Midland Park Performing Arts Parents

Enriching the Arts for Students

Marching Band Staff Bios



David Marks - Director
Mr. Marks was appointed as Director of Bands at MPHS in the summer of 1997. This followed his student teaching at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff and Ridgewood High School. His musical training began in 4th grade as a String Bass player in elementary school. He continues to play String Bass to this day. As a member of the Fair Lawn HS Band program he played in the Pit and Drumline in Marching Band as well as serving as Drum Major in 1992. He studied String Bass with Linda McKnight throughout High School and College. Mr. Marks has a BA in Music Education from Montclair State University. He also has a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Ramapo College.

As a performer, Mr. Marks has been a String Bass Player with the New Jersey Wind Symphony since 1996. During this time, he has performed with countless renowned soloists and guest conductors. Mr. Marks has guest conducted the ensemble on two occasions. The MPHS Wind Ensemble has done 4 performances with the NJWS in recent years. He has also been the conductor of the Bergen County Middle School Band and the Bergen County High School Band. In the Fall of 1996 Mr. Marks conducted the Montclair State University Band for Vice President Al Gore.

In the Marching Band world Mr. Marks has been a performer, instructor, writer, director, and adjudicator. Beyond his 4 years as a performer with the Fair Lawn HS Marching Band, he was a member of 1995 World Champion Hawthorne Caballeros. He has served on the staff of countless North Jersey bands as an advisor and instructor. Each year Mr. Marks writes drill for 7-10 marching bands. Beyond his role as Director of MPHS Marching Band, he serves as the Assistant Director with the Ramapo HS Marching Band and a drill instructor with the Paramus HS Marching Band. He has served as a judge for USBands and an advisor and Drill Writer for the 2018 National Champion Montville HS Field Corps. Mr. Marks also serves as the Director of the Ramapo College Pep Band.

Outside of the Band world Mr. Marks has many other interests. He is an avid collector of PEZ. He also a Disney fan. His Favorite composer is John Williams. Mr. Marks is married to Mrs. Marks, who teaches Science at MPHS. They have a 15 year old son TJ who is a competitive rock climber and plays tuba.
Jeffrey Peters - Associate Director
Mr. Peters was hired as the Elementary Band Director at Highland School in 2004. After his graduation from West Chester University, he chose to apply for a job in the town where he grew up. Mr. Peters has been involved with the Midland Park Marching Band since 1994, where he joined as a 7th Grader. After four consecutive band directors, Mr. Marks became the director and the rest was history. While at West Chester, Mr. Peters worked as Band staff when he was not performing with the Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band. Mr. Peters has a BA in Music Education from West Chester University and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Boston University.

Mr. Peters has spent countless hours learning from others. He has traveled to watch other educators in action and to learn from them. He feels lucky to have contacts in many different parts of the music world, from Drum Corp techs, to Broadway performers, to Professional musicians who tour the world. Many of these are friends from college and former students. Mr. Peters finds a great sense of joy watching the successes of those he has taught. Outside of music, Mr. Peters has many interests. His most favorite are camping and hiking with his wife Erin, daughter Jocelyn, and dog Rosie. He also enjoys rock climbing with his brothers and sisters-in-law (and TJ!).
Shane Peterson - Co-Assistant Director Music
Mr. Peterson is a 2012 Graduate of MPHS. He then attended Stony Brook University because I wanted to go to a school with a marching band. He has a bachlears degree in Music. He currently attends Montclair State University for graduate school where he is pursuing his Master's degree in Music Education and Students with Disabilities. During his time at Stony Brook he was a member of wind ensemble as well as the orchestra for the better part of 3 years. He was born and raised in Midland Park and still lives here. He came back as a staff member because he loved the band and the ideas it promotes. He is currently working as a teacher assistant in the Northern Valley Regional School District in the Valley Program for students with disabilities. These kids are really great to work with and what the program does is fantastic

While at MPHS he mainly helps with the winds, he played brass instruments from the time he was able to join band in 4th grade. Over that time he has played trombone, tuba, trumpet, and baritone. He continues to learn more instruments as part of his education program and hopes to get better with all of the other instruments as time goes on. He has been working with the band since the 2017 season.
His cousin is a Band Director and inspired him to play trombone in 4th grade and then when he was able to see the marching band perform their 2005 show “Nightmare Before Christmas” at Highland School and he fell in love with the activity.

