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Music Faculty- Brenham Campus

 

For detailed Bio, click link below.

Larry Campbell , Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba

Harry Blake, Director of Bands

Karen Lambert Blake- Color Guard Director/Woodwind Instructor

Dr. Sarah Burke, Assistant Band Director, Dir. of Percussion Studies

Jill Stewart

Brian Klekar, Sax and Sax Ensemble, Instructor of Music History of Rock and Pop music

Elizabeth Byrd-Shipsey,Voice and Musical Theater

Dr. Joel Plaag, - Director of Choral Studies 

Dr. Craig Garrett , Director of Jazz Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, and Instructor of Trumpet

John Dujka , Instructor of Piano/Group Piano/Music Theory

John McCroskey , Instructor of Trombone, Trombone Ensemble

Todd Quinlan, - Instructor of Percussion and Music Literature

Vicki Sue Wehmeyer - Instructor of Voice & Music Fundamentals

John Vovroch, - Instructor of Voice

Marie McElroy, Instructor of Flute, Flute Ensemble

Robert McElroy - instrumental accompanist

Eric Stone Miller - Double Reed, Woodwinds and Music Appreciation


Larry CampbellLARRY CAMPBELL, Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba.Larry Campbell has been in music education for 46 years, the past 40 years at Blinn College and retired in May of 2013  transitioning to part-time tuba/euph instructor.   A Houston Cy-Fair High School graduate, Campbell received his Bachelors degree in music education and  Masters degree in tuba performance from the University of Houston with post graduate studies at Sam Houston State University, West Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University.

Campbell began his teaching career in 1967 as the band and orchestra director at Fannin Jr. High School in Amarillo where he was also the tuba player in the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra. He then went on to direct bands at Lovenberg Jr. High School in Galveston and at Pasadena High School before coming to Blinn College in 1973.

Campbell spent 35 years as Blinn’s director of bands and has been fine arts division chair since 1994.  In addition to tuba and euphonium instructor, Campbell organizes music contests including the 38th Annual Buccaneer Marching Festival, Music Meets for concert bands and Solo & Ensemble Contest for instrumental and vocal.  The  marching contest attracts over 30 high school bands while the concert events usually host up to 40 bands over a three day period.

During Campbell’s years, the Blinn music department faculty has grown from two to nine full-time (and four part-time) employees and attracts 35 to 40 music majors each year. The band program at Blinn College is now considered one of the strongest community college band programs in the state, consisting  of marching band, two concert bands and a jazz ensemble.

Blinn also consistently earns more seats in the Texas Community College Band Directors All-State Band than any other community college in the state. The Buccaneer marching band has performed in exhibitions at UIL contest events in Houston, Waco, Round Rock, and Georgetown, and at the state UIL competition in 2012. The symphonic band tours each spring, performing at area high schools in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Copperas Cove and the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas.

Campbell’s former students are now statewide Blinn band ambassadors. With more than 35 former students now active band directors in public schools, their referrals help sustain the band program, building on its proven success. Campbell receives much satisfaction from the successful former students that continue their musical career at universities across the state and choose to make music education their profession. He is especially appreciative of the fine arts faculty for their patience and support over the last four decades.

Campbell’s love of music and of Blinn shows in his own musical pursuits. He has commissioned five compositions for the Blinn symphonic band including Blinn’s 1983 centennial celebration and the  dedication of the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center in 2000.  Most recently Campbell has commissioned Texas A & M music professor Dr. David Wilborn to write a composition for the Blinn instrumental music faculty which was premiered at the annual faculty recital Nov. 17, 2010 in the Dr. W. W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center.

Campbell is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Band Masters Association, Phi Beta Mu, International Tuba-Euphonium Assn. and the Texas Community College Teachers Association. He is an active performer on tuba and euphonium and is a member of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Campbell is also the proud father of three musically-inclined sons – all of whom were Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band and Orchestra members. Oldest son Russell is the Associate Principal Trumpet with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Jeffrey is second trombone in the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and a freelance musician in the Houston area and Steven is the principal tuba with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. Campbell and his wife of 48 years, Karen, are also very proud of five grandchildren.


