Josh Ellis, Director
West Division (Avon)
Josh Ellis has been in education for 16 years. He has taught all grades, K-12, in various Music, Humanities and Language Arts environments. He is a requested judge and clinician across the Midwest.
Currently, Mr. Ellis is the band director at Avon Intermediate School East, a feeder to the storied Avon High School band program. His groups regularly receive "Gold, with Distinction" ratings at ISSMA, contests and he was the 2013 Teacher of the Year for Avon East.
Preceding this position with Avon Schools he taught K-12 in MSD Perry Township in roles of Assistant Band Director, General Music Teacher, Language Arts Teacher and Humanities Teacher. While in the K-5 setting, he started the "Drumming Lions", a drumming group dedicated to students with behavioral IEP's. This group celebrated a fantastic performance season by performing at an Indiana Pacer Game.
Before and while he taught in Perry Township, Mr. Ellis was on staff with the award winning Avon Marching Black and Gold from 2006-2015. The Marching Black and Gold were named "Grand National Champions" in 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well as, ISSMA State Champions 7 times during that stretch. Students that started band with Mr. Ellis and continued into high school to perform with the Avon MB&G, have never finished below 3rd in the nation.
Mr. Ellis's teaching career began at Goshen Community Schools (Goshen, IN) where he was the Assistant Band Director. While at Goshen, groups received accolades at the Purdue Jazz Festival (Judges Award 2006), the Percussion Ensemble was the WGI Concert Open Class Champion and World Class Runner-up. While at Goshen, Mr. Ellis became the youngest teacher to conduct two different ensembles at the Indiana Music Educators Associations Convention (2005 and 2006). He was recognized as an "Outstanding Educator" by the district in 2006.
Mr. Ellis currently resides on the West Side of Indy with his wife, Kellie and two children Lydia, 7 and Duke, 4. The Ellises are big Disney fans, attend The Branches Church, cheer hard for the Chicago Cubs and always have a song playing somewhere in their house. Both he and his family are looking forward to this incredible opportunity.
Brooke Basso, Director
East Division (Greenfield)
Brooke Basso has been teaching band and music for 15 years in a variety of Indiana schools. She has taught in all levels of K-12 general music and band. Graduating from Indiana State University, Mrs. Basso holds degrees in both instrumental music education as well as a Masters of Education in School Administration. While attending ISU, she received the Music Medal of Honor, a faculty selected award given to the graduating music education student with the most potential as an educator.
Currently, Mrs. Basso serves as the band director and music teacher for Greenfield Intermediate School and Maxwell Intermediate School - both located in Greenfield-Central School District. Teaching grades 4-6, Mrs. Basso teaches a variety of subjects such as beginning band, bucket drumming and recorders.
Prior to this position, Mrs. Basso served as the Doe Creek Middle School band director in New Palestine where both her beginning band, advanced band and jazz band received ISSMA Gold Ratings. From 2014-2016, Mrs. Basso was director of bands at Honey Creek Middle School in Terre Haute, receiving multiple ISSMA gold ratings as well as the ISSMA Junior All Music Award. However, the majority of Mrs. Basso's teaching career was spent as the director of Bands for Terre Haute North Vigo High School where she taught and managed multiple ISSMA Award winning ensembles including marching band, jazz band, concert bands, winter percussion and winter color guard.
Outside of school, Mrs. Basso is the Administrative Director for the Indiana Percussion Association where she manages and oversees all aspect of the circuit for over 115 percussion ensembles throughout their competitive season.
Brooke Basso and her husband Jeremy (who is also a high school band director) live in Greenfield with their children Brady 9 and Olivia 3. Together, they enjoy marching band, drum corps and all things Disney!!
Brandan Baker has been teaching percussion lessons in the Indianapolis area since 2002. He teaches all levels, with a focus on beginning percussion. He runs a private teaching studio with students from Avon, Zionsville, Plainfield, Brownsburg, Indianapolis, Kingsway, Our Shepherd, Danville, and Home School.
Since 2013 he has been the lead instructor for the Zionsville Indoor Percussion Cadet group – “ZIP CADET”, which is a concert percussion group that performs at Indiana Percussion Association events. It’s made up of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade musicians. Brandan also teaches the Avon Marching Black & Gold, and in the past has taught The Avon “A” Drumline, The East Noble Marching Knights, The Angola Marching Hornets, and The Wabash Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps. Brandan does middle school percussion clinics, and has judged ISSMA Solo & Ensemble contest both at the district and state level.
Brandan has performed with The Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps, The IUPUI Commencement Band, and can sometimes be heard drumming at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Brandan used to make his living in the cruise line industry, starting off by playing percussion onboard The Renaissance Cruise Lines “R1”. He played in the show band with Renaissance, and was the club Disc Jockey and Master Of Ceremonies with Carnival, and Disney Cruise Lines. Music in the cruise line industry has let him travel to places such as Istanbul, Athens, Cyprus, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, Freeport, and Disney’s private resort island Castaway Cay.
Brandan’s voice can be heard as well, doing some work in the Emcee / Announcer world. He has a background in the radio industry, working for radio stations in Kendallville and Fort Wayne. His voice can be heard at many Marching Band and Percussion contests throughout Indiana, as well as being the emcee each spring of The Indiana Percussion Association State Finals at The Hulman Center in Terre Haute.
Brandan is originally from Kendallville and currently makes his home in Danville. He is proud to be on the Vic Firth education team and is super excited for this great opportunity to work with young musicians!