Walter Simonsen

Photo_SimonsenWaltWalter Simonsen
High Brass Instructor

WALTER SIMONSEN, DMA, grew up in Mission Viejo, California, where he attended Mission Viejo High School. Following graduation, Walter went on to earn his BM in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, where he spent four years at the first trumpet player in the award winning 2 o’clock lab band. During his undergraduate years, he was also the first trumpet player in the 2002 All American College Band at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA.

After his time at UNT, Walt went on to earn his MM and DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California. While at USC, he was a teaching assistant and instructor in the jazz department. Walt also spent 10 years with the USC Trojan Marching Band as a teaching assistant and later as an assistant director.

Currently Walt works as a freelance musician in Los Angeles, performing with artists such as Radiohead, Alicia Keys, Alan Silverstri, Bill Holman, Beck, Dream Theatre, Steve Miller, and others. He is also a show, visual designer, and brass instructor in the Southern California area, working with several high schools and college marching bands.

Walt also has a jazz project paying homage to the history of great jazz trumpet players called Trumpetology. He is also on faculty at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles and serves as the musical director and arranger for the LA Laker’s house band.

Brandon Zackey

Photo_ZackeyBrandon_squareBrandon Zackey
Tenor Instructor

BRANDON ZACKEY has performed on tenors for many world class marching organizations. These include Yamato, Esperanza, Glassmen, RCC Fall Marching Band, Pulse Percussion, RCC Winter Drum line, and The Blue Devils. He has been contracted multiple times to perform as a percussionist at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. Brandon has also performed on episodes of The Office, American Idol, and Big Love.

Upon aging out of the drum line activity, Brandon began teaching high school and professional ensembles, including the San Diego State University Winter Drum Line in 2012. He currently teaches Chaparral High School and Great Oak High School, while maintaining a studio of private students.

Recently he served as a clinician for System Blue, and has frequently performed locally in the Southern California area. Brandon can currently be seen playing drum set for the thrash metal band of his own creation called Chemical Warfare and the black metal band Sicarius.

Seth Shaffer

Photo_ShafferSethSeth Shaffer
Low Brass Instructor

SETH SHAFFER is a freelance musician and private lessons instructor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. He currently performs as the tubist for the New Texas Symphony Orchestra and Carrollton Wind Symphony.

As a teacher, Seth maintains a studio of 40 tuba and euphonium players in the DFW area. His students have achieved numerous accomplishments, including securing spots in the Texas Freshmen All-Region Band, All-Region Band, and All-State Band.

Seth earned his Master of Music degree in Tuba Performance at UCLA and his Bachelor of Music Education at Texas Christian University. His teachers include Aubrey Foard, Richard Murrow, and Ed Jones.

Josiah Morales

Photo_MoralesJosiahJosiah Morales
Low Brass Instructor

JOSIAH MORALES, was raised in Southern California, and works as a freelance trombone and euphonium player in the greater Los Angeles area. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Josiah performed with Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets in 2009, and then went on to march the 2010 season with the Santa Clara Vanguard. Josiah has been involved in various musical projects, and can heard on the Millenial Choir and Orchestra Album, “To Be an American.”

Aidan Ritchie

Photo_RitchieAidan (1)Aidan Ritchie
Low Brass Instructor

AIDAN RITCHIE was raised in Douglas, Wyoming. He attended University of Wyoming, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance. As a student bass trombonist, Aidan had the honor of accompanying many guest artists, including Steve Turre, Ingrid Jensen, and Bob Mintzer.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Aidan moved to San Francisco to work as a freelance bass trombonist. He is now attending UCLA as a graduate student in trombone performance under the tutelage of Los Angeles Philharmonic Associate Principal Trombone James Miller.

Aidan performed with the Casper Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2008 until 2011. While at the Troopers, he was named Most Valued Brass Performer, and served as section leader in 2011. In 2015 he performed with Blue Devils International, in a European tour that culminated in a week-long performance run at the Basel Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland.

Currently, Aidan is one of the Teaching Assistants for the UCLA Bruin Marching Band. His duties include visual and music instruction with the 28-person trombone section.

Andrew Pickett

Photo_PickettAndrewAndrew Pickett
High Brass Instructor

ANDREW PICKETT was born and raised in the Central Valley of California in the town of Tulare. At the age of eighteen, he relocated to Southern California to attend California State University, Fullerton. While attending CSUF, Andrew earned an Arts Degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Entertainment and Tourism, and also completed a minor in music performance. He studied under Steve Mahpar, and traveled to Portugal and China to perform with the CSUF Wind Symphony.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Andrew was accepted into the Master’s program for music performance at the University of California Los Angeles. At UCLA, he performed with the UCLA Philharmonia, where he played Verdi’s Requiem in the famed Royce Hall, as well as the world premiere of Dr. Ian Krouses’ Armenian Requiem. Andrew currently studies with Amy Sanchez, and is expected to graduate with a Master’s in Music Performance in June of 2016.

Aside from his educational accomplishments, Andrew has had the honor of performing with the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Guido Lamell, where he performed Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. He has also performed live on KUSC radio at the Bing Crosby Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition, Andrew attended the Raphael Mendez Brass Institute in Denver, Colorado, where he worked alongside David Hickman in the David Hickman Brass Choir, and studied privately with Martin Hackleman.