Harry BlakeHarry D. Blake / Director of Bands, Instructor of Horn Office Location: Music Building/Band Hall (979) 830-4652 Harry D. Blake, is a former director of bands at DeSoto High School in DeSoto, Texas, North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon and MacArthur High in San Antonio, Texas. The 2005 DeSoto Wind Symphony was a featured band at the Bands of American National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 2007 Southeastern United States Band Clinic in Troy, Alabama, in and the 40th Annual Western Michigan Wind and Percussion Clinic in April of 2008. The MacArthur High School band of San Antonio, which Mr. Blake directed from 1994-1999 was the winner of 26 consecutive UIL sweepstakes awards, placed 5th at the 1998 Bands of America Southwest Regional, was a featured band at the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis in 1997, finished 8th in the 5A honor band competition in 1996 and 11th in the 1997 state marching contest. Mr. Blake also conducted the Killeen High School band program from 1990-1994, one of the outstanding 5A bands in Central Texas. Prior to coming to Texas to teach high school, Harry Blake served as Director of bands at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma; University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV); and Frostburg State College in Frostburg, Maryland.

Before entering the collegiate ranks of teaching, Mr. Blake directed the renowned Fort Hunt High School band from Fairfax County, Virginia. The Fort Hunt band toured extensively and performed at the Mid-East Music and the Mid-West Music Conventions. Prior to teaching at Fort Hunt, Mr. Blake was the director of the outstanding Sturgis High School Band in Sturgis, Michigan. Mr. Blake is a past State Chairman of the National Band Association and College Band Directors National Association. He is currently a member of TMEA, TBA, Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Academic Fraternity and Kappa PSI National Band Fraternity.


Sarah BurkeSARAH M. BURKE, DMA Assistant Director of Bands, Director of Percussion Studies, Music Building  (979) 830-4015.

Sara Burke, DMA is currently Director of Percussion Studies and Assistant Director of Bands at Blinn College in Brenham, TX.  Additionally, she serves as Principal Percussionist with the Brazos Valley Symphony  Orchestra, and has performed with the Lubbock and Big Spring Symphonies. Sarah was also on the substitute list for the New World Symphony from 2005 – 2007.

She has performed as a featured soloist with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Blinn College Band, the Rutgers University Orchestra, and the Texas Tech University Orchestra, and has performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, St. Bartholomew’s and St. Thomas’s (NYC). She has also been a guest artist/clinician at Texas Tech University, The University of Arkansas, a College Station (TX) Night of Percussion, and Clements High School (TX).

A founding member of Spindrift Percussion Group, Burke has promoted contemporary percussion music through the commissioning of several new works for percussion quartet including works by Kevin Bobo, Dave Skidmore, Blake Tyson, and Steven Bryant. Additionally she helped to coordinate a commissioning project at Blinn College that resulted in the work Remembrance by Michael Burritt.

Sarah’s teachers have included Alan Abel – percussion emeritus Philadelphia Orchestra, Bob Becker – NEXUS percussion ensemble, Dr. Lisa Rogers – President of the Percussive Arts Society, Alan Shinn, and She-eWu – renowned marimbas and Innovative and Dynasty Percussion Artist.


Jill StewardJILL STEWART
Office Location:  Music Building  (979) 830-4262.

A member of the Blinn College Music Faculty since 1997, Mrs. Stewart received both the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Texas Tech University where she studied with Dr. Robert Walzel.  While at Texas Tech, she received numerous honors and was the Assistant coordinator of ClarinetFest '97.  She was a member of the Lubbock Symphony from 1993-1997 and is currently Principle Clarinetist with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.  Mrs. Stewart has also performed with the Abilene Philharmonic, The Roswell Symphony, the San Angelo Symphony, and the Big Spring Symphony.

 


Brian KlekarBRIAN KLEKAR, Saxophone Instructor, Saxophone Ensemble, Assistant Director of Jazz Studies, Introduction to Music, and History of Rock and Popular Music.
Office Location: Music Building (979)830-4674

Brian Klekar earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from Sam Houston State University, where he studied under Dr. Scott Plugge.

A member of Blinn College Faculty since 2006, Mr. Klekar is also the on call Principal Saxophonist with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the North American Saxophone Alliance, Texas Music Educators Association, and honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity. Mr. Klekar is a performer of a variety of styles including classical, jazz, pop, and Czech folk music. He is also well known across Texas and nationally for his performances and award nominated recordings of Czech folk music with the Czechaholics band.

