Staff Biographies



AARON GANTT, DIRECTOR
Aaron Gantt is a native of Wagener, South Carolina where he was a graduate of Wagener-Salley High School.  He received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Furman University and Masters of Music in Education from the University of South Carolina.  Mr. Gantt has performed with numerous ensembles including the Furman Wind Ensemble, USC Symphonic Band, the Assembly Saxophone Quartet and the Furman University Saxophone Quartet.  In the marching realm Mr. Gantt has performed with the Furman University Marching Band, the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (9 time world champion), and Infiniti Winter Guard (2000 IA world champion).  In 2003 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions as a member of the Cadets.  Mr. Gantt’s teaching experiences include James F. Byrnes High School, Irmo High School, White Knoll High School, Lassiter High School, Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps (DCI Finalist since 1999) and the Cast Winter Guard (WGI A class finalist 2005, 2006, Silver Medalist 2007, Open class finalist 2008) a group he help found in the fall of 2004.  He is a member of NASA, MENC, SCBDA, and Pi Kappa Lamda National Music Honor Society.  At Spartanburg Mr. Gantt teaches Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, and Color Guard. 

MYRELLA SAMUELS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Myrella Samuels is a native of Lexington, South Carolina and graduated from Lexington High School. She received her Bachelors of Music in Education from Furman University in 2011. Miss Samuels has performed in many ensembles including the Lexington High School Wind Ensemble, Region Two Honor Band, South Carolina Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Furman Wind Ensemble, Furman Symphonic Band, Furman Symphony Orchestra, and Bellfire Brass Quintet. Miss Samuels has also performed with the Lexington High School Marching Catband and the Furman University Paladin Regiment. At Spartanburg, Miss Samuels teaches Symphonic Band. She has been a member of the District Seven band staff since 2011.

 
ROBIN DEHOLLANDER (CLEVELAND, E.P. TODD)

Robin DeHollander is in her 12th year as a member of the District 7 band staff.  She is a graduate of USC and her primary instrument is flute.  She taught three years at Blacksburg High School in Cherokee County.  She also taught two years at Westminster Middle and High Schools and Walhalla Middle School in Oconee County.  She is the director of bands at Whitlock Junior High and teaches at Cleveland and Chapman Elementary.  She is a member of MENC, SCBDA, and American Federation of Musicians, Tau Beta Sigma, and Delta Omicron.


JOHN MCALLISTER (CARVER, TODD, PARK HILLS)

John McAllister is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina and has been in District 7 since 2008. He is a graduate of Furman University, where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. He studied trombone with Mark Britt and conducting with Les Hicken. In addition to teaching and performing, Mr. McAllister is also active as a music composer and arranger. Since 2009, he has written the marching band shows for Spartanburg High School and writes for several other high schools in the area. His professional affiliations include NAfME, SCBDA, and Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity.


MATT MCDANIEL (BOYD, PINE STREET, CHAPMAN, HOUSTON)
Matthew McDaniel is a native of Conyers, Georgia.  Matt received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Georgia State University in 1997.  He graduated in 2004 from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Masters Degree in Music Education. He was a member of the 1993 Spirit of Georgia and 1994 Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, and was also a player instructor of the 1995 Atlanta Rhythm Machine - WGI's Independent World Class Indoor Drum Line Champion.    Matt  married Adena (Shoemake) in 2004.  Matt served as a band director and the percussion coordinator in Spartanburg School District Six for seven years.  This is his fourth year in School District 7 as an elementary band director.

ALICE WELCHEL (MCCRACKEN)
Alice Welchel is a native of Concord, North Carolina.  She graduated in 1988 from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor's of Music Education degree, and received a Master's of Music Education from Winthrop University in 1991.  She served as Director of Bands in Spartanburg School District Four for 16 years, where she conducted the Woodruff High and Middle School Bands.  Under Ms. Welchel, the WHS Marching Cadets placed in the 2A State Finals for the first time in school history.  She has performed with the Spartanburg Community Band, the St. John's Brass Quintet, and the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra.  She is a member of MENC, SCBDA, the SC Middle School Association, International Trombone Association, Sigma Alpha Iota National Music Fraternity, and the SC Education Association.  Ms. Welchel also served as brass instructor of the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corp in the summer of 1990.  She became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2010. She has been a member of the District Seven band staff since 2005.