Thomas Poshak received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan. In 2001 he retired after a thirty-year career as a high school band director. Mr. Poshak taught in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in Ladue, MO, and was the Band Director and Music Coordinator for the Kirkwood School District from 1985 until 2001. Under his direction the Ladue Symphonic Band performed at the Missouri Music Educator’s Association (MMEA) convention in 1982 and the Kirkwood Symphonic Band received Honor I ratings at Missouri State High School Activities Association Festivals for 12 consecutive years, and Gold Ratings at music festivals in Atlanta, Chicago and Nashville.
He has held offices in MMEA, Phi Beta Mu and the St. Louis Suburban Music Educator’s Association (SLSMEA) and is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Missouri Bandmaster’s Association, Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha. In 2001 he received the Music Educator of the Year award from the SLSMEA and in 2004 received their Hall of Fame Award. Mr. Poshak also directs the University City Summer Band.
Associate Music Director
Gary W. Brandes is currently adjunct professor at Lindenwood University where he conducts the Wind Ensemble/Symphonic Band and is assistant to the Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at Lindenwood he was teaching professor of music and director of bands at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. At UMSL he conducted the University Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Lab Band, taught undergraduate Conducting I & II, Instrumental Music Education Methods, Instrumental Literature, and supervised student teachers. Graduate level courses include Literature, Music Education Methods and Conducting.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2006, Brandes taught for 28 years in Missouri public schools most recently as director of bands at Fort Zumwalt South High School. A Bachelor of Music Education degree, instrumental and vocal was completed in 1978. A Master’s degree in conducting was completed in 1992 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. As a trombonist he has performed with the St. Louis Wind Symphony, St. Louis Low Brass Collective, Gateway City Big Band, Meramec Monday Night Jazz Band, Jim Widner Big Band, and the Mid Rivers Brass Quintet.
Beginning in 2016 he is honored to serve as the associate conductor for the St. Louis Wind Symphony. Brandes served as the College/University Vice President for Missouri Music Educators Association 2010-12, MMEA President-Elect 2012-14, MMEA President 2014-16, and Past President. He currently assists with the MMEA mentor training program.
Brandes was honored 1998 with the Merit Award in Music Education from St. Louis Metro Music Educators Association and in 2000 St. Louis Metro recognized Brandes as its Outstanding Music Educator and the Metro Eight Hall of Fame award in 2015. Brandes was selected as Fort Zumwalt’s Teacher of the Year in 2003. He received the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Teacher Award and was selected as part of the Marquis Who’s Who in America in 2004. In 2012 he was honored to receive the Missouri Association for Jazz Education Outstanding Educator Award and was inducted into Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in 2019.
Professional affiliations include NAfME, MMEA, MoAJE, MBA, ITA, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Brandes lives in St. Peters, MO, with his daughter Erin.
Founder & Director Emeritus
Dan Presgrave graduated cum laude from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory, and received his Master of Music degree and completed course work for a Ph.D. in conducting and performance practice at Washington University. Mr. Presgrave served for four years as solo trumpet player with the Air Force Band of Mid-America. As an active performer in the St. Louis area, he held the principal trumpet position with Saint Louis Philharmonic Orchestra for nine years, and performed with the Galant Ensemble, the orchestra for Opera Theater of Saint Louis, the Philharmonic Brass Quintet and the Metropolitan Orchestra of Saint Louis.
In 1972, Mr. Presgrave joined the music faculty of Washington University where, in addition to teaching instrumental conducting, he was the music director/conductor for the Washington University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. In 2010 he was appointed interim Orchestra Director at University of Missouri-St. Louis.
In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Presgrave is also a pastoral counselor and author of The Value of ME!, a Christian counseling program that can be found at meetpastordan.com. He is also on the teaching staff at Grace Church St. Louis.