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Kansas State Bands


Call the Band Office at (785) 532-3816 to connect with any of our staff.

Heidi HiltonClassy Cat Coordinatorhiltonheidi1@gmail.com 

Heidi Hilton

Heidi Hilton is a former feature twirler and Classy Cat at Kansas State. She received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University (1997). After returning to her alma mater as master class instructor and guest artist for the KSU dance department, she served as adjunct faculty in the dance department as well. Heidi has trained at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in NYC, The Edge Performing Arts Center in LA, Hubbard Street in Chicago and the Kansas City Ballet.  In addition to training, she has a passion for teaching, including teaching class for Kansas City Ballet, as well as traveling around the nation teaching master classes and choreography in a multitude of different arenas. She has taught dance teams at the university level including at local schools Bethany College and Baker University and as far away as LSU and at studios nationwide. Heidi also adjudicated for Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance Competitions, Nebraska State Cheer & Dance, Headliners, DanceAmerica, and Dancer competitions.

A highlight of her professional dance career includes traveling the nation when the Broadway show “The Music Man” left New York for a National Tour. She also worked with television and movie stars of today while dancing with Holland America Cruiselines and at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Heidi has shared the stage with Vince Gill and Amy Grant, as well as worked with Ann Reinking and many other Broadway stars. An audition highlight includes making final cuts from several thousand dancers to the final one hundred for Beyonce’s tour, “The Beyonce Experience” World Tour. 

Heidi is married to Damian Hilton, former Head Coach of the Kansas State Cheer Squad, and has two children, Daisy and Aidan, whom she spends as much time as she can with enjoying life together. Heidi’s mother was the first director of the Pridettes dancers, later to be renamed Classy Cats. To say the least she is thrilled to be joining this talented team of dancers and twirlers.  


B.S. Dietetics, Kansas State University, 1997
Hilary SantanaColor Guard Coordinatorpowercatpilates@gmail.com 

Hilary Santana is a native born Kansan from Topeka, KS.  She graduated with a bachelor degree in Kinesiology from our very own Kansas State University.  During her time in college, she was a devoted member of the Kansas State Marching band, as a member of the color guard.  Her post college pursuits include leaving the Little Apple to spend time in the Big Apple mastering the art and science of healthy movement.  She is now back to offer her expertise by opening a Pilates studio that offers (alternative) fitness for those who want a non traditional fitness experience.  This movement knowledge base will be helpful in the execution of the KSUMB's color guard's glorious routines.


B.S. Kinesiology, Kansas State University

Alex WimmerGraduate Assistantamwimmer@k-state.edu 

Alex Wimmer

Alex Wimmer is currently a Doctorate in Philosophy canidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University and is a Graduate Assistant for the Kansas State University Bands. He assists with all concert and athletic ensembles, undergraduate conducting courses, and Percussion Ensemble II.

Originally from Gretna, Nebraska, Alex received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2007 and received his Master of Music degree in Education with an emphasis in Wind Conducting from Kansas State University in 2014. Alex was the Director of Bands at Gretna High School and the Assistant Director of Bands at Gretna Middle School from 2007-2012. Under his direction his concert, jazz, and marching bands received consistent superior ratings. He was a recipient of the Jack R. Snider Young Band Director Award in 2011 and served on the Nebraska Music Educators Association Leadership Academy from 2011-2012.

His professional affiliations include the Kansas Music Educators Association, the Kansas Bandmasters Association, the National Association for Music Education, the College Band Directors National Association, the Percussive Arts Society, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Alex enjoys spending his free time with his wife Anna and his daughters Addison and Anora.


B.M. Music Education with emphasis in K-12 Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha, 2007
M.M. Education with an emphasis in Wind Conducting, Kansas State University, 2014

Daniel HaddadGraduate Assistanthaddad@ksu.edu 

Chris Johnson

Daniel is originally from Seattle, WA where he received his B.A. / B.M. from the University of Washington in Percussion Performance and Music Education, and his M.A. from Florida Atlantic University with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting and Music Education. While at the University of Washington Dan was a member of the marching band, wind ensemble and percussion ensemble in addition to playing with the Seattle Blue Thunder Drumline. While in Florida, he was a graduate assistant in charge of the drumline for the Fighting Owls Marching Band in addition to being a conducting associate for the wind ensemble and symphonic band. He also helped start and direct the FAU Percussion Ensemble. After graduation Dan spent 7 years as the Director of Bands at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas Nevada where his groups travelled and performed at a high level throughout the western United States including a trip to the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

Dan is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Kansas Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association and a Vic Firth Educational Team Member.


B.A. / B.M. Percussion Performance and Music Education, University of Washington
M.A. Emphasis in Instrumental Conducting and Music Education, Florida Atlantic University

Jay KoupalGraduate Assistantjpkoupal@k-state.edu 

Jay Koupal

Jay comes home to the great state of Kansas with fourteen years' experience as a music educator. Under his leadership his bands have earned consistent excellent and superior ratings at contest. He holds degrees in music education from the University of Michigan and Capital University. As a percussionist, he can be heard on recordings by the USAF Band of Flight and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a member of NAfME and the Percussive Arts Society.


B.M. Music Education, University of Michigan, 1990
M.M. Music Education, Capital University, 2015  


Wes LewisGraduate Assistantwel9995@ksu.edu 

Wes Lewis

Wes Lewis is currently in his first year of the Master’s Degree program, in conducting, at Kansas State University. He graduated with honors from Kansas State University in 2004, with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. Over the past 12 years Wes has taught K-6 General Music in the Ell-Saline school district, 5-12 band in Fredonia, and just finished 8 years of instrumental music teaching for the Nickerson-South Hutchinson schools. Wes' time at Nickerson was marked by revitalizing a marching, jazz and concert band program. These ensembles traveled and performed at contests and festivals around the region and received great acclaim. Wes is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Kansas Music Educator's Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Kansas chapter for the National Education Association, and was awarded 2016 Teacher of the Year for USD309.