He has 2 dogs. Both are boxers named Otis and Jessie. They are both rescued and happy to be a part of the family. He is a glass half full kind of person. You always have to look on the positive side no matter what.
Chaz Sheridan - Co-Assistant Director Music
Chaz Sheridan is a native musician and educator of New Jersey. Upon his inclinations to learn electric guitar in 2011, his middle school band director, Mr. John Kruzel, told him that he needed to simultaneously pick up a concert band instrument as well. To this day he owes much to this caveat put forth to him. After choosing the saxophone as his concert band instrument and dabbling with the instrument for a few years, he decided to make the transition to the brass family in 2014. His high school band director, Mr. Michael Deluccia recommended that he switch to the french horn and it has been an ongoing journey with the instrument ever since.

Before studying privately, his main brass learning was done on the football fields of New Jersey in both marching band and drum corps. During the marching band season of 2014 he marched mellophone during the field show and conducted the band in the stands as the assistant drum major. The 2015 marching band season took him off the field when he climbed the podium as head drum major. In this season he acted as a visual tech and ran the warm-up process for the marching band, being guided along by his band director. The summer of 2015 was also his first year with a drum corps and it was the DCA circuit group Fusion Drum and Bugle "Core" that he marched with. He marched mellophone for that summer and the next. In 2018 he earned a contract spot with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, a DCI circuit top-12 corps.

Chaz works year round with the Midland Park High School Marching Band as a brass and visual instructor, under the direction of Mr. David Marks and Mr. Jeff Peters. He joined the band staff after being referred by the famous alumnus Crissy Shannon. Their work over the years combines creative flourishes with technical excellence. He is an active believer in healthy and focused rehearsal techniques/pedagogy. Nevertheless, he is a "family first" educator and is extremely thankful for the kindness, flexibility, and dedication the Midland Park Band Association has shown him.

Primarily a french horn player, he also has experience with the core instruments of the wind band and years of study with the piano and voice. He has had the pleasure of studying with such great professors as Ms. Leelanee Sterrett and Mr. Jerry Peel, as well as Mr. Darryl Bott, Mr. Todd Nichols, Dr. James Busuito, and Dr. Reid Masters. In the early summer months, he works with his alma mater as a brass instructor for their summer performing arts camp and during the school year he plays in their concerts. When he is not working professionally he loves to spend time with his family, friends, and animals.
Brian Prokop - Percussion Director
Brian Prokop is a freelance percussionist, educator, recording artist, producer & audio engineer. A native of Midland Park, he played with the concert band/jazz band/marching band & choir @ MPHS. After graduation in 1999, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from William Paterson University. He then went on to follow his other passion in a career of music. He studied drumset and percussion for several years with Jay Dittamo, Darren Patrick, Ron Thaler, Joe Bergamini and Ignacio Berroa. In 2005 he joined the MPHS marching band staff as percussion instructor and has written the percussion book for several MPHSMB programs. He also was the percussion instructor for the Indian Hills HS Marching Band from 2006-2018.

Brian has been teaching private drum lessons full time since 2004. Many of his students have come through the MPHS program. Some have gone on to march in drum corps and study music at Berklee College of Music, Ohio State, North Texas State, William Paterson University and the Drummer’s Collective. Students range from elementary school-age to adults, beginner to intermediate levels. He has taught middle school percussion lessons at MPHS and percussion workshops at Highland School. As a performer, he plays regularly with multiple bands in NJ//NYC, from wedding bands, to rock, funk, R&B, jazz ensembles and musical theatre productions. His current passion is recording music and drum tracks at his home studio.

