Erik Christiansen
Director of Bands

Michael Andrle
Winter Guard, Color Guard, Marching Band

Erik Barsness

Ben Bussey
Low Brass

Alexandra Berndt

Joshua Cameron
William Eisenberg
French Horn

Carol Gilkey

Susan Miranda

Steve Truran
Trumpet, Jazz Band, Marching Band
Owen Tucker

Erik Christiansen, Director of Bands

Back to top

Michael Andrle, Color Guard Instructor

Michael Andrle grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin. He marched with the Colts Drum Corps and Minnesota Brass, Inc. playing the mellophone. He attended Drake University and studied dance performance under Sally Alexandra Garfield, a former dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Versed with the Limon-Graham techniques, he continued his dance studies after he was accepted in the Dance Composition program at the University of Minnesota. He has also studied at Minnesota Dance Theatre and Zenon Dance Company.

He has choreographed, taught and designed for several summer, winter and fall Minnesota and Wisconsin high school color guard and winter drum line programs.

After graduating from the Drake University Journalism School, Michael moved to Minneapolis and has worked in the advertising agency industry.

Back to top


Erik Barsness

Erik Barsness, Percussion Instructor

Erik Barsness grew up in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota and started playing percussion when he was 11. He received his Bachelors Degree in percussion performance from the University of Minnesota in 2001 where his teacher was Fernando Meza.

From August 2002 until June 2005 Erik lived in Stockholm, Sweden studying at the Royal College of Music in Sweden. He graduated with his Masters Degree in percussion from the Royal College of Music and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2002 for these studies. His main teachers in Sweden were Anders Loguin of the percussion ensembles Kroumata and Glorious Percussion, Daniel Kåse, principal percussionist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Roland Johansson, former principal timpanist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

Erik has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Russia as a soloist and as a member of various ensembles. European countries he has performed in included Sweden, Finland, Åland, Estonia, Latvia and Germany. In the United States, he has performed at several Festivals Dancing in Your Head at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Eye and Ear Festival at the Franconia Sculpture Park, the Walleye Art Gallery in Chicago, IL, and Sprauge Hall at Yale University.

Erik is co-director and percussionist with Ensemble 61, a Saint Paul-based contemporary music group and performs frequently with the Minnesota Percussion Trio, CRASH and Janus Percussion. He has been a guest percussionist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and has performed with the contemporary music ensemble Zeitgeist, Nautilus Music Theater, and Ten Thousand Things Theater.

Erik has received several awards from the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation and was a Fulbright Scholar. Erik maintains an active private studio in the Twin Cities.

Back to top

Ben Bussey, Trombone Instructor

Ben Bussey is a trombonist, conductor, educator, and arranger based in Minneapolis. His accomplishments cover a wide range of music genres and reflect a keen interest in education at all levels of the music business. Ben’s current projects include Danami and the Blue (hip hop soul), The Hennepin County Millionaire’s Club (rock/ska), BAD Brass Band, and Adam Conrad’s IMPROVESTRA – an improvising orchestra.

Ben recently completed a Masters Degree in Trombone at McNally Smith College of Music, under the guidance of Scott Agster. Since then, he has performed with some of the region’s best live acts as well as the music industry’s busiest artists – Ingrid Jensen (international trumpet star), Dave Singley (Soul Asylum), Mike Mills (REM), Scott Bergman, the Belfast Cowboys, Jack Brass Band, the Adam Meckler Orchestra, the Explosion Big Band, the Sheldon Theater Brass Band, The Compass Rose Brass Ensemble, Big Toe and the Jam, and many others.

This fall, Ben will begin his college teaching career as the low brass professor at Concordia University St Paul. He also is on the faculty of the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis and works with students and schools throughout the state in individual and small group lessons, online band clinics, and live guest conducting appearances. Ben’s private students regularly win positions in the MMEA All-State instrumental programs and college studios.

A 2008 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Ben began his teaching career at Anoka High School. As well as daily concert bands, he directed the jazz and pep bands; coached soloists, small ensembles, and orchestral winds; and led the Anoka Marching Tornadoes to appearances and awards throughout the region as well as a featured appearance on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

A Minneapolis native, Ben (along with his bride Katie!) is an avid baseball fan, and may be found in and around Target Field in the spring and summer.

Back to top

Alexandra Berndt, Bassoon Instructor

Ali Berndt is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in bassoon performance with a secondary emphasis in music theory at the University of Minnesota. She received her Master of Music with honors in bassoon performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. While living in Boston Ali was a member of the Vento Chiaro Wind Quintet. She received her Bachelor of Music in bassoon performance summa cum laude and with program honors in woodwinds from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. A 2010 Tanglewood Music Center Fellow, Ali has also attended the summer music festivals at the Banff Music Centre and Brevard Music Center.

Currently teaching bassoon throughout the Twin Cities, Ali is the bassoon instructor at the Shell Lake Arts Center in Shell Lake, WI, and was previously the bassoon instructor at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Wind Ensemble program in Lenox, MA, and served as a chamber music coach at the Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA. She has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra, and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and as soloist with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artist Wind Ensemble and with the Charles River Wind Ensemble in Boston. As a teacher, Ali tailors lessons to the individual needs of each student, taking into account personal goals and interests. She strives to positively impact her students for their entire lives by sharing a love of music and inspiring a joy of lifelong learning.

Back to top

Joshua Cameron, Trumpet Instructor

Joshua Cameron, trumpet, has been teaching lessons to students of various ages and ability levels for nearly 15 years. He currently holds Administrative and Faculty positions at the MacPhail Center for Music and was previously on faculty at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. As an active freelance musician in the Twin Cities, he is comfortable in a wide range of musical styles and plays regularly with local Soul/Funk group High & Mighty. He also frequently plays in local community orchestras and brass ensembles for a variety of concerts and occasions and as a soloist, was selected to perform God Bless America at Target Field during the 2014 Minnesota Twins season.

Previously, Josh had been the principal trumpet of the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, and was on substitute lists for the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Festival City Symphony, and the LaCrosse Symphony Orchestra, as well as various non-professional orchestras in southeastern Wisconsin. He had played with the Esprit de Brass brass quintet, local jazz, R&B, blues, and Latin/salsa bands, and was hired for various studio work in the Milwaukee area. Josh has toured and performed internationally several times with various academic and professional ensembles.

Josh earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from St.Olaf College in 2005 and his Master of Music degree in Performance from the University of Minnesota in 2007.

Back to top

Joshua Cameron

William Eisenberg, French Horn 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.

Back to top

William Eisenberg

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. She is the first director of flute choirs in the Twin Cities, arranges and publishes flute choir music and flute technique books.

Carol has taught in the public schools of Long Island, DOD school, U of Maryland in Okinawa, and MacPhail. She has presented several times at the National Flute Convention. Degrees earned include a MM from Manhattan School of Music and BM from DePauw University.
Back to top

Susan Miranda

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.

Back to top

Owen Tucker

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.

Back to top

Steve Truran

Steve Truran, Jazz Instructor

Steve Truran has a music degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Masters in Jazz from Indiana University. He has taught brass to kids ages 5 – 18 in several schools and studios around Minneapolis/St. Paul. He has performed in several big bands, jazz combos, brass groups, orchestras, and theater productions around Minneapolis/St. Paul. He has performed with national artists such as Kurt Elling, Nils Lindberg (arranger for Duke Ellington), and Connie Evingson.

He currently plays in Bend in the River Big Band, Dudley and the DoGooders, Too Darn Hot, and various jazz combos. His day job is the president of Matreks Printing and Mailing and the president of Logos Productions.

Back to top