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2021 Judges


Ferd Vollmar

Ferd Vollmar began his teaching career at Briesemeister Middle School in Seguin, Texas in 1975. During the last 46 years Mr. Vollmar has enjoyed a successful teaching career working with students from elementary through the university level.


In the spring of 2015, Mr. Vollmar retired from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin where his responsibilities included instrumental methods, music education courses, and supervising student teachers. Prior to his appointment at UT, Mr. Vollmar was the Director of Bands and Professor of Music Education at the University of the Incarnate Word from 2009 to 2013. His responsibilities included directing and coordinating all aspects of the UIW Cardinal Marching Band and conducting the Wind Ensemble. Professor Vollmar also served the School of Music as Director of Instrumental Studies.  Before his position at Incarnate Word, he was the Director of Music Education for the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas from 2001 to 2009.  At NEISD, Mr. Vollmar’s duties included supervising band, choir, and orchestra programs at seven high schools, thirteen middle schools, forty-four elementary schools, and the district’s Fine Arts Magnet School. In addition to his supervisory duties at NEISD, Mr. Vollmar was also the Director of Bands at Winston Churchill High School Band from 1987-2001, and the Santa Fe High School Band from 1977-1987. Under Mr. Vollmar’s direction, the Churchill and Santa Fe Bands were consistent TMEA Honor Band and UIL State Marching Band finalists. The Churchill band has been a Bands of America Regional Champion five times and a two- time finalist at the Grand National Bands of America in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Mr. Vollmar holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Houston.  Mr. Vollmar is an active adjudicator, clinician, and music curriculum consultant in Texas and throughout the Southwest. He has served UIL and TMEA in many different positions, including Region 12 Band Division Chairman, representative on the State UIL Music Advisory Committee, and contest host for UIL State Marching Band Contest since 2003. His professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

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Steve Wessels

Steve is in his second year of retirement after 34 years of band directing in the State of Texas.


Most recently, Steve was director of bands at Cedar Park High School in the Leander Independent School District.  He taught in the Spring Branch, Galena Park and Shamrock school districts prior to Cedar Park.  He has taught band in C, CC and CCC middle schools, AA, AAAA and AAAAA high schools.


Steve’s bands have had success in all UIL and TMEA related activities at all levels with five 5A State Marching Band Championships and the 2014 5A TMEA Honor Band.  His bands have performed and competed successfully at numerous concert festivals as well as marching band competitions.  He is an active adjudicator for festivals and competitions in marching and concert related events.  His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Past Marching Band Vice President TMAA, Phi Beta Mu, Texas Bandmasters Association and Texas Music Adjudicators Association.

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Steven Estudillo

Steven Estudillo was born and raised in Southern California. He is a graduate of La Mirada High School, and studied at California State University, Fullerton. As a performer, Steven was a member of Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps from 2002 - 2005 and later performed with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2006 - 2008.


Steven has been a Visual Designer, Educator, Creative Director, and Adjudicator since 2006. His designs have been represented by ensembles within Bands of America, Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International circuits.


In 2009, Steven worked as a visual instructor for both The Cavaliers and Pacific Crest. From 2010 - 2012, He served as Pacific Crests’ Visual Designer, and from 2015 - 2021 He served both as the Visual Designer and Creative Director. Simultaneously, he served as a visual instructor in 2009, and Visual Caption Head from 2010 - 2015 at The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps.


Steven has been serving as a Visual Designer for Pulse Percussion and Chino Hills High School since 2012, and designs for several award winning indoor percussion ensembles throughout the country.


In addition to his work in the United States, Steven has had the opportunity to branch out internationally and work with performing ensembles in South America, providing consultation and clinics to further spread the marching arts in different regions.


Steven Currently resides in Ontario, CA. with his loving wife Lexie, and his two children, Emily and Ezekiel.


Matt Penland is a percussion performer, educator, and arranger based out of Washington, D.C. where he is a percussionist in the U.S. Air Force Band. He is also on the instructional staff for The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps and arranges music for several marching percussion groups across the country, including Music City Drum Corps, Guardians Drum Corps, and the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum Corps.

Matt holds music degrees from the University of North Texas and Northwestern University. His teachers included Paul Rennick, She-e Wu, Christopher Lamb, Vadim Karpinos, James Ross, Christopher Deane, and Mark Ford.

Matt proudly endorses Dynasty, Innovative Percussion and Zildjian products.

Matt Penland

Curtis Uhlemann

Originally from New York, Curtis began performing nationally at age eleven and began formal dance training at age 19. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, summa cum laude, in Modern Dance/Dance Science and Injury Prevention from Brockport College. Focusing mainly on choreography, Curtis studied closely with mentor Susannah Newman (former dancer of the José Limón Company) and creator, designer, and costumer Peter Garrow, who both served as great influences throughout his training. While at Brockport, he received a full scholarship to the American Dance Festival at Duke University, where he studied and performed the works of such esteemed teachers and choreographers as José Limón, Betty Jones, Lisa Race, David Dorfman, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, and Mark Morris.

As a choreographer, Curtis’ work has been shown throughout the United States and most recently in Europe, where it received great acclaim from the government of Spain. His choreography has received recognition in Dance Magazine as a stand out for its exceptional use of space layered with visceral movement and a keen sense of musicality. “Uhlemann truly encompasses the triad of vocabulary, spatial patterns and performance which promises to yield the highest quality of dance artistry.” In 2012 his work was selected as finalist in the 2012 MacCallum Choreography Festival in Palm Springs, CA. Most recently he was awarded, along with his ARCOS co-directors, residency at three prestigious programs for the 2014-2015 season: Playa Fellowship Residency (OR), UCROSS Foundation (WY),  and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (NE).


An educator for sixteen years, Curtis employs a dynamic teaching method developed to cultivate and invigorate dance students through a blend of advanced technical skills and experimental choreography. He has had the distinct privilege of working with over one thousand students nationally and internationally, many of whom have continued their education at such highly recognized arts institutions as NYU Tisch, Cal Arts, University of Arizona, Boston Conservatory, Utah State, Florida State University, New World, North Carolina School for the Arts, Cornish College, and University of Texas-Austin among others.


Curtis toured the United States teaching and performing for the duration of eleven years and has served as a choreographer and designer for over twenty different performance ensembles including the ten time world champions The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps and most recently for the 2016 BLAST! Disney production. He is one of the original creators of ARCOS Dance.

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