Meet the Directors

Casey Skalbeck - Marching Band Director

Born in Petaluma, CA, Casey Skalbeck moved early on to Reno, NV and then Kenosha, WI.  He attended the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities where he received a Bachelors or Music in Music Education.  While there, he was a member of the University of Minnesota Marching Band and Symphonic Band.  He also was a director for the Maroon Pep Band which covered Men’s Hockey games.  Casey had the opportunity to play in Texas, Florida, and New York during his time with the band.

Casey is also a member of the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” band stationed in Rosemount, MN.  He plays euphonium in the North Star Brass Quintet and the concert band, sousaphone in the Ceremonial Band, and trombone in the Jazz Band.  He has had the opportunity to perform all across the state, including the Minnesota State Fair, as well as Fort Lewis in Washington.  He enlisted into the Minnesota National Guard in 2013 and is currently the rank of Sergeant.

After graduating college, Casey’s first teaching job was in Hancock, Minnesota.  There he taught 5-12 Band including Beginning Band, Junior High Band, Senior High Band, Pep Band, Marching Band, and lessons.  

After two years at Hancock, Casey accepted the position at Alexandria Area High School.  He directs the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Pep Band, and will direct the Marching Band this upcoming summer.  Casey is looking forward to working with the Marching Band and competing at a high level.

 

Derek Ziemer - Assistant Marching Band Director

Originally from St.Cloud, MN, Derek Ziemer joined the Alexandria Public School's Band Department in 2016. Derek attended the University of Minnesota - Morris, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in Music Education in May of 2014.

Derek currently teaches at Discovery Middle School and the Alexandria Area High school. Derek is in his second year with District 206 and splits his time between the middle and high school. Derek directs the 7th Grade Viking and Cardinal Bands, along with the Viking and Runestone bands at the Alexandria Area High School. He is also the Director of Jazz Ensembles at AAHS.
 
Before Derek started teaching in Alexandria, he taught for two years in the Brandon-Evansville School District teaching K-6 music and 5 - 12 Band. Derek is also an active performer in the Alexandria Area and around the state; most notably as a Bassoonist in the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra(CLSO) and Alto Saxophone in the Fargo-Moorhead Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Ziemer is also a member of MENC, MMEA, MBDA, and serves as the NWMBDA Vice-President and Jazz Ensemble Chair. 

Meet the Staff

Sue Snorek - Head Colorguard Instructor

Sue graduated from Bertha Hewitt High School in 1997 and attended the University of Minnesota, Morris where she received her Bachelors Degree in Vocal Music Performance and K-12 Music Education. While there she was a member of the Concert Choir, Concert Band, and Jazz I Ensemble. In 2011 she went back to school and attained her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University in St. Paul.

While attending UMM, Sue contacted the director of the Alexandria bands in 1998 and interviewed for a job to help with the Colorguard. Her first role was helping the Colorguard during rehearsal season and the Honor Guard when the summer season began. After a few years, she became the assistant Colorguard instructor and then eventually the Head Colorguard instructor in charge of design and writing the summer shows. This summer season will mark her 18th year with the Alexandria Colorguard.

After graduating from UMM in 2002, she was hired as a K-4/5 Elementary Music teacher in Waconia, MN where she has been lucky enough to remain for her entire career. Recently she was moved from the elementary level to the middle school level and is now teaching 6th grade general music and 6-8 Choir, as well as working with the middle school show choirs.

In 2002/2003 she marched with Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps in the Colorguard. She has also been a long time volunteer with Phantom Regiment and Music City Drum and Bugle Corps. In the last 16 years she has worked with groups such as Willmar, Minnetonka, Bertha-Hewitt, and many more. Most recently she was hired as the Head Guard Instructor/writer for the Waconia High School Marching Band.

