Director of Athletic Bands
Shaun Evans is the Director of Athletic Bands at Shenandoah University, where he guides all aspects of the athletic band program and teaches marching band, pep band, and conducting. Evans holds a doctoral degree in conducting from the University of Minnesota. He received a master of music degree in conducting at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor of arts degree at Georgia State University. His career began as a band director in Cobb County, Georgia, at Harrison High School. He currently lives in Stephenson, Virginia, with his wife, Hannah, sons Elias and Lincoln, and two dogs.
Evans is a strong advocate for music education. He works with high schools and colleges across the country as a guest conductor, clinician, arranger, and drill writer. He is published as part of GIAs Teaching Through Performance in Band series. Evans is a charter member of the Nu Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and an honorary member of the Alpha Iota chapter of Tau Beta Sigma. He maintains active memberships in College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Virginia Music Educators Association, Performing Arts Medicine Association, and World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
Director of Bands
Tim Robblee is the Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Shenandoah Conservatory where he guides all aspects of the wind band program, teaches conducting and conducts the Wind Ensemble and EDGE Ensemble. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the Associate Director of Bands at Northwestern University where he was also music director and conductor of the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Previously, Robblee has also served as Director of Bands at Washington State University in Pullman, WA and Willamette University in Salem, OR. Prior to graduate study, he taught for eight years as an instrumental music educator in the Palo Alto, California public schools where his students and ensembles were recognized for excellence on a state and national level, including recognition from the 1997 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards as the Outstanding High School Jazz Combo. Robblee maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor in the United States, Canada, and Asia. He is published as part of GIAs Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. As an advocate of music in the public schools, he has presented at music education conferences throughout North America and adjudicated at numerous music festivals. Robblee maintains active memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, Virginia Music Educators Association and World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensemble.
Coordinator for Band Operations
Libby Beller is the Coordinator for Band Operations at Shenandoah University. She graduated magna cum laude from Shenandoah in 2019 with a BM in Clarinet Performance and a BS in Mathematics. After graduating, she spent her time working in the ecommerce world as an Operations Administrator. Libby began playing the clarinet at age 8 and has been heavily involved in music ever since. She was an active member and leader of her high school’s marching band, and played at least one concert in every major ensemble group in both high school and college. Libby was a four-year member and the first female director of Shenandoah’s Buzzin’ Dozen Pep Band, and served as Historian, President, and Ritual Director of the Kappa Epsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at Shenandoah. She currently lives in The Plains, VA with her partner Jacob and their two cats, Monk and Sweeper. When Libby is not working, you can find her playing jazz gigs at local wineries or working on renovating her 1900s-era house. She is very excited to be a part of the team for the inaugural season of Shenandoah’s marching band.
William Newton is a Filipino American percussionist based in Virginia. As an educator, William serves as the Drumline Instructor for the Shenandoah University Marching Band and teaches privately out of Star City Percussion Studio, his private lessons business serving the Roanoke area.
As a soloist and chamber musician, William maintains an active performance schedule. He has performed with renowned ensembles such as the Eastman Percussion Ensemble, Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Carolina Band, and the PASIC All-Star Percussion Ensemble. Together with Chris Amick he formed the Amick-Newton Duo which is committed to commissioning, composing, and performing contemporary percussion repertoire.
As an advocate for new music, he has commissioned composers such as Nate Werth, Paul Lansky, JaRon Brown, and Emmanuel Sejourne. He has also been involved in premiere recordings and performances by composers such as John Fitz Rogers, Michael Burritt, and Joseph Schwantner.
Outside of his performing and teaching duties, he serves as the logistical director of Wildlight Publications, a music publishing business based out of Charleston, South Carolina.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree from the University of South Carolina. His primary teachers include Michael Burritt, Dr. Scott Herring, Chip Ross, Rich Thompson, and Shane Shanahan.
Rock Band Instructor
Arthur Vale graduated from Shenandoah University with a bachelor’s in music education in 2017. After spending 5 years teaching public school music, he has returned to SU as the box office manager and rock band instructor for the inaugural year of the Shenandoah University Marching Band. Arthur grew up playing rock music on a wide variety of instruments and is excited to help a new generation play the music he grew up on
Color Guard/Dance Instructor
Kayla is a 2013 graduate of Purdue University where she was a member and technician of the Golden Silks Color Guard in the Purdue All-American Marching Band. Her passion of color guard began at the age of 4 when her dad would take her to Indiana Marching Band State Finals every year. Not only was she an active participant and captain at Westfield H.S., Indiana, beginning in middle school, other performance opportunities included 2005-06 BOA Summer Symposium, 2007 Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corp, and 2009 BOA Tournament of Roses Honor Band. In 2013, she took on the Color Guard Director at Westfield H.S., Indiana, and led them to a State Finals appearance in IHSCGA for the first time in 4 years. New career opportunities led Kayla and her husband Michael to explore the U.S., residing in Arizona and South Carolina after college. They moved to Stephens City, VA in 2018 where she started directing color guard at Sherando H.S. and is still coaching and growing the program presently.
