meet the cnx24 staff

AdministratiVe Team

Nick Riley Ensemble Director

Michael Reese Ensemble Director

Barb Terrell Director of Operations

Dr. Alyssa Iwinski Medical Coordinator

Carlee McAfee Media Coordinator

Andre Rodriguez Webmaster

Melissa Gouge Support Staff

Austin Sharp Support Staff

Christina Nickum Support Staff

Sam Lyon Support Staff

Jamie Albert Support Staff

Chloe Spencer Support Staff

Dr. Mariah Cotton Support Staff

Amelia Wang Medical Staff

Cierra Carr-Brown Public Health Advisor

Felicity Gentry Media Staff

Tim Wiencek Media Staff

Josh Clements Media Staff


Design team

Nick Riley Program Coordinator

Drew Brown Program Consultant

Andrew Markworth Front Ensemble Composer/Arranger

Ryan Ellis Battery Composer/Arranger

Tyler Shipe Visual Designer

Danielle Marquardt Choreographer

Molly Favret Graphics

Jeff Hurr Prop Designer


Battery Staff

Sean Girvin  Coordinator

Jordan Kracus Assistant Coordinator 

Andrés Castaño

Josh Green

Isaiah Wood

Cameron Halls

Dylan Sammons

Wesley Kopis

Ethan Wright

Dr. Alyssa Iwinski

Zac Sterling

James Nelson

Jack Flood

Henry Iwinski

Kristin Smith

Bryce Hopwood

Donny Price

Evan Pliska

Front Ensemble Staff

Michael Reese  Coordinator

Evan Sasowsky Assistant Coordinator 

Nick Riley

Eric Zielsdorf

Trey Singleton

Dan Moell

Will Susco

Ellie Mehr Consultant


Audio Staff

Zach Albert  Coordinator

Marco Iannelli

Visual Staff

Andrew Polk  Coordinator

Danielle Marquardt Movement Coordinator

Kristen Mitzel

Ian Caldwell

Megan Dufala

nick riley

Ensemble Director, program coordinator, Ensemble Specialist, & front ensemble technician

President, CPAA, Inc. Board of Directors

Nick Riley is thrilled to return to ConneXus for his 12th season in 2024.

Currently, Nick serves as the Ensemble Director, Program Coordinator, Ensemble Specialist, and Front Ensemble Technician for ConneXus and has previously held numerous other administrative, creative, and instructional roles since co-founding the ensemble in the summer of 2012. Nick has also served as President of the ConneXus Performing Arts Association, Inc. Board of Directors since 2016. Nick led both the ensemble and design teams each time ConneXus made WGI World Championships Finals for the first time: PIO in 2015 and PIW in 2023.

Nick has been involved in the pageantry arts as a performer, instructor, composer/arranger, ensemble administrator, and adjudicator for 20 years. Currently, Nick is pursuing a PhD in Music Education at The Ohio State University where he is a fully-funded graduate teaching associate for the School of Music. At OSU, he instructs undergraduate courses in music education, instrumental techniques, and supervises student teachers. A classically trained percussionist, Nick earned a Master of Arts in Music Education from The Ohio State University in 2023 and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Capital University in 2011. Prior to pursuing his graduate studies full-time, Nick was the Director of Bands for Liberty Center Local Schools in rural northwest Ohio from 2012 to 2021 where he successfully led all aspects of the band program to prominence.

Nick is the founder of the web-based pageantry arts music design business NPR Marching Concepts: The Music of Nick Riley where he has composed nearly 600 works for over 60 ensembles since beginning his writing career in 2007. A prolific composer for marching bands, indoor percussion ensembles, drum corps, and winter winds, Nick’s compositions can be heard across the United States and South America. In addition to publishing his own work, Nick’s compositions for indoor percussion are published by Gary P. Gilroy Publications and Marching Show Concepts.

Nick is an accomplished adjudicator for the pageantry arts, judging actively for the Central States Judges Association since 2013 and the Ohio Music Education Association since 2012. Specializing in music general effect, music performance, and percussion, he has judged in eight states and has been included on local and championship-level adjudication panels. He has been selected to adjudicate the Mid-States Band Association Circuit Championships annually since 2017.

Nick’s previous staff assignments reflect a diverse background in the pageantry arts. He has served as the Assistant Visual Supervisor for Legends Drum & Bugle Corps (2011-2013), a Percussion Consultant for The Ohio State University Marching Band (2011-2014), Front Ensemble Instructor for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps (2014), and Visual Technician for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps (2016). Nick is currently the Percussion Composer/Arranger for the Gran Banda Drum & Bugle Corps of Medellin, Colombia, South America, where he has served on both the percussion and visual staffs since 2014. The “GB” is the 2014 DCI SoundSport Champion, runner up in 2017, and the first ensemble from South America to perform in DCI events.

Nick is a member of OMEA, CSJA, PFCJ, NAfME, and PAS. Nick holds endorsements from Vic Firth and Black Swamp Percussion.

A native of Centerville, Ohio, Nick currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Michael Reese

Ensemble Director & front ensemble coordinator

Member, CPAA, Inc. Board of Directors

Educational Director, ConneXion

Michael is an active music educator in Ohio. He graduated from Marietta College with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (2017), as well as a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Teacher Leadership. Michael recently received his Masters of Music Education from Ohio University (2023). He is a band director for Mason City Schools.

