Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

MAss BAnd Directors


      Gary E. Smith   Massed Band Director

Gary E. Smith
Massed Band Director

Gary E. Smith
Associate Director of Bands, Emeritus
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Gary received his B.A. degree from Butler University and his M.A. degree from Ball State University.   From 1976 to 1998 and again in 2004, Gary was the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign, where he conducted the nationally recognized Marching Illini, Basketball Band, Symphonic Band II, in addition to teaching marching band procedures and band arranging in the School of Music.

Previously he served as Assistant Director of Bands and Marching Band Director at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, Director of Bands at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, and Director of Bands at Northside High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 1988 Gary was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and served as its president in 2017. In addition, he is a member of Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, and Kappa Kappa Psi music honorary fraternities and participates in the College Band Director’s National Association, National Band Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association. In 2017 he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Illinois Chapter Band Director Hall of Fame.

In 2005, he assisted with the production of the Orange Bowl Halftime. In 2007, Gary served as co-director of the Oklahoma Centennial All State Marching Band, which was be featured during the 2007 Rose Bowl Parade opening ceremonies.

Recent awards include the University of Illinois Alumni Association Outstanding Educator”, the Mary Hoffman “Outstanding Music Educator”, the “Spirit of the Illini” from the University of Illinois Athletic Association and the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal and the 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award in the School of Music at Ball State University.

Over his entire career, Gary has served as a consultant, guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, Singapore, China, Australia, Japan, Canada, Ireland and France. In 2015 Smith designed and produced the Singapore Youth Honor Marching Band for the finale performance for Singapore’s 50th Anniversary of independence youth celebration.

Presently, he serves as the producer of the annual Disney Thanksgiving Parade of Bands held at Disney World in Orlando, FL. In addition, he is the coordinator of the pre-game, halftime and parade festivities for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Presently he serves as the conductor for the Bonita Springs Concert Band in Bonita Springs, FL.

Gary is the former owner of the Smith Walbridge Clinics for drum majors, colorguard, marching percussion, marching band student leaders and directors where he continues to serve as a clinician. Since 1949, these clinics have attracted thousands of high school and college students from across the United States and several foreign countries.

Several of his articles have been published in The Instrumentalist, The School Musician and the Band Director’s Guide. His book, “The System: Marching Band Methods”, is used as a textbook in several University marching band courses and marching band clinics.

Learn more about Gary’s book: The System: Marching Band Methods”


    Dr. Richard Suk  Assistant Massed Band Director

Dr. Richard Suk
Assistant Massed Band Director

Dr. Richard Suk is serving his nineteenth year as Professor of Music and Director of Athletic Bands at Ohio University.  He is the director of the Ohio University Marching Band and is also the conductor of the Symphonic Band.  Dr. Suk received his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and his doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.  Prior to his appointment at Ohio University, he taught in the public schools of Alabama and Mississippi for ten years.  Under his direction, the Ohio University Marching Band has performed for the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Toronto Argonauts.  The band also performed in the 2000 and 2005 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, and the 2010 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. In May of 2013, the Ohio University Marching Band completed a performance tour of Ireland and Italy. Dr. Suk is a member of various professional and honorary societies including Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Ohio Music Educators Association, College Band Directors National Association and Pi Kappa Lambda.  He is a recipient of the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and is active as an adjudicator and clinician.


  Scott Wilson   Assistant Massed Band Director

Scott Wilson
Assistant Massed Band Director

Scott Wilson heads the Jazz Studies program at the University of Florida and has developed a new Jazz Minor and designed six new jazz courses which allow students to receive current industry skill sets and technology training.  Trumpeter Scott Wilson has established himself as one of the rising stars of jazz – both as a performer and as a pedagogue. Since earning two Masters degrees from the University of North Texas and performing on concert stages from Orlando to Osaka, Scott is in constant demand as a player, composer and educator.  He has served as Musical Director for Universal Studios Japan, staff composer for Grand Link World in Qingdao, China, and has been a featured trumpet soloist for Tokyo Disney Sea and Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Orlando.  Wilson’s international performance credits include sharing the stage with jazz luminaries including Benny Green, Wayne Bergeron, Gordon Goodwin, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Coffin, Shelly Berg, Denis DeBlasio, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Terrell Stafford, Ron Blake, John Pizzarelli, Ed Shaughnessy, Alex Acuna, and others. 

Wilson has hosted the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Camp, four Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshops and served as faculty for the Jam Camps in Utah.  In 2011, Warburton Mouthpieces released the Scott Wilson Jazz Mouthpiece that is designed to be a more supportive and functional mouthpiece for young trumpet players. His jazz texts, The Ultimate Jazz Tool Kit and Ultimate Music Workbook, are published by Kendall Hunt Publishing and accompanied by 35 Jazz Instructional Videos that cover topics ranging from jazz theory to song writing.  

Wilson has consistently been at the forefront of designing online platforms for jazz education.  His nationally published online platforms include Jazz Fundamentals 1, Jazz Fundamentals 2, Jazz Aural Skills and Jazz History.  Through Kendall Hunt Publishing these courses can be adopted and delivered to colleges and public schools nationwide. Wilson now serves as Artist Director for Lakeshore Music Jazz Series in Arizona and was a former Artistic Director for the famed Crescent Super Band (Downbeat Award winners 2006-2012). 


  Sara K. Clark  Color Guard Coordinator

Sara K. Clark
Color Guard Coordinator

Sara Clark began her color guard career in the Hawkeye Marching Band at The University of Iowa.  She performed in the Rose, Peach and Gator Bowls and served as flag line captain her final year, leading a squad of 36 members.

Sara began working with high school color guards in 1987 in Illinois and Iowa.  Specifically, she choreographed and taught for 20 plus years at United Township High School in East Moline, Illinois, as well as multiple seasons for Rock Island, Geneseo, and Cambridge High Schools (IL) as well as for Des Moines Valley West, Davenport Central, and Bettendorf High Schools (IA).  Her groups from Geneseo and Bettendorf competed in WGI events in Illinois, and she also provided movement and prop support for Bettendorf’s competitive drumline.

Over the years, Sara has acted as clinician and adjudicator for marching competitions in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and Florida.  She has also offered multiple and single-day seminars for color guard technique for high schools in western Illinois.

Sara contributed the Color Guard Chapter in Gary Smith’s marching band textbook, THE SYSTEM Marching Band Methods, in 2016.

She currently resides in Iowa City, IA and works at the University of Iowa College of Law as an Administrative Services Coordinator.  She has two daughters who reside in Geneseo, IL and Boulder, Colorado, and a son who is a student at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL