ATLANTA QUEST FACULTY

Design

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Alan Sears - Music/Program Director, Music Arranger

Alan Sears is a co-founder of Atlanta Quest. He has been the music and program director since the beginning in 2002.

Alan now serves as the Director of Percussion for the Sprayberry High School “Band of Gold”, and is the Drumline Instructor and Arranger for the Kennesaw State University "Marching Owls". Alan arrangers for many ensembles and also has his arrangements published with CounterMotion Inc. Along with his work in the Band world, he also composes for corporate events and commercial projects. 

Alan is married to Monna Sears and the proud father of two sons Hayden Alan Sears and Cole Alexander Sears.

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Kevin Kenney - Music Arranger

Kevin is currently the Assistant Band Director/Percussion Director with PSW-finalists, Milton High School in Alpharetta, GA. Kevin is in his 6th year with Atlanta Quest and 5th year as the music arranger.

Kevin has a Master's degree in percussion performance from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor's degree in music education from Jacksonville State University. He marched three years of WGI with Music City Mystique (07-09) and four years of DCI with the Cavaliers, Spirit of JSU, and Memphis Sound.

He has taught for many different high school and independent WGI/BOA groups in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama.  Kevin is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion products.

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Zack Marshall - Visual Designer

Zack is in his 9th season with Atlanta Quest staff, 8th as Visual Designer.

He was a performing member of Pariah Marching Theater from 2005-2010 and Music City Mystique in 2011. In addition to performing, he has taught for Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, and is the visual designer for WGI PSW Finalist, Milton HS. He also consults with multiple scholastic and independent groups across the country on show and visual design.

Zack currently lives in Smryna, GA, is a graduate of Kennesaw University and is an Executive Recruiter with the Lucas Group.

He was a performing member of Pariah Marching Theater from 2005-2010 and Music City Mystique in 2011. In addition to performing, he has taught for Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, and is the visual designer for WGI PSW Finalist, Milton HS. He also consults with multiple scholastic and independent groups across the country on show and visual design.

Zack currently lives in Smryna, GA, is a graduate of Kennesaw University and is an Executive Recruiter with the Lucas Group.

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Bo Sodders - Overall Design

Matthew Bo Sodders is the Director of Bands at Alan C. Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. Prior to his engagement at Pope High School, Mr. Sodders was the Director of Bands at John McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. Under his direction the McEachern Wind Symphony has performed at the 2018 Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival, the 2017 University of Georgia’s “JanFest”, the 2016 University of Alabama Honor Band Festival, and the McEachern Marching Band participates annually in Bands of America Regional and Super Regional competitions. 

Originally from Lima, Ohio, Mr. Sodders graduated cum laude from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio with an instrumental and elementary specialist degree in Music Education. While at BGSU, Bo Sodders studied with trumpet professor Mr. George Novak and conducting with Dr. Emily Freeman Brown. 

Mr. Sodders is currently a member of the brass staff with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois. He has also worked on staff with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, and was the brass caption head of Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps from Jacksonville, Florida.

Mr. Sodders is a five-year veteran of the Glassmen Drum and Bugle corps from Toledo, Ohio, where he served for two seasons as drum major. 

Mr. Sodders is a staff member of the 2016 and 2017 United States Army All-American Marching Band. Sodders’ professional affiliations include membership in the National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educator Association, MENC, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu 'International Bandmasters Association.


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Tony Lemonds - Sound Designer

Tony is excited for his 2nd season with the Atlanta Quest team where he will be helping with sound design and teaching the front ensemble.  He will also be helping with the Sound Design for Q2.

During Tony’s marching career as a member, he was with Blue Stars Drum Bugle Corps from 2009-2010, Phantom Regiment 2012, and was a four year member with Music City Mystique from 2011-2014.

Tony currently lives in the Cumming, GA area where he designs and teaches for various high school groups. In his free time, Tony enjoys training his dog to become a “Therapy Dog”, composing and arranging film like scores, and bowling.


