Dr. Stephen P. Kerr, former principal trumpet player at Liberty University, has been a band director for 31 years and is in his 24th year at Liberty University. He received his B.S. degree in music education from Liberty University in 1982, and holds an M.E. degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Kerr holds the PhD in Music Education with a minor in research from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He serves as Chair of the Department of University Bands, supervising all band ensembles, Director of the "Spirit of the Mountain" Marching Band, Director of the Wind Ensemble, and teaches Instrumental Conducting, Marching Band Techniques, and applied trumpet. He has studied with principal trumpet for the Roanoke Symphony, Alan Bachelder, and Dr. Edward Bach, trumpet instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Kerr studied conducting with Dr. James Glazebrook at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Dr. John Locke at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He performs periodically in the Lynchburg area, and periodically serves as a band clinician and adjudicator in the mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Kerr is an active member of the College Band Directors National Association, The National Band Association, The Conductors Guild, The World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the National Association for Music Education, and the Big South Conference Band Directors Association. The Liberty University Wind Ensemble has demonstrated acclaimed performance levels, including performing at the 2008 and 2012 College Band Directors National Association Southern Division Conferences, by peer-reviewed invitation. The Wind Ensemble enjoys an extended tour during the spring semester every year, performing at schools, churches and community events, including fun venues such as Miami’s Bayside and Disney World. The Liberty University Marching Band performs regularly in the new Williams Stadium, travels to exciting venues, and serves as a host for their own Marching Band Competition each fall semester.
Rachael Chastain has served as the Band Staff Assistant for the Liberty University Marching Band since November 2012. Rachael graduated from the Salem County Vocational and Technical Schools’ Academy for Instrumental Music in 2008 as a Music Honors student with a focus in composition, where she learned how to play clarinet, piano and saxophone. She has participated as a member of The Spirit of the Mountain from 2008-2011 playing clarinet and mellophone, has performed with the Wind Ensemble from 2009-2013 playing Bb and Eb clarinet, and the jazz ensemble and Spirit Band from 2008-2009 and 2010-2011, playing Bari and Tenor Sax. She has also performed with the Liberty University Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2012. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Fruit of the Spirit award of Faithfulness for her participation in The Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band. Rachael moved to Lynchburg, Virginia from her home town in Pennsville, New Jersey to finish up her undergrad in Psychology: Crisis Counseling, and plans to continue on towards graduate and doctoral work in Clinical Mental Health in hopes of being a military counselor working with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Tyler Loftin, hailing from Beaufort, NC, is entering his third year back at LU as Drum Line Instructor and Assistant Instructor of Athletic Bands. Tyler has also directed the LU Indoor Drum Line since its founding in 2012. In April 2013, LU Indoor placed 8th in Percussion Independent A Class at WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH. In addition to his position at LU, Tyler is also the Percussion Coordinator for the Jefferson Forest Band Program. His responsibilities include teaching 6-12 grade percussion classes and arranging battery music for the Cavaliers Marching Band. Tyler also composes original music and visual design each winter for the JF Indoor Percussion Ensemble.
In 2004, Tyler moved to Lynchburg to attend LU as a student of music education. He studied percussion with Dr. Kevin Super, and held leadership roles as Principal Percussionist, Drum Captain and Officer during his time at LU. Tyler graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Virginia K-12 Teacher Licensure. Tyler moved to Columbia, SC, in 2009 to pursue a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of South Carolina. He studied privately with Dr. Scott Herring, Professor of Percussion at USC. While at USC Tyler performed with many of the state’s finest musical ensembles including the USC Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Palmetto Pans Steel Band.
Tyler’s recent performing experiences include his performance of Eric Ewazen’s Marimba Concerto with the LU Wind Ensemble in April 2012, and also with the USC Symphony Orchestra in March 2011. Tyler also participated in the Collegiate Keyboard Competition at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention 2009 in Indianapolis, IN, and in addition, premiered a piece for solo marimba by composer Richard Power at the 2010 Society of Composer’ Inc. National Conference, which was hosted by USC.
Bryanna Tester is the Color Guard Instructor for the “Spirit of the Mountain” Marching band for the 2013 season. Bryanna has been involved in competitive Color Guard and Winter Guard since 2004. She was a member of Wallace Middle School Winter Guard in Bristol, Virginia from 2004-2005, John S. Battle High School Color Guard in Bristol, Virginia from 2005-2009 (served as a squad leader in 2007 and as captain in 2008 and 2009) and the “Spirit of the Mountain” Color Guard from 2010-2011. She has been the Color Guard Instructor of Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Virginia from 2010-2013 and Patrick Henry High School Color Guard in Glade Spring, Virginia from 2011-2013. As an oboist, she was a member of Wallace Middle School Symphonic Band from 2003-2006, John S. Battle High School Wind Ensemble from 2006-2010 and the Liberty University Wind Ensemble 2011-2012. She also served as the Secretary/ Treasurer of the “Spirit of the Mountain” Marching Band and Wind Ensemble from 2011-2012. Bryanna plans to graduate from Liberty University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in English with a teacher licensure.