Dr. Elliott Tackitt, Director of Bands
Dr. Elliott Tackitt is the Director of Bands at the University of Virginia. Among his duties in this role, he directs the Cavalier Marching Band, conducts the Wind Ensemble, and provides artistic guidance to the entire band program.
A passionate advocate for music education at all levels, Tackitt is internationally active as a clinician, educator, and conductor, particularly throughout the southwest United States as well as Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He has also led classes in Vienna, Austria, as part of a three-week course sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Center for Global and Intercultural Studies. His research interests are focused on historic works written for the military band of San Marino.
Previously, Tackitt served on the faculties of the University of Michigan as well as Arizona State University. In these roles, he taught undergraduate instrumental conducting, a graduate seminar on advanced rehearsal techniques, and also served as a conductor of the Concert Band and Wind Symphony, respectively.
From 2009–2016, Tackitt served as the Associate Director of Bands at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, where he conducted the Symphonic Band, taught undergraduate conducting and secondary methods courses, developed and implemented a course on marching band techniques, directed all aspects of the NAU athletic band program, in addition to serving as the Director of the NAU Curry Summer Music Camp for student campers grades 6–12. While in Arizona, Tackitt appeared multiple times as a presenter and clinician at the Arizona Music Educators Association state conference.
Tackitt completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting at the University of Michigan and his Master of Music in Wind Conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also completed a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education, from the University of Michigan. His principal conducting mentors are Michael Haithcock and Steve Davis, and his trombone mentor is David Jackson.
Tackitt is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Virginia Music Educators Association. Additionally, he is an alum of the Epsilon chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (University of Michigan), an Honorary member of the Gamma Kappa chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Alpha Chi chapter of Tau Beta Sigma (Northern Arizona University) and an Honorary member of the Nu chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi (University of Michigan).
Dr. Andrew Koch, Associate Director of Bands
Dr. Andrew Koch is the University of Virginia Associate Director of Bands. He joined the faculty at UVa in June of 2005, when the Cavalier Marching Band (CMB) was less than a year old. Since then, he has been involved in all aspects of the band program.
He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University (JMU) in 2011, a Masters in Music Education with a Trumpet Performance emphasis from the University of South Carolina (UofSC) in 2001, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Western Michigan University (WMU) in 1999. He is eternally grateful to his many mentors in conducting (William Moody & James Copenhaver from UofSC, William Pease from WMU & Patrick Rooney from JMU) and in trumpet (Keith Amstutz from UofSC and Stephen Jones & Scott Thornburg from WMU).
In Andrew Koch's time at the University of Virginia, the young band program grew from 180 to over 320 students. The University of Virginia Bands have become internationally recognized, respected and admired for the growth of this new program, the quality of sound from the various ensembles, the student leadership model in the CMB and the collaboration with the local community and University constituents across Grounds. Dr. Koch is passionate about students continuing their musical talents throughout their time at UVA. He was heavily involved in recruiting for the band program and building the family culture across the band.
From January of 2019 through July of 2021, Andrew Koch served as the Interim Director of Bands at UVA. In this role, he successfully navigated the band program through the uncertainty of a global pandemic, quickly learning and changing with the times to continue to allow students the ability to perform safely and maintain their close relationships to the other members in the band program. He led the CMB during one of the most successful football seasons in UVA history, performing at the ACC Championship in Charlotte, NC and the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. He collaborated with Clemson Director of Bands, Mark Spede to perform the National Anthem on the field with the Clemson University Tiger Band. He led the UVA Basketball Band through the 2019 NCAA National Men's Basketball Championship season. He also organized and led a collaborative performance with the Monticello High School & UVA Wind Ensemble in a shared concert and produced numerous innovative asynchronous, collaborative videos throughout the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. These videos included elementary aged singers from the Charlottesville area as well as UVA President Jim Ryan, UVA Provost Liz Magill, and local radio icon Jay James.
