Dr. Alex Avila is an avid performer, educator, and advocate of art music. Although he began his musical studies on euphonium, doubling on tuba has become a signature of his professional career. Avila distinguished himself by placing in several regional, national, and international music competitions, notably earning first prize in the prestigious Leonard Falcone Festival Competition. He has also been a finalist in professional auditions on both instruments with Pershing’s Own and The Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music is an essential component of Avila’s musical identity. He has performed with a variety of small ensembles in settings ranging from the concert hall to a viking boat sailing across a lagoon. His most active chamber group is the genre-bending quartet, FivE, that has garnered national attention for their creativity and ability to entertain audiences of all types. With FivE, Avila is constantly challenged to integrate outstanding musicianship with design and theater elements and to think about the future of classical music in society.
As a soloist, Avila has been featured with The University of Georgia Wind Ensemble, The Austin Symphonic Band, The Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble, and has performed recitals across the U.S. His recitals use theme, narrative, and multimedia elements to explore a balance between tradition and modernity, appealing to a broad artistic spectrum.
Dr. Avila currently serves as Lecturer of Tuba and Euphonium for The Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University and is a Buffet-Crampon performing artist.
Drew Bonner (b.1991) is a composer, arranger, performer, teacher, and musical guru. He lives in Austin, Texas where he enjoys eating tacos, petting dogs, and working in the musical culture that the city has become known for.
Drew is a very active arranger creating 50+ arrangements per year for various ensembles. He regularly writes music for collegiate marching bands and loves cheering at college football games on Saturdays in the fall. Drew also writes original music for bands, chamber ensembles, and soloists. His compositions has been performed by groups across the United States including the Fountain City Brass Band and the Stiletto Brass Quintet.
Drew is a founding member of the euphonium quartet FivE, regularly giving performances and masterclasses around the United States. Their perspective on chamber music is influenced by creating an extramusical experience for the audience which includes not just euphonium playing, but singing, dancing, comedy, and other theatrical elements. Honestly, it’s hard to explain, but you’ll love it. Go see their shows.
Drew is currently finishing his Master’s degree at the University of Texas studying euphonium with Charles Villarrubia. In addition, he serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Texas Bands. He enjoys listening to and singing barbershop quartet music and will gladly sing anything except bass as his voice doesn’t go very low. In his free time, he enjoys road trips and listening to podcasts.
Drew is a Buffet Crampon and Besson performing artist and plays exclusively on a Besson Prestige 2051. His favorite pasta dish is carbonara.
Luke Gall is a founder and owner of Ultimate Drill Book, a company that creates educational tools for marching ensembles. Since its founding in 2010, Luke has lead the development of all products that support tens of thousands of students in schools, colleges and drum corps in North America, Europe, and Asia. He now oversees all business operations and continues to serve as the head designer for all Ultimate Drill Book products and mobile applications.
Luke is also a founder and owner of My Design Team, inc., a design and education company that operates out of Austin, Texas. This firm encompasses his work as a consultant, program coordinator, visual designer, and videographer for music ensembles and corporate entities.
Luke was recently appointed to the role of Artistic Director for Rhythmic Force Percussion, a non-profit percussion ensemble based in Austin, Texas. He serves on the design team while also overseeing the creative direction and marketing for the organization. Luke previously served as the drill designer with Rhythmic Force and helped lead them to their first-ever appearances in the WGI World Championship Finals.
Luke has a comprehensive background in the arts as a coordinator, designer, teacher, and performer. His designs have helped more than 50 programs receive honors in BOA (Bands of America), WGI (Winter Guard International), USBands, and TOB (Tournament of Bands) events. He served as visual caption head for Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps in 2015, and he performed as a member of The Cadets, Crossmen, and Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps in 2005-2009.
Luke’s experience as a media creator and consultant has led to work with companies and musical groups across the globe. Luke recently worked with Perform International in more than 20 countries to create content for musical groups. His professional work, along with his personal videos, have amassed millions of views on YouTube and social media platforms. Luke also served as the media coordinator for bands at The University of Texas at Austin where he produced more than 100 videos and a feature-length documentary.
Luke is a founder of FivE, a nationally touring euphonium quartet. FivE performed their popular shows “NEON”, “#hashtags”, and “FivE years of FivE” in 25 cities in 2015-2019. Highlight performances included a featured recital at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference, a showcase at the TMEA convention, and four keynote appearances at ITEA conferences. The group released their debut album, “FivE: Play”, in 2017. FivE is a sponsored ensemble with Buffet Crampon and Besson Instruments, and Luke plays exclusively on a Besson Prestige 2052 Euphonium.
Luke received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s degree in Euphonium Performance at The University of Texas at Austin.
Mitch Mest is an eclectic artist and educator based in Austin, Texas.
Fascinated by what it means to be a classical performer in the current state of society, Mitch is constantly experimenting with integrating poetry, singing, and other theatrical elements with his musical art. He strives to find the perfect balance between broad appeal and intellectual depth so he can provide both new and enjoyable experiences to the public.
As an educator, Mitch enjoys a full studio of over 50 middle and high school low brass players. These young students inspire him on a daily basis, and he returns the favor by sharing the joy of music-making with them through the lens of his artistic experience.
Mitch earned his Bachelor’s degree in Euphonium Performance from The Pennsylvania State University under Velvet Brown, and his Master’s degree in Euphonium Performance from The University of Texas at Austin under Charles Villarrubia.
Mitch Mest is a Buffet Crampon and Besson performing artist, and plays exclusively on a Besson Prestige 2052 euphonium.