||Mr. George Schrader, Associate Director of Bands, Director of the Western Thunder Marching Band
Mr. George Schrader is a native of South Haven, Michigan, and a 2007 graduate of Spring Arbor University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. In his first two years as an undergraduate, he attended Michigan State University where he was a member of the Spartan Marching Band and the Spartan Brass, both as a trumpet player. In 2002, he was a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps as a mellophonist. During his time at Spring Arbor University, he was the principal trumpet of the Spring Arbor Symphonic Band and Jazz Band as well as the President of the SAU Choirs. He studied instrumental music education under Dr. Ken Bauman, classical voice under Dr. Charles Livesay, and composition with Dr. Bruce Brown.
In 2003, Mr. Schrader began his career as an arranger and clinician for marching bands, working with the Chelsea High School Marching Band, under the direction of Rick Catherman, whom he still works with to this day. His client schools can be found in many states, including Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Wyoming, and New Mexico, and includes both high schools and universities. He is sought-after by many schools for his exciting yet attainable marching band music and drill writing, and for his charismatic and knowledgeable instruction. From 2007 to 2012, Mr. Schrader taught 5-12 band and 9-12 choir in the Albuquerque Public Schools (2007-2009) and Bloomfield Public Schools (2009-2012) in New Mexico, consistently receiving excellent festival ratings for marching band and concert band performances.
Mr. Schrader recently finished his Master’s in Music Education degree at the University of Wyoming, where he served as a graduate assistant for the university bands, and made a name for himself as an accomplished conductor and composer. His research was focused on Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite for 13 instruments. He also completed a lecture recital, which included works by Copland and Richard Strauss. He has had several premieres of original works by ensembles at UW as well as the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, under the tutelage of Dr. Anne Guzzo. He has studied wind conducting with Dr. Robert Belser, Dr. Craig Kirchhoff, Dr. Mallory Thompson, and Dr. Jack Stamp. Other conducting influences include Dr. Michael Griffith (orchestral), Dr. Nicole Lamartine (choral), and Maestro Gerard Schwarz.
Mr. Schrader resides in Laramie, Wyoming with his wife Whitney and his daughter Norah. He is an Honorary Member of the Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity and was also inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Fraternity for outstanding academics.
||Dr. Robert Belser, Director of Bands
A native of Lee's Summit, Missouri, Dr. Belser began his musical training on trumpet then on euphonium as a student Keith House. He earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Missouri State University studying with Russell Coleman and Robert Gifford. Following his undergraduate studies, he taught instrumental and choral music in Central Missouri. Dr. Belser served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Illinois where he studied with Harry Begian, Gary Smith, and Dan Perantoni, and earned the Master of Science in Music Education degree. He was Assistant Director of Bands at Eastern Kentucky University directing the concert band, athletic bands, and teaching music appreciation. Dr. Belser was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from The University of Iowa where he was a student of Myron Welch. He has also studied conducting with Craig Kirchhoff, John Paynter, and Mallory Thompson.
Dr. Belser was honored as a recipient of the prestigious John P. "Jack" Ellbogen Award for Meritorious Classroom teaching in 2000, and has served as a teaching excellence panelist for the UW Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning.
Dr. Belser is quite active as a clinician and conductor throughout the country, and as an adjudicator for bands in the West and the Midwest. Under his baton, the UW Wind Ensemble performed for the Western/Northwestern Division conference of College Band Directors National Association receiving acclaim for their sensitivity and musicality in performance. He is a proponent of new music and the process of creativity, and is not only in demand as a conductor but as a clinician for his promotion of positive teaching techniques and advocacy for the arts.
In addition to conducting, Dr. Belser also teaches music education and graduate conducting and literature courses. His research interests include the process of creativity, historic and new wind repertory, and the arts in the process of learning.