Kassie Gibbons - Assistant Colorguard Instructor

Kassie attended Grand Rapids High School in Grand Rapids, MN. Rapids was known for having the best competitive field show band north of the twin cities. Field shows involve using a whole football field and having an 11 minute show - similar to drum corps style. She played frontline her first year of marching band, and played tenor drums her junior and senior year. While in GRHS marching band, they won numerous competitions and captions across the twin cities and Wisconsin, as well as a competition in Hawaii. Kassie played bass clarinet in symphonic band for 7 years while in Grand Rapids and was also part of the Reif Center dance company - studying ballet, tap, jazz, modern, pointe, and hip hop for 14 years.

She started her college career at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she was in the colorguard with the University of Minnesota Marching Band. Never having been in guard before, she excelled quickly (though the start was rough) and earned a colorguard feature her freshman and sophomore year at the Indoor Concert and received the Rookie of the Year award for colorguard in 2009. She participated in 2 bowl games in Tempe, Arizona with the UMMB. She also played in concert band at the U of M playing bass clarinet and in the Men's Basketball pep band in the cymbal line. When Kassie transferred to University of Minnesota Duluth, she continued to participate in marching band, but moved back to playing tenors her first year and cymbals her second year in the drumline. She also played saxophone and cymbals in the pep band.

After college, Kassie moved to Howard Lake, MN for her first teaching job. Sadly, they did not have a marching band and she desperately missed being involved in music. In 2014, Kassie received her position as digital art teacher at Alexandria Area High School. She was thrilled to be a part of a school that had a marching band again. Her first summer here, before she became an instructor in Alex, she recalls running down the sidewalk following the AAHS band as she watched them perform "Newsies" at Vikingland. She knew she HAD to be part of this group. She contacted the then director, Todd Blaser, and was able to get a position as assistant colorguard instructor. As well as teaching and band, she also is the assistant coach for the Alexandria Cardinal Dance Team. Kassie is looking forward to many more years with the band!

Scott Fassett- Drumline Instructor

Raised in Alexandria, MN, Scott Fassett has been involved with the Alexandria Marching Band for over a decade.  While achieving his Bachelors of Arts in Business Finance at Bethany Lutheran College, Scott was also the director of the Bethany College Drumline from 2010-2013, while also performing in the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band, on scholarship. Scott has been active in the drum corps community as well, performing with Chops Inc. of St. Paul, The Govenaires of St. Peter, and Music City Drum and Bugle Corps of Nashville, TN.

Scott and his family reside in Parkers Prairie, MN and are looking forward to his 7th year working with the Alexandria Drumline.

Jennessa Moeller - Drumline Instructor

Born and raised in Parkers Prairie, MN, Jennessa started taking private drum lessons at the age of 9. During high school she held center snare position in the PPHS Marching Band. Jennessa pursued a Music Education major at MSU-Mankato in 2006. She switched majors in 2008 but continued to stay active in the music department with the MSU Mankato Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Opera Workshop through graduation in 2011. Jennessa currently resides in Alexandria, MN where she runs her photography business and substitute teaches in Districts 206 and 542, is the principle percussionist with the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra, and is in her second season as Drumline Instructor with the AAHS Marching Band.

Matt Bittmann - Honor Guard Instructor

Matthew Bittmann, who graduated from Alexandria Area High School in 2016, is currently in his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He is pursuing a major in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and a minor in Religious Studies. He has marched two seasons with the University of Minnesota Marching Band on alto saxophone. Matthew has performed in California and at the Super Bowl with the band. He has also spent one semester as a member of the Gopher Pep Band, which plays at women’s hockey and basketball games.

Matthew marched five seasons with the Alexandria Marching Band, including one season as Drum Major. He is looking forward to his new role as Honor Guard Instructor this summer.

Past Directors

Matthew Winarski

Originally from Memphis, TN, Matthew Winarski joined the Alexandria Public School's Band Department in 2014. Matthew attended the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, where he received a Bachelors of Music Education.