Outside of his public school teaching career, Michael has extensive experience in the marching arts. He currently serves as the Co-Director and Front Ensemble Coordinator for ConneXus and as a Front Ensemble Instructor with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps. In the fall, Michael works with the William Mason High School Marching Band and serves as a percussion judge for the Central States Judges Association. During his performing years, Michael marched with Legends Drum & Bugle Corps (2014), Cap City Percussion (2014-2015), Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps (2015-2016) and Rhythm X (2016-2017).

Michael is excited to return for his 7th season with ConneXus.

drew brown

Program ConsultANT

Vice President, CPAA, Inc. Board of Directors

Drew Brown has been involved with the marching arts since 2001 as a performer, educator, and
designer. He is currently the Program Coordinator of ConneXus and Vice President of the ConneXus Performing Arts Association, Inc. Board of Directors.

From 2015-2019, Drew worked with the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps as a front ensemble technician, front ensemble coordinator, and electronics coordinator. In 2020 and 2021, Drew worked with the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps as a front ensemble technician.

Currently, Drew is the Percussion Director for Beavercreek City Schools, where he teaches marching band, indoor percussion ensemble, and classroom percussion to high school and middle school students in the district.

Drew studied music education, composition, and percussion performance at Bowling Green State University, Wright State University, and the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music.

Drew is proud to be endorsed by Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, and

He currently resides in Dayton, OH with his wife, Cierra, and their dogs, Bobo and Duke.

andrew markworth

front ensemble composer/arranger

Andrew Markworth is a composer, arranger and consultant writing wind, front ensemble and battery percussion for marching bands, indoor drumlines and drum corps.

He is currently the music arranger and coordinator for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio, TX and The Company Performance Ensemble of Great Britain. He also is the music director for Rhythm X; both the 3 time gold medalist percussion group (2008, 2009, 2013) and the 2 time gold medalist winds group (2015, 2017). Andrew was the Front Ensemble Arranger/Coordinator for Carolina Crown from 2007-2014.

Andrew currently resides in Centerville, Ohio with his wife Kara, daughter Natalie, and son Brady.

ryan ellis

battery composer/arranger

Ryan Ellis is an active battery arranger, visual designer, and drill writer for marching bands, indoor drumlines, and drum corps. He has performed with Rhythm X, Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps, Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, and the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps.

Ryan currently serves as both the Percussion Caption Head and Battery Arranger for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps. 

Ryan currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife Kayla.



Tyler Shipe brings a wealth of experience and a passion for visual design to our ensemble as the Visual Designer. With a teaching career spanning back to 2004, Tyler has honed his skills in the world of visual design, leaving an indelible mark on several renowned groups.

Tyler lives in Minneapolis and previously served as the visual designer for MBI Indoor. He also works with River City Rhythm Drum and Bugle Corps, MBI Winds, MN Brass SoundSport, and is the co-director of Irondale High School. Notably, under his guidance, Irondale HS has been a consistent top finisher in visual and effect-visual captions at WGI, including silver medalist finish in 2018, and gold in 2023.

His previous marching experience includes marching cymbals, playing guitar in the front ensemble, and as a mellophone player and drum major with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.

Outside of his passion for music and design, he is a Home Lending Advisor with Chase. He and his wife Bre stay busy by working on their 100 year old craftsman home.

2024 marks Tyler’s first season with ConneXus.

Danielle Marquardt

choreographer & movement designer

Danielle is returning for her 5th season choreographing and coordinating the movement caption for ConneXus! Danielle’s background is in colorguard. She began her marching career at Lafayette HS (KY) and has also performed with EKU’s Dance Theater, the Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble, Bluecoats Drum & Corps, Expressions Winterguard, Lexis Winterguard, Zydeco Colorguard, and Juxtaposition Winterguard.

She has taught many high school programs including Lafayette HS, Centerville HS, Bellbrook HS, and Kettering Fairmont HS. Danielle has continued her teaching career instructing DCI world class colorguards with Colts (’13-’17), Crossmen (’18), Troopers (’19), and The Cadets (’20-present).

Danielle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University but has recently shown interest in learning more about physical and/or occupational therapy careers. While she contemplates her “next move,” she works at Chipotle and substitutes at local elementary schools in the Dayton area.

Danielle is beyond excited to get started with the Big Dawgs for the 2024 season!

molly favret


A true veteran of the pageantry arts, Molly brings over 18 years of performing, instruction, and design experience to the activity. 

An alumnus of Kennesaw State University, Molly has held significant design roles with prestigious organizations such as Tarpon Springs HS, Paramount Winter Guard, Crossmen, Carolina Crown, and many other scholastic programs. 

Her fresh perspective on what’s trending combined with years of graphic design experience make her a dynamite force in the world of marching arts for set design, media, and (most recently) costuming within the Fred J. Miller Design Studio.



Coming soon!


Zach Albert

Audio Coordinator

Zach Albert has been involved in the marching arts since 1992. He is currently the audio engineer for several high school groups including Archbishop Alter High School (Kettering, OH) where he has helped win 8 state championships, multiple BOA regional class championships and multiple BOA National Semifinals placements.

Zach interned as an audio engineer with local studios and music venues. After completing his internship, he went on to work as an audio engineer for local music venues, theater productions, and recording studios.

Zach is an avid multi-instrumentalist and has performed as a musician in numerous musical theater productions and with his own bands.

Zach currently lives in Dayton with his wife of 21 years Jamie and his daughter Ashley.