 


Joel PlaagJoel Plaag, DMA – Director of Choral and Vocal Studies. 
Office Location: Schmidt Building  (979) 830-4239

A native of Miami and long-time resident of Houston, Dr. Joel Plaag returned to Blinn in 2013 after being on faculty from 2001-2003.  He serves as director of Camerata and the Blinn College Choral Union, as well as artistic director of the Brenham Chorale.  He has prepared choruses for the Arkansas Symphony, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble, and assisted in preparing choruses for the Orquestra Sinfonica de Minería of Mexico City.  He has been guest conductor of the Batesville Community Orchestra, the Ambient Arts Chamber Orchestra and the Bacâu Symphony, and was given the award for “Director of the Governor’s Distinguished Collegiate Chorale” for his role as conductor of the University of Houston’s “Coro.”  His research area is conducting pedagogy and he has led numerous workshops in conducting and teaching music.  He was responsible for the revivification of the Brenham Chorale after the group’s long hiatus in 2001, and is the founder of the Batesville Choral Society.  Plaag holds degrees from Texas Christian University, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Houston.


Craig GarrettCRAIG GARRETT, DMA, Director of Jazz Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, and Instructor of Trumpet. Office Location:  Music Building  (979) 830-4261

CRAIG GARRETT, DMA, Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Brass Ensemble, and Instructor of Trumpet. Office Location:  Machat Music Facility  (979) 830-4261
Dr. Garrett earned his Bachelor and Master Degrees at the University of North Texas, studying trumpet with John Haynie and Leonard Candelaria and developing his jazz skills in the North Texas Lab Band program.  He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a major in trumpet performance and pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he began his college-level teaching career.  His principal teachers pursuant to the doctorate were Allan Cox (Vanderbilt University) and Michael Tunnell (University of Louisville-KY).  He has been a member of the Jackson Symphony (MS),  Meridian Symphony (MS), Gulf Coast Symphony (MS), Pensacola Symphony (FL), and the Brazos Valley Symphony, and was a founding member of the Dallas Wind Symphony.  Dr. Garrett has taught at Cedar Valley College (Dallas), Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Lamar University (Beaumont).  He toured as a member of Contemporary Christian recording group Truth during 1978, performing on the album "Departure" which was noted in Billboard magazine as the first direct-to-disc gospel recording--and again in 1985, throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

A member of the Blinn College faculty since 1994, Dr. Garrett also teaches privately in the Brenham area and is also a member of the Brazos Valley Brass Quintet.  His command and versatility allow him to work in virtually all performance styles, from early music to modern, classical as well as jazz, popular and sacred.  Dr. Garrett is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the International Trumpet Guild, the Texas Music Educators Association, and the Texas Jazz Educators Association.  He serves regularly as an adjudicator in a number of capacities, and in February 2001 he was elected chairman of the Jazz Division of the Texas Community College All-State selection process by the Texas Community College Band Directors Association.  He is the founder (1995) and host of the Blinn College Buckin'Ear Jazzfest held on the Brenham campus each March.  A father of four children, he resides with his wife Teresa on a small farm in nearby Waller County.


John DujkaJOHN DUJKA , Instructor of Piano/Group Piano/Music Theory.

Office Location:  Music Building  (979) 830-4249

John Dujka earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Music Performance at the University of Houston Moores School of Music where he studied with Albert Hirsh, Ruth Tomfohrde and Abbey Simon.   A member of the Blinn College faculty since 1990, Mr. Dujka is active recitalist and collaborative pianist and also maintains a private piano studio in Brenham.  He is a member of the Brenham Area Music Teachers Association and regularly serves as an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers auditions and Houston Gold Cup event.  Mr. Dujka is also the founder of the Blinn College Young Pianists Competition.

Along with solo recitals, he has performed on KUHF Radio's "Front Row", and has been featured soloist with the Blinn College Symphonic Band performing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A minor".   Mr. Dujka is a versatile musician who is at home performing classical repertoire, Czech and German folk music, Hebrew music, and jazz/pop styles.  


Samples of Mr. Dujka in concert...
Brahms: Intermezzo in A, Op. 118, No. 2         Gershwin: Prelude #1

 


John McCroskeyJOHN McCROSKEY , Instructor of Trombone, Trombone Ensemble.  Office Location: Music Building (979) 830-4260

John  McCroskey joined us in the spring of 2002 as a part-time instructor of trombone and trombone ensemble.  Recently retired after 27 years as co-principal trombone with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and two years with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra early in his career, Mr. McCroskey now resides in Brenham and is a wonderful addition to the faculty and brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise from the perspective of a professional trombonist.

