Meet the Judges

Jim Rice

Music Individual
Jim Rice retired in June 2018 after 40 years as a successful instrumental music teacher, most recently at Inglemoor High School in the Northshore School District. He earned a BA from CWU and a MA from the UW. Rice has served as president of WMEA and NAfME’s Northwest Division. He was organizing chair of the 2007 NAfME Northwest Division Conference, coordinating chair of the 2005 NAfME All-Northwest honor groups and the 2002 WMEA All-State honor groups, as well as the organizing chair of the 1997 NAfME All-Northwest Orchestra and the 1990 WMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble. Rice is a sought after orchestral and band clinician and adjudicator.

Rice is a member of the WMEA Hall of Fame and Northwest Bandmasters Association, was a candidate for NAfME national president and in 2010 was named a CWU Outstanding Alumni. In 2011 he was awarded the NAfME Northwest Division Distinguished Service Award. He also has served as congregational chairman, elder, music committee member and choir member at his church. He and his wife, Donna, enjoy their grandsons Ellis and Abner, and are proud of their daughter, Rachel, on leave as an elementary music specialist and son-in-law Tom, who also works for the Issaquah School District, and daughter, Rebecca, a music specialist at Timber Ridge Elementary School and son-in-law Stephen, who is youth ministries pastor at Church on the Ridge in Snoqualmie.

Kevin Paustian

Music Effect
Kevin Paustian is Director of Bands at Mt. Baker Middle School He previously taught at Auburn High School and has been a visiting professor at Pacific Lutheran University.

Mr. Paustian is a Past-President of the Washington Music Educators Association.

Mr. Paustian is a graduate of Boise State University. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the Washington Music Educators Association.

Jonathan Brown

Color Guard
Jonathon Brown has worked with and designed for many NW programs and others around the country. He was the Director of Guards at Kamiak High School (Mukilteo, WA) for 12 years and grew the program into a premier scholastic guard in the NW. In 2005 he helped found the nationally renowned Rhapsody Performing Arts Winter Guards out of Seattle, WA where he continued to teach and design for 7 years. As an adjudicator he’s worked with the NWPA, NWAPA, UCGC, MCCGA, and various fall marching band competitions around the NW. As a performer he was a member of the Cascades Drum & Bugle Corps (Seattle, WA), Northern Lights Winterguard (Portland, OR), and the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps (Concord, CA.) Jonathon also served as the President of the Northwest Pageantry Association winter guard circuit from Seattle, WA for 6 years (‘08-‘14) and still diligently works to increase, improve, and support the colorguard activity all over the NW.

Jonathon lives and works in Seattle, WA at Amazon, Inc. as an Instructional Designer.

Jerry Huff

Drum Major
Jerry Huff was born in Detroit, MI. He attained a Bachelors of Music Education at Detroit's Wayne State University and a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Grand Canyon University. From there Mr. Huff took a position at Millcreek Junior High in Bountiful, UT and two years was placed at the then new Northridge High School where he taught for the following six years. Summers were spent playing and conducting musical theater productions for several theaters in Utah and the Capital Playhouse in Olympia, WA. Eventually, Mr. Huff moved to Olympia permanently and took a position with Shelton Middle School before coming over to North Thurston Public Schools to teach elementary band in several locations before moving into the position at Aspire Middle School. In addition to the public schools, Mr. Huff has also taught courses as adjunct faculty at Saint Martin's University, South Sound Community College, and Weber State University.

Eric Swanson

Music Ensemble
Eric Swanson is currently the Director of Bands at Gig Harbor High School. Under his direction, Gig Harbor High School has become one of the premier ensembles in the region. 

Mr. Swanson previously taught for five years at Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon. Under his leadership, the Symphonic Band won the Metro League contest three times and participated in the OSAA State Band Contest in all five years. The Marching Band has received numerous awards for both Field Show and Parade marching including the Grand Floral Parade Sweepstakes Award four times. Eric has also taught at Black Hills High School in Tumwater, Washington. Mr. Swanson received his Bachelors of Arts in Music from Central Washington University and his Masters of Music in Percussion Performance from Portland State University. While at Central, he performed at MENC and WMEA conferences, ACDA conferences in Banff, Canada and Washington D.C., and at Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 1995. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, conducting the Harbor Winds Wind Ensemble, adjudicating band festivals and the marching arts as well as composing and arranging music for various ensembles across the country.