Sean Girvin

Battery Coordinator

Sean began his performance career with Westerville North High School in 2012. He then went on to march his first season with ConneXus in 2016. He continued with the group through their transition to World Class in 2019 and marched his final season in 2020. Sean also spent one summer with the Crossmen in 2016 and one summer with Carolina Crown in 2018.

He has spent time teaching at a few high schools in the Cincinnati area including Oak Hills High School, Forest Hills High School, and Milford High School where he has served as the battery coordinator since 2021. Sean also arranged for the Milford High School Marching Band during the 2023 season. Sean spent the winter of 2022 as a snare tech with ConneXus before being named the Battery Coordinator in 2023. He has also worked with the Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps percussion staff in 2022 and 2023.

Sean currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where he received a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati.

2024 is Sean’s third season on staff with ConneXus.

Jordan Kracus

Assistant bATTERY cOORDINATOR & Lead Snare Technician

Jordan started his marching career in 2011 at Xenia High School and moved to Bellbrook High School in 2014.

After graduating, he spent the summer of 2016 on tour in Crossmen’s snareline and spent the next 3 winters in ConneXus where he aged out during their first year in PIW in 2019.

He has taught at several schools in the Dayton area including Bellbrook High School, Kettering Fairmont High School, Milford High School, and Northmont High School where he was the battery arranger/coordinator.  2023 is Jordan’s second season on staff with ConneXus.

Andrés Castaño

Snare Technician

Snare drummer Andrés Castaño has been involved in the activity for over 12 years with performances and clinics around the world.

Andrés marched from 2012 to 2018 in the Gran Banda Drum & Bugle Corps of Medellín, Colombia, South America; ConneXus 2019; Carolina Crown 2019; and Rhythm X 2023. He has served as translator for percussion clinics throughout Latin America.

Andrés is a signature artist for the Colombian company Sonart, Inc. and the Brazilian company Imagination Marching Concepts. He serves as a judge for WAMSB International and has judged and taught groups in Costa Rica, Panamá, Brazil, the United States, and Colombia.

Currently, Andrés is a physics engineering major at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He is also taking level B1 in German and is the Battery Coordinator for the two premier marching arts groups in Latin America: Medellín Vanguardia and Gran Banda Drum & Bugle Corps.

2024 is Andrés’ first season on staff with ConneXus. Andrés is the first person from Latin America to teach a PIW indoor percussion ensemble.

josh green

snare Technician

Originally from Hebron, Ohio, Josh Green has an extensive background in music performance and education. Josh has been a member of concert and jazz bands, world music ensembles, and marching programs playing percussion and bass guitar. Throughout college, he was a member of the Ohio University Marching 110 where he played snare for 5 years, serving as the section leader of the drumline for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Furthermore, he performed with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from 2020-2021 and ConneXus in 2020 and 2022.

Josh has had the opportunity to arrange and compose for the Marching 110 Drumline as well as several high schools throughout Ohio. He continues to work as a freelance marching percussion arranger/composer, instructor, and private lessons teacher. Josh is currently the Percussion Director at Westerville South High School, Percussion Instructor at Lakewood High School, and was previously a Battery Technician at Columbus Saints Drum and Bugle Corps.

Josh graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a Major in Integrated Media, a Minor in Music, and a Certificate in Social Media.

Josh is excited to return to ConneXus for his second season on staff in 2024! 

Isaiah Wood

Snare Technician

Isaiah is from Irmo, South Carolina where he started his drumming career at Irmo High School. After high school, Isaiah began his independent marching career with North Greenville Indoor (2017) and Civitas Independent (2018, 2019). In the winter of 2020, Isaiah relocated to Indianapolis to march with Veritas and then relocated to Centerville, Ohio in 2022 to spend his ageout with the Rhythm X playing rack.

Outside of winter percussion Isaiah has performed with the Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps (2021) and worked with Carolina Crown (2019) as a prop intern. Isaiah has spent the past three summers working with The Bluecoats (2021-23) as an assistant stage manager.

When he isn’t teaching at ConneXus, Isaiah is spending time with friends and family, teaching private lessons, and writing and instructing for the drumline at Plainfield High School.

Isaiah could not be more excited to start his second season with ConneXus this winter

Cameron Halls

Snare Technician

Cameron Halls is an active percussion educator and arranger based in Dayton, OH. He is a graduate of Michigan State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. As a performer, Cameron was a member of DCI/WGI groups including the Concord Blue Devils, Carolina Crown, NorthCoast Academy, and Rhythm X.

2024 is Cameron’s first year on the staff at ConneXus. He is currently an Assistant Band Director at Bellbrook HS & MS and is also on the Percussion Staff at the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps.

Dylan sammons

Lead tenor technician

Dylan Sammons began his marching career in 2011 with Milford High School in Cincinnati, OH. He began his time in the independent scene marching tenors with ConneXus in 2018, and stayed until his age out in 2020. He was also a member of the 2018 Madison Scouts.

His instructional experience includes teaching the battery at multiple schools around the Cincinnati/Dayton area. Currently, he resides in Cincinnati where he is the tenor technician at Milford High School.  2023 is Dylan’s second season on staff with ConneXus.

wesley kopis

Tenor Technician

Wesley Kopis is a world class marching performer and educator based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Attending Martinsville High School, his love for the activity began the moment he first saw it live. He immediately dedicated himself to building his skills to march at the highest level. Wesley graduated an award-winning music student, and a 5-time gold medalist in ISSMA State Solo and Ensemble, two of which were perfect scores on quads. 