In his free time he enjoys going to Yankees games, concerts, hiking, reading books about history & Stephen King and spending time with his new nephew. Oh, and coffee.
James Garde - Music Consultant
James Garde was a member of the Ridgewood High School Marching Band from 1989 to 1992, and graduated from RHS in the spring of 1993. He graduated Magna cum Laude with a degree in Music Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1998. He served as the Drum Major at JMU as well as being a Saxophone player with the Disneyland All American College Band. Since then, James returned to RHS to work with the Marching Band as a woodwind specialist, a marching and maneuvering instructor, assistant band director, and spent five years as the marching band director, from 2006-2010. James is also a music for both the Midland Park High School and Indian Hills High School Marching Bands.

He is also looking forward to being involved with the Jazz Program at RHS again this year working with the sax sections, and can be seen in the area appearing with several rock groups, the New Jersey Saxophone Ensemble, the pit orchestras for several high school musical productions, and as a musician and volunteer with the Youth Ministry Program at Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River. James directs the band program in grades 4 through 8, and teaches the video production classes in the Carlstadt Public School in Carlstadt, NJ.
Jessica Abraham - Assistant Director - Visual
Jess has been involved with MPHS Marching Band since she was 13. She started out her 8th grade year after being in concert band in 7tn grade and hearing about all the fun the marching band had in the fall. Jess started dancing when she was in kindergarten and loved expressing herself through movement, so the color guard was a natural fit. She was color guard co-captain her senior year before taking one year away to start college.

Jess studied English literature and visual art at Fordham University and because she was so close to home she was able to come back and start teaching the summer after freshman year. She has been on staff since the 2012 season as a color guard instructor. She has also been the color guard instructor for Ramapo High School since 2015. Jess now works as the manager of a Starbucks and is well known for keeping the staff fully caffeinated through long practices and double competition weekends. When she's not busy running her store or helping with the color guards, she loves reading historical fiction, watching old Audrey Hepburn movies and playing board games with her family or friends.

Jess loves to laugh and is always ready for a funny meme or video shared by the staff during meal breaks. The best description she's ever heard of herself is "cheerfully pessimistic" because she can usually be found laughing or smiling, but has a tendency to sweat the small stuff. Jess loves working with the kids and the staff and always comes away from the season proud of how much everyone has grown, completely exhausted, and full of fun stories to share with the people she has time to see again. The band has been a huge part of her life this far and she couldn't be happier about it.
Kim Ackerson - Color Guard Director
Kim has been a Special Education Teacher in Passaic for the past 15 years. She started twirling at 6 years old and spinning a flag at 7 years old. Although her outdoor performance began with marching band, she did not stop there. She continued on to march with the New York Skyliners in 1994 and 1995, then with Magic of Orlando Jr Corp in 1997 and 1998. During this time she also competed with indoor color guards: Pegasus A Class - 1994 - 1996, Shadow Dance Open Class - 1997, and Just Class World Class - 1998 - 1999.

Kim started teaching during those years. She has taught at various indoor guards, drum corps and marching bands. Aside from teaching the technique and skills of the activity, she loves the various life skills the students learn from the activity. Whether it is responsibility, punctuality, balance of life events, how to work with others, stress management or just learning about yourself. This activity is a journey that you go through with people that you get to know and call family. You may not stay close with each and every person but they will forever be part of that journey. That is what keeps her coming back to the activity even if she swears she is done. 7 years ago Courtney asked Kim to come assist her with the guard. This band and staff have an amazing family vibe which makes a person want to be part of this extended family through teaching the members of the band. Bringing Kim on board lead her to become a full time staff member as the positive and strong family atmosphere appealed to her too. Kim wouldn’t have it any other way as she has enjoyed her time here so far with the Midland Park Marching Band and Colorguard.

