Directors


Jerry Whorton

Jerry Whorton was announced as the Director of Bands for Melissa Independent School District in March of 2016. He serves as the director of the Mighty Cardinal Marching Band and the Wind Ensemble.

Mr. Whorton was previously the Director of Fine Arts and Bands at Winona Independent School District in Winona, Texas. He comes from a family of educators, of which both of his parents are retired band directors in addition to his three siblings who are currently a middle school principal, middle school band director, and an early education teacher.

Having only ever earned 1st divisions at UIL competition, Mr. Whorton’s bands have received 8 consecutive years of UIL Sweepstakes awards. Under his direction, his programs have routinely increased in size as well as musicianship. Jerry's students have consistently earned chairs in the all-region band, received first divisions at Region Solo & Ensemble competition, as well as advancing to Texas State Solo & Ensemble competition. His concert bands have won the TMEA Region and Area Honorband competitions as well as placing twice as a State Finalist in the TMEA State Honorband competition. In 2013 Mr. Whorton’s band placed 2nd in the ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series concert selection with their recording of “Summer Dances”.

Mr. Whorton is a 2006 graduate of Northwestern State University where he earned his Bachelors of Music Education. While at Northwestern, Mr. Whorton studied under William E. Brent, Dr. Kevin Richardson, Dr. Caroline Beatty, and Dr. J. Mark Thompson. While receiving his degree, he was the Head Drum Major for the 300-member "Spirit of Northwestern", tenor trombonist of the wind ensemble and the principal bass trombonist of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra.

Jerry and his wife, Alexandria, look forward to joining the Melissa Cardinal family in the early summer of 2016.


Taylor Tucker

Taylor Tucker grew up in Mesquite, Texas. She graduated from the University of North Texas in the honors college with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She spun in the Colorguard and Winterguard all four years at North Mesquite High School, and in her first year of college, she marched in the UNT Green Brigade Colorguard. She then marched the White Gold Independent A and Open, and Black Gold Independent World.

In 2015, Tucker performed with Colorguard Theatre Dallas, which made open class finals at the Winterguard International World Championships in its inaugural year. In 2016, she went on to march Cypress Independent Winterguard, this time making world class finals. Her drum corps experience includes marching with the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps in the summer of 2014.

While in college, Tucker was a tech for Lakeview Centennial High School from 2012-14. She then became the Head Colorguard Director at Naaman Forest High School from 2014-15.

Tucker completed her third year as the Head Colorguard Director at Sachse High School. In a span of two years, the Colorguard received Best Colorguard at marching competitions both years, and jumped from the Regional A division to the National A division at NTCA. Sachse also is a 2017 WGI Dallas and Austin regional finalist.

Tucker is excited to start growing the program at Melissa High School and Melissa Middle School.


Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth Becker is in her seventh year of teaching. She currently serves as the Melissa Middle School Band Director. Previously, she spent three years as the associate director at McKinney High School. She is a 2012 graduate of Texas Tech University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and received a Bachelor of Music Degree with teacher certification under the direction and guidance of Dr. Keith Dye.  As a native of Plano, Texas, Ms. Becker attended Plano East Senior High and Clark High School.

During her time at Texas Tech, Ms. Becker marched four years in The Goin’ Band from Raiderland as well as worked as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the band. She was also actively involved in many other ensembles including the Court Jesters Basketball Band, the Plainview Symphony, and the Texas Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Sarah McKoin.  In addition to these ensembles, she studied clarinet with Dr. David Shea and taught privately in Lubbock ISD.

Ms. Becker is a member of Texas Music Educators Association and serves on the staff for the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra Camp which takes place each summer.


Aaron Dugger

Aaron Dugger is currently the assistant director of bands at Melissa Middle School in Melissa, Texas. In addition to conducting the Symphonic Band and teaching beginner brass classes, he assists with the high school bands and the Mighty Cardinal Marching Band.

Mr. Dugger is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and studied tuba under Professor Velvet Brown. While at Penn State, he performed with the university’s elite wind ensemble, conducted by Professor Dennis Glocke. He also performed with the Marching Blue Band, the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and several chamber groups.

Mr. Dugger is a proud alumnus of the Bluecoats where he was a member of the contra line in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2014, he was named as one of the brass performers of the year. After aging-out, he went on to teach with the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps in their very successful 2016 season. Mr. Dugger is thrilled to be joining the Bluecoat’s brass staff for the 2017 season as a low brass technician.


Shane Gwaltney

Shane Gwaltney

A champion Battery Arranger, Visual Designer, and Program Coordinator. Shane has arranged and worked with Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, Music City Mystique, Bangkok Society Drumline, Tyler Junior College, Choctawhatchee HS, along with several High School and Independent programs across the country. His inspiration and motivation comes from the kids and programs that allow him to be involved. He is also a proud artist and clinician for Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums, Evans Drum Heads\Planet Waves, and Zildjian Cymbals.


Matt Filosa

Matt Filosa

Matt Filosa is a freelance percussionist, composer, and arranger currently residing in Fort Worth, Texas. Co-owner of the marching arts design company Synced Up Designs, Matt writes, designs for, and teaches marching bands and indoor percussion groups all over the country. Matt is the sound designer and front ensemble arranger for several WGI and DCI finalist groups, most notably PIW group Music City Mystique (co-arranger)  and the Cadets (Sound Design).

Matt earned his Bachelors in Percussion Performance from the University of Florida (2007) and Masters in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas (2009). While attending UNT, Matt wrote for and taught the Green Brigade Drumline. In 2011, Matt was accepted into the Florida State percussion studios doctoral program, where his responsibilities included teaching the Marching Chiefs Drumline (2011-2015). Currently ABD, Matt plans to earn his Doctorate in Percussion Performance in the summer of 2018.

Before starting work on his doctorate, Matt was the Assistant Band Director/ Percussion Specialist at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas. During this time, Matt created the popular stage show “Electronica” and “Dreamscape”, which later turned into the professional stage show “Nebulas”.

Matt has performed on several professional recordings, recently featured on Dr. Omar Carmenates new CD Gaia Theory, released by Rattle Records. He has also performed at WASBE in Singapore and Ohio, CBDNA, TMEA, FMEA, and the Percussive Arts Society National Convention on several occasions, including performances withthe Florida State percussion ensemble (2011), Bluecoats percussion ensemble (2007), and clinic presenter with Music City Mystique(2016).

Passionate about the marching arts, it is Matt’s continued goal to inspire, educate, and promote music education and participation in the arts. Matt is endorsed by Innovative Percussion, Pearl/Adams, Evans drum heads, and Sabian Cymbals.