His independent experience began in 2018 with two-time DCA Open Class Finalist Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps. He spent his last two seasons with the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. For indoor percussion, Wesley devoted himself to Indiana’s indoor scene performing with INOV8 in 2019 and Veritas in 2020-22. 

As an educator, he has served as a battery technician for Southport High School (Indiana), Cincinnati Tradition, and Jersey Surf. He currently attends Indiana University where he is studying Social Studies Education. 

Wesley is elated to be on staff with ConneXus. His deep passion and love for the activity is contagious, and he lives to give his students the tools to reach their true potential. He’s ready to work hard with the rest of the CNX team for 2023! 

Ethan Wright

Lead bass drum technician

An Indianapolis native, Ethan found his beginning as a performer with the Center Grove High School band and indoor percussion programs and has been a prolific educator of the Indianapolis community ever since. After graduating from Center Grove, Ethan performed with Legacy Indoor Percussion, Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps, and Matrix. 

Since his days as a member, Ethan has served as an instructor for many local high school programs and currently serves as the bass technician at Center Grove High School. He has also been a staff member at Veritas, Music City Drum & Bugle Corps, and Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps.

He currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his cat Charlotte where he works as a Software Engineer and UI/UX Designer while studying full-time at Indiana University. You can also see him performing with the Indianapolis Colts Drumline.

Ethan is excited to return to ConneXus for his third season in 2024.

Dr. Alyssa Iwinski

Bass Technician & Medical coordinator

Alyssa Iwinski has been a part of the marching arts since 2007, having marched with Phantom Regiment, Tates Creek, Gateway Indoor, and Matrix. 

Since aging out in 2015, she has participated in Matrix Taiwan and has taught at Legacy, Veritas, and the Madison Scouts. 

She is currently practicing as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in an outpatient orthopedic setting, with a special interest in athletic and neurological populations.  She has enjoyed integrating her skills from her academic background with her passion for education and percussion performance and has worked as a health and wellness coordinator for WGI ensembles. 

In her free time, Alyssa enjoys spending time with her husband, cooking and hosting, being active outdoors, and snuggling with her sweet kitten Amelia.

Zac Sterling

Bass technician

Zac is from O’Fallon, Illinois. He is a classically trained pianist, which has served as the foundation for his musical endeavors. He has been involved in the marching arts since 2007. His marching experience includes Matrix (2015), Gateway Indoor (2014), Carolina Crown (2012), and the Madison Scouts (2010, 2011, 2014). He has also taught and consulted with several independent and scholastic groups around the world.

Zac has a bachelors degree in criminology, a masters in international finance, a masters of business administration, and a doctorate in law. He is a transactional lawyer in his current hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. He is married to Alyssa, with whom he has enjoyed performing, traveling, and raising their cat, Amelia.

James Nelson

bass technician

James Nelson began his marching career in in 2006 with Lexington High School in Lexington, South Carolina. Later, he transitioned to Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, OH. After graduation he continued his marching career with Spirit of Atlanta in the 2011 and 2013 seasons.

His instructional period starts in 2012 as a bass drum tech for Beavercreek. He has since moved on to being one of the battery techs for the ensemble. James was one of the key inspirations for bringing back Beavercreek’s Indoor Percussion Ensemble in 2015.

2023 is James’ second season on staff with ConneXus.

Jack Flood

Bass technician

Jack Flood is a percussion educator in the Dayton-Cincinnati area. Originally from Canton, MI, and drumming since he was 7 years old, he attended Plymouth Canton Educational Park for his high school education. At that point, he grew to specialize in marching percussion.

He marched at Redline Percussion and continued on to the Crossmen, Carolina Crown, and eventually went on to earn a silver medal at Rhythm X.

Jack is currently the Percussion Director at Springboro HS, and also serves as a battery technician at William Mason HS. He is also on staff at the Madison Scouts. He started his teaching career in Michigan at Southgate Anderson HS and went on to teach Lake Orion HS, Lebanon HS, Novi HS, Plymouth HS, Walled Lake Central HS, Walled Lake Western HS, and Redline Percussion. He has also had the opportunity to arrange for a few groups in Michigan.

In his free time, Jack loves hiking and nature photography. He also enjoys listening to and producing music. He actively collects records and constantly has something playing.

2024 is Jack’s second year on staff with ConneXus.

Henry Iwinski

Bass technician

Henry Iwinski began his marching career in Lexington, Kentucky following closely behind his older sister Alyssa. After watching her perform in Tates Creek in 2011, he joined the drumline at Henry Clay High School to follow in her footsteps. By 2013 he joined Alyssa at TCIE and continued to march with her in Gateway 2014 and her age out in 2015 at Matrix (with Zac Sterling, his now-brother-in-law).

Henry continued his indoor marching career with Matrix 2016 and 2017 where he also got invited to perform with Matrix International in Taiwan. During this time he also marched the same years with Phantom Regiment. After a year break, he aged out at Rhythm X in 2019. From 2020 through 2023, he has been a bass drum tech at Cap City Percussion.

Henry has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and currently works in a lab as a quality control chemist in Lexington, KY. Outside of his professional life he enjoys golfing and going to local breweries.

2024 is Henry’s first season on staff with ConneXus.

kristin smith

Lead cymbal technician & alumni relations coordinator

Member, CPAA, Inc. Board of Directors

Kristin Smith has been involved in the marching arts since 2004, performing with many ensembles including Pickerington North HS Marching Band, the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band at Ball State University, the Falcon Marching Band at Bowling Green State University, Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, and Matrix.

