After graduating from Indiana University in 1996 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Matt Harloff was appointed the Assistant Band Director for the Avon Band Department in Avon, Indiana. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Indianapolis in 2001.
Matt is the assistant director for all five concert bands at the Avon High School. Avon Concert Bands consistently received superior ratings at the Indiana State School Music Association Organizational Contests. The Avon High School Wind Symphony has had the honor of performing at the Indiana State Concert Band Championships and was awarded the Indiana State School Music Association Concert Band State Champions in 2012, 2014 & 2016. Mr. Harloff is the director of the Avon HS Brass Choir who has performed throughout the Midwest and shared concerts with various college brass choirs including the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Brass Ensemble. The Avon HS Brass Choir was honored to be a performing ensemble at the 2015 Midwest Band & Orchestra Convention. Mr. Harloff is the assistant director to The Avon Marching Black & Gold where the group has won 12 state championships, has been a consistent Bands of America Grand National Finalist and won the Bands of America Grand National Championship in 2008, 2009, 2010.
In 2003, Matt joined Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps as the Brass Caption Head. Matt, with the support of management, a committed staff and talented members, has built the Crown Brass to be one of the elite programs in the country. The Carolina Crown Brass Section has won the Jim Ott Memorial Award for Excellence in Brass 5 time (2009, 2011-2013 & 2016) Carolina Crown is a consistent Drum Corps International World Class Finalist and celebrated their first ever DCI World Class World Championship in the summer of 2013. Matt was a performing member of the DCI World Champion Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps from 1989-1995. Matt severed as the drum major in 1993.
Matt & Ben Harloff have joined DCI Hall of Fame Member Michael Klesch to create Inside the Circle. Inside the Circle is committed to giving back to countless music educators and their students with helpful materials, music, arrangements, and much, much more. Matt & Ben are coauthors of 2 books from their “Inside the Circle” Series: Inside the Circle: A Proven Method for a Successful Marching Band and Inside the Circle: Off-Season Training. Both books have been overwhelmingly successful and have helped countless directors and students.
Matt Harloff is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Matt is a native of Mt. Pleasant Iowa, and very proud of his musical family. His father, Bill is a retired band director and his brother Ben is a band director in Minnesota. Matt’s most important job is helping raise his two beautiful children, Tyson and Shaelyn. Matt is married to his wonderful wife Susie, who shares his passion for the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World.
Michael Klesch is an arranger and clinician for numerous marching bands across the country. In addition to being Musical Director and Brass Arranger for the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps (2013 DCI World Champion) he is staff arranger for the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band. Michael was the wind arranger for the Bands of America Honor Band at the 2005, 2009 and 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Michael has a long and successful career in the Drum Corps activity as a performer, arranger, and program consultant. He was a performer with the Garfield Cadets and finished out his time there as drum major of the 1983 DCI World Champions. After aging-out in 1983, he then served on the Cadets brass staff in 1984 and as the brass arranger from 1985 to 1992 (World Champions in 1984, ’85, ’87, and ’90). Michael has served as an arranger and consultant with the Troopers, Colts, Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, and the Arizona Academy, and was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in the summer of 2012.
Michael’s degrees come from West Chester University, a B.S. in Music Education, and from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters in Music Education. He is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma and was a founding brother of the West Chester University Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi. Michael resides in Hadley, Massachusetts with his wife, Heather, and their son, Robert.
Ben Harloff has two degrees from Indiana University: Trumpet Performance and Music Education. While at IU Ben studied trumpet with Edmund Cord, Stephen Burns, John Rommel and Dominic Spera. He had the privilege to play in Ray Cramer’s Wind Ensemble and Dominic Spera’s final Indiana University Jazz Band. Ben completed a Master’s Degree in conducting from Southern Oregon University in 2008.
When he was twelve years old, Ben’s drum corps career began with the Phantom Regiment Cadets. Ben marched Star of Indiana from 1990 to 1993 at which time he had an opportunity to perform under an incredible instructional staff, including Star’s Brass Caption Head and DCI Hall of Famer Donnie Van Doren. He also performed with Star of Indiana’s Brass Theater where he had the privilege of working with the prestigious Canadian Brass.
Ben was one of the trumpet soloists in both the original London and New York casts of the show “Blast!”, which was the 2001 recipient of the Tony Award for “Best Special Theatrical Event” and also won the 2001 Emmy Award for “Best Choreography.”
Since 1999 Ben has been teaching drum corps including Carolina Crown, The Cadets, Magic of Orlando, Crossmen, Syracuse Brigadiers, Blue Knights, Troopers, Minnesota Brass, Blue Stars, The Academy and River City Rhythm. He continues to be a proud brass staff instructor for Carolina Crown.