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Instructional Staff

TJ Choquette - Ensemble Coordinator, Battery Caption Head

TJ Choquette is in his 7th season as part of the Atlanta Quest staff and 5th  as battery coordinator. Residing in Dunwoody, GA, he has served as battery tech, battery coordinator, visual designer and battery arranger at numerous metro-Atlanta schools, as well as a few schools nationwide. Most recently, he has assisted with PSW finalist drumline, Milton HS.

He graduated from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business with a B.B.A. in Marketing. He served two years playing snare drum in the UGA drumline, as well as Georgia-based WGI groups, Pariah and Terminus, before marching with Music City Mystique and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, respectively. He currently works as a Senior Partner with The Lucas Group

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Allen Justus - Front Ensemble Caption Head
Allen joined the teaching staff (front ensemble) at Atlanta Quest in 2018 and he is excited to serve as the Front Ensemble Caption Head for the 2019 WGI season. Allen is Assistant Band Director at South Forsyth High School in Cumming GA, where he directs the Percussion Ensemble, Concert Bands, Jazz Band, and Advanced Instrumental Ensemble. In addition, he arranges and composes the show music for the SFHS Marching Band and Indoor Drumline and teaches at Lakeside Middle School in Forsyth County. Summer 2019 marks his 10th consecutive year with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps as Front Ensemble instructor and he is proud to be an integral part of the continued excellence in this DCI ensemble.

Since 2001, Allen has taught for distinguished high school music programs in Ohio (Centerville, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville North, Grove City), Florida (Leon HS - Tallahassee), and Georgia (Campbell HS - Smyrna). He served as a battery technician for the Florida State University “Big 8” Drumline from 2011-13. He has instructed percussion classes and clinics nationwide and he is endorsed by Innovative Percussion and Evans Drumheads.

Although Allen is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he boasts a distinguished pre-teaching pedigree as a marimba player. He served as the front ensemble section leader both for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps (2002-04) and for Rhythm X (2003-06). In 2007, he traveled to Europe with Rhythm X, as a performance technician, and gave master classes to high school and college percussionists. Allen has studied with Tom Rarick, Jeremy Bradstreet, Brad Palmer, and Roger Schupp.

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Trey Brunn - Visual Caption Head
Trey joins the Atlanta Quest organization as Visual Caption Head.  Prior to his engagement with Quest, he served in a variety of educational and administrative roles with Equinox Percussion and Palmetto Percussion.  Trey has also worked with Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps, Colts Drum & Bugle Corps, Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps, and numerous high schools throughout the Greater Southeast.  He is a six-year veteran of Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps., from Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as drum major during his age-out season.

Originally from Macon, Georgia, Trey graduated from Kennesaw State University earning his degree in Political Science with a concentration in Legal Studies.  He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and works for Avison Young as a Commercial Real Estate Professional in the Industrial Property Management division. Trey is excited to join Quest and looks forward to providing a top class experience to its membership.  

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Jeremiah West - Snare Tech

Jeremiah is in his 4th year with Atlanta Quest.

He was a performing member of Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps (2010),Phantom Regiment (2011), The Cavaliers (2013-2014), and The BlueDevils (2015-2016). In WGI, he was a member of Music City Mystique(2011-2015) and Rhythm X (2016).

Jeremiah is from Nashville, Tennessee, and he graduated in 2017 from Tennessee Tech with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics. He currently works as an Application and Product Engineer at Jeremias Inc. in Atlanta.

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Zack Watson - Snare tech

Zack will be in his first season as a snare tech with Atlanta Quest after marching with the group for five seasons. Zackary Watson spent his high school years under multiple world class educators around Atlanta, GA. He has gone on to collect more than 30 competitive seasons worth of performance, design, and educational experience. He’s performed with Atlanta Quest, Blue Knights, Music City Mystique and Spirit of Atlanta, and has taught with Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as The Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. After spending the last few years consulting around the Metro-Atlanta area, Zackary now works as the Battery Coordinator for WGI PSW-Finalist, Milton HS. He currently resides in Norcross, GA, reading, writing, designing, and exploring the constantly changing opportunities that arise in the world of the arts.