Her past instructional experience has included percussion and visual instruction for high school and university marching bands, indoor percussion ensembles, and drum corps.

She holds a BS in Biology from Bowling Green State University and is a Learning Business Consultant in Columbus, Ohio.

Kristin is excited to start her 10th season with ConneXus in 2024!

bryce hopwood

cymbal technician

Bryce began his involvement with the marching arts in 2011 with the Waynesville High School Marching Band. In 2014, he joined Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps where he played bass drum until 2018. He has been on visual staff with Tradition since 2022. Bryce joined ConneXus as a member of the cymbal line in 2018 and returned on bass drum for his age-out season in 2019.

Bryce holds a BA in Music Education from Wright State University. He currently resides in Troy, Ohio, and is Director of Bands at Arcanum High School.

As an instructor, Bryce has held multiple positions with several marching programs across the Dayton area. 2024 will be his fourth season on staff at ConneXus.


Donny Price

Cymbal Technician

Donovan Price started his performing arts career in 2012 at Harding HS in Marion, Ohio, with 2015 being his first year on cymbals with their indoor drumline. Since high school, Donovan marched cymbals with ConneXus for three seasons (2019, 2020, 2022), as well as two seasons with Matrix World (2018, 2021).

Donovan currently works with Harding HS as Assistant Marching Band Director and has previously taught cymbals for Wapakoneta HS as well as having planned and produced all of the cymbal educational videos for the Matrix Virtual Drumline Experience that was available throughout the 2021 COVID season.

Outside of the performing arts, Donovan currently studies Cyber Security and Networking at Marion Technical College.

2024 is Donovan’s first season on staff with ConneXus.


Evan Pliska

Cymbal Technician

Evan Pliska began his cymbal playing career with Cap City Percussion in 2012 where he continued to march during through the 2019 WGI season.

He also marched three years of DCI, spending the 2015 summer with the Crossmen and the 2017 and 2018 summers with Pioneer. Evan’s teaching experience includes several high schools in the central Ohio area, INOV8 during the 2020 season, and 4th Wall in 2022.

He is currently teaching visual with the Columbus Saints Indoor Percussion Ensemble. 2024 will be Evan’s first winter with ConneXus.


Andrew Polk

Visual Coordinator

Throughout his time in the marching arts, Andrew performed with The Crossmen, The Cavaliers, ConneXus, and Rhythm X as a snare drummer. In addition to serving as the Visual Coordinator for ConneXus this year, he works on the Battery Visual Staff at The Cavaliers.

Andrew received his B.S. in Education from Miami University in 2021. He is from Dayton, Ohio, where he currently pursues his passions as a high school English teacher.



Kristen Mitzel

Visual Technician

Kristen Mitzel is an Akron, Ohio native and marched as a visual performer for Matrix Performing Arts in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Additionally, she has taught several high school color guard and percussion programs throughout Ohio and in 2020, relocated to Dayton, Ohio, where she is currently the assistant color guard director at Kettering Fairmont High School.

In 2023, Kristen graduated from Wright State University with two master’s degrees in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. She is currently serving as a school-based mental health therapist at Beavercreek High School and also works with her certified therapy dog, Eli, to bring emotional support assistance and education to local area schools. Kristen is also the Director of Operations for the Psi Alpha International Honor Society for High School Psychology.

2024 will be Kristen’s second season on staff with ConneXus.



Ian Caldwell

Visual Technician

Ian Caldwell is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky where he received his Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Music Performance.  During his time at Northern Kentucky University, Ian was fortunate to perform at the KMEA, OMEA, Jazz Education Network, and The International Trumpet Guild Ohio Chapter conferences.

Ian’s performance experience in the marching arts includes The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps from 2009-2012 and Rhythm X Winds in 2016 and 2017.  Ian has been an active teacher in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area serving on multiple visual and music staffs from 2009 through 2018.  Caldwell was a member of the brass staff for the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps from 2016-2018 before joining The Cavaliers visual staff for the 2019 and 2023 seasons.

Ian is currently the Director of Bands at Williamstown Jr. & Sr. High Schools in Williamstown, Kentucky.  2024 is Ian’s first season on staff with ConneXus.



Megan Dufala

Visual Technician

Megan Dufala is originally from Avon, OH. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science/kinesiology, with a cognate area-of-study in dance performance from Bowling Green State University.

Megan has marched various independent winterguard programs, including Interplay (’16, ’17), Bluecoats Indoor (’18, ’19), and Pride of Cincinnati (’21, ’22). She also marched her DCI career with the Bluecoats (’14-17).

Since her performance experience, Megan has had the opportunity to improve her instructional and athletic training skills with multiple drum corps and high schools across the country including Campbell County High School, Mason High School, Music City DBC, and Bluecoats.

Currently, Megan lives in Cincinnati, OH, where she works as an assisted-stretch specialist with StretchLab and is the Director’s Assistant for Campbell County High School’s colorguard.

This will be her first season with Connexus, and she is looking forward to the exciting new experience!



evan Sasowsky


Evan Sasowsky is elated to be returning for his second season on staff with ConneXus!

Evan is a front ensemble fanatic, having begun his career as a marching mallet player at the University of Cincinnati. His experience there quickly inspired him to seek independent marching activities, landing him on a marimba at the Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble (PIA/PIO) in the 2014 WGI season. This first season would prove to be the impetus that drew him to continue a passion for the marching arts, particularly in the realm of indoor pageantry (WGI). Evan followed his first season of indoor with a season at Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble (PIW), where he was the center marimba player and section leader of the front ensemble in the 2015 season. For his final two seasons as a performer in WGI, Evan chose to march at Rhythm X (PIW), where he played marimba for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.  He marched his age-out DCI season in 2016 at the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps.