Ben has been a band director at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Indiana, Eastview High School in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Wayzata High School and West Middle School in Wayzata, Minnesota and is currently one of the band directors at Rosemount High School in Rosemount, Minnesota.
Ben has been judging marching band competitions and arranging for marching bands since 2000. He also has an instructional DVD called, “Release Your Sound.” The DVD is written for high school and college brass musicians and can be purchased at thecrownstore.com.
Ben lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Cindy and daughter Avabelle.
Ray Linkous is the Associate Director of Bands at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, SC. He has a degree in Music Education from Radford University where he studied composition and conducting from noted composer/conductor Mark Camphouse, and received his Graduate Degree in Instrumental Conducting from Wichita State University, where he was appointed the Graduate Teaching Assistant of Bands and Orchestra under the mentorship of conductors, Victor Markovich and Jay Decker.
Ray began his teaching career in 1997 at Shepton High School, in the north Dallas suburb of Plano, TX where he received the PISD “New Teacher of the Year” Award. From 1999-2004 he served as conductor, Music Ensemble Manager, and cast member with the London, Broadway, and touring productions of the Tony® and Emmy® Award winning stage show, Blast.
Mr. Linkous was a marching member of the Star of Indiana Drum & Bugle Corps, and since has gone on to teach several other corps, including the Crossmen (1993-1995), and the Cadets (1997-1998). He has been a member of the instruction faculty at Carolina Crown for over 10 years (1999, 2005-present), and in addition to his teaching and design responsibilities at Nation Ford, Mr. Linkous has been a consultant and designer for various band programs in the local Charlotte area, as well as South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, and Texas.
Katie VanDoren is a member of the Carolina Crown Brass Staff, working primarily with mellophones since 2013. Before joining the staff, Katie marched with the corps from 2008-2012, serving as the horn sergeant in 2012.
Katie joins us from Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas, where she serves as an Associate Director of Bands. Prior to joining the Vandegrift family, Katie lived in Denton, Texas where she attended the University of North Texas and was a marching instructor for the Marcus High School Band. During her time at North Texas, Ms. VanDoren performed in a number of ensembles, including the Wind Symphony under the direction of Mr. Eugene Corporon and the Green Brigade Marching Band under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Williams, where she both performed and was an instructor. Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education.
Katie is honored to be a part of the Carolina Crown Brass Staff, and enjoys teaching and mentoring young brass players while maintaining a relationship with the drum corps that mentored her.
Dylan Toombs is a low brass specialist in the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex maintaining a studio of over 50 students encompassing individuals from their intermediate middle school years through high school and beyond to both their college and professional careers. He also serves as a visual specialist and consultant for the Marcus High School Marching Band in Flower Mound, TX.
Dylan spent three years performing with the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, attaining the recognition as the 2013 DCI World Champions. He returned to Carolina Crown in the 2015 season and continues to serve as an instructional member of the brass staff, earning the brass champion award for the 2016 season.
A native of Red Oak, Texas, Dylan recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance with a concentration in Euphonium Performance. During his tenure at the University of North Texas, Dylan served as drum major for the “Green Brigade” marching band and studied with the world-renown Dr. Brian Bowman, one of the leading performers on Euphonium.
Dylan has been recognized internationally as a performer through many independent music competitions and festivals, including: a finalist in the Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Competition, a silver medalist in the Great Plains Regional Tuba and Euphonium Competition, a gold medalist in the South Central Regional Tuba and Euphonium Competition, a gold medalist in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra solo competition, a four-time state qualifying musician at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble UIL Competition, and a three-year all-state musician.
Taylor recently relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and teaches at Marple Newtown High School and works as a sales representative with Music and Arts as well as a marching band clinician with Philadelphia area schools and Texas Marching Bands. Taylor was previously the Assistant Band Director at Dulles High School in Sugar Land, TX and before that Taylor was the Assistant Director at Austin High School in Austin, Texas and Director of Bands at Sapulpa Junior High in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Taylor graduated from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma in Spring 2010 with his degree in Music Education. Taylor has been an active performer throughout college as a member of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, the OU Wind Symphony, OU Symphony Orchestra and Sooner Showmen Basketball Band.
Taylor is a former marching member of the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps from Fort Mill, SC in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Following his age-out year, he was a member of the brass staff for the 2009 Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from Casper, Wyoming. From 2010 to 2012, Taylor was a brass staff member for the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Rosemont, Illinois. Currently, Taylor is a member of the 5-Time Jim Ott Award for Brass Excellence and the 2013 Drum Corps International World Champion Carolina Crown Brass Staff.
