Michael Pond-Jones, Director of Instrumental Music
Michael Pond-Jones, a Belleville, Illinois native, is the Director of Instrumental Music at Belleville Township High School West and Director of Jazz Studies at McKendree University. At West he directs Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles 3A and 3B, Jazz Band, the Marching Maroons, Basketball Band, and teaches MUS 101 and MUS 104, dual credit classes offered through the Department of Music at Southwestern Illinois College. Teaching assignments at McKendree include Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band Techniques, and Improvisation. Michael is also the Illinois Music Educators Association District 6 President.
During his tenure at Belleville West, the Jazz Band has been selected to present at the 2019 Illinois Music Education Conference in Peoria, Illinois, received multiple first place designations at the Eastern Illinois University Jazz Festival, and was selected as the 2020 Southwestern Illinois College Honors Jazz Ensemble.
His previous posts were Director of Bands at Richland County High School in Olney, Illinois, and ROWVA High School in Oneida, Illinois. He completed his graduate studies in Wind Band Conducting at Eastern Illinois University. At EIU, Michael regularly guest conducted the Wind Symphony and Concert Band as well as frequently rehearsed and led the Eastern Symphonic Band, Panther Marching Band, and Basketball Band. Michael is found working at multiple music camps over the summer.
A bass trombonist, Michael performs regularly in the Midwest, teaches privately, and frequently presents masterclasses and lectures. In 2014 Michael was an Honors Recital Performer at EIU. In 2011, Michael was the EIU Music Department Student of the Year. As a private instructor, Michael's students consistently earn superior ratings at contests and are selected for various levels of state recognition. Most importantly, his private students have chosen to continue studying, performing, and enjoying music after high school.
In addition to performing, teaching, and conducting, Michael earned credentials as a nationally-registered and state-licensed Emergency Medical Technician, American Heart Association BLS Instructor, and Basic Operations Firefighter. He serves as a Firefighter with the Villa Hills Fire Department, where he was selected as the 2018 and 2019 Firefighter of the Year.
Scott Wilson, Associate Director of Instrumental Music
Originally from Homewood, Illinois, Scott Wilson’s education includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Collegiate music awards include the 1995 University of Illinois Wind Division Achievement Award and the 1996 University of Illinois Guy M. Duker Music Education Award. He also was a consultant for “The Complete Woodwind Instructor – A Guidebook for the Music Educator” by Deborah A. Sheldon and Robert Sheldon.
Previous teaching assignments include serving as Director of Instrumental Music from 1996-2000 in the East Peoria, Illinois Elementary School District. During this time, the instrumental music program doubled in size and created many additional musical opportunities for students.
Since 1996, Scott has been an active performer in the Peoria, Illinois band – The West MacQueen Street Band. In addition, he has been active as a musician within various St. Louis and Peoria area ensembles and churches. He currently is the Director of Contemporary Music at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville.
Since 2001, Mr. Wilson directed instrumental and vocal music ensembles at Belleville West High School. He was recognized by former students in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” for the 2005-2006 school year. His current teaching assignments include Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Instrumental Music, and Orchestra. It has been his pleasure to serve the students and the families in our community within the music department at Bellleville West High School.
Daniel Smithiger, Percussion Director
Daniel Smithiger is an Instructor of Percussion, Director of Basketball Bands (E-Band), and Director of SIUE STEEL. His teaching duties include applied percussion, percussion ensemble, percussion literature, and percussion methods. Since his appointment, he has grown the percussion studio, developed and furthered SIUE STEEL, the E-Band (Basketball Band) and the Percussion Institute.
Mr. Smithiger remains in demand throughout the region, maintaining constant visibility with directors and students.He is active in adjudicating percussion, bands, and presenting recitals and clinics throughout Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Ohio and Arkansas. He also has presented at the National University of Tainan (Taiwan) in 2011, and furthered his research of Soca and Calypso music in Trinidad, 2012 and 2013.
In January 2013, Mr. Smithiger and the SIUE STEEL Bands performed at the Illinois Music Educator Association Convention, and in Trinidad with the Hatter’s Steel Pan Orchestra. Mr. Smithiger also maintains involvement in ILPAS, IMEA, IHSA, SLSMEA and St. Louis All-Suburban. Upcoming performances include appearing as a guest artist at the PANA Percussion Institute (Ohio) in the summer of 2013, a Faculty Percussion Recital in October 2013 and Trinidad, 2014. He is the founder, coordinator and judge of the annual Black Swamp Percussion Ensemble and Solo Multiple Percussion Showcase.