Evan has worked with bands of all sizes in southwestern and central Ohio including: Lakota West HS, Fairfield HS, Elder HS, Sycamore HS, Walnut Hills HS, and Conner HS. He has also taught at Tates Creek/Triple Crown Indoor, Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps, and Columbus Saints Drum & Bugle Corps.

Evan currently lives in Cincinnati, OH, where he is the Program Coordinator at Columbus Saints. He earned dual degrees in Business Analytics and Information Systems at the University of Cincinnati in 2022 and now works as a data engineer at Fifth Third Bank. In his free time he likes to play video and board games, go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with his girlfriend Barb, and play with his cats Summer and Jackie.



Eric Zielsdorf

Front ensemble Technician

As a performer and educator, Eric Zielsdorf continues to push the boundaries of music for the
percussion community. Based out of Terre Haute, Indiana, he has held several high school
percussion teaching positions across the state, providing opportunities for students to learn
lifelong skills while enhancing their musical abilities. He is currently the band director at
Greenwood Middle School and teaches the front ensemble at Greenwood Community High
School, Franklin Central High School, ConneXus, and Spirit of Atlanta Drum
and Bugle Corps.

Eric spent seven seasons on Drum Corps International’s World Class tour as a front ensemble
member. He performed with Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps, the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps,
and Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, earning a bronze medal with Carolina Crown at the
2017 DCI World Championships. His prior experience as a front
ensemble instructor includes having worked with Northview High School, 4th Wall Indoor Percussion, and
Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps.

Eric holds a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs
School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts from Carthage College. His teachers include Michael
Kozakis, John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Joseph Gramley, Joseph Galvin, and Sean Dobbins.



Dan Moell

Front ensemble Technician

Dan Moell is a percussion performer and educator from Dayton, OH.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Wright State University in 2020. Dan was a member of Rhythm X in 2017 and 2018 attended the Brevard Summer Music Festival in 2018.

As an educator, Dan has been on percussion staff at many high schools in the Dayton area. He served as Percussion Director at Northmont HS and is the current Front Ensemble Coordinator and Concert Percussion Consultant at Centerville HS.

2023 is Dan’s second year with ConneXus.


trey singleton

Front Ensemble Technician

Trey Singleton was a member of ConneXus for 3 seasons. In addition, he has performed with groups such as Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps, Matrix World, Miamisburg High School Indoor Winds, as well as the 2018 Army All-American Marching Band.

Trey holds a dual Bachelor degree in Music and Biology from Wright State University. Currently, he is teaching marching band percussion at both Miamisburg High School and West Carrollton High School and has been teaching marching band since 2018.

Having performed 14 seasons on synth in both outdoor and indoor groups, Trey has many years of experience with music software programs and libraries such as Mainstage and Omnisphere.



Will Susco

Front Ensemble Technician

Coming Soon!



Ellie Mehr

Front Ensemble Consultant

Ellie Mehr is an active marching arts educator from Minneapolis, MN. Serving the Twin Cities area and beyond, she is passionate about facilitating positive experiences that encourage both musical and personal growth.

Ellie currently serves as the Co-Director and Front Ensemble Coordinator for the Irondale Marching Knights, including the 2023 WGI Percussion Scholastic A Class Champion Drumline. She is also a Front Ensemble Instructor for the Madison Scouts and a Front Ensemble Consultant for ConneXus.

In addition to her extensive experience as an educator, Ellie also performed with several marching ensembles including River City Rhythm Indoor, Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, Minnesota Brass Indoor, and the Boston Crusaders.

Ellie graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. She currently works as a Board Certified Music Therapist assisting individuals of all ages and abilities in individual, group, and early childhood settings. Additionally, Ellie serves as Secretary of the Minnesota Percussion Association Board of Directors and was recognized as the Minnesota Percussion Association Instructor of the Year in 2021.

2024 is Ellie’s first season on staff with ConneXus.



Marco Iannelli

Audio Staff

Marco Iannelli is a pianist and tuba player based in Maineville, OH. A freelance musician in many ways, he works as a performer, educator, composer, and arranger. He writes concert music (with solo piano being his specialty) that encompasses a unique range of instrumentation, style, and genre. He also runs a freelance business, MJI Soundscape Designs, where he designs shows and arranges the music for various marching ensembles around the country. Currently, he’s the program coordinator for the Licking Heights High School Marching Band and is the brass and front ensemble arranger for The Columbus Saints.

Marco is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio with a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree as a piano student of Dr. Frank Huang. He also majored in Film Studies and minored in Composition. At Miami, he participated in their wind ensemble, symphony band, jazz ensemble, and marching band (as a drum major in 2021). He also served as the music director for Miami’s chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He was a finalist for the Geoffrey P. Hall Undergraduate Artists Competition in 2021 and graduated as a finalist for the Outstanding Performer Award for the Class of 2022, voted on by the faculty of the music department.

Marco marched tuba for the Madison Scouts from 2018-2021 (serving on the leadership team his final year), and was a synth player for Rhythm X from 2019-2023, receiving a silver medal in 2022 and a bronze medal in 2023. He received a gold medal in the 2020 DCI Performers’ Showcase and a superior rating in the 2022 WGI Virtual Solo and Ensemble contest, performing original piano compositions for both.

