2021 AOSFB Staff.
Meet the team that makes the AOSFB experience possible!
Brian W. Dodd
Brian W. Dodd enters his 14th year on the staff and 5th year as Director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band. Previously, he served as Assistant Director in charge of Percussion. He received his Bachelor Degree in Music Education from The Ohio State University and is in his 36th year as an Ohio music educator and 21st year as Director of Bands at West Holmes High School in Millersburg. Mr. Dodd currently directs 224 students in the schools two concert bands, as well as jazz, pep and marching bands and percussion ensemble. The ensembles are active year round having performed throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Florida while playing regularly for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Annual Holiday Parade in Pittsburgh. He is a Certified Red Cross First Aid and CPR instructor, former National Honor Society Adviser, was OMEA District 10 Large Group Adjudicated Event Chairman for 8 years. He recently received his 30 Year Plus recognition from the OMEA, has been a recipient of the OHSAA Sportsmanship, Ethics & Integrity Award and this spring, he will be receiving the Honorary State FFA Degree from the Ohio Future Farmers of America - its highest honor. Prior to teaching at West Holmes, Mr. Dodd was a High School Band and Choir Director for 14 years in Knox County. He is an active performer, is a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local #159, an Adjunct Music Faculty member at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and has had members in the AOSFB for 35 years! He, his wife Lori and two of his 4 children currently reside in Bladensburg, Ohio.
Edward P. Gallagher
Director of Operations
Edward P. Gallagher (French Horn, ‘84-’87) is in his 33rd year as a staff member and 5h year serving as Director of Operations for both the AOSFB and All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. Mr. Gallagher previously served as an equipment manager, counselor and camp manager. He received his degree in music therapy from Cleveland State University and received his Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Currently, he is Director of Education at Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Citizens for the Arts, is Past President of the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the AOSFB Alumni Association, and has been appointed to serve as a review panelists for four of the Ohio Arts Council’s grants programs. He received the 2015Director’s Service Award from the AOSFYC, 2007 Service Award from the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association and was inducted into The Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame in 2007. He and his wife Lisa are parents of AOSFB Alum, Megan.
Abby Altizer (Saxophone '10-'12) returns for her 2nd year on equipment staff. She graduated with a BA in music from Ohio Northern University in 2016. She currently teaches K-4 General Music at Newark City Schools in Newark, Ohio. Abby lives in Columbus with her husband, PJ Long (Percussion '13-'15) and their two beautiful dogs.
James R. "Tank" Esswein
Operations Associate & Librarian
James R. "Tank” Esswein celebrates his 51st year on the Operations Staff and also as Librarian, a post he has held for 21 years. He has served as Assistant Camp Manager and Equipment Manager for the Band and Youth Symphony. He received his music degree from The Ohio State University and is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha music fraternities. Mr. Esswein was a music educator for the Columbus Public Schools and retired in 2004 after 35 years of service. He performs in numerous groups including the OSU Alumni Band and Mendelssohn Liedertafel to name a few. He is a Past Master of Goodale Lodge #372 Free and Accepted Masons. He was Teacher of the Year at Wedgewood Middle School in 1994, and Columbus Crew Stadium Employee of the Year in 2000. He dotted the "I” twice in the 1967 season and at the 1969 Rose Bowl. He was inducted into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame in 2006 and is the Director of the AOSFB Alumni Band.
Dr. Otis French
Assistant Director (Low Brass)
Dr. Otis French enters his 4th year on the staff as Assistant Director in charge of Low Brass. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Maryland, a Master of Music Degree in Conducting from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Business Administration from Saint Leo University. Dr. French serves as the Director of Bands at Malone University having previously taught at the University of Mount Union. He served in the Army Music Program for over 24 years as a performer, officer and conductor having commanded Army bands in the US and Germany. Dr. French retired at the rank of Major in 2002. He has served as Director of Bands at the college level and was an assistant high school band director. He is an active guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, Euphonium soloist, and marching band show designer. He has given professional presentations on conducting at National and State Music Education conferences. He was awarded the Citation for Musical Excellence by the National Band Association.
Lisa M. Gallagher
Lisa M. Gallagher returns for her 21st year on the staff and will be serving as Administrative Assistant. Mrs. Gallagher received her undergraduate degree in music therapy from Ohio University and Masters in Counseling from Walsh University. She is the Research Program Manager for the Arts & Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, is pursuing her PhD in health psychology and behavioral medicine from Northcentral University, and is a Past President of the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association. She received the 2013 Association of Ohio Music Therapists Past Presidents Club Award for service to the profession, the 2008 Blair L. Sadler International Healing Arts Award, and the 2007 Scholarly Activities Award from the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association for her research, presentations, and service. She and her husband Ed are parents to AOSFB Alum, Megan.
