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CBDNA-NC 2024 Conference at The Ohio State University

CBDNA-NC 2024 Conference at The Ohio State University



Erica Neidlinger

From Erica Neidlinger

President, CBDNA–NC

Dear Colleagues,

I am thrilled to announce our plans for the 2024 CBDNA North Central Division Conference at The Ohio State University! We are preparing for many outstanding performances, engaging sessions, and thought-provoking discussions, enhanced by the beauty of the new Timashev Family Music Building. Many thanks to our hosts, Dr. Russ Mikkelson and Dr. Scott Jones for their spectacular vision and tireless energy in preparing for a thrilling conference. We have three days of memorable music-making, scholarship, and fellowship in store.

When planning the 2024 conference, I returned to my candidate statement for office to remain true to my previously stated ideals. These included the belief that wind music is a compelling musical voice, that our profession must remain relevant in the 21st century, that we must address issues pertaining to social justice and inclusion, and that our individual contributions to the profession are all important (whether in athletic bands, small school programs, teaching music majors or non-majors, etc). The collective work we do changes lives for the better and prepares our students for their chosen professions (in the arts or elsewhere) while nurturing thoughtful, respectful human beings.

With these priorities in mind, our conference contains many fine performances and presentations from our membership, some of which demonstrate creative means of programming, performing, or engaging an audience. I am also excited to announce our featured guests, Augusta Read Thomas, John Mackey, Gary Hill, and Dr. Valerie Johnson, all of whom will bring great insight, creativity, and integrity to their presentations. And last but not least, I am ecstatic to welcome dog trainer Daisy Peel and her dog Chispa who are co-presenters with Gary Hill. Join us in Columbus for a tail-waggin’ good time!

Erica Neidlinger 
President, North Central Division 
College Band Directors National Association


Russel C. Mikkelson

From  Russel C. Mikkelson

Conference Co-Host

Director of Bands, The Ohio State University

Dear Members of the North Central Division of CBDNA,

On behalf of the Band Faculty of The Ohio State University and my colleagues at the School of Music, I am pleased to invite you to the 2024 CBDNA North Central conference. We are excited to welcome you to our campus featuring the new Timashev Family Music Building. You will be treated to performances by selected performing ensembles in the 720-seat Weigel Auditorium and take in dynamic presentations by our North Central colleagues. The conference will also host special guest speakers/clinicians Augusta Read Thomas, Valerie Johnson, John Mackey, and Intercollegiate Band conductor and Past President of CBDNA, Gary Hill.

Planning this conference with CBDNA-NC President Dr. Erica Neidlinger, along with my Ohio State colleague, Dr. Scott A. Jones, has been an immense pleasure. Their creativity and desire to serve our organization has been evident in every interaction. I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank my Graduate Conducting Assistants who have been invaluable in hosting this event: Dustin Ferguson, Sarah Baker, Shawn Davern, and Uiliami Fihaki.

The conference hotel is the beautifully appointed Marriott Columbus OSU, and shuttle buses are scheduled to transport conference attendees to and from campus. On behalf of my band faculty colleagues Scott Jones, Christopher Hoch, Phil Day, and Josh Reynolds, we look forward to seeing you in Columbus April 4–6, 2024, for an exciting North Central conference.

Dr. Russel C. Mikkelson 
Professor and Director of Bands, The Ohio State University 
Past President, CBDNA–North Central (2018–2020)


Special Guests

Augusta Read Thomas, composer. Photo by Anthony Barlich

Augusta Read Thomas

University Professor of Composition in Music and the College at The University of Chicago

The music of Augusta Read Thomas is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical and colorful — "it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music" (Philadelphia Inquirer).  Photo credit: Anthony Barlich

A composer featured on a Grammy-winning CD by Chanticleer and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Thomas’ impressive body of works “embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry” (American Academy of Arts and Letters). The New Yorker magazine called her "a true virtuoso composer."

She is a University Professor of Composition in Music and the College at The University of Chicago. Thomas was the longest-serving Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for conductors Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez (1997–2006).

