Faculty & Staff

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Director: Polly Middleton

Dr. Polly Middleton is the Director of Athletic Bands at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.  In addition to directing The Marching Virginians, Dr. Middleton also directs the Symphonic Band and teaches music education courses.

Prior to her appointment at Virginia Tech, Middleton was the Director of Athletic Bands at Illinois State University in her hometown of Normal, Illinois, where she directed the 300-member Big Red Marching Machine, the Symphonic Band, and taught music education classes.  Previous to her time at Illinois State, Middleton was the director of The Sound of the Natural State Marching Band at Arkansas State University where she also directed the men’s and women’s basketball pep bands. She also conducted the Concert Band and taught courses in music education.

Middleton was the Associate Director of Athletic Bands at Virginia Tech from 2011-2016 where she was the Assistant Director of the Marching Virginians and the Director of the Hokies Pep Band.  She taught multiple classes and directed the Symphony Band.

Middleton received a Doctorate in Music Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She earned a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was a Drum Major for the Marching Illini.  Middleton played horn in the top ensembles at Indiana University and the University of Illinois. Her public school experience includes four years as the Associate Director of Bands at Plainfield High School Central Campus in Plainfield, Illinois.

Dr. Middleton is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Delta Omicron.  Her professional memberships include the National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors National Association, and the National Band Association.  She is the past recipient of the Gary E. Smith Award for Excellence in the Marching Illini and Wind Symphony.

As a doctoral student, Middleton was awarded the A. A. Harding Award, the most prestigious recognition awarded for outstanding performance, achievement, and service to the University of Illinois Bands.  As a faculty member at Virginia Tech, Dr. Middleton was named Music Professor of the Year, awarded by the Gamma Mu chapter of Delta Omicron. She is an active clinician, guest conductor, adjudicator, and performer.

 

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Assistant Director: Chad R. Reep

Chad R. Reep is the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands, where he works with the Marching Virginians, the Men's Basketball Pep Band, the Symphony and Campus Bands, online Music Appreciation, and first year Sight Singing classes.

Prior to his appointment to Virginia Tech, Mr. Reep spent six years as Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at James Madison University, where he assisted with all aspects of the Marching Royal Dukes, directed the JMU Pep Band, and directed the JMU Concert Band. Mr. Reep earned his Masters of Music in Wind Conducting in 2011 from James Madison University, where he was a Graduate Assistant for the band program. Prior to his time at JMU, Mr. Reep earned his Bachelor of Music Education in 2006 at The University of Montana, located in his hometown of Missoula, and was hired as Director of Bands at Big Sky High School in the same city. Mr. Reep spent three years at BSHS before departing to Virginia for graduate work.

Mr. Reep is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma. In addition, he is a member of the Virginia Music Education Association, Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association, Collegiate Band Directors National Association, the College Music Society, and the National Association for Music Education.

 

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Music arranger: james sochinski

James Sochinski serves as principal arranger for the Marching Virginians, with over two hundred and fifty arrangements during his career at Virginia Tech.Dr. Sochinski holds a B.M. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a M.M. from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the University of Miami. 

During his tenure as Director of Bands from 1978-1990, he arranged and initiated the signature music and visuals that have become part of the Hokie football tradition, including the VPI Victory March, the pregame Colors Presentation, and The Hokie Pokie. His teaching responsibilities at Tech include courses in analysis, history and literature, and orchestration.

 

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Voice of the Marching Virginians (Announcer): Mike Sparrer

Mike Sparrer, has served as the "Voice of The Marching Virginians" at Bowl and Championship games since 2012. He assumed the full time duties in 2015 when long time Voice Dr. Tony Distler turned over the microphone at the end of the 2014 season. 

Mike was a member of the Marching Virginians drum line and served as Rank Captain and Section Leader during his time with the band. He loved performing with the Marching Virginians then and loves his new role just as much. "There is nothing like the game day atmosphere at Lane stadium when you are with 330 of your closest friends" says Sparrer. 

Mike can be heard as the voice of Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium's football pre-game and halftime programs as well as at other athletic events across campus. Over the years, Mike has served as the Public Address announcer for many athletic programs at Virginia Tech including volleyball, baseball and softball and basketball. This past season he was named Public Address announcer for Virginia Tech Men's Basketball program. 

Mike attended the College of Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech and now resides in Riner, Virginia with his wife Holly and their two children Allison and Tyler.

 

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Flag instructor: lisa vandyke

Lisa VanDyke has served as MV Flag Instructor since 1994. She graduated in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in Housing, Interior Design and Resource Management. While at Tech Lisa marched with the MV Flag Corps from 1985 to 1990 and was a rank captain for the 1989 and 1990 band seasons. 

Lisa married fellow MV alumnus, Chuck VanDyke (Snare '84 - '88) in 1990. They settled in Greensboro, NC, where they still reside today with their son Ryan and daughter Reilly. Lisa does contract work designing productive office environments for companies in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina.

 

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Flag Instructor: Sarah McHugh

Sarah McHugh has served as flag instructor since 2006. She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Communications. She marched with the MV Flag Corps from 2001 to 2004, serving as rank captain in 2003 and captain in 2004.

Sarah married fellow Richmonder and MV, Matt McHugh (Horn '99-'03) in 2005 and they have one son, Kyle, born the day before the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl. Sarah’s hospital room served as Hokie headquarters in the maternity ward of the hospital that year! 

Sarah is a Human Resources Information and Communication Specialist at HHHunt, a regional real estate development and management company, where she manages the company’s intranet and HR information system.

 

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Percussion arranger: brian nozny

Brian Nozny's career as a percussionist and composer spans a wide array of musical styles, including classical, jazz, world, and popular genres. His original works and arrangements have been performed at respected academic institutions such as the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of South Carolina, and Florida State University. Notable ensembles that have premiered Nozny’s compositions include the University of North Texas Percussion Ensemble, the University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble, and NEXUS. Brian’s most recent commission, an original work for percussion sextet, Sharps, was premiered by the Denkyem Percussion Group on their tour of Costa Rica in March of 2010. 

Nozny's performances and teaching experiences have taken him all over the world - from North Dakota to Jamaca. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech, and Master’s degrees in Composition and Performance from the University of Miami and the University of North Texas, respectively. In addition to nearing completion of his Doctoral degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Kentucky, Brian is currently the Assistant Professor of Percussion / Assistant Director of Bands at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, ND.

 

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Percussion Instructor: annie stevens

Annie Stevens is the Assistant Professor of Percussion in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech where she teaches studio percussion, directs the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble, and assists with the VT Drumline. She has gained national recognition as a member of the percussion duo, Escape Ten. The duo has recently been invited to perform a full concert at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis. Escape Ten has also enjoyed concerts in Atlanta's prestigious Spivey Hall and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia alongside keyboard virtuoso, Leigh Howard Stevens. As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral percussionist, she has performed internationally at music conservatories throughout China, in France at the Paris Conservatory, and throughout Germany and England. 

Locally she performs with the Roanoke Symphony as timpanist and percussionist, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, and the Garth Newell Music Center. She can be heard prominently on two recent albums, Escape Ten's Colors of a Groove, and the jazz album Blue Earth County by the Kelly Rossum Quartet. 

Stevens holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, she also elected to participate in the drumline for four years. Her teachers include Michael Burritt, Bill Cahn, Alan Abel, Chip Ross, and She-e Wu. Annie endorses Malletech, Remo, and Dream Cymbals and Gongs, is a member of C.M.S., and is a member of the music technology committee of the Percussive Arts Society.