RYAN WRIGHT, MSEd.
DIRECTOR OF BANDS
Mr. Ryan Wright is the two-time Grammy-nominated Director of Bands at South Lake High School, in Groveland, Florida, a position he has held since 2008. Mr. Wright holds a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Troy University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Rollins College, and Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the College of Central Florida. He has studied percussion under Beth & Danny Gottlieb, Bob McCormick, and Dr. Andy Harnsberger. Mr. Wright is a 2021 Grammy Music Educator of the Year national quarterfinalist. He has previously directed bands and choirs at East Ridge High School and Dunnellon High School. His other professional experience over the last several decades includes instructing, composing, and designing for more than thirty schools throughout the southeastern United States. Mr. Wright has performed professionally as a drummer/percussionist with many organizations over the years including: Southern Winds, Hernando Symphony Orchestra, multiple national convention performances, and freelance performance and studio work. He has also worked with Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps, Heat Wave of Florida Drum and Bugle Corps, USF Brahma Percussion, Riptide Percussion, and Spitfire Percussion. He is also an adjudicator for various marching, concert, jazz, and solo/ensemble events and circuits. His professional affiliations include: Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Percussive Arts Society, National Association for Music Education, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. Wright is an educator/endorser for Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads, and Sabian Cymbals. Mr. Wright has also been a worship team member at Gateway Church since 2002. He has resided in Clermont since 2001, where he lives with his beautiful wife, Gina, and his two amazing sons, Aidan and Lucah.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR / PERCUSSION TECHNICIAN
Mr. Briggs comes to South Lake High School as Assistant Band Director and Percussion Instructor, originally from Illinois. He is currently the music teacher at Groveland Elementary where he has spent the last 8 years instructing Kindergarten through 5th grade students. Previous to teaching at Groveland, Mr. Briggs was the elementary music teacher at Kewanee Schools in Kewanee, Illinois. Mr. Briggs studied Music Education at Eastern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in music. Mr. Briggs studied percussion under Professor Johnny Lee Lane, Jon Crabiel and Craig Williams. Mr. Briggs has spent the last 20 years composing and instructing several high school drumlines throughout the Midwest as well as a clinician for the Tracc 8 athletic conference. Mr. Briggs also plays drums for the local band ThruFlyte and for some area churches.
Al “PAPA VEE” Venezio
Papa Vee graduated from Massapequa High School in Massapequa, NY, where he participated in the symphonic band, jazz band and orchestra. The Massapequa High School Band consistently performed grade 6 literature at the New York State Music Assessment. After high school, Papa Vee spent some time in college before he was drafted into the United States Army. He graduated from the Army-Navy School of Music in Norfolk, VA and spent two years playing trumpet in the U.S. Army Bands. During that time, he also saw duty on the ceremonial platoon where he played Taps for Vietnam War soldiers who were killed on the battlefield. He, then left the Army in 1970 and got married in 1971. He was a professional musician on Long Island, playing weddings and other functions until he moved to Florida in 1977. Over the years, Papa Vee has served in the music education community as an active trumpet instructor, Band Boosters President and brass clinician for numerous bands. He recently retired from the City of Clermont where he was a fleet mechanic for over 10 years. Currently, he runs a private trumpet studio and serves as a brass technician at South Lake High School. His private students have consistently earned many superiors at the Solo & Ensemble MPA and earned many high chairs in honors bands. He is also an honorary member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Gray Middle School Director
Field Commander: Madelyn-Emily Lane
Field Commander: Andrea Gamez-Heredia
Ensemble Colonel: Liam Conard
Ensemble Colonel: Jasmine Landaberde
Woodwind Captain: Leilany Velasco-Orozco
Brass Captain: Gabriel Kenes
Percussion Captain: Jordan Osborne
Guard Captain: Nicole Gonzalez-Hernandez
Administrative Lieutenant: Ashlyn Hutchinson
Logistics Lieutenant: Maya Jenkins
Woodwind Sergeant: Jadan Perkins
Brass Sergeant: Taylor Horton
Percussion Sergeant: Amy Roman
Guard Sergeant: Jenna Calderale
Administrative Sergeant: Jacob Dunn
Logistics Sergeant: Phoenix Vazquez