Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin received his undergraduate degree in music at William Paterson University where he performed with the NJ Percussion Ensemble and the NJ New Music Ensemble.

He has been a Band Director in NJ for 26 years and he is currently the Director of Bands and Department Coordinator of Fine Arts at Monroe Township High School. His responsibilities include directing the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble as well as teaching AP Music Theory. The MTHS Marching Band was crowned US Bands NJ State and National Champions in 2013 and they have been selected to represent New Jersey at the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in 2016.

Marty performed for five seasons with the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps and he has been a percussion arranger for high school bands throughout NJ since 1987.

Marty currently judges for numerous organizations including Winter Guard International, Bands of America and Drum Corps International. In 2006 Marty was selected to judge for the Drum Corps Japan Championships held in Yokohama, Japan and he is currently the Percussion Caption Head for Drum Corps Associates as well as judging coordinator for The Mid Atlantic Percussion Society. Marty also has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University.

John Pipitone

JJ Pipitone received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Morehead State University and his Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas.

JJ is currently a retired band director turned real estate investor in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. He is also is a consultant for the Texas A & M Commerce Pride Marching Band, writes high school marching band shows, and is an adjudicator for WGI. JJ was an adjunct percussion professor at Texas A & M Commerce from 2013-2016.

Before this, he served in the public schools for 16 years as an assistant band director in the Lewisville and Grapevine Independent School Districts. In addition to all of the percussion responsibilities from 6th-12th grade, his duties have included Concert Band, Music Theory, Music History, Jazz band, and Musical Theater.

JJ has extensive drum corp experience, having marched for 9 years in drum corps all over the country including numerous drum corps in the up-state New York area, the Dutch Boy, the Phantom Regiment, and the Concord Blue Devils. He won the DCI Multi tenor competition in 1989, The PAS Multi Tenor competition in 1990 and placed 2nd at the PAS marimba competition in 1992.
As an instructor, JJ taught the World Champion Phantom Regiment in 1995 and 1996. In 1997, JJ was the caption head and the battery arranger. He went on to teach the Glassmen in 1998 & 1999 and the Crossmen in 2000 & 2001.

JJ’s extensive judging experience has taken him around the globe since 2003. He is honored to be affiliated with Bands Of America, US Bands, Winter Guard International, Drum Corp International, Drum Corp Japan and various indoor Percussion circuits around the United States.

Ray Ulibarri

Ray Ulibari is beginning his sixteenth year as a percussion instructor in public schools. Prior to teaching at Reagan High School in San Antonio, he was the percussion director at Klein Forest High School and Pomona High School in Arvada, Colorado.

During his tenure with Pomona, his band won an unprecedented 11 State Marching Band Championships and placed fifth at the 1997 BOA Grand National Championships in Indianapolis. In addition, the Percussion ensemble was a two time medalist at the WGI World Championships and perennial finalist.

In 2002-03, Mr. Ulibarri was the percussion instructor of the University of Colorado Golden Buffalo Marching Band. Mr. Ulibarri is currently the Percussion Arranger for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corp and the former caption Head of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. He is also the former front ensemble arranger and caption head of the Blue Knights World Percussion Ensemble. Both groups are recognized as innovators in the world of percussion and have placed in the top three in the world.

Percussion arrangements are in demand throughout the country and he is a freelance composer. He is endorsed by Innovative Percussion, Evans, Zildgian and Yamaha. Ray Ulibarri is an active music adjudicator and clinician throughout the country.

Michael Varner

Dr. Michael Varner has been Director of Percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington for the past 35 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University, a Master’s in Performance from The University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Performance from The University of North Texas.  His Dissertation “An Examination of Davidi Maslanka’s Marimba Concerti is available online and from the “Percussive Arts Society.”

He draws from 40 years’ experience as a performer presenting repertoire from every musical style including Classical, Contemporary, Jazz, and World beat. He brings to each style of music an unequalled sensitivity and exuberance. He has performed chamber music and studio work in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. During his time in Michigan he was principal percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Principal Timpanist with the Kalamazoo Chamber Orchestra.

He teaches all Percussion and world music courses at UTArlington and is a member of the Honor’s College Faculty, chosen recently as Honor’s faculty member of the Year.

He continues to be active nationally in the field of marching percussion adjudicating and presenting clinics. Under his guidance the UT Arlington drum line has been nationally recognized performing at numerous marching exhibitions including the 1982, 1988, 1993 and 2000, 2003, and 2008 Percussive Arts Societies International competitions. He has worked with renowned drum and bugle corps, including the DCI champion Chicago Cavaliers and the Toledo Glassmen.

He maintains an Artist relationship with Remo Heads and World Instruments, Vic Firth, Yamaha, and Sabian cymbals.