Forte Announces 2010 Major Instructional Team

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Forte Drum & Bugle Corps of Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas-Fort Worth area) is proud to announce the major instructional team for the 2010 season. Technical staff Interviews are currently taking place, look for full caption announcements over the fall and winter.

Leading the instructional team are Music Ensemble Coordinator, Jay Wardeska and Visual Ensemble Coordinator, Carl Diefenbach.

Music Ensemble Coordinator, Jay Wardeska

Jay Wardeska serves as Director of Bands at Brunswick High School and Music Department Chair for the Brunswick City Schools in Brunswick, Ohio. He holds a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and a Bachelor degree in Music Education. Wardeska has been the recipient of a number of honors and awards including the Master Teacher Award conferred by the state of Ohio, the National Excellence in Teaching Award, the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association, Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Teacher of the Year and being named a Martha Holding Jennings Foundation Scholar. Active as an arranger and visual designer, Wardeska’s marching bands have won countless grand championships and awards including being a perennial Ohio State Marching Band Finalist—earning the highest possible rating every year for the past ten years and becoming a consistent Bands of America Regional Championship finalist. His concert and jazz bands have received numerous honors and awards in adjudicated events and festivals. The bands have accepted a number of performance honors being featured at university concerts, professional conferences and feature performances as well as a performing a feature concert at the Ohio Music Education Association state conference. Wardeska is an active adjudicator, guest conductor and clinician, and continues to perform as a freelance trumpet player in the Cleveland area.

Wardeska’s drum corps experience includes being an alumnus of the DCI finalist Bluecoats Drum and Bugle corps from Canton, Ohio. In 2009 he served as the Brass Caption Head and Staff Coordinator for the Capital Regiment from Columbus, Ohio.

Visual Ensemble Coordinator, Carl Diefenbach

Carl Diefenbach currently hails from Westerville, OH. Carl is currently with the 122nd Army Band in Columbus, OH as the Readiness NCO, Stage Band Director and Drum Major. He is in his 26th year of Service with the Military.

Carl served in the US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps from 29 Palms, CA after graduating high school. He started his drum corps career by spending a short period of time with the General Butler Vagabonds from Butler, PA. Carl aged out of Velvet Knights in 1985 after his Marine contract expired. He then joined the US Army and did tours with Army Bands in Fort Drum, NY, Hawaii, Aberdeen, MD and Washington, DC.

His drum corps and marching band experience include US Marine Drum and Bugle
Corps (29 Palms, CA), US Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, Velvet Knights, Capital Regiment, Empire Statesmen, Kingston Grenadiers, Rochester Crusaders, Sunrisers, Frontier and many Marching Bands and Winter Guards in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

The 2010 Caption Heads include:

Brass Caption Head, Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee comes to Forte after serving as Brass Caption head for Memphis Sound in 2009. Aside from his experience teaching drum corps Andrew is an alumni of Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps of Canton, Ohio where he marched Euphonium as a soloist. Andrew is a proud graduate of Abilene Christian University with a degree in Music Education. He is also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, TMEA, and TBA. Andrew is also in his second year serving as an Assistant Director of Bands at Katy High School in Katy, Texas where his responsibilities include design and concept of the fall marching show, drill design, brass caption head, and director of the jazz project. Andrew has served as a guest clinician and adjudicator at schools across the state and marching instructor at schools such as Abilene High School, Hawley High School, Cinco Ranch High School, Seven Lakes High School and many others. Andrew is a proud husband as well and has been married to his amazing and supportive wife Amanda for three years now. Aside from brass instruction Andrew is also a highly sought after Bass Trombonist specializing in Jazz performance, and drill design. Andrew enters this year excited to be a part of this great organization and the knows this season will be one of great success. Andrew resides in Katy, TX brass [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Percussion Caption Head, Ryan Pride

Ryan Pride recently graduated with a degree in Music-All Level Certification from Texas State University-San Marcos. Graduating in 2003 from Pflugerville High School in Pflugerville, TX, he began his teaching experience at 18. He has worked with such high school programs as Pflugerville, Hendrickson, Dripping Springs, San Marcos, Round Rock and Lassiter (Marietta, GA). Ryan’s marching experience includes the 2005 and 2006 Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps. He has also participated in numerous indoor drumlines including Revolution (04) and the Texas State PASIC Drumline (04 and 06). He also performed for many years in such ensembles as the Texas State Wind Ensemble, Texas State Percussion Ensemble, Texas State Panorama Steel Drum Band, and numerous smaller ensembles. He also has numerous pieces in the process of being published. In 2007, he was served as the quad tech for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2008 and 2009, he found his home with Memphis Sound as the percussion caption head, both years helping the corps to become an Open Class World Finalist.

Ryan’s teachers include Chris Hestin, Terry McKinney, Frank Chapple, Eric Martin, Jaime Alvarez-Calderon, Keri Klier, and Genaro Gonzalez. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he teaches the front ensemble at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Odyssey Indoor Percussion Theatre and the Lassiter High School Trojan Band. Ryan resides in Atlanta, GA percussion [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Visual Caption Head, Kenneth Thompson

Kenneth Thompson currently lives in the Dallas area where he serves as a band director for Duncanville ISD. Kenneth has been a clinician/instructor/technician in Texas for the past 8 years.

Kenneth holds a Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Texas A&M Commerce. Kenneth served as a marching member, drum major, and elected undergraduate intern for the Pride Marching Band.

Kenneth marched baritone with Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps in 2003 and 2004. In 2005 he joined Southwind’s visual staff under Mark Palise and Dann Petersen. He continued this role through 2006. In 2007 he joined Southwind’s brass staff under Steve Vento. In 2008 Kenneth joined Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps as the visual/brass caption head. In 2009 he continued on as the visual caption head for Memphis. For the 2010 season, Kenneth will return as the visual caption head for Forte Drum and Bugle Corps. Kenneth resides in Duncanville, TX visual [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Colorguard Caption Head, Chris Smith

Christopher Smith resides in the Houston area where he serves as the color guard Director at Pearland H.S. since 2005. Prior to relocating from Ohio, Smith had tenures with the North Royalton H.S., Brunswick H.S. and Medina H.S. bands and winter guard programs. Smith was a longtime board member of Mid-East Performance Association (MEPA) as well as serving as an Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) adjudicator. He has held color guard caption head positions with the Limited Edition Drum and Bugle Corps and the Capital Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and has consulted with many high school programs and drum corps throughout the years. He studied dance at the Ohio State University and was a member of the University Dance Company, the Zivili Kolo Ensemble, and worked with choreographers John Giffin and Victoria Uris. Smith served as the Artistic Director for Csardas Dance Company of Cleveland for twelve years. Mr Smith resides in Houston, TX colorguard [at] fortecorps [dot] org">colorguard [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Forte is holding Satellite Camps in South Dakota, Virginia (TN Border), and Atlanta GA in the coming weeks, leading in to the Full Audition Camps in Dallas (Nov) and Houston (Dec). For membership information visit

Membership Application can be found at:

Posted by on Monday, October 26th, 2009. Filed under DCI Open.