Matthew taught at Discovery Middle School and Alexandria Area High School his first two years with District 206. In the Fall of 2016 Matthew became the Director of Bands at Alexandria Area High School. Responsibilities at AAHS include the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Varsity Band, Head Marching Band Director, sharing Pep Band, and assisting with Jazz I and Jazz II.

Before Matthew started teaching in Alexandria, he taught for one school year(2013-2014) at Sargent Central Schools in Forman, ND, and North Sargent Schools in Gwinner, ND. In both school districts he taught band in grades 5th-12th.

Matthew has a been involved in many different marching programs all over the world. He started college at the University of Memphis where he marched in the Mighty Sound of the South. After two years he transferred to the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. At UW- Eau Claire Matthew worked with the Blugold Marching Band(BMB), the largest Division III marching band in the country. While at UW-Eau Claire, Matthew served as Drum Major for his final two years, directing the BMB and its over 325 members. Also during his tenure at UW-Eau Claire he started the Blugold Athletic Band(BAB), a pep band for the University's basketball games. Both groups are incredibly active at UW-Eau Claire today.

Matthew lives in Alexandria, and has a wonderful dog named Colby.

 

Greg DeGier - Starting in 2014, Greg is the director at Discovery Middle School

A native of Starbuck, MN, Greg DeGier attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, where in 1986, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Instrumental Music Education.

In the fall of 1998, Greg accepted the position of Associate Band Director at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, MN, where Todd Blaser and he direct the award-winning Jefferson High School Marching Band. In 2000, Todd and Greg took the marching band to the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix, Arizona, and took 1st place in their class and 2nd place overall. During Christmas 2003, Todd and Greg took the JHS Marching Band to Orlando, Florida, and participated in the Capital One Citrus Bowl Parade and Disney World’s Torchlight Parade.

Greg’s duties at Jefferson include directing the Symphonic Band, the Red Concert Band and Pep Band, as well as being the Head Jazz Band Director and Assistant Marching Band Director.

Before Greg started teaching in Alexandria he taught at the Clinton-Graceville Schools in Graceville, MN, from 1989 to 1998 and the Grant-Deuel Schools in Revillo, SD, from 1987 to 1989.

Currently Greg is working on a Masters Degree in Instrumental Conducting from St. Cloud State University. Greg is also active in teaching private lessons and adjudication.

 

Todd Blaser

Todd Blaser is originally from Norfolk, Nebraska, where he graduated from Norfolk High School in 1983. At Norfolk High School he was involved in band, intramurals, golf, and served as drum major of the award winning Norfolk High School Marching Band. After high school, he attended Northeast Technical Community College, the University of South Dakota, and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. During his early musical career, he marched in Drum and Bugle Corps spending 5 summers with the Crimson Cadets of Norfolk, and one year with the Phantom Regiment of Rockford, Illinois which placed 4th at the 1984 DCI World Championships.

Prior teaching and performance experiences includes:

1988 Ruthven – Ayrshire Community Schools - Iowa (5-12)

1989 to 1992 - Anthon-Oto Community Schools - Iowa (5-12)

1992 to 1997 - Cherokee Washington High School – Iowa (9-12)

1997 to present at Jefferson High School and Alexandria Area High School

1987 to 1998 - served as camp director/clinician at the Reggie Schive Summer Jazz Camp on the campus of the ‘University of Okoboji’

1989 to 1996 - member of the Clark Terry ‘Big Bad Jazz Band’ of Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa

Currently Todd’s teaching duties since 1997 include directing the Wind Ensemble, White Concert Band, Jazz II, Head Marching Band Director, and sharing pep band duties. He recently received his Master’s of Education from the College of St. Catherine’s. Todd also maintains an active judging schedule working with marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, and solo ensemble throughout the Midwest.

He is married to Rhonda, a band director at Voyager Elementary School in Alexandria, and has two daughters - Alex and Ki - and two dogs named Cleo and Ollie.