Tony Riederer

Visual Ensemble
Anthony has served as a technician, choreographer, consultant, designer, and caption head for scholastic and independent pageantry organizations in the Midwest, Intermountain West, and Pacific Northwest. 

In addition to working as a consultant and instructor, Anthony serves adjudicator for a number of marching band contests and winter guard circuits including Texas Color Guard Circuit, Mid-Continent Color Guard Association, NorthStar Circuit, Northwest Pageantry Association, and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California. Previously, he was the Judge Coordinator and an appointed member of the Board of Directors for the Heartland Winter Arts Association. 

Recently, Anthony worked with several friends to create Cascadia Winterguard, an independent winter guard based in Portland, Oregon. In his life as a performer, he spent multiple seasons with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps and Northern Lights Winter Guard. 

Outside of pageantry, Anthony holds a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Urban Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation and Community Planning. Currently he works as a Senior Land Use Planner for Clackamas County, Oregon. In this role, he works to support development and redevelopment of commercial, industrial, multi-family, and institutional properties as well as the preservation and restoration of historic properties and resources.

Jim Johnson

Visual Individual
Jim Johnson is the former director of the Cascade High School Bands, in Everett, WA, and has been teaching band in the public schools for the past 45 years in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Australia. His concert, jazz and marching bands at Cascade traveled extensively throughout the U.S and toured Australia, England, Mexico, and Russia. The concert bands consistently earned Superior ratings in festivals and contests. The marching bands at Cascade, competing in the Open Category, have won every marching band contest, in which they have competed, in the Pacific Northwest at least once and earned dozens of caption awards.

Mr. Johnson was the director for the Seattle Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps for several years, taught jazz band at Treasure Valley Community College, performed with the Columbia Basin Community Band, performed with the Tri-Cities Symphony, performed in numerous brass ensembles, and has directed several community musicals. He has adjudicated in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado in both marching band and concert band contests and festivals. Mr. Johnson retired this past year after his 44 years of teaching and will be traveling with his wife between their home in Marysville and Maricopa, AZ. He will be judging marching band, color guard, concert band contests and will do clinics with middle and high school bands.

James Bennett

James Bennett graduated with a BA in Music Education and an MA in Percussion Performance from Central Washington University. He is currently principal timpanist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, where he has played for the past 20+ years. He is also a percussion specialist who assists the All-State and All-Northwest honor groups during the
All-State and All-Northwest conferences. In addition to judging at various events throughout southeastern Washington, he has been a guest xylophone and marimba soloist with both the Yakima and Mid-Columbia Symphonies.

Michael Tran

Visual Effect
Michael Tran is currently in his fourth year teaching in the Lake Washington School District.

Prior to becoming a band director, Tran spent many years instructing, consulting, and coordinating numerous high school marching ensembles within the Washington State including, Mercer Island, Kamiak, Newport, Chiawana, West Valley (Yakima), Marysville Pilchuck, Eastlake, Cedarcrest, Sultan, Naches Valley, and Eisenhower High Schools. Additionally, he devoted three years writing for, coordinating, and instructing the Central Washington University "Wildcat" Marching Band in Ellensburg, WA. Michael graduated from CWU, earning his degrees in music education and psychology. During his enrollment, he performed in a varying array of instrumental and vocal ensembles and was extremely involved in the music program, serving as the NAfME Collegiate Senator, a position he held for three years.

Tran’s marching band experience began back in sixth grade in parade band. After four years at Sultan High School, Michael participated in the drum corps activity as a lead trumpet player at The Seattle Cascades and The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. After serving his final year as a Head Drum Major in DCI, Michael returned to the Seattle Cascades as an administrator. After two years, he was then promoted to Executive Director and Corps Director. Under his leadership, the group would secure their highest score since 2007.

Michael resides in Seattle, WA and is currently the Band Director at Inglewood Middle School, earning the LWSD Educator of the Year Award last year. He is also a Head Basketball Coach at the school, leading the girls team to their 10th district championship. Michael enjoys the opportunity to make an impact each day and is thrilled to be participating at the Tumwater Festival of Bands!

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