Richard K. Pugsley, Director
Richard K. Pugsley is Director of the Spirit of America Band, and he began working with the band in 1993. The Spirit of America Field Band, Winter Percussion, and Fife and Drum ensembles were instituted under his tenure, further expanding the already established marching and concert bands. He has led the band on tours and conducted workshops in schools throughout the United States, Australia, Canada and South Korea. Under his direction the band has toured in exhibition with Drum Corps International (DCI). They have also made tours of US Military bases to show support for the men and women and families of the U.S. Armed Forces. As a result, Mr. Pugsley was recognized as an “Honorary Member” of the USO.
In 2006 Mr. Pugsley led the band as they won the title of World Champions, competing against 27 other international bands at the World Association of Marching Show Bands in Jeju, South Korea. He has helped members of Spirit of America hone their skills as they have taught and shared the joy of music in motion with thousands of young people around the world.
A leading figure in the world of marching show bands, Mr. Pugsley was asked by WAMSB to share about the new art form of “Instrumental Theater: in motion” with band directors from over 27 nations in Jeju, South Korea. While in Korea, through Mr. Pugsley’s vision, Spirit of America embarked on the new performance medium of Instrumental Theater: in motion with A Quest for Honor. After seeing the fully staged and costumed “story-in-music,” the excitement of the students all over South Korea expressed an excitement that was tangible and overwhelming. Spirit of America brought Instrumental Theater to South Africa in September 2011 with world-premier performances of The Fall and Rise of the Phoenix.
Through Mr. Pugsley’s introduction and friendship, Spirit of America Wind Ensemble has been privileged to study with Ray Cramer of the Indiana University School of Music, in workshops and performances. This relationship led to a collaborative recording with Dr. Cramer conducting, Call to Freedom: The Music of a Great Nation, released in July 2009, as well as Celebration in Brass, released in 2013.
Mr. Pugsley received the Bachelor of Music Degree, with a minor in Community Music, from Oberlin Conservatory. His studies have included conducting with the late Margaret Hillis, Hugh Floyd, and John Knight.
Karen Moore, Administrative Director
Karen began her career with Spirit of America in 1983 as a member of the concert and marching band Color Guard. Her passion, dedication, and leadership skills led her to become the Color Guard Captain in 1995, a position she held for the next ten years. In that role, she oversaw the growth of the Spirit of America Color Guard in movement, style, and precision of technique, leading them to the World Championships in Calgary, a multi-cultural tour of Australia, and throughout the United States. Subsequently as Color Guard Section Director, Karen’s broader vision for the guard’s development led to further dance studies and increased focus on weaponry. These skills directly contributed to the success of the guard and the band as a whole in South Korea, in both the WAMSB Championships and Instrumental Theater performances.
Karen became Administrative Director in 2006. Her responsibilities include overseeing staffing, personnel, schedules, budgets, and tours, as well as coordinating that all the parts of the show come together. Her love for young people and vision for the opportunity marching and field band bring to them, combined with her many years of experience, continue to inspire the band to attain new levels of artistic and technical performance.
Colin McNutt, Show Coordinator, Percussion Designer
Colin McNutt began working with Spirit of America in 1995. And has been involved in varying ways since from writing and arranging battery parts, to clinics, and design, consultant work. Colin has his roots on Cape Cod, where he graduated from Barnstable High School. He worked his way up the DCI ranks, as a player (’92 tenor solo champion), tech, and instructor. He is presently the Percussion Caption Supervisor and Arranger for the ten-time DCI World Champion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. He has instructed and arranged for the Start of Indiana and the popular stage production Blast!, as well as presents educational clinics and designs competitive shows for groups throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and Thailand. Colin has served on the faculty of UMass Amherst, where he is an alumnus with a double degree in Classics and Music Education. He is a sought-after clinician with Yamaha, Zildjian, REMO and Vic Firth.
Jennifer LeSeth, Guard Designer, Guard Master
Jennifer LeSeth came to Spirit of America in 2005 with more than nineteen years of performance, design, and instructional experience. She has served as color guard caption manager for Santa Clara Vanguard, color guard instructor and designer for the Madison Scouts, Bluecoats, Crossmen, and Phantom Regiment, and guard caption supervisor for Carolina Crown, among many others. Jennifer’s vision has drawn praise from fans, judges, and performers.
Ian Hale studied with Dr. Glenn Price at the University of Calgary where he received his BA in percussion performance, and received his MA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he studied with Eduardo Leandro and Thom Hannum. He has studied marimba with Leigh Howard Stevens, Gordon Stout, and She-e-Wu. He was a percussion staff member for the Glassmen, the Magic of Orlando, the Madison Scouts, and the Carolina Crown from 2005-2013; a music faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 2007-2008; and Assistant Director of Bands for the Calgary Stampede Showband from 2009-2011.
James Sparling, Visual Staff
James Sparling received his degree in Music Education with a minor in Architecture at Miami University. He currently serves as the Percussion Director with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps and the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Bands, as well as the Caption Head/Arranger with Infinity Percussion (Orlando, FL) and Redline Percussion (Canton, MI).
Alex King started his musical career at the age of 8 playing both concert percussion and drum set. Since then he has graduated from Barnstable High School, as well as UMass Amherst, majoring in music education. While at UMass, he was a part of a number of musical ensembles, a member of the percussion studio, and section leader of the UMass Drumline. Alex marched four years of drum corps, with East Coast Jazz and with The Cadets. He has been on staff with The Madison Scouts, Carolina Crown, 7th Regiment, and has been working with Spirit of America since 2010. When Alex is not teaching percussion, he is a full time music teacher in Worcester, MA, teaching K-12 general music at Union Hill Elementary and Woodward Day Alternative Middle/High School.