Our Instructors

Erik Christianson, Director of Bands

Derrick Raiter, Percussion

Ben Bussey, Low Brass

Ariel Detwiler, Bassoon

William Eisenberg, French Horn

Carol Gilkey, Flute

Riley Helgeson, Trumpet

Steve Truran, Jazz & Marching Band

Susan Miranda, Oboe

Owen Tucker, Clarinet

Gus Sandberg, Saxophone

Erik Christianson, Director of Bands

Erik Christianson

Erik has been the Director of Bands at Two Rivers High School since the summer of 2020. Erik teaches Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Pep Band. He also administers the Private Lesson Program. Erik is an active supporter of the Two Rivers Band Boosters, Winter Guard, and Winter Drumline.

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Derrick Raiter, Percussion Instructor


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Ben Bussey is a musician, educator, and arranger based in Minneapolis, MN. His work on trombone, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, and sousaphone cover a wide range of music genres and reflect a keen interest in education at all levels of the music business. His current projects include Brass & BodyWorks, the Twin Cities Jazz Composers Workshop, and the Above Average Tuba Quartet. He also appears regularly with some of Minnesota’s best known artists, like McNasty Brass Band, Davina and the Vagabonds, and The New Standards stage band. He is Professor of Low Brass at Concordia University St Paul and serves on the faculty of the MacPhail Center for Music as a low brass instructor, staff arranger, and ensemble clinician.

Ben is an active guest artist, coach, and adjudicator for music programs throughout the region, and is a leader in the area of online instruction. His wide range of teaching and performing experiences provide a unique lens for students as they develop their skills as musicians and self-educators.

A Minneapolis native, Ben holds degrees from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (BMus Music Ed, 2008) and McNally Smith (MM Trombone, 2015, R.I.P.). His teachers in performing, arranging, conducting, and improvisation include Scott Agster, Pete Whitman, Adi Yeshaya, John Tranter, Tom Ashworth, Dave Werden, and Jerry Luckhardt. Ben and his bride Katie are avid baseball fans and coffee enthusiasts, and enjoy traveling the world seeking out both.

Learn more at www.tromboneben.com

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Ben Bussey, Low Brass Instructor


Ariel Detwiler, Bassoon Instructor


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Riley Helgeson, Trumpet Instructor


William Eisenberg is a horn player from Minnetonka, Minnesota. He has frequently played as a substitute member of the Minnesota Orchestra horn section, as well as traveling with the orchestra during their Common Chords residency in Hibbing, Minnesota. He received a Bachelor’s in Horn Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Roland Pandolfi. At Oberlin, he also played and traveled with the Contemporary Music Ensemble under Tim Weiss.

He received his Master’s in Horn Performance working with William Purvis at the Yale School of Music. William has performed extensively at home and abroad, including Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Italy, China, and Singapore.

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William Eisenberg, French Horn Instructor


Carol Gilkey, Flute Instructor


Carol Gilkey is an active flute instructor in the Twin Cities and an adjunct flute instructor at Inver Hills and Normandale Community Colleges. She enjoys teaching flute to anyone who wants to learn at any level. Her students have won positions in All State, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, Minnesota Youth Symphonies, and various honor bands. Her students have won or placed in Schubert Club, Thursday Musical, Upper Midwest Flute Association – Laudie Porter, and Young Peoples Symphony Concert Association competitions. She is the first director of flute choirs in the Twin Cities, arranges and publishes flute choir music and flute technique books. She has taught in the public school on Long Island, NY, DOD schools and U of Maryland in Okinawa, and MacPhail. She has presented several times at the National Flute Convention. She is the former principal flute of the Rochester Symphony. Flute performance degrees earned include a MM from Manhattan School of Music and BM from DePauw University. Flute lessons are designed to create flutists that can play independently at their level of interest for a lifetime of enjoyment.
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Susan Miranda, Oboe Instructor



Susan Miranda is a seasoned oboist. She graduated high school from Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. Susan has attended college for Music Performance at the University of South Dakota and Augustana College.

She has participated in numerous master classes involving John Mack, Daniel Stolper, Linda Strommen, Nicholas Daniel and Daniel Ross. Her performance resume includes various countries across Europe with the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Symphonic Band; Dakota Wind Ensemble in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Sioux City, Iowa, and principal oboist of the Huron Symphony Orchestra, Huron, South Dakota. She is currently playing principal oboe in the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra and freelancing throughout the Twin Cities.

Susan has been teaching young oboists since she was in high school. Susan currently holds a private studio in addition to holding positions at Modern Day Music and Forte Fine Arts Academy. She has a great passion for music and carries that through to her students.

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Owen Tucker has been studying and performing the clarinet for two decades. He has performed with numerous ensembles over the past fifteen years, including concert bands, big-band jazz, symphony orchestras, pit orchestras, jazz combos, concert quintets, religious service ensembles, funk bands, and more. Owen is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Northwestern University in Chicago, where he earned degrees in music performance. Since returning from Chicago, Owen has been teaching in the Twin Cities area for the past seven years, in various capacities, including private lessons at Rosemount HS, Henry-Sibley HS, and Maple Grove HS, as well as after-school jazz band and marching band programs at Rosemount HS and marching band at Maple Grove HS.

Owen believes in a regular and determined approach to improving at the clarinet and music in general, whether your goals are to qualify for contests, prepare for local honor-band or extra-curricular auditions, work toward a college music experience, or simply getting a little better and having more fun playing your instrument. Studying privately is one of the best ways to get more individualized attention and work through all the diverse and exciting aspects of music.

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Owen Tucker

Steve Truran, Jazz & Marching Band Instructor

Steve Truran


Steve Truran has a music degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Masters in Jazz from Indiana University. He teaches brass, jazz band, and jazz improvisation to students of all ages in several schools and studios around Minneapolis/St. Paul such as Henry Sibley H.S., Simley H.S., St. John the Baptist Catholic School, and St. Agnes Catholic School. He also co-directs five jazz ensembles and one jazz combo.

Steve has performed in several big bands, jazz combos, brass groups, r&b bands, orchestras, theater productions, and even was a Keystone Cop at Valley Fair. He has performed with national artists such as Kurt Elling, Patty Peterson, Nils Lindberg (arranger for Duke Ellington), Connie Evingson, Ed Shaughnessy, and Joel DiBartolo. He currently plays in Bend in the River Big Band, Dudley and the DoGooders, Too Darn Hot, and The Jazz Mentors.

Due to an injury called “Embouchure Dystonia,” Steve has a unique perspective about playing technique. Students learn more than musicality, they receive specific techniques and instructions about how to create a high level of performance on their instruments. He gives them what he calls “10-minutes of boring exercises” where students pay close attention to how their embouchures function and apply specific instructions to make appropriate changes.

Steve can be reached by email at stevetruran1068@gmail.com, cell phone 651-494-8066, or go online at www.TheJazzMentors.com.

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Gus Sandberg, Saxophone Instructor



Gus Sandberg is a professional musician and educator living in the Twin Cities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and performs regularly with Jack Brass Band, BlueWater Kings, the Explosion Big Band, and the Bill Simenson Orchestra. He enjoys helping students reach their musical goals.

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