Ben Millesen is a percussionist and educator currently studying at Shenandoah Conservatory, pursuing a Master of Music Performance degree under the direction of Dr. Karlyn Viña. He will be working as a graduate assistant for the brand new Shenandoah University Marching Band drumline.
Ben has had the privilege to perform in JMU’s Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and the Marching Royal Dukes. During his time at JMU, Ben performed in the premiers of Radiance by Eric Guinivan, The Sword of Shannara by Dennis Luginbill, and Nature Scenes by Jack Yagerline. In addition, Ben has also had experience in jazz bands, pep bands, and musical pit orchestras.
As an educator, Ben has taught as a percussion instructor at multiple high schools throughout the Shenandoah Valley, such as Bath County High School and Harrisonburg High School. Ben has also taught both in-person and online lessons to private students ranging from the elementary school level to the high school level.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from James Madison University, under the direction of Casey Cangelosi. Ben has also had the privilege of studying with renowned teachers, including Laurel Black, Roger Braun, Marlon Foster, Dr. Caleb Pickering, Ryan Swanson, and Aaron Trumbore.
I am from Orange VA, a small town in central Virginia, where I spent my middle and high school life heavily involved in band. I started marching both indoor and outdoor my freshman year where I had the pleasure of performing at JMU, and various venues including Dayton Arena for WGI Percussion! Outside of band I enjoy video games, movies, and spending time with friends and family! I can’t wait to meet all the marching band members and serve as drum major for this season!
I am an incoming first year student from Pennsylvania. In high school, I participated in Marching Band for 5 years, choir, concert band, chamber choir, as well as our contemporary rock band ensemble. I have taken part in various choir festivals such as NAfME All- Eastern choir, NAfME All-National Honors Choir, and most recently I received 1st chair Tenor 1 at PMEA All- State Choir! I was a captain for 2 years as well as the marching band president in my time marching in high school. I have been twirling baton for 3 years, both competitively and as a field twirler. In 2021, I competed at the United States Twirling Association nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida. I twirled in the team division as well as individually, winning the Junior Men’s Solo Semifinal.
Uniform Crew Leader
Masha Balakersky will be a freshman exercise science major this fall with a focus on athletic training. She currently attends South County High School in Lorton, VA where she participates in advanced band playing alto and soprano saxophone, marching band, jazz band, as well as their world-class drumline where she played bass 1. During her time participating in these ensembles, she has been section leader for numerous years, worked with the band program as an outreach and recruitment officer, and served as one of two drum majors her senior year. She hopes to join the saxophone ensemble next year and is very excited to work with the SU marching band leadership team as well as the rest of the ensemble!
Hello, my name is Samuel Roberto Soste Taffur. I am originally from Bogota, Colombia but have lived in the United States since I was 12. I am a proud dad to three beautiful cats and my favorite sweet treat is some Belgian dark chocolate. My passion for music started by accident when I was put in band as an elective in high school. From that point on, I realized it was no accident and that it was where I was meant to be. One of my goals in life now is to make sure music making is an active part of everyone’s life.
Music Librarian/Historian Leader
My name is Emma Shields and I love helping others through music. I am from Fairfax Station Virginia and graduated from South County High School. My main instrument is Oboe, but I also play the English Horn, Synth, and Vibraphone. During my high school career I participated in the Indoor Drumline, the Marching band, the advanced choir, the symphonic band, and got to participate in the ensemble for my high school’s production of Mamma Mia! I was the Drum Major for the marching band my senior year, as well as being the Student Director in choir and participating on the leadership team for both choir and band. Other than music, I love crafts, drawing, collecting squishmallow’s, playing games with friends, and watching movies. A fun fact about me is that I have 4 guinea pigs! Music has always been my outlet, I am so passionate about it and dream to be a music teacher. I cannot wait for the opportunities that Shenandoah will give me to share my joy of music with others.
Hi! My name is Alexis. I have been doing band for just about 9 years and marching band for 4 of those years. I actually went and performed at DisneyWorld in one of their parades in 2018. My favorite colors are yellow and pastel purple, and I really like to use those colors when I do certain makeup looks.