Before his appointment at SIUE, he served on the faculties of McKendree University (Lebanon, Illi.) and Angelo State University (San Angelo, Texas). While maintaining these positions, Mr. Smithiger remained active in recruiting, adjudicating, and presenting clinics throughout the Midwest, Texas and Arizona. Recently, Mr. Smithiger performed for the Illinois State Music Teachers Association showcase at the University of Illinois, and he performed William Kraft’s Concerto for Timpani and Wind Band (3rd Movement) with the SIUE Wind Symphony in fall 2011. Credits also include performing with Garry Kvistad of NEXUS, the Bach Society of St. Louis, the Tucson Symphony, the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts Orchestra, the San Angelo Symphony (principal), the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, the Mesa Symphony, the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Flagstaff Symphony, the Phoenix and Tucson Boys Choir, Crosstalk, and the St. Frances De Sales Orchestra.
He completed his Bachelor of Music Education degree at Northern Arizona University, his Master of Music in Percussion Performance and DMA course work at the University of Arizona. Daniel Smithiger is published with Percussive Notes, HaMaR Publications and Black Swamp Percussion. He serves on the Education Committee for the Percussive Arts Society; as the Education consultant for Black Swamp Percussion; and serves on the advisory committee for the SIUE Cuban and Caribbean Culture Center. He is represented on the educational team with Sabian Cymbals, ProMark and Remo. He is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma and Phi Kappa Lambda.
Robin Bender, Colorguard Director
Lucas Mueller, Colorguard Instructor
Lucas Mueller, a southern Illinois native, is a recent McKendree University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics with Secondary Education Certification. Prior to attending McKendree University he went to Mascoutah High School and then attended Missouri State University.
While at Mascoutah High School, Lucas participated with the Color Guard in the Fall of 2009, 2010, and 2011, and the Winter Guard during the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 winter guard seasons. For two summers of his high school career, he was given the opportunity to perform with the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in Open Class from Dubuque, Iowa in 2010 and 2011. After graduating high school, he marched two summers with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in World Class from Dubuque, Iowa in 2012 and 2013.
While at Missouri State University, he marched with the 300-member Missouri State Pride Band in the Color Guard section under the direction of John Sullivan during the Fall of 2012 and 2013. After the marching band season, Lucas marched with National Avenue Winter Guard, also with Missouri State, during the 2013 and 2014 winter guard season. In 2014, National Avenue made it into Independent A semifinals at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.
After his second year at Missouri State, Lucas transferred closer to home and attended McKendree University.
After transferring to McKendree University, he was given the opportunity to marching with the Marching Bearcat Band, under the direction of David Boggs, in the Color Guard section under the direction of Dawn & Megan Schmid (2014), and Julianna Swanson (2015 to present) for three years. Halfway through the 2014 marching band season, Lucas auditioned for Avidity Independent of McKendree University under the direction of Jayson Williams and marched with Avidity ‘A’ in Independent A class for the 2015 winter guard season.
In the summer of 2015, Lucas marched his aged out with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from Casper, Wyoming in World Class. During this summer, Lucas had the chance to learn under the direction of Gabriel Becerra, Caleb Brown, Lisa Ha, Nicholas Vizza, Arista Smith, and Christi Osborne. While at Troopers, Lucas made and spun on the rifle line that summer. At the 2015 DCI World Championships, the Troopers made it into semifinals.
While at McKendree University, Lucas also performed with the McKendree Dance Ensemble under the direction of Katy Biver-Newcomb and Elizabeth Conway. During his time with the McK Dance Ensemble, he contributed two solos and one group piece towards three dance concerts.
Lucas Mueller also did his student teaching here at Belleville West alongside Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Joe Muniz, in the Mathematics Department during the 2017 Spring semester. During the 2016 Spring semester, Lucas also observed and taught three lessons with Tiffany Stellhorn, also in the Mathematics Department.
Kari Wattles, Visual Instructor
Belleville Township High School West
2021 - 2022 Marching Maroons Leadership
Luke Geppert. Co-Captain/Battery
Diego Reed, Co-Captain/Battery
Abby Stone, Co-Captain/Front Ensemble
Myles Daly, Co-Captain/Front Ensemble
Brooke Bodendieck, Captain
Haleigh Cote, Co-Captain
Upper Woodwind Section Leader
Saxophone Section Leader
Trumpet Section Leader
Mellophone Section Leader
Trombone/Baritone Section Leader
Sousaphone Section Leader