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Onye Eme Akwari - Battery/Visual Ensemble, Quad Tech

 Onye is returning for his 5th season on staff with Atlanta Quest.He began his drum corps career at Alliance Drum and Bugle Corps. He marched the all-age corps from 2007-2009. He later went on to march Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps for four summers beginning in 2010, and served as the tenor section leader for the last three. He also participated in DCI’s Individual & Ensemble in 2012 and 2013, coming in 2nd place on both occasions. In the summer of 2014, Onye was a tenor technician with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and Alliance Drum and Bugle Corps. He spent the following summer touring Europe with the Blue Devils International Corps.

Onye marched on the quad line at Atlanta Quest for 8 years starting in 2007 and aging out in 2015. The only indoor season he wasn't at AQ was 2011, where he served as an actor for Music City Mystique as the “Mantra Drummer” in their World Championship production Mantra.

Onye is an active clinician and consultant for many programs across the country, and is the head battery technician at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, GA. Onye currently resides in metro-Atlanta and is recently received a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Georgia after earning his Bachelors in Psychology from Kennesaw State University in 2014.

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Blake Benton - Quad Tech

Blake will be in his second season as quad tech with Atlanta Quest after serving as quad tech and battery coordinator with Q2 in 2018.

He marched four seasons (2014-2017) on the quad line at AQ, serving as the QAQ section leader in 2017. He marched with ALLIANCE Drum & Bugle Corps in the summer of 2014 and toured Europe in the summer of 2015 as a member of the Blue Devils International Corps. Blake was also a member of the Georgia State University Marching Band from 2013-2016.

In the past, Blake was the battery coordinator at Cambridge and Roswell High School. He is a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in Computer Information Systems, and currently works as a Business Analyst for RaceTrac.

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Micah Hanner - Bass Tech

Micah will be spending his second year on staff with Atlanta Quest as bass tech, after marching with the ensemble in 2015.

He is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with a degree in Music and Entrepreneurship.  While at UNCG, he performed with the Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Steel Pan Ensemble, and many more. He began his competitive marching career in WGI while in high school where he was a member of Wake Forest Independent from 2010-2013. His last year competing in WGI was with Atlanta Quest in 2015.  He marched DCA in 2012 with Carolina Gold, who went on to win a World Championship, and also in DCI with the Phantom Regiment in 2013-14. He has taught percussion ensembles all along the east coast and spent the 2016-2017 WGI seasons as the Caption Head of Revelation Percussion. And most recently the Bass Tech for Alchemy Independent during the 2018 WGI season

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Rick Wilkerson - Bass Tech

Rick will be returning for his 2nd season as a Bass Tech. 

His experience and energy on stage, precision in the studio, and rudimental expertise make him a unique asset in the professional music community. Before his professional career began he studied under classical, rudimental and drumset professors and musicians like Chester Thompson, Kathe Vance, Lalo Davila, Tom Giampetro, and Andy Smith. Since then Rick has had a unique and vast drum set career performing in and around Nashville area with musicians and ensembles such as The legendary Reggie Wooten & Friends, Dove award winner Nicole C Mullen, stellar award winner Ben Tankard, Keith Urban (Drumline), Chris Janson, and more. He has been an independent jazz artist since 2014 with his Ep release of “Aspire” followed by his first album in “Mosaic” in 2017.

In addition to drumset, he is well versed in the world of rudimental percussion and has had the opportunity to travel in and out of the country with many marching ensembles. His marching credits include, Music City Mystique in 2006 and 2008, The Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps in 2005, and the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps in 2007-2008, as well as teaching stints with Glassmen and Spirit of Atlanta, respectively.

