Dr. Joshua D. Blair, Director of Bands
Joshua D. Blair received his undergraduate degrees in political science and music from Stetson University in 2004. While at Stetson University Dr. Blair performed and studied under the baton of Dr. Bobby Adams. He completed his Master of Music degree with concentrations in instrumental conducting and saxophone performance from the University of South Florida in 2007 and his received his Ph.D. in Music Education with a cognate in Instrumental Conducting from the University of South Florida in 2018. Dr. Blair has studied saxophone with Professor Jim Bishop, Dr. Jonathan Helton, Professor Valerie Gillespie, and conducting with Joseph Kreines, Dr. William Wiedrich, and Dr. John Carmichael.
Dr. Blair has taught at Sarasota High School, Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts, and Walter L. Sickles High School where he was responsible for the marching band, concert bands, jazz band & combos, percussion & chamber ensembles, and AP music theory. Under his direction these ensembles received numerous superior ratings and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and 2012. While at Plant City High School, the band has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall twice (2016 & 2020) and has seen a large growth in the program.
Dr. Blair has also served on faculty as saxophone professor at Florida South Western State College, guest conducted the Southwest Florida Youth Symphony, and played with the Florida Wind Band from 2009-2019. He is also a member of the Florida Music Educators Association, The Florida Bandmasters Association, The National Band Directors Association, The National Association for Music Education, The College Band Directors National Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Delta Sigma Phi.
Dr. Blair enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, and playing golf.
Aidan Conerly, Assistant Director of Bands
Aidan Conerly graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Music Education in May of 2019. During his time at USF he performed with the USF Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra and was Principal Tuba with the Venice Symphony. He has also served as a low brass clinician with many schools in throughout Hillsborough County, including Plant City High School. He is excited to join the staff at Plant City High School as Orchestra and Assistant Band Director!
Russ McCollum, High Brass & Visual Instructor
Originally from Hillsboro, Alabama, Russ McCollum is a freelance trumpet player in the Tampa Bay Area. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music from the University of North Alabama, where he was a section leader and principal player in the "Pride of Dixie" marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, pep band, and jazz band. After moving to Florida in 2011, he spent two years as a member of Tampa Bay Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps. He has been a marching band tech, consultant, and arranger for five different high schools across Alabama and Florida. He is currently the principal trumpet for the Florida Wind Band and lives in Plant City.
Asher Carlson, Woodwinds & Visual Instructor
Asher Carlson is the Third and Bass Clarinetist of the Venice Symphony Orchestra in Venice, Florida. His musical pursuits have taken him on tours of the continental United States, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, and Kenya, performing with chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, wind bands, and chamber choruses. Asher has also been featured as a teacher and performer at the 2017 Clarinetfest in Orlando, Florida and the 2018 Belgian Clarinet Academy in Ostend, Belgium. He maintains a private studio of clarinet and bass clarinet students who have held principal positions in youth orchestras and All-State ensembles and have been accepted to and won scholarships from prestigious music schools across the country.
Paul Gavin, Percussion Arranger
Paul Gavin is a drummer, teacher, composer, and arranger in the Tampa Bay area. Paul graduated in 2015 from the University of South Florida with a degree in Jazz Studies, with coursework in classical percussion and music education. Since graduating he has made his entire living playing, teaching, and writing music. This season Paul enters his third year as the percussion arranger for the Raider Regiment.
Yarnell Stallworth, Percussion Instructor
Yarnell is a 2004 graduate of Plant City High School and is excited to join the staff at his Alma Mater. After graduating from Plant City, Yarnell marched with the University of Central Florida Marching Knights 2004-2007 and worked as a cast member for Disney. He has marched with Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps (2007 & 2008) and served as drum captain in 2008, TCI Timber Creek Independent Indoor (2009), and Orlando Magic Rhythm & Blues Drum Line (2006-Present). Yarnell will also be playing snare for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drum line for the 2018 season.
Yarnell comes to PCHS with extensive teaching experience that includes 13 years teaching high school and has served on the battery staff for Timber Creek Independent and Infinity 2.
Mitchell Montgomery, Percussion Instructor
Mitchell Montgomery is an endorsed freelance artist of Soultone Cymbals who has been performing drum set and percussion professionally across the state of Florida as well as abroad. He studied under masters, Robert McCormick and Ric Craig. He graduated with a Bachelors from the University of South Florida in May 2015, double majoring in both Jazz Performance and Percussion Performance.
Mitchell performed with USF's big band, percussion ensemble, jazz combos, and even had the opportunity to conduct for the Symphonic Band in 2013. He has also performed with a variety of Orchestras including: the USF Symphony Orchestra, the Tampa S.O., the Space Coast S.O., the Gainesville Orchestra as well as the Central Florida Master Choir.
In July of 2013 and 2015, Mitchell had the privilege of going on tour with the USF Jazz Ensemble, performing at major jazz festivals throughout Italy and France. Over the years, he has also had the pleasure to play alongside notable artists, such as: Michael Philip Mossman, Rufus Reid, Jack Wilkins, Oliver Nelson Jr., and John Lamb!
Furthermore, Mitchell has played for numerous musicals across the state of Florida, including: 9 to 5, Fiddler on the Roof, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein, Music Man and Chicago. In 2017, he toured with Jesus Christ Superstar throughout California and Colorado!
Mitchell has been teaching private lessons for 7 years now and has also aided high school jazz and marching programs throughout the area. And lastly, he has had the exciting opportunity to play a variety of shows with theme parks Busch Gardens and Legoland since the summer of 2015.
Joshua Morris, Colorguard Instructor
Joshua Morris, a recent USF graduate with a degree in Secondary Math Education. Josh has been doing color guard for 9 years and has marched with Braddock Independent, Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, and USF World. This is Josh’s third year on staff at PCHS.
Concert Band Staff
Dr. Mandy Swaim - Flutes
Kevin Fuller - Double Reeds
Asher Carlson - Clarinets
Dr. Katherine Weintraub - Saxophones
Tom Ziegelhofer - Trumpets
Andrew Lindstrom - Horns
Aidan Conerly - Low Brass