 

 


Vicki Wehmeyer
Vicki Sue Wehmeyer - part-time voice instructor & Music Fundamentals

Vicki has been employed at Blinn College since 2009 and  teaches private vocal lessons and Introduction to Music 1301.  Vicki holds an Associate of Arts from Blinn College in 1973, a BMEd from Sam Houston State University in 1976, and a MMEd from Sam Houston State University in 1977.

Prior to coming to Blinn, Vicki taught for Brenham Independent School District and retired after 30 years of teaching Kindergarten through High School.  In her last 5 years of teaching, she was the Brenham High School and Brenham Junior High School Choir Director.  During this time, her choirs received several Superior (I) Ratings at U.I.L. Competitions.  Her students also competed in the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Process, where some were chosen for the All-State Choir.

Vicki is also the Music Director at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brenham.


Tod QuinlanTodd Quinlan – Instructor of Percussion and Music Literature (MM): Faculty since 2010 on both the Brenham and Bryan Campuses, Todd teaches a variety of general music courses and is involved in all aspects of the percussion program.  Todd earned his Bachelors Degree in Percussion Performance, Magna Cum Laude, from Boston University, where he studied percussion with Tim Genis (Principal Timpanist – Boston Symphony) and Richard Flanagan (Boston Pops, Boston Ballet).  His Masters Degree, also in Percussion Performance, is from Rutgers University, where he studied with Chris Deviney (Principal Percussion – Philadelphia Orchestra), Alan Abel (Percussion Emeritus – Philadelphia Orchestra), Markus Rhoten (Principal Timpanist – New York Philharmonic), and She-e Wu (currently Professor of Percussion, Northwestern University). 

Todd has performed with various orchestras across the country, including the New World Symphony, Binghamton Symphony, and the Brazos Valley Symphony as a member of the percussion section.  Todd’s playing can be heard on the NAXOS label CD “Strange Humors” with the Rutgers University Wind Ensemble; William Berz, Conductor.  He is the featured timpani soloist on Michael Daugherty’s work Raise the Roof.

Additionally, Todd serves as a frequent adjudicator and a dedicated educator for the surrounding area public schools.  He also has introduced his own line of hand crafted timpani mallets, Quinlan Percussion (www.quinlanpercussion.com). 

 


John VavrochJohn Vavroch - Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.
Education:Bachelor of Music in Choral and Vocal Music from the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan. Master of Arts in Choral and Vocal Music from Ohio State Univ.  Columbus, Ohio.
Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary.  Fort Wayne, IN.

Teaching Experience:
Berea College – Berea, Kentucky, 3 yrs. Instructor of Voice, Choir and Music History.
D.W. Carter High School – Dallas, Tx. 3yrs. Choir Director
Blinn College – part-time faculty since 1997

 


Marie McElroyMarie McElroy

Marie McElroy, instructor of flute and flute ensemble since 2006, received her Bachelor of Music Education from Texas State University.  She attended graduate school at the University of Houston and studied flute with Byron Hester, former principal flutist of the Houston Symphony.

Ms. McElroy was co-founder and principal flute of the Houston Symphonic Band for twenty-five years, with performances throughout Texas, Washington, D.C., many European venues and the People’s Republic of China.  She has performed with the HSB Woodwind Quintet, the Katy Wind Symphony, and as a guest with the Orquestra de Camera of the University of Yucatan in Merida, Mexico.

Ms. McElroy currently performs with the Brazos Breeze, a professional flute choir in College Station.  In addition to her duties at Blinn, she maintains an active flute studio in Brenham and Bellville and is a freelance performer in the Houston area.


Robert McElroyRobert McElroy

Robert McElroy’s career spans four decades of conducting bands, choirs and orchestras including the Band of the People’s Liberation Army (People’s Republic of China), the Orquestra de Camara of the University of Yucatan in Merida, Mexico, the combined bands of the Queen’s Royal Army at Kneller Hall (London, England), the Texas Community College All-State Band (twice), the Texas Private and Parochial School All-State Band (twice) and numerous High School and Junior High School All-Region bands in Texas and nationwide. He also served as the conductor of Houston’s only professional wind ensemble-The Katy Wind Symphony.

