Assistant Director of Bands
Assistant Professor of Music Education
Dr. Eric Allen is Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Bands at Texas Tech University. He serves as conductor of the Texas Tech Symphonic Band, teaches conducting, and teaches courses in music education. He also assists with direction of the Goin' Band from Raiderland.
Under his direction, the Texas Tech University Symphonic Band has performed a diverse series of concerts including many collaborative performances with faculty solo artists. The ensemble recently performed at the CBDNA Southwestern Division Biennial Conference in Boulder, Colorado. Allen's recent work with conductors includes presentations at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference and the Florida Music Educators Association Conference. He contributes annually as a featured clinician at the American Conducting Symposium at Puebla State Conservatory in Puebla, Mexico.
Prior to Texas Tech, Dr. Allen served as Director of Bands at Sebastian River High School in Florida where his ensembles performed at the National Band Association Conference, the FMEA President's Concert, the National Concert Band Festival and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.
Dr. Allen frequently serves as a guest clinician in secondary schools throughout the region. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from Florida State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Allen is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association and the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Mu.
Dr. Sarah McKoin
Director of Bands
Dr. Sarah McKoin is the Director of Bands at Texas Tech University and Associate Professor of Music as well as Director of the Wind Ensemble at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, North Carolina. Dr. McKoin conducts the Texas Tech University Wind Ensemble and teaches all levels of conducting and wind literature. She is entering her ninth summer in residence at the Brevard Music Center where she serves on the conducting faculty and conducts the Transylvania Wind Ensemble comprised of college-aged musicians from throughout the country.
Prior to her appointment at Texas Tech, Professor McKoin was the Director of Bands at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and held appointments at the State University of New York at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia. Her UMKC Wind Symphony was selected as a featured ensemble and performed for the 2005 Missouri Music Educator's National Association Conference. In addition, the Wind Symphony under Dr. McKoin's leadership performed for the College Music Society's National Conference and for the opening concert of a nationally recognized month long festival honoring Igor Stravinsky which involved all of Kansas City's major arts organizations. While Director of Bands at the University at Buffalo, the UB Wind Ensemble was invited to perform for the New York State Band Directors' National Association, the first invitation of its kind for that ensemble.
Dr. McKoin maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician. She served as the 5-A Concert Band All-State Conductor for the Texas Music Educator's Association conference and has been contracted for upcoming Iowa and Florida All-State band festivals. While in Kansas City, she was frequently called upon to guest conduct NewEar, a professional chamber ensemble specializing in contemporary music. In 2001 Professor McKoin traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to serve as producer for the world premiere recording of Roberto Sierra's Fantasia Correliana with the Castellani-Andriaccio guitar duo on the Fleurdeson label, Arie Lipsky conducting.
Committed to performing literature of today's prominent composers, ensembles under Dr. McKoin's leadership have won the praise of local music critics and guest composers. She has performed several regional and world premieres including works by Chen Yi, Lukas Foss, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, Dan Welcher, Donald Freund, Walter Hartley, David Maslanka and others. Her position at Brevard has allowed her to collaborate with a number of soloists which include Charles Vernon of the Chicago Symphony, Fred Mills, Tim Morrison, Marty Hackleman, Sam Palafian, Scott Hartmann, Joseph Lulloff, Timothy Northcutt, Rhythm and Brass and the tuba/euphonium ensemble, Symphonia.
Her publications include Leslie Bassett's Colors and Contours: An Analysis for Conductors and Joseph Turrin's Two Sketches published in Volumes 3 and 5 of Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Her DMA research is on the music of Dan Welcher and the ensuing treatise is entitled, Three Places in the West: A Critical Analysis and Reference for Conductors.
McKoin holds her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin as well as degrees from Wichita State University and Michigan State University. She is active in the College Band Director's National Association having served as the New York state chairperson and has taught secondary school in both Michigan and at L.D. Bell High School in Texas.
Band Department Unit Coordinator
Debbie Holt has been a believer in and fan of the Goin'Band from Raiderland for over fifty years. She saw them for first time marching in the Homecoming parade when she was a small child and her father told her she was going to see the best band in all the land....and she did and it is! During the Killion and Bearden eras, she would bring her lunch over to the band lot and sit and watch rehearsals. Her proudest band moment came when her daughter, Courtney, auditioned and won a spot in the Goin'Band.