Kim has a son who is 18 years old. Aside from color guard she runs a Special Olympics program in her district. They compete in Track and Field as well as Bocce. Kim is also a Bocce official for Special Olympics. She is hoping to one day, be able to be an official at the national or world level Special Olympics Games. When it comes to the thinking of the glass half full or half empty...if I’m speaking honestly, it depends on the situation. I wish I could say I’m always glass half full but I’m realistic so sometimes it takes some time to process a situation to make her see the half full side of things. If it does not come naturally, which it did not for me, It takes work to learn how to do it but it is worth the work. Once you can get past the initial moment learning to look at a situation in a glass half full manner it makes life just a little better.
Shannon Linde - Color Guard Assistant
Hey, I’m Shannon! I was in the Midland Park Marching Band when I was in high school and couldn’t stay away for long. I joined the staff during my sophomore year of college. I feel very lucky to have had a front row seat watching the transformation of this band through the years become a championship band. My favorite part of being in band was the lasting friendships I made from all the time and common goals we shared.

You may also know me as the band nurse! I received my bachelor’s degree in nursing at Felician University. Soon after graduation I began working as a high risk labor and delivery nurse at St. Barnabas Medical Center. When I wasn’t at band practice or delivering babies I was at graduate school working towards my nurse practitioner degree. As of September, I am working as an NP for a local private practice.

When I have some down time I enjoy visiting my family in Ireland including my three very energetic nephews! Since starting my new career I have been able to catch up on some hobbies such as hiking, cooking, and reading books that aren’t textbooks!
Taylor Goodson - Staff Composer
Taylor Goodson (Montclair State University, MA '13) is active as a freelance percussionist in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, participating in performance with members of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Opera, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at many notable venues in both New York and New Jersey. He is principal timpanist of both the Montclair Orchestra and the FEA Symphony and performs regularly with a multitude of ensembles, including the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and the New Jersey Festival Orchestra. He is also active as a member of the New York Percussion Group, a New York City-based percussion ensemble, and Festival Percussion, an educational percussion quartet in the New York/New Jersey area. He has appeared as a soloist on multiple occasions with performances of works such as William Kraft's "Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra," Eric Ewazen's "Concerto for Marimba," and Béla Bartok's "Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion."

As an active composer, Mr. Goodson was selected as a winner of the 2010 Dallas Wind Symphony Fanfare Competition and has received a multitude of commissions for a large variety of ensembles. He has written arrangements for notable soloists and conductors around the globe, has been published by Row-Loff Productions, and continues to compose for a wide breadth of instruments and ensembles. His work in the realm of digital composition in combination with live recording has won him much critical acclaim, many of these projects having been featured on two of his albums "Inspirations: Volume I" (2014) and "Inspirations: Volume II" (2015), both of which are available through major digital music retailers. Mr. Goodson is also a composer of original shows for competitive marching bands throughout New Jersey, and has had the pleasure of receiving championship titles three times (Montville Township High School, 2015 and 2018; Midland Park Jr./Sr. High School, 2019).

Mr. Goodson is a member of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM, Local 802) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
Gordon Fisher - Perc. Arranger and Consultant
At the age of eight, Mr. Fisher was playing guitar and drums in a band with his two brothers doing cover songs and originals. He sang in chorus and played in all bands throughout his school years, joining the high school marching band in Brick, New Jersey in eighth grade(1975). As a sophomore he became the drum line Captain, where he wrote drum cadences and drum books for the marching band (250 members) the next three years.

He joined the Chancellors Drum & Bugle Corps in 1978 and co-founded the New Jersey Windjammers Jr. Drum & Bugle Corp in 1979, as a player and instructor. Mr. Fisher earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Valparaiso University in 1984. He performs as a drummer in big bands and small jazz ensembles, various rock, country and wedding bands, and has performed with artists such as Jamey Aebersold, Clark Terry, and the Benny Goodman Band. He has also served as a guest conductor for the Glen Rock Pops, and as arranger and conductor of the pit orchestra for the Ridgewood Jamboree for six years, helping to raise thousand of dollars in scholarships for students.