Marco has been spending the 2023 summer touring with the Troopers as a member of the brass staff. He also works on the marching band staff at West Clermont High School and William Mason High School. Outside of the marching arts, he will be giving private piano lessons at the Cincinnati School of Music starting in the Fall of 2023.

2024 is Marco’s first season on staff with ConneXus.



Cierra Carr-Brown

RN & Public Health Advisor

Secretary, CPAA, Inc. Board of Directors

Cierra Carr-Brown’s current work involves women’s health education and community outreach in Southwest Ohio. She has a strong background in healthcare and public health and holds BS in Exercise Physiology and Master of Public Health degrees from West Virginia University. She is currently a Registered Nurse at a Dayton-area hospital.

Cierra’s love of music began with her involvement in marching, concert, and jazz bands at her high school. Since meeting her husband, Drew, she has experienced a rekindled love of music performance and the pageantry arts, and she can be found loudly cheering in the stands during indoor drumline and marching band shows.

2023 is her second year serving on the ConneXus Board of Directors and ConneXus Administration Team.



Carlee McAfee

Media Coordinator

Carlee has been a part of the marching arts for almost a decade. Her time in the activity began at Westerville North High School where she was a member of the Westerville Indoor Percussion Ensemble, WGI Scholastic A Bronze Medalists. She graduated in 2017 and then transitioned to staff. She was the Visual Coordinator there from 2019-2021.

Carlee was a trumpet player for The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from 2017-2018. She was
also a cymbal player for ConneXus from 2017 through their transition into World Class in 2019.

She has taught at several high schools around Ohio including Westerville North, Central Crossing, and Kettering Fairmont. She has also taught cymbals and choreographed for Westerville Independent Percussion. In addition, Carlee was a member of the Visual Staff and a photographer for the 2023 ConneXus season.

Carlee currently serves as a Movement Designer for JJ Visual Design and choreographs for marching bands across the country. She is also a photographer for J.Honey Media.

Outside of the marching arts, Carlee graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications from The Ohio State University with a focus in New Media and Communication Technology.



Andre Rodriguez


Andre Rodriguez is based out of Troy, OH and is a Full Stack Developer and Data Analyst for Google Stores, HP and Intel Retail Programs around the globe. Andre is a founding member of ConneXus where he marched snare drum from 2013 to 2015. Andre is ConneXus’ first ever ageout member. 

Andre has been involved in the marching arts since 2006 where he began his career at Westerville South HS in central Ohio.  The exposure he received as a member of the band program at Westerville South aided in the path that has led him back to his first independent ensemble. Giving back to the programs that have aided Andre has always been a passion of his and being able to assist his ageout group makes him extremely happy and eager to hit the ground running. 

Now having a background in data and technology, Andre will be working with the admin team to assist on the back end as Webmaster where he’s had success with organizations such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Google on a national scale. His goal is to help wherever the ensemble needs him in order to be successful throughout the upcoming seasons. 

Andre is thrilled to return to ConneXus for his second season on staff in 2024, backed by the support of his daughter Era and partner Emily.



Barb Terrell

Director of operations

Barb Terrell is a front ensemble coordinator at several Cincinnati-area high schools.  She holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati. 

Barb has been involved with the marching arts since 2012 and has performed with many groups including Milford HS marching band and indoor percussion, the University of Cincinnati Marching Band, Cincinnati Tradition, the Columbus Saints, and ConneXus. 

Barb spent her entire independent indoor career in the front ensemble at ConneXus and she is looking forward to her first season as part of the admin team.



Melissa Gouge

Support Staff


Melissa started her performing arts journey at a young age as a performer in the Cincinnati Ballet’s production of Cinderella. She has since moved to the marching arts where she has played both flute and marched with the color guard at both the high school and college level. 

In 2022, Melissa graduated from Ohio Northern University with a degree in Biochemistry and is currently a PhD student in the University of Cincinnati’s Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology graduate program. Melissa marched with Phoenix Independent in 2019 and 2022.

Melissa currently teaches guard at Harrison High School and has previously taught at La Salle High School. 



Austin Sharp

Support Staff

Austin Sharp is from Cincinnati, Ohio and attended La Salle High School. Austin performed with ConneXus for 8 seasons from 2015 to his ageout in 2022, playing rack, vibraphone, and marimba in the front ensemble. Austin’s additional performance experience includes Cincinnati Tradition (2017-2019) and Rhythm In Blue (2023).

Austin is an in-demand front ensemble educator in southwestern Ohio. He currently instructs William Henry Harrison HS and Forest Hills HS.

2024 is Austin’s first year on staff with ConneXus. He is very excited to be a part of the team and can’t wait to get started.



Christina Nickum

Support Staff

Christina started her marching arts career in high school with the Amherst Marching Comets and Amherst Indoor Drumline on mallets. She went on to play with the Miami University Marching Band during college and returned to indoor drumline in 2022 where she aged out with ConneXus on vibraphone.

Christina graduated from Miami University in 2021 with a double major in Zoology and Neuroscience, and a minor in Botanical Sciences. After graduating Christina began teaching with a few high schools across Ohio and became the Percussion Director for Hamilton High School going into the 2023 winter season where she still teaches.

Christina is excited for her first season on staff with ConneXus 2024!