Eight years ago, she applied for the position she still holds with the band. As Unit Coordinator for TTU Bands, her major responsibility in the fall is to take care of the Goin'Band...a position that is not only a job but an honor to her. The band students lovingly refer to her as Band Mom and she wears that title with pride.
In her spare time, she is also a multi-published author and information on that part of her life can be found at www.debraholtbooks.com. In addition to her daughter, who is on her way to a career in law enforcement, she has a son, Russell, who is pursuing a career in film acting and a husband, Kenneth, who she has been married to since they were high school sweethearts. Needless to say, the entire Holt family bleeds scarlet and black!
Bethany Tolley is a professional baton twirling coach and judge of 38 years and a proud Texas Tech Alum. This is Bethany's 7th season coaching the Texas Tech University Twirlers. Bethany began twirling when she was just 2 years old. Her mother, Benni Dunn Evans, was the first Feature Twirler for the Goin' Band from Raiderland. Bethany followed in her footsteps and was the Feature Twirler from 1980-1984. Before graduating in 1985, Bethany won the prestigious National Collegiate Twirling Championships and was crowned College Miss Majorette of America in 1984. In 2003, Bethany Tolley was inducted into the National Baton Twirling Association's Hall of Fame where she joins the nation's most prestigious baton twirling coaches and judges.
After graduating from Texas Tech University, Bethany continued to coach baton twirling lessons across the South Plains and began running her family's dance wear and baton twirling supplies business. Now, Bethany is the coach and owner of the competitive baton twirling team, The B.T. Performers. Bethany has coached countess state and regional champions, as well as multiple National Championship twirlers. Under her direction, The Texas Tech Twirlers have now brought home 3 National Championship titles and even more state and regional championship trophies.
Bethany is married to Wes Tolley, a former Goin' Band member. She has two children, Travis Tolley, a Texas Tech University and School of Law graduate, and Amanda Tolley, a Texas Tech University graduate and former feature twirler (2009-2013.)
Color Guard Coach
Amanda is in her 6th season as the Colorguard Coach with the Goin' Band from Raiderland. She graduated from Texas Tech in December of 2003 with a degree in Psychology. Amanda is also a proud Alumnus of the Goin' Band from Raiderland, of which she was a member for 6 years, having served on the Goin' Band Leadership team as the Colorguard Captain for 3 years and Band Librarian for 4 years.
Amanda is employed as a Travel Coordinator for Director's Choice Tour and Travel, who specializes in Student Travel across the United States and beyond. She is also the proud mother of a beautiful 4-year old daughter, Lily Katherine.
Benjamin Harper hails from Marion, Iowa. He is currently a graduate assistant at Texas Tech University pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting. Prior to coming to Texas Tech University, Harper was a graduate assistant for The University of Kansas Bands. He taught high school band in Iowa where his students and ensembles regularly received Superior ratings at local, regional, and state music festivals.
Vanessa Heuck began her DMA degree at Texas Tech in the Fall of 2015 as a Teaching Assistant in Wind Band Conducting. Heuck earned her Masters from Central Michigan University as a Graduate Assistant in Wind Band Conducting and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Grand Valley State University with a minor in clarinet performance.
Prior to Texas Tech, Heuck was Band and Choir Director at Elisabeth Ann Johnson High School, Band Director and General Music Teacher for Hillsdale Community Schools, and Assistant Pep Band Director for Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI. During the summer, she returns to Michigan as Music Director and Conductor of the Saginaw Eddy Concert Band.
James Pendell is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance from Texas Tech University(TTU), where he studies with Dr. Lisa Rogers and Mr. Alan Shinn. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from TTU and a master's degree in percussion performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. At TTU, Pendell serves as a graduate teaching assistant instructing the Texas Tech University Drumline also known as ZIT, directing TTU Percussion Ensemble II, and teaching private lessons.
As a performer and clinician, Pendell has played, adjudicated, and attended music conferences all over the country, including PASIC, Texas Music Educators Association Conference, National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities. He has also performed with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra in Carmel, Indiana, and Lubbock Moonlight Musicals in Lubbock, Texas. Pendell was a member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, and is also active in arts administration recently finishing an internship assisting the Executive Director of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.