Taylor's mentors include: Dustin Winson, Dr. William Wakefield, Matt Harloff, Ray Linkous, and Brian Britt
Taylor is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Service Fraternity and Texas Music Educators Association.
Larry Shane, a National Board Certified teacher, received his Bachelors degree in Music from the University of Miami in 1991 and his Masters degree in Education from the University of Central Florida in 2004. He is currently in his fourth year as the Band Director at West Boca Raton HS (Boca Raton, FL), with previous experience teaching high schools in both Florida and North Carolina. Over the last 24 years, Mr. Shane's ensembles have consistently received "Superior" ratings in all music performance assessments at both the District and State levels. This past year both the West Boca Wind Ensemble and the West Boca Jazz Band received Superior ratings at FBA State MPA. In addition, he has been listed numerous times in the Who’s Who Among American Teachers national publication.
Outside of school, Mr. Shane has been on the music faculty of the Carolina Crown (Ft. Mill, SC) as a brass instructor since 2006 with previous experience teaching brass for the Blue Knights (Denver, CO) and Dutch Boy (Kitchener-Waterloo, ONT). He is a former soprano (trumpet) soloist with both the Florida Wave (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and Blue Devils (Concord, CA) and former drum major of the University of Miami “Band of the Hour”. Mr. Shane currently lives in Wellington, FL with his beautiful wife Randi and their three children Zachary, Dylan, and Rebecca.
Corey currently resides in Orlando, FL, where he is the assistant band director for East River High School. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida, and is currently pursuing a masters in Educational Leadership, also from the University of Central Florida. While working as a band director, Corey has also worked with various programs in the Orlando area as a brass and visual instructor as well as a brass consultant for concert programs, and a music instructor for Avon High School’s marching band and brass choir.
in 2007, Corey joined Carolina Crown as a brass instructor, and has been a part of the team that achieved the Jim Ott in 2009, and 2011-2013, including the drum corps first ever DCI World Championship in 2013. Corey’s drum corps career also included marching for Carolina Crown in 2001, and 2003. Corey was also a member of the music staff for the BOA Music Summer Symposium in 2012.
Although Corey has many important duties with his school, his most important job is being a good husband to his wife Amanda and a good father to his son Ethan, who all enjoy spending time together at Disney World!
Gilbert Villagrana is a fourth year music education major at the University of North Texas. He will be graduating in December with a bachelors of music and plans to pursue a masters in trumpet performance. He has been involved in teaching marching bands at Coronado HS in El Paso, Texas, Flower Mound HS in Flower Mound, Texas, and is currently student teaching at Trinity HS in Euless, Texas. Gilbert has performed with many UNT ensembles including Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and was a member of the 2016 National Trumpet Competition semi-finalist group. This will be his first season as part of the brass staff with Carolina Crown. Gilbert recently became an alumni after marching for three years and being a trumpet soloist in the 2016 program, Relentless.
Evan VanDoren is proud to be returning to the Carolina Crown Brass Staff! He served on the brass staff in 2009 and 2010. Prior to becoming a staff member, Evan was a member of the drum corps from 2004 to 2008. His final two years were spent as a drum major, during which time he was honored to receive the Jim Jones Leadership Award, awarded by the DCI, and two consecutive “Member of the Year” awards, awarded by the Carolina Crown membership. Evan has also served on the Brass Staff of the Madison Scouts. Evan is an Associate Director of Bands at Cedar Park High School in Austin, Texas, where he teaches the Marching Band, Wind Symphony (2nd Band), and Jazz Ensemble, assisting with all others. The Timberwolf Marching Band is a consistent Bands of America Regional and Super Regional Finalist and former Band of America National Finalist. The band is also a consistent UIL State Marching Contest Finalists, and is the 2011 4A State Champion, and 2013 4A State Silver Medalist. In addition, the Cedar Park Honor Band was named the Texas Music Educator’s Association 4A State Honor Band. Cedar Park’s concert bands and jazz ensemble are consistent sweepstakes award winners. Prior to moving to Texas, Evan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with honors from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, in May of 2009. Evan is an active clinician, adjudicator, and arranger, and has presented for Drum Corps International, the Music Educator’s National Convention, SASI: The Leadership People, and the Texas Bandmasters Association. His professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Association of Texas Professional Educators, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
Andy Smart studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He also toured as a featured trumpet soloist with Blast! between 1999 and 2005. He has instructed the Blue Knights drum & bugle corps from Denver, CO in various capacities since 2002. Prior to teaching the Blue Knights, Andy was a marching member for 6 years. He has composed, arranged, and instructed marching bands across the country since 1995, and he has been judging competitive marching events since 2005. He is overwhelmed at the opportunity to be able to work alongside the best teachers and students in the business here at Carolina Crown!