Mr. Fisher began teaching in 1984 as the Co-Band Director at Pompton Lakes High School, later at Jackson High School as the Assistant Band Director in 1985, then settling in Fair Lawn for the next 32 years as the Director of Instrumental Music where he was the proud music teacher of your very own Mr. Marks! He has been on the marching band staff at Midland Park since 1997 as Drill Instructor, Music Instructor, Percussion Writer and Instructor, and in other roles when asked or needed over the years, and has worked as a percussion instructor with many area schools including Mainland Regional, Park Ridge, and Pascack Hills.

In 2006 Mr. Fisher revived the Indian Hills High School Marching Band after a twenty year hiatus, and directed the band until retiring in January of 2017. Highlights in Mr. Fisher’s career include directing the National Anthem with the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Men’s Chorus at Wrigley Field on national television, being a Guest Conductor for the Walt Disney World Band in Orlando, Florida, and being Mr. Marks’ music teacher.

His focus is always trying to make a positive difference in the lives of children through music and performing arts. Now retired, Mr. Fisher continues to make a difference in the well being of children and adults as a sound healer using tuning forks, tibetan singing bowls, gongs, and crystal light therapy. Mr. Fisher has been happily married for 34 years to Penny Fisher, who is also an educator and school administrator in the New Jersey Public Schools. They have 3 children (Elisabeth, William, and William’s wife Elena), and 1 grandson, Liam Fisher.
Crissy Shannon - Visual/Design Consultant
Graduate of MPHS, 2016. Member of the MPHS Marching Band from 2010 to 2015: 5 years in Color Guard (Color Guard Caption, 2014) and 1 year on Mellophone (Drum Major, 2015). Drum corps experience: Fusion Core: trumpet (2015), mellophone (2016). Oregon Crusaders: mellophone (soloist, 2017). Currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, studying History and Russian language. Member of the University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band: mellophone (2016), sousaphone (2017), Assistant Drum Major (2018), Drum Major (2019).

Crissy has been involved with marching band since the age of 11, and joined the MPHS Marching Band after spending many years watching Music in the Park from under the bleachers with her sister, Cate, who joined the marching band as a clarinet player in 2009. After spending time in the Color Guard, Crissy was inspired by the hornlines of drum corps like the Cadets, Carolina Crown, & the Bluecoats and learned trumpet & mellophone to punch her ticket to a drum corps career. She joined the MPHS hornline in 2015. She started teaching visual technique and choreography to high school bands in the summer of 2016, and has been involved with show design since she started learning the ropes under Mr. Marks’ wing while still in high school. She has always wanted to be a teacher, but was especially influenced and inspired by the amazing educators she had at MPHS, both in and out of the band, and wants to be for others what so many great teachers were for her! She looks forward to a career as an educator and hopes to continue growing as a show designer by first picking up the skills of drill writing.

Her favorite colors are Orange (because it’s FAST!) and Yellow (because it’s happy!). She loves the University of Pittsburgh because of the beloved sense of history and tradition, the strong sense of spirit and camaraderie around school (and city!) sports, the BEAUTIFUL Cathedral of Learning, and also because Pitt is the best of both worlds in every sense! Her hobbies include biking, reading about history, watching documentaries, running, and listening to true crime podcasts. She’s definitely a glass half-full person because life is easier when you’re hoping for the best!




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Band Staff Listing


David Marks - Director of Bands
Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band
Jeff Peters - Associate Marching Band Director, Jazz Band
Steve Bartosik - Percussion Ensemble
Brian Prokop - Marching Percussion Coordinator

Other Staff Members and Consultants - Jessica Abraham, Kim Ackerson, Gordon Fisher, James Garde, Taylor Goodson, Courtney Kutcha, Shannon Linde, Shane Peterson, Crissy Shannon, Chaz Sheridan, Tim Vorderstrasse

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