Andrew Koch is a Michigan-born, first-generation college student who is very active mentoring high school and college students. He is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator and is an active member of the College Band Directors National Associate (CBDNA), with his primary focus in the area of athletic bands. He is an Honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi (University of South Carolina in 2000) and Tau Beta Sigma (University of Virginia in 2012) where he personally installed the Iota Kappa chapter at UVA. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, he taught successful high school & middle school band programs in both South Carolina and Michigan for 6 years.
Michael Idzior, Assistant Director of Bands
Mike Idzior is the University of Virginia Assistant Director of Bands. While the band program was its infancy, Mike was the first person hired in this role. He has been highly involved and integral to every aspect of the band program, including developing the traditions and procedures of the CMB. Originally from the state of Michigan, he holds a music education degree from Western Michigan University, a Master’s of Music from the University of North Texas in Euphonium performance with a related field of conducting, and is currently finishing his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Texas in Euphonium performance, with a related field of conducting. At UNT, Mr. Idzior served as the euphonium studio teaching fellow, a highly coveted, internationally recognized position. His euphonium mentors include Dr. Brian Bowman (UNT), Andrew Miller (WMU), and Robert Whaley (WMU).
During his time at the University of Virginia, Mike collaborated with the band staff in all areas of the program. He aided growth of the band from 200 to 320 members. A supporter of student leadership, he has played a vital part of the development and teaching of the student leadership teams. He acts as the sponsor for the band’s Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternity. He has taught band clinics for bands throughout the state of Virginia along with Dr. Koch and former Director of Bands Dr. William Pease. In 2019, Mike directed and took the CMB’s HOOps Band to Minneapolis to help capture UVA basketball’s first NCAA championship.
While at UVA, Mike has performed featured solos in Charlottesville and on tour with the UVA Wind Ensemble, and on Grounds with the University Concert Band & UVA Trombone Ensemble. He has also performed with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra. He has been the winner of concerto and solo competitions playing euphonium. Mike has also soloed throughout Europe with the Southwest Michigan Ambassadors of music performance group.
At the University of North Texas, Mike performed in the internationally respected UNT Wind Symphony. He can be heard on recordings with the ensemble as principal euphonium as well as on their summer conducting collegium recordings. Mike also conducted the “6 o’clock” UNT Tuba and Euphonium Choir. He was a three-year member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps of Madison, Wisconsin, and served as their 2002 baritone soloist. Most recently, he was a presenter at the 2021 College Band Directors National Association for Athletic Band’s national conference. Mike brings a wealth of high-level musicianship and marching arts experience to the UVA bands program.
Brandon West, Assistant Director of Bands
Brandon West is the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Virginia. He assists in the logistics and rehearsals in all areas of the band program and instructs the drumline.
Originally from North Carolina, Brandon earned his Bachelors's Degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and his Master's Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Brandon’s primary studies were with Dr. Tracy Wiggins (UNCP), Dr. Joseph Van Hassel (UNCP), and Dr. Eric Willie (UNCG).
As an educator, Brandon is passionate about building better bands. He arranges and teaches percussion music for marching bands all over the state of NC, judges and adjudicates in NC and VA, and writes marching band drill. Percussion ensembles under the direction of Brandon have experienced great success as grand champions, AIA championship finalists, CWEA finalists/medalists, BOA Super Regional finalists/medalists, and BOA Grand National contenders. Previously, Brandon served as the marching percussion instructor, percussion arranger, and drill writer for the Elon University Marching Band from 2019-2021. Most recently, Brandon was the Director of Bands at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Orange County.
As a performer and student, Brandon has had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s greatest percussionists. Most notably, Brandon has worked with Michael Burritt, Mark Ford, Nancy Zeltsman, Pius Cheung, Casey Cangelosi, and members of NEXUS. Brandon has performed at the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) Convention as a featured performer four times, performed on the focus day showcase at the Percussive Art Society International Convention (PASIC), and was a winning member of the PASIC International Percussion Ensemble Competition with UNCG. Lastly, Brandon was a founding member of the Elon Contemporary Chamber Ensemble that performed new and exciting Pierrot Ensemble music.
Brandon West is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Eta Beta Chapter, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke).