Makenzie Pickard grew up near Minneapolis, MN. Her journey toward a career in music started in high school when she joined the winter drumline and began composing music under the tutelage of her piano teacher, Wynn-Anne Rossi.
Makenzie earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition from Concordia College in Morehead, MN. She particpated in several ensembles and fell in love ... with music theory. After a trip to Ghana, West Africa--during which she studied dancing, hand drums, the Ghanaian xylophone called the gyil with Bernard Woma--Makenzie became interested in music from around the world and was inspired to continue her musical education.
In Tuscon, Mackenzie received her Master of Music degree in Musicology from the University of Arizona. With a focus on ethnomusicology, Mackenzie completed her thesis on the Zimbabwean mibira dzavadzimu. During her studies, she continued to play in ensembles, and after graduation, Mackenzie joined an African dance band called the Key Ingredients of African Soul playing marimba at local venues.
Zack Bresler is an Instructor of Technical Music at Iowa Western Community College, as well as a professional percussionist and drum set player in the Omaha metro area. He has earned a Masters of Music Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Bachelors in Music Performance and Music Technology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Zack performs and records with several rock and pop bands in the area, often using his talents programming MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to create unique sounds or recreate real instruments using digital technology.
Director of Vocal Music
Johnson is currently in his second year as the Director of Vocal Music at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He conducts the Concert Choir, 1st Edition Show Choir, IWCC Gentlemen, Jazz Choir and Southwest Iowa Community Women’s Chorus. He also oversees voice studies at Iowa Western, teaching college and area high school students. Johnson was previously Director of Vocal Music in Atlantic, Iowa, at Atlantic High School for five years.
He finished his Master’s in Music Education with a choral emphasis at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago this past summer. He completed his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Music Education from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in May of 2007. He is an active member of Iowa Choral Directors Association and is presently the Treasurer for the North Central American Choral Directors Association. He has enjoyed work as a clinician and judge for choirs, show choirs and private voice work. Johnson enjoys spending time with family and friends, including his pride and joy, his nephew, Kieran.
Director of Instrumental Music
Ron Gann is the Director of Instrumental Music at Iowa Western Community College on the Council Bluffs Campus. He directs the Concert and Jazz Bands. Additionally, he directs the IWCC Reiver Marching and Athletic Pep bands. Mr. Gann is a retired veteran of active duty military with the Air Force and Army. His service placed him as a musician with the Army Training and Doctrine Command Band at Fort Monroe, Virginia and the Air Force Heartland of America Band at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He also served on staff as the Saxophone Instructor for the Armed Forces School of Music at Little Creek Amphibious Base, Virginia. Mr. Gann proudly led the Air Force Basic Training Drum & Bugle Corps at Lackland AFB, TX as a Military Training Instructor and just recently retired from the Air Force Academy as the Assistant Director and Military Trainer of the Cadet Drum & Bugle Corps in Colorado Springs, CO. His conducting experience not only included the Air Force Academy but also led the University of Michigan, Boise State University, San Diego State University and the University of Nevada-Reno.
Mr. Gann holds music degrees in Bachelor of Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and Master’s Degree in Woodwind Pedagogy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to the degree completion, he attended Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS and Northwest Alabama Community College in Phil Campbell, AL. Ron is married to musician Rebecca Gann and has three children, Sarah, David, and Hannah Gann.