Field Crew Leader
I’m a first-year Exercise Science major from Richmond, VA. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get back on the field and to be on the leadership team. I’ve been involved with music my whole life, around marching band for nine years, have actually marched for 4 of those years, and have served in several leadership roles. I’m hoping to bring people, both on and off the field, the same enjoyment that marching band has brought me!
I love band. I love music. I love marching. I love uniforms. The sense of teamwork, of being part of something greater than the sum of its parts that comes from ensemble music is unparalleled. The camaraderie and precision of close-order drill never cease to give me joy. It seems wrong that I of all people have never been able to put them together. Now I am given the chance to do so.
My name is Will Grigg, I am 21 (22 in August) and a Senior graduating next spring. I am a member of the Equipment Crew in the marching band. I play percussion and I enjoy video games and reading. I am a Biology Major and 6’5″. I hope to have a fun year with all of you!
Flute/Piccolo Section Leader
My name is Caroline Berg and I’m a flute/piccolo player in my sophomore year here at SU. I have been playing my instrument for about 12 years. During my high school years, I was a part of my school’s marching band. I also participated in the leadership team for 3 years. We even went to Hawaii to march in the Pearl Harbor Day Parade! In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and playing volleyball.
Clarinet Section Leader
I’m an incoming freshman from Henrico, VA who will be studying clarinet performance at SU. Marching band was one of the best experiences of my high school life, and I’m excited to continue marching and help my section represent at SU!
Alto Saxophone Section Leader
My name is Amry and I am a current student at Shenandoah University studying in Music Production & Recording Technology. I love to create music and letting it be an outlet to express myself in a way that has no criteria and to be myself. In the past, I was the Saxophone section leader my senior year of high school and I enjoyed having fun while taking in the seriousness of memorizing music and remembering our steps. I’m really excited to be a part of the marching band and seeing all that it will accomplish for the first inaugural year.
Tenor Saxophone Section Leader
I am from Woodbridge VA and have been playing the saxophone for 7 years. Other than saxophone, I also play French Horn, Clarinet, Percussion, and other instruments. I’ve played in Concert band, Symphony Orchestra, Theater Pit Orchestra, Saxophone Quartet, and other Ensembles. Outside of music, I enjoy playing billiards, working with technology, and crafts.
Trumpet Section Leader
I’m a current freshman from Chesapeake, VA studying Trumpet Performance. I’m more than excited to not only be a part of the inaugural year of the Marching Band, but also a part of the leadership team! I’ve marched all four years of my high school career, and served in many different leadership positions during those years. I can’t wait to be able to apply my experience in order to make the Marching Band the best that it can be!
Mellophone Section Leader
Hi guys, I’m Cassie and I’m from Richmond Virginia. I am absolutely stoked to be a part of something so amazing that’s brand new for SU. I’ve been around music all of my life since I was a little girl. I participated in marching band all four years of high school, as well as having a leadership role every year. I can’t wait to share my love for music with other individuals who are just as passionate. Here’s to new beginnings!
Trombone/Baritone Section Leader
My name is Jackson and I’m an incoming freshman at Shenandoah University. I currently attend Glen Allen High School which is located outside of Richmond, VA. I’m super excited to be the trombone/baritone section leader for the marching band this year as well as pursue a degree in Music Education. I’ve played trombone since middle school, and I also play guitar in my free time. Some of my favorite hobbies include going on walks, collecting vinyl, playing board games and video games, reading books, and watching movies. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until the beginning of my senior year in high school that I felt I wanted to be an elementary school music teacher. I can’t wait to attend Shenandoah University this fall and hopefully make some really good friends!
Sousaphone Section Leader
I first started having musical instrument training from the ages of 2 to 11 when I played percussion, mainly drum set. At 11 on, I stuck with the Tuba. Marched in High School at Lloyd C. Bird, Undergrad at Virginia State University, where I was Section Leader for three years, and recently marched with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps.
Drumline Section Leader
Ruth is originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School. As an avid member of the music department at Bishop McDevitt, she participated in the Marching Band and Concert Band as well as in Concert Choir and Chorale. She was student drill leader for the marching band for 1 year and was on the choir leadership team for 2 years. She also performed in various musicals and plays during her time there. She is currently involved in the Cantus Choir and the Pep Band here at Shenandoah as well as being in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. She is very passionate about music and loves to share that passion with others, and she cannot wait to have another outlet to play and perform!