Sam Lyon

Support Staff


Sam Lyon is super excited to be joining the ConneXus admin support staff for the 2024 season. Sam started her marching career at Westerville North High School and marched until graduating in 2018. She played both trumpet and marimba in the marching band in high school. She joined ConneXus in the 2017 season as a rack player, then played vibraphone with the ensemble until her last marching season in 2020.

Sam currently resides in Delaware, Ohio where she completed her IT education at My Computer Career and is continuing to pursue her IT career. She spends her free time spending time with her boyfriend Josh and their cat Luci.



Jamie Albert

Support STaff

Jamie is a Registered Nurse with 13 years of experience in cardiac care and home health.  Jamie holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wright State University and a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership from Western Governors University.  She manages home health care agencies for The Ohio State University in Cincinnati.

Jamie is also a photographer specializing in concert and performance photography through her business, Studio 73 Photography.  She has captured pictures of multiple performance ensembles for both MEPA and WGI.  Her work has been published in Aurora Magazine and “The Dynamic Marching Band.” Jamie also has experience in custom apparel creation as the former owner of Finally Gotcha Covered Custom Apparel.

Jamie has been an enthusiastic supporter of the marching arts for 15 years as a band parent, including 4 years as a parent of a ConneXus performer.

Jamie resides in Dayton, Ohio.  2024 is Jamie’s second season on staff with ConneXus.



Chloe Spencer

Support STaff

Chloe Spencer (she, her) is so excited to join the ConneXus team for the 2024 season. Chloe is currently the Event Operations Manager for USBands, managing Fall Marching Band and Indoor Percussion operations, Drum Corps International education clinics, and other special events.

Chloe received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Business at Morehead State University, under the direction of Dr. Brian S. Mason. She spent several years as a bass drummer, performing with Tates Creek Indoor, Veritas, and the Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps, where she received the 2019 INSTEP Women of DCI Award.

She has worked on administrative teams for the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps, the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, Aimachi Bands, and Rhythm X. Chloe is also active in the Percussive Arts Society’s Diversity Alliance and is a chairperson on the PAS University Committee.



Dr. Mariah Cotton

Support STaff

Mariah grew up in northeastern Ohio, where she began her marching arts career in 2012. Mariah played the tenors with Amherst HS indoor and outdoor,\ and then went on to march cymbals at ConneXus for the 2016-19 seasons until her age-out year.

Throughout her time at ConneXus, she attended The Ohio State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in animal biosciences. She pursued her doctoral education with Ross University, graduating with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Mariah has teaching experience as a cymbal technician at various high schools including Amherst HS and Kettering-Fairmont HS.

Outside of drumline, Mariah works as a veterinarian in Columbus, OH. She loves painting, playing video games, and curling up with a good book!

Mariah is very excited for her first year on staff with ConneXus!



Amelia Wang

Medical STaff

Amelia Wang, originally from North Carolina, moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 2016 where she began her DCI journey as an athletic training intern in 2017 for The Cadets and then in 2018 for the Santa Clara Vanguard. She then marched WGI as a visual ensemble member for Matrix World and Rhythm X and aged out on cymbals with ConneXus in 2022. Amelia was the Medical Coordinator for the Crossmen in 2022.

Amelia currently performs with the Pittsburgh Steelers Steeline drumline for the 2023 NFL season on cymbals. She has also taught as a visual and cymbal instructor for Baldwin High School located in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently works as a Physical Therapy Tech for UPMC.

During that time she has gotten her BA in Communications and is currently pursuing her MA in Health Communications.

2024 is Amelia’s first season on staff with ConneXus.



Felicity Gentry

Media STaff

Felicity Gentry is based out of Columbus, OH and currently works as a Production Artist/Designer for SOL Prints. She is a recent graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Advertising and Graphic Design.

Felicity has been involved in the marching arts since high school, performing on cymbals with Milford High School indoor percussion for two seasons in PSA, then moving into her first PIW season with ConneXus in 2020. She has been a cymbal technician for Milford High School and Sycamore High School.

Felicity is excited to be back with the home team!



Tim Wiencek

Media STaff

Tim Wiencek started his marching career at Olentangy Liberty High School in 2013.  After high school, Tim attended Ohio University and participated in the Marching 110. He has also marched tenors in DCA for the Erie Thunderbirds in 2018 and in WGI for ConneXus in 2022. He has also taught at multiple high schools throughout Ohio.

Tim holds a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Media and Marketing with a focus on video production from Ohio University. He currently works in marketing in Columbus, Ohio while freelancing video projects.



Josh Clements

Media STaff

Josh Clements is a freelance photographer and social media coordinator based out of Indianapolis, IN. He has been involved in marching arts media for 8 years, working for a wide variety of organizations across all levels of the activity.

He is currently one of the lead media producers for the Bluecoats where he has been since 2020. Before joining the Bluecoats, Josh worked as the media manager for The Cadets from 2017-2019 and as the social media intern for the Seattle Cascades in 2016.

Outside of drum corps, Josh has spent several years working for multiple indoor groups including Rhythm X, Matrix, and Rise Percussion. He also regularly freelances for FloMarching, Music For All, and the Percussive Arts Society.

In 2022, Josh received the inaugural awards for Outstanding Individual and Outstanding Storytelling as voted on by his peers in the media community.

Josh attended the University of Northern Colorado (Go Bears!) where he studied Classical Saxophone Performance and Art. When he is not busy with his freelance work, Josh teaches music and visual along with private lessons for saxophone at Franklin Community High School.

2024 is Josh’s first season on staff with ConneXus.