Megan M. Gallagher
Megan M. Gallagher (Flag, '11-'12, Trumpet, '13-'16) returns for her 4th year on the Operations Staff. She is also serving as a Social Media Assistant for AOSFB and All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. She is in her senior year at Baldwin Wallace University where she is an Arts Management and Entrepreneurship Major as well as a Dance Minor. She was Greek Sing co-director for her sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, where they won 1st place, and is currently Corresponding Secretary for her sorority’s Program Council. She performed in BW dance department’s Testing Ground for three semesters and was on run crew for their annual dance show “fyoo zh en.” This past spring, she interned with the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio as a social media intern and interned at with the Arts and Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. She graduated from Magnificat High School in 2016 and was presented with the John Philip Sousa Award in her senior year.
Robert Gardner, D.D.S.
Operations Associate Volunteer
Robert Gardner, DDS (Clarinet, ’84-‘86) returns for a 8th year as a volunteer member of the Operations Staff. He graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in dental hygiene and later with a Doctorate in Dental Surgery. Through the years he has provided emergency services to members of the AOSFB at his office in Clintonville. Dr. Gardner and his wife, Julie, have four daughters, Hanna, Emiley (AOSFB ’13- ’14), Ashley and Lilly (AOSFB, ’13). He recently served on the Civil Service Commission in Grove City and is a Past President of the AOSFB Alumni Association.
Mendel R. Hibbard
Assistant Director (Percussion)
Mendell R. Hibbard enters his 5th year as Assistant Director in charge of percussion. He is the band director at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, a position he took after teaching in public schools for 34 years. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio University and his Master of Arts degree from Ohio State University. He is an active member of the Ohio Music Education Association, serving as an adjudicator and a past district president. He is on the state board with the Ohio Community Theater Association and is involved with several local theater productions as a music director, pit orchestra conductor and player.
Operations Associate Volunteer
Sandra Kemerer (Clarinet, '77-'78) returns for a 9th year with the Band, serving as a part-time volunteer Operations Staff member. She received her Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication as well as her Master’s in Education in Family and Consumer Science Education from The Ohio State University. Mrs. Kemerer teaches at Whitehall Yearling High School. She has been continuing her education and has completed coursework toward her Teaching English as a Second Language license endorsement. She and her husband, Chuck, reside in Central Ohio.
Assistant Director (Upper Woodwinds)
Susan Keserich (Oboe, ’99-’02) is in her 5th year as an Assistant Director in charge of Upper Woodwinds. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music and her Master of Music degree from Cleveland State University. Mrs. Keserich is Director of Bands Wayne County and director of the Smithville "Smithie" high school band. She previously taught in the Barberton School District for 10 years. Mrs. Keserich is a member of the Ohio Music Education Association, the National Association for Music Education, Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Music Fraternity for Women, and Women Band Director's International. She has performed with the Mansfield Symphony, Warren Philharmonic, Cleveland Pops, Cleveland Philharmonic, and Cleveland Winds, among others. Mrs. Keserich lives in Medina with her husband (whom she met at the AOSFB) and two children.
Dr. Earl L. Louder
Assistant Director (Low Brass)
Dr. Earle L. Louder enters his 15th year as Assistant Director and Low Brass Specialist. Dr. Louder received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his Doctorate Degree from Florida State University. For twelve seasons he was the featured euphonium soloist, principal euphonium, and Head of the Brass Department of the US Navy Band in Washington, D.C. Dr. Louder was Resident Artist, Professor of Euphonium, Trombone and Tuba, and Associate Director of Bands at Morehead State University in Kentucky for 28 years. Currently, in retirement, he performs with numerous ensembles including Keith Brion's New Sousa Band and for 26 years performed with The Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Festival Band as featured soloist and principal euphonium. Between 1992 and 2003, Dr. Louder conducted the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp concert band and choral ensembles on six Blue Lake Exchange Program European Concert Tours.
Jennifer C. McDowell
Jennifer C. McDowell (Clarinet, '89-'92) returns for her 26th year as a staff member where she serves as an Operations Associate. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. As a member of the Band of the Fightin' Irish, Jennifer was selected as the recipient of the Robert F. O’Brien award, named in honor of the past Director of Bands, 1952-1986. Mrs. McDowell is the Director of Public Programs at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, and also oversees the operations of the Stan Hywet Goodyear Concert Band on the estate. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation and serves on the Executive Board for the Great Lakes Region as Deputy Director. Mrs. McDowell is a Past President of the AOSFB Alumni Association and an active 4-H advisor in Lorain County where she and her husband, Andrew, reside with their two children.