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Adam Steltenpohl - Cymbal Tech

Adam, a 6th year cymbal tech with Atlanta Quest, is a native of Alpharetta, he graduated from Centennial High School in 2010.  He is currently attending Georgia State University where he is working towards a degree in Marketing with a Minor in Music Education.

At Georgia State, Adam is a charter member of the Georgia State Marching Band.  Along with his experience from high school and college, Adam has also performed with several world class organizations.  Adam was a marching member on mellophone for Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps through the 2011-2013 seasons.  Adam also performed with Atlanta Quest as a cymbal player through their 2013 and 2014 seasons.  In the 2014 season he was also featured as a visual soloist.

Since graduating high school Adam has been an instructor for many local programs including the Centennial and Roswell High School Marching Bands, the Chattahoochee High School Indoor Drumline, as well as Alliance Drum & Bugle Corps.  This is Adam’s third season on staff with Atlanta Quest and he is very excited to continue the upward progression that both the ensemble and the cymbal line have shown in the past few years

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David Haven - Cymbal Tech

This 2020 season will be David's 8th year with the Atlanta Quest organization and 5th year as a staff member. David was a member of the cymbal line from 2013 through his age out in 2015 and has since been teaching the line alongside Adam Steltenpohl.

David has also performed with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps ('11-'14), Alliance Drum & Bugle Corps ('14), and the Georgia State Panther Band. In 2014, David won the I&E gold medal with the Spirit of Atlanta Cymbal Line.

David also enjoys studying film and videography; he toured with the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps as a member of the media team in '15 and '16, and sometimes makes videos about band or something like that on YouTube.

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Colin Slavin - cymbal tech

Colin is joining Atlanta Quest for his first season as a cymbal tech.
Colin Slavin currently resides in Pensacola Florida and has been on Southwind’s Percussion staff since 2017. He has been one of the cymbal instructors and battery visual instructor at Escambia High School since 2012. He is currently the part time Assistant Band Director at Pensacola High School and has been since 2014.

He was also the cymbal instructor for the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps from 2015 to 2017. His marching cymbal experience includes the Escambia High School Diamonds Indoor Percussion Ensemble, Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and Atlanta Quest Independent World Percussion Ensemble. Colin recently completed his Bachelor’s degrees in music education and trumpet performance from the University of West Florida and is currently the chorus director at Beulah Middle School in Beulah, FL.

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Patrick Bantugan - Cymbal Tech

This will be Patrick’s 2nd year involved with Atlanta Quest, 1st as a cymbal technican.In his WGI/DCI career, Patrick made his start performing with Atlanta Quest (2016). Other marching experiences include The Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps (2016) and Music City Mystique (2018).

Residing in Pensacola, FL, Patrick lends a helping hand with various high schools along the gulf coast and Mississippi area. He has also spent his time working with the Tulane University marching band for 2 seasons (2018, 2019) and 3 seasons with Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps (2017-2019). He currently works as a Registered Behavior Technician providing ABA services for children with autism and other special needs.

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Claire Kenney - Front Ensemble Instructor

This Claire’s 6th year on staff with Atlanta Quest

Claire Smith Kenney is a percussion educator, clinician, and performer in the greater-Atlanta area.  She is originally from Cumming, Georgia and attended Jacksonville State University, Alabama for her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Claire then continued her education at Texas Christian University, where she earned her Master’s degree in percussion performance. Since 2004, Claire has been involved with many performing ensembles, including Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, Blue Coats Drum and Bugle Corps, and Music City Mystique. Claire is currently the Elementary Music teacher at Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton, Ga and a percussion instructor for Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Georgia.  She is also a member of the Percussive Arts Society and an educational artist for Innovative Percussion.

TJ Shaheen - Front Ensemble Instructor 

TJ Shaheen is going into his second year as a front ensemble tech with Atlanta Quest. He just finished up working a summer with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, Iowa, as a front ensemble tech, and he is the director of percussion at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, GA. Previously, TJ worked with a few schools across Cobb County, including Wheeler and Harrison High School. He's finishing his last semester at Georgia State University for a degree in Percussion Performance, where he was a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Percussion Ensemble. TJ also performed with Atlanta Quest for four years, from 2015-2018, as well as Spirit of Atlanta in 2015 and Blue Knights in 2016.

