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 Belleville West he directs Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, 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, Improvisation, and Applied Trombone. Michael is the Illinois Music Education 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 and professionally 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 and university.
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 Illinois Fire Service Institute Basic Operations Firefighter and Office of the State Fire Marshal Instructor I. He serves as Training Coordinator and Firefighter with the Villa Hills Fire Department, where he was selected as the 2018 and 2019, and 2021 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.
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.
Andre Sonner, Percussion Director
Andre Sonner is a Zildjian and Vic Firth endorsed Performing Artist/Educator, serving as Adjunct Professor of Percussion at McKendree University. He is also Second Percussionist with the Sarasota Opera, Co-Principal Percussion of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, and Percussion Instructor at Boston College. Recent engagements include performances with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Springfield, Detroit, Boston Pro Arte, New Bedford and Traverse Symphony Orchestras. Additional performance highlights include the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, Interlochen Arts Academy Violin Institute, Chicago Jazz Festival, and performances at the Kennedy Center, in Washington DC. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Central Michigan University. Summer fellowships include the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen, and Chautauqua Music Festivals.
Kari Wattles, Visual Instructor
Kari Anderson grew up in Mattoon, Illinois where she was a competitive dancer for 14 years. After high school, she attended Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville where she studied dance and music. At SIUE, Kari performed in many dance concerts, musicals, and operas, and found her passion for teaching. After graduating in 2017, Kari went on to teach at multiple dance studios, choreograph for theatre groups, and local schools. Thanks to Michael Pond-Jones, she fell in love with marching band and color guard, and has been with Belleville West ever since! Kari loves teaching dance fundamentals to all ages and is so excited to be with Belleville West for another year!
Marc Moss, Drill Writer & Designer
Marc Preston Moss began his years in the marching arts in Greentown, Indiana at Eastern High School. After graduating in 1988, he joined the Star of Indiana Drum & Bugle Corps from Bloomington, Indiana and performed with them until he aged out in 1991, when Star won the coveted DCI World Championship. He was selected by the corps director to represent Star in the 1991 All-Star Drum & Bugle Corps, performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Marc has since given back to the activity as a designer, instructor, clinician, and consultant for over 300 scholastic and independent indoor and outdoor competitive groups. His designs have won awards in California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin state and regional competitions. He choreographed for the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps from 2004-2006, and served as the Program Coordinator in 2005.
“My role as an educator in the marching arts has always had less to do about the elements of this craft and more to do with a student’s approach to learning music, marching, dancing, spinning, drumming, etc. If the approach is pure, then the outcome will be successful, regardless of what is placed before the student.”
2023 - 2024 Marching Maroons Leadership
Assistant to the Director
Hugo Christopher Belli-Santiago
Flute Section Leader
Lillian Hopper, music
Lauren Amlung, marching
Clarinet Section Leader
Saxophone Section Leader
Trumpet/Mellophone Section Leader
Trombone/Baritone Section Leaders
Sousaphone Section Leader
Front Ensemble Section Leader
Battery Section Leader