McElroy began studying piano at age 8, served as church pianist/organist as early as age 12. His piano accompanying duties began when he was in junior high school and continued through college (SHSU) as well as throughout his teaching career.

McElroy and his wife, Marie (flute instructor, Blinn College) founded the Houston Symphonic Band in 1984. They concluded their 25-year tenure with the band this past year.

McElroy’s most recent teaching position was as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Activities for Houston Baptist University. His latest musical activities during “retirement” are as staff piano accompanist for Blinn College (Brenham) and as conductor for the “Brazos Breeze” – a professional flute ensemble in College Station, Texas.


Karen BlakeKaren Lambert Blake

Karen Lambert Blake, Color Guard Director/Woodwind Instructor A native of Falls Church, VA, Mrs. Blake earned her Bachelors of Music Education (1973) degree from the Julius Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford and her Masters in Flute Performance (1991) from Texas Tech University. She has also studied flute with James Pappoutsakis and George Madsen of the Boston Symphony, Joseph Mariano at Eastman and William Montgomery at the University of Maryland. As a freelance artist, Karen Blake has performed throughout the US and has served as principal flute of the Lawton Philharmonic (OK), as a member of the Harker Heights Concert Band, San Antonio Municipal Band, and the Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas).

Karen Blake's 38 years of teaching include serving as flute instructor, color guard and band director at numerous colleges and public schools, including DeSoto HS (2009 WGI Scholastic A Finalist-7th place), McNary HS (Keizer, OR), James Madison HS (San Antonio) and Killeen HS. She has also instructed the flute studio at Cameron University, Lawton, OK and Frostburg State College, MD, as well as the color guard at UNLV. Currently, Mrs. Blake is the Contest Administrator for the Texas Color Guard Circuit.


Dr. Eric Stone Miller Dr. Eric Stone Miller

Dr. Eric Stone Miller (DMA) is a native of Texas.  He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Wichita State University, Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin. 

Since 2006 he has taught frequently at Blinn College.  He has taught at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas since 2005.  Miller is currently Principal Bassoonist of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and a member/co-coordinator of the San Gabriel Winds (faculty performing arm of Southwestern University).  He is active as a chamber music coach, private lesson teacher, free-lance musician, and lecturer of music history; music appreciation and music theory/ear training.  With a particular passion for chamber music, Miller presents new music and/or updated versions of long-forgotten, but no less valuable, works with historical introductions and an occasional well-intentioned anecdote.

Prior to his most recent return to Texas in 2004, Dr. Miller taught at Bethany College (KS), Wichita State University, Yale University (CT), Georgia State University (GA), the University of Texas (Austin).  Since then he has successfully added Temple College, Texas State University, and A&M University in College Station to his teaching roster as well as appearing as a clinician at numerous educational conferences, camps and music festivals.

Miller has performed with many orchestras and ensembles including:  Wichita Symphony Orchestra; the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra; Mid-Texas Symphony; LaGrange Symphony Orchestra (GA); the Atlanta Ballet; Abilene Philharmonic; Augusta Symphony Orchestra (GA); Monterrey Orchestra (MEX); Austin Lyric Opera & Austin Symphony.

He has also participated/taught in numerous festivals including: Georgetown Festival; Bocal Majority; Brevard Music Center; Tanglewood (BUTI); Bowdoin; Sarasota; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; Park City Chamber Music Festival; the Victoria Bach Festival and the Las Vegas Music Festival in which he was also the Assistant Festival Director for several seasons.  His teachers have included:  Frank Morelli, K. David Van Hoesen, John Hunt, Eric Arbiter, Nancy Lutes, Kristin Wolfe Jensen, William Lewis and George C. Adams.

He and his family live in Central Texas with two lovable mutts, a toothless cat and an ALFA Romeo.  In his ever decreasing spare time he:  is a history buff (Naval, Pop-Cultural, Musical, Industrial, Social, misc.); is a passionate amateur cook (BBQ, desserts, soups and anything in pie-form); maintains a private studio of students; works on arrangements; runs a growing instrument accessory making business entitled HappenStands; is writing an illuminated textbook with a few colleagues; helping to bring to publication the works of Fritz Berens while taking over the publishing wing of the Black Light Bassoon Ensemble (of which he was a charter member); works on an older project vehicle and reluctantly participates in an ever increasing list of household duties.