Wes has been married to his high school sweetheart, Deb, for the past 14 years. They have an active 7 year old daughter named Riley, and 3 dogs. The family bleeds purple and supports their Kansas State Wildcats in every way they can!


B.M. Music Education, Kansas State University, 2004

Jack DonovanGraduate Assistantdonovanjm@ksu.edu 


Jack Donovan has been appointed as the graduate assistant in percussion for the 2015-16 academic year. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Jack has been a member of many concert bands, orchestras, marching bands and drum and bugle corps.  He received his B.M. from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Percussion Performance under Dr. Jeff Crowell.  At UWEC he played with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band and Marching Band and was also a member of the UWEC Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and Phi Mu Alpha.  Outside of the University, Jack performed with the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra.  In 2012 and 2013, Jack marched with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps where he played bass drum. Before his summers with the Scouts, Jack marched with Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 for their Championship season.  He has also been a member of the Minnesota Brass Indoor Drumline and the Minnesota Vikings Skol Line.  In the summer of 2014 Jack was a member of a percussion quartet from UWEC invited to perform and participate at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Jack was also a member of the UWEC Percussion Ensemble for their performance at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, IN.

Jack has taught at many different high school drumlines and marching bands in the Chippewa Valley area. He was the Percussion Caption Head and Battery Arranger at the Menomonie High School Indoor Drum Line in Menomonie, WI and for the Chippewa Falls High School Marching Cardinals in Chippewa Falls, WI. He was also the Bass Technician for The Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps.


B.M. Percussion Performance, University Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2015

Andy Tinsman

Incoming Graduate Assistant


Andy Tinsman is a native of Chicago, Illinois and a graduate of St. Rita of Cascia High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education with an instrumental concentration from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He has also earned Masters degrees in Educational Administration and Music Education from Illinois State University.

While attending Augustana College, Andy performed the trumpet extensively in the Augustana Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra. His involvement in these groups afforded him the opportunity to travel across the Midwest and the United Kingdom. In addition to his involvement with the Augustana College music department, Andy has performed with the Ecumenical Singers of Monmouth, Illinois, the Peoria Brass Choir, and various churches in the Quad Cities and Peoria.

Andy was most recently the Director of Bands at Manual Academy and the director of the Peoria Jazz AllStars. Andy was a founding member of the Peoria Brass Choir, a community brass ensemble comprised of educators and semi-professional musicians.  He is also involved in several professional organizations such as the Jazz Education Network, Illinois Grade School Music Association, National Band Association, and the National Association for Music Education.


B.A. in Music Education with an Instrumental concentration, Augustana College
M.E. in Educational Administration and Music Education, Illinois State University

Frank McCaskill

Incoming Graduate Assistant


Frank McCaskill

Frank D. McCaskill Jr. recently retired from active duty as an Army Musician after 23 years of military service and is a Graduate Student working towards a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University. During his service, Frank has performed, conducted and supervised Army musical organizations throughout the US, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Iraq, and Kosovo. In 2013, Frank led a Brass Quintet tour of Russia on behalf of the American Consulate located in Yekaterinburg, Russia. For seven days, the group performed on Russian television and before capacity audiences in Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk; their audiences during the tour numbered over 4 million people. Frank deployed in 2010 with the 1st Infantry Division Band in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Prior to his enlistment, Frank taught for nine years in the public schools of Florida. Bands and orchestras under his direction have earned numerous Superior ratings at the district and state level of Florida Bandmasters Association and Orchestra Association festivals, performed at half-time for the Miami Dolphins football games and marched in the King Orange Bowl Parade. As a member of the Florida Bandmasters, Frank served as an adjudicator for solos and ensembles throughout the state, and a clinician for the Broward County Band Directors Association. Frank also served as the Assistant Conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale. In addition to his conducting duties, he was responsible for organizing the chamber music concert series for the orchestra. He earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and a Master of Music in Conducting degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he served as a Graduate Assistant with the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band under the direction of Dr. Stephen G. Peterson and professor John P. Paynter, Director of Bands.


B.M.E. in Music Education, Florida State University 
M.M. in Conducting, Northwestern University


Brandon Adams

Incoming Graduate Assistant

Brandon Adams Brandon Adams is originally from Fort Worth, Texas.  He received is BM in Music Education from Oklahoma State University under Professor Wayne Bovenschen.  At OSU Brandon played with the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz ensemble, Marching Band, and University Singers.  Brandon is a part of the Percussive Arts Society and in 2014 traveled to Indianapolis to perform a world premier piece at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention with the OSU Percussion ensemble.  In 2014 Brandon played marimba for Resistance Indoor Percussion.  Brandon has served as the Wind Ensemble Principal Percussionist from 2015-2017 and traveled with the ensemble to Kansas City, Missouri to play for the College Band Directors National Association.  In 2017 Brandon completed his student teaching at Deer Creek Independent School District, where he taught beginner instrument classes and ran rehearsals for multiple ensembles.  His percussion ensemble received a superior rating at solo and ensemble.  Brandon has also been a front ensemble technician for Fossil Ridge High School, Guthrie High School, and the OSU Winter Drum Line.  Brandon was also an active member in Phi Mu Alpha.


B.M. in Music Education, Oklahoma State University