network throughout the Front Range area of Northern Colorado. Outside of the music scene, he enjoys hiking, cooking, and a good coffee.

About the Hosts

Dr. Brett Keating

Brett KeatingAs a performer Brett Keating has appeared as a featured soloist with orchestra, brass bands, and wind bands in the U.S and Europe, including Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and the UK. His playing has been recognized at national and international competitions including: The Fischoff International & Plowman Chamber Music Competitions, Swiss National and North American Brass Band Championships. Brett performs in the award-winning Fountain City Brass Band and has recorded with the Gramercy Brass Orchestra. nominal duo, an experimental project with tubist Tom Curry, merges brass performance with electro-acoustic practices through their original compositions, improvisations, adaptations, thievery, and loads of wires. nominal has performed throughout the U.S. and in Canada and was recently featured in the 2021 Virtual Tuba Euphonium Conference. Their debut EP, s.i.p_1 was released in 2020. Nominalduo.wordpress.com

Brett Keating serves as Director of Bands and Brass at Western Colorado University. In this role he directs the Symphonic Band, Brass Ensemble, and Varsity Band. He teaches applied brass lessons and music education courses in conducting and brass methods. Additionally, Brett is the director of the Colorado Brass Band.

Prior to his appointment at WCU, Brett was Director of Athletic Bands at Carroll University. Additionally, he served as Interim Instructor of euphonium and tuba and on the Athletic Band Staff at the University of Kansas. Brett held simultaneous Graduate Teaching Assistantships with the wind conducting and the tuba/euphonium studios while earning his DMA in tuba/euphonium performance, an MM in wind band conducting, and a cognate in electro-acoustic composition at KU. Brett also holds an MM in performance and interpretation of classical & contemporary music from the Hochschule Luzern-Musik, where he lived in beautiful Lucerne, Switzerland for three years. He earned an Artist’s Certificate in low brass performance, as well as a BA in performance from the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Ben Justis

Ben JustisAn active soloist and section player, Ben Justis has performed at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Bravo! Vail, with the United States Air Force Band, and with the acclaimed Colorado State University Percussion Ensemble. He was a back-to-back winner of the CSU Concerto Competition and was a featured performer at the New York City Electro-Acoustic Festival. In 2019 he delivered a composition/performance on one of Harry Bertoia’s sounding sculptures for New York Museum of Art and Design curator Shannon Stratton’s talk at the Spencer Museum of Art. You can hear his drumming on Houseproud’s EP “Just Choose One,” Frank Nawrot’s “Enough is Enough” and Emma Piazza’s “Find Me Out.”

His compositions have been performed by the Portland Percussion Group, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet and the United States Air Force Band among others. In the summer of 2019, he was the Composer-in-Residence at Denali National Park and Homestead National Monument of America where he took field recordings, presented to the public and worked on new pieces to be donated to the parks.

Also a conductor of contemporary repertoire, Ben has directed works with the KU New Music Guild, Helianthus (the KU new music ensemble) and newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (Kansas City).

Ben was educated at Colorado State University (music education and percussion performance) and The University of Kansas (DMA, music composition). His chief mentors were Eric Hollenbeck (percussion), Forrest Pierce, Ingrid Stölzel and Kip Haaheim.

At any given point you might find him skiing, stargazing, camping, cooking or, most likely, making music in his hometown of Gunnison, Colorado.

Dr. Darkson Magrinelli

Dr. Darkson Magrinelli

Brazilian clarinetist Darkson Magrinelli is the Director of Woodwinds at Western Colorado University. He played professionally in symphony orchestras in Brazil for over 10 years and was the bass clarinetist with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra for four seasons.

Prior to his appointment at WCU, Dr. Magrinelli was Director of Winds and Percussion Programs, in addition to Assistant Professor of Clarinet, at Azusa Pacific University. He also served on faculty at Fullerton College, Shaw University, East Tennessee State University, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Magrinelli has performed in master classes and lessons with regarded clarinetists in Uruguay, Ecuador, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, and more. Every summer, he teaches for the Festival Internacional de Música Guaranda held in Ecuador and Colombia. Recently, Dr. Magrinelli has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles and at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in North Carolina.

Magrinelli holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He earned his Master’s degree and Artist Certificate from Azusa Pacific University, and Bachelor’s degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Dr. Magrinelli trained under the tutelage of Michele Zukovsky, Kelly Burke, Diego Grendene, Burt Hara, and Yehuda Gilad. He is a Selmer-Paris Performing Artist and plays exclusively with Selmer Privilège clarinets.

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