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Griffin Hood - Front Ensemble Instructor

Griffin is joining the Atlanta Quest staff for the 2020 season as a front ensemble tech. This is Griffin’s 2nd year on staff

Griffin is originally from Hoover, AL and attended Hoover High School from 2005 to 2009. While at Hoover High School he marched snare drum for the marching band and was a part of the SCGC circuit. He attended the University of North Alabama and marched in the Pride of Dixie marching band. Griffin was an auxiliary percussion member for Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps during the summers of 2010 and 2011. He spent his WGI career with Music City Mystique and won a gold, silver, and bronze medal in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively.

Griffin has taught various different drum lines and indoor groups in the Birmingham area and now is involved with the Muscle Shoals High School marching band. Currently, Griffin is working on his business management degree.

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Joe Donohue - Front Ensemble Instructor

Joe is joining our team for his first season as a front ensemble tech. Joe is the Assistant Percussion Directory at Lassiter Highschool in Marietta, GA. He also performs and teaches freelance around the Metro-Atlanta area.

Joe received a Bachelors degree in music performance from Kennesaw State University, and marched three years of WGI with Atlanta Quest as well as two years in DCI with Spirit of Atlanta and the Cadets. He has also taught with groups such as Atlanta Corps Vets, Q2.

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Roque Winchester - Sound Engineer

Roque is in his 2nd season with Atlanta Quest as a sound engineer.He is currently a freelance mixing/mastering engineer and sound designer based in Atlanta, GA, and was a performing member of Atlanta Quest as a snare drummer in 2017 & 2018. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Roque marched with Palmetto Percussion in 2015 & 2016 as well as a season with the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. Roque works as a percussion director, sound designer, and visual designer for numerous high school and middle school percussion programs in Northern Atlanta. 

 Roque graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music with an Associates Degree in Audio Post-Production where he hopes to work in the film industry.

Nate Hughes - Visual Tech

Nate will be in his first season with Atlanta Quest in 2020.Nate Hughes currently serves as Assistant Director of Bands at South Forsyth Middle School in Cumming, GA.  A native of Nashville, TN, Nate graduated with a degree in Music Education from Austin Peay State University.  His performance experience ranges from The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps to Rhythm X Winds. As an instructor, Nate has taught visual at a number of high schools throughout the Southeast.  Under his instruction, groups have gone on to become state champions and Bands of America Regional Champions. At the drum corps level, Nate has served as a visual instructor at both Music City Drum Corps and Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, most recently serving as Assistant Visual Captionhead at Southwind.  Under his instruction, Southwind won DCI Open Class’ Most Improved award. This is Nate’s first year teaching at Atlanta Quest and he’s excited to work with members and staff of this caliber.

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Timothy McRae - Visual Tech

Timothy is in his second year with the Atlanta Quest visual staff. 

He was a performing member for Double Stop Indoor Percussion (2013), Q2 (2015), Blue Devils International (2015), and Atlanta Quest (2016-2018), where he served as quad section leader in 2018.

Timothy is from Weaver, Alabama and is currently a student at Jacksonville State University studying Machining and Manufacturing Engineering while also teaching the JSU drumline.

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Esti Afanador - Visual Tech
Esti Afanador is the colorguard director at Roswell HS and Duluth HS. She's also taught movement for Lambert's marching band, indoor drumline, and winterguard (2016-2018) and Paramount Open Winterguard (2019).

As a performer, Esti has participated with Spirit of Atlanta DBC (2012), The Edge Independent (2013-2015), ALLIANCE DBC (2014 & 2015), The Bluecoats (2016), as well as Paramount Winterguard (2016-2018).

In addition to her experience in colorguard, Esti has a BA in both Political Science and International Affairs from Kennesaw State University.