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John Mackey

John Mackey


John Mackey (he/him) has written for orchestras (Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Youth Symphony), theater (Dallas Theater Center), and extensively for dance (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Parsons Dance Company, New York City Ballet), but the majority of his work for the past decade has been for wind ensembles (the fancy name for concert bands), and his band catalog now receives annual performances numbering in the thousands.

Recent commissions include works for the BBC Singers, the Dallas Wind Symphony, military, high school, middle school, and university bands across America and Japan, and concertos for Joseph Alessi (principal trombone, New York Philharmonic), Christopher Martin (principal trumpet, New York Philharmonic), and Julian Bliss (international clarinet soloist).


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Valerie C. Johnson speaking

Valerie C. Johnson

Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Associate Professor of Political Science, and Endowed Professor of Urban Diplomacy at DePaul University

Valerie C. Johnson’s research and teaching explore the intersections of race and class. Her publications include Black Power in the Suburbs: The Myth or Reality of African American Suburban Political Incorporation and Power in the City. Her current book project with Ellen Schrecker and Jennifer Ruth will be released by Beacon Press in April 2024, and is entitled The Right to Learn: Resisting the Right-Wing Attack on Academic Freedom.

Dr. Johnson is the former national education spokesperson for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and has served as a consultant for numerous elected officials and community organizations.

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Gary Hill

Gary W. Hill

Conductor, Intercollegiate Band; Conn Selmer Clinician

Prof. Hill's appearance is sponsored by Conn Selmer.

Gary W. Hill — Professor of Music and Director of Bands, Emeritus, at Arizona State University, where he taught from 1999-2019 — is one of the most sought-after guest conductors and clinicians in the wind band field. As a conductor, appearances in more than a dozen countries and throughout the United States have included performances with many professional ensembles, numerous college and university wind bands and orchestras, myriad high school and collegiate honor ensembles (including dozens of All-State bands), at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and at World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles' conferences. As a clinician, Hill has presented hundreds of workshops on conducting and rehearsal technique for music teachers of all levels and has worked with thousands of bands and orchestras and their teachers. Professor Hill is currently a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician.

Prior to Hill's appointment at ASU, he was Director of Bands at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music (1986-99), at Texas A&M University-Commerce, (1982-86), and Associate Director of Bands at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1980-82). He also served as Founding Music Director for the Kansas City Youth Wind Ensemble and the conductor of newEar, a professional chamber ensemble devoted to contemporary music. Hill began his teaching career in Michigan, where he was Director of Bands for the Traverse City (1977-80) and West Bloomfield (1974-77) public schools.

High school, university, and professional ensembles under Hill's direction have given performances for the National Band Association, the Music Educators National Conference (NAfME), the College Band Directors National Association, the American Bandmasters Association, the International Horn Symposium, the National Flute Association, at many state conventions, and throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Performances conducted by him have consistently drawn praise from composers, performing musicians, and critics alike for their insightful, inspired, and cohesive realizations, and for their imaginative programming. 

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Daisy Peel with Chispa the dog

Daisy Peel

Coach, Competitor, Life-long Learner

Daisy and Chispa, co-presenters with Gary Hill (April 4, Session 2)

Daisy Peel is known worldwide as a leading instructor and competitor in the sport of dog agility. She has represented the USA internationally over a dozen times, across three continents, with four different dogs.

Daisy is also recognized worldwide for her abilities as an instructor. She is a formally trained teacher, with a degree in science and math education, and was a high school chemistry teacher for nearly a decade before becoming a full-time dog agility coach and instructor. Daisy's students have excelled at the top levels in AKC, USDAA, AAC (Canada), and UKI, and have themselves been selected to represent their countries at international events.

Daisy’s many achievements as a competitor include being a 7-time World Championship Team Member, with four different dogs, 2007–2019; representing the United States internationally more than 13 times, with four different dogs, 2007–2019; being a 6-time National Championship Winner, with three different dogs, in three organizations (AKC, UKI, USDAA); and as a 15-time International Medalist, with multiple medals in Europe, South America and the United States.

For more information about Daisy and The Agility Challenge visit daisypeel.com.