Dr. Brian D. Meyers
Assistant Director (Lower Woodwinds)
Dr. Brian D. Meyers (Tenor Sax, ‘90) is back for his 5th year as the Assistant Director in charge of Lower Woodwinds. Dr. Meyers received his undergraduate degree from Capital University, where he studied with James Swearingen and Dr. Timothy Swinehart. He also received his M.M and D.M.A. degrees in music education from Arizona State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he teaches a variety of music education courses. Prior to this, Dr. Meyers served on the faculty of Adelphi University in New York for 4 years as well as 13 years as a high school band director in Ohio and Arizona. His work and research, largely on the history of instrumental music education, has been presented nationally and internationally and has appeared in various journals.
Operations Associate - Volunteer
Courtney Mullins is joining the staff this year as a volunteer member of the Operations Staff. She is a graduate of Capital University with a Bachelor's Degree in Leadership and Management. Mrs. Mullins currently serves as the Benefits & Human Resources Director for Kaman & Cusimano, LLC. She has served the Ohio State Fair in various capacities including working in the Finance Office for one year, serving Camp Fire for 8 years and finally serving on the Ohio State Fair as a member of the Junior Fair Board representing Camp Fire. She and her husband, Ryan, along with their daughter Addy, live in the Columbus area.
Assistant Director (Upper Brass)
Van Parker (French Horn, ’98-‘01) returns for a 4th year as an Assistant Director working with the Upper Brass Section – French Horns and Trumpets. Mr. Parker received his Bachelor of Music in French horn performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music from Northwestern University. Based in Cleveland, he is a member of the Firelands Symphony in Sandusky, Cleveland Winds, and Principal horn of the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra in Charleston, SC which is a unique ensemble showcasing the talents of black musicians from around the country. He has appeared with the Akron, Ashland, Lima, Mansfield, and Youngstown Symphonies. Highly sought after as a clinician and private lesson instructor, he has guided students to success at several elite performing ensembles and institutions, Mr. Parker is also the French horn coach for the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony and the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra. He is an active member of the AOSFB Alumni Association and previously served as the organization’s Vice President.
Dakota Parrish (Tuba, ’10-12) is returning for his 8th year on the staff as Equipment Manager. He graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 2016. Formerly the Assistant Manager of Music and Arts in Worthington; he is now in pursuit of his Ohio Public Teaching Certificate. He currently teaches Tuba and Violin privately, and taught for the Northland Summer Music Camp for many years. In his spare time he plays with the Grove City Community Winds and formerly for the National Honors Orchestra of America in 2012 as Principal Tubist.
Donald F. Santa-Emma
Donald F. Santa-Emma enters his 47th year on the staff and the 5th year in his role of Director Emeritus having recently retired as Director of the AOSFB after 17 years on the podium. He received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his Master's Degree from Austin Peay State University. His doctoral course work was completed at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Santa-Emma served as Director of Fine Arts Education for the Cleveland Public Schools where he supervised over 200 teachers. He has received numerous citations and awards, including The Distinguished Service Award for Music Education from The Ohio State University, The Industry Service Award from the Ohio Music Education Association, induction into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame, and The Hall of Fame of his high school, West Technical High School. He was recipient of the Martha Holden Jennings Teacher/Leader Award and a Master Teacher Citation from The Cleveland Public Schools. He is President Emeritus of the 1500 member Cleveland Federation of Musicians, Local 4, American Federations of Musicians and currently, serves as music contractor for Cleveland's Playhouse Square, America's second largest performing arts center.
Melissa L. Spangler
Melissa L. Spangler (Flute/Piccolo, ‘89-’91) is returning for her 23rd year with the AOSFB as a member of the Operations Staff. Ms. Spangler is a Certified Academic Language Therapist with a Master of Arts in Education degree from Baldwin Wallace University. She completed her undergraduate work in Elementary Education at John Carroll University. Ms. Spangler has worked for the Rocky River City School District since 2000. During that time she has worked as a Reading Tutor at the high school, intermediate and middle schools. She is currently a Reading Teacher at Rocky River Middle School and the district’s Literacy Coordinator. Prior to teaching in the Rocky River City School District, Ms. Spangler taught Kindergarten and first grade at private schools in the Cleveland area. Presently she serves on the Board of Directors of the Northern Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Brett Welly (Percussion, ‘09-‘12) enters his 3rd year on staff serving on the Equipment Staff. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, having earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education. Mr. Welly works at Tiffin Calvert Catholic Schools teaching General Music for grades 7-8, Music Technology, Band and Choir.