Texas Tech University

Faculty/Staff

Joel PaganJoel E. Pagán
Associate Director of Bands
Director of Goin' Band from Raiderland

Dr. Joel E. Pagán is Assistant Professor of Music, Associate Director of Bands, and Director of Athletic Bands at Texas Tech University where he serves as the director of the Goin' Band from Raiderland, conductor of the Concert Band, and director of the Court Jesters Indoor Athletic Band. He joined the faculty at TTU in the Fall of 2017 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education where he taught courses in music education and supervised student teachers. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Western Carolina University, a Master in Music Education from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of South Florida. His primary areas of research interest include music teacher preparation, music teacher effectiveness, secondary student engagement, conducting, and educational psychology.

Prior to Texas Tech, Dr. Pagán was the Director of Bands at Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, FL; Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral, FL; and LaBelle High School in LaBelle, FL. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Music Education Association as Conference Chairman and served as a District Chairman for the Florida Bandmasters Association. He was a frequent band clinician in Florida and served as a brass and concert band adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association. He holds professional memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, American Education Research Association, College Music Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

Sarah McKoin
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.

Eric AllenEric Allen
Associate Professor of Music 
Assistant Director of Bands

Eric Allen serves as Associate Professor of Music, Associate Director of Bands and Chair of Music Education at Texas Tech University. His responsibilities include serving as conductor of the Symphonic Band, directing the New Music Ensemble, teaching conducting, assisting with the direction of the Goin' Band from Raiderland, and serving as Chair for the Music Education Area. He also teaches courses within the Summer Master of Music Education program.

Under Allen's direction, the Texas Tech Symphonic Band has performed many engaging concerts with repertoire spanning nearly two centuries. The ensemble has also performed many collaborative performances with faculty solo artists and they were recently praised in Fanfare Magazine for their fine accompaniment work on the MSR Classics release of Andrew Stetson's solo album, “Rise Above.”  Further recognition came through their selection by jury to perform at the 2016 CBDNA Southwestern Division Conference in Boulder, Colorado, and the 2020 CBDNA Southwestern Divisional Conference in Norman, Oklahoma.

A versatile musician, Allen serves as Artistic Director, Conductor, and Board President of the Lubbock Chamber Orchestra, a professional ensemble in the Lubbock Community. Beginning their fourth season, Allen has led the LCO through stimulating performances of a variety of repertoire including symphonic masterworks and collaborative solo works with incredible local artists, as well as the world premiere of DJ Sparr's With Every Gust of Wind: Four Haiku.

Allen's work teaching conducting includes presentations at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, Colorado Music Educators Association Conference, and the Florida Music Educators Association Conference, and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. He has also been a featured clinician at the Conducting Symposium at Puebla State Conservatory in Puebla, Mexico.

Prior to his work in Lubbock, 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.

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. He holds honorary memberships with Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. He is the recipient of four Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association and was named Outstanding Faculty by the Texas Tech Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha.

Debbie HoltDebbie Holt
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 TolleyBethany Tolley
Twirler Coach

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.)

Amanda KnightBlake Robertson
Color Guard Instructor

Blake joined the Goin' Band as the Color Guard Instructor in the fall of 2021. Joining the program has been one of the greatest joys in his life. He is excited to push the program to new heights while staying true to the traditions that are beloved by so many.

Blake fell in love with the marching arts from a young age when he would watch the local high school marching band practices. He has been involved with band since he was 11 but began as a color guard performer in 2004 and quickly moved up into nationally recognized programs. He began his teaching career in 2006. He has taught and created color guard programs across the southern United States. In addition to instructing, Blake has also served as a General Effect adjudicator for the Caprock Color Guard Circuit for three years. 

Aside from his work with the Goin' Band, Blake is the Training Coordinator for Octapharma Plasma. He is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work in two industries that he is passionate about.