A conductor in front of the band outdoors.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

With a style and format that borrows to a large degree from military traditions, it's no surprise that success begins from the band's leadership. Our professional staff arrange music, write drill, conduct rehearsals, and ensure the students receive the highest level of music and performance education.


Chris Moore

Chris Moore sitting in one of the Couch building's studio spaces.
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

Christopher Moore currently serves as director of athletic bands and percussion studies, as well as serves as the coordinator for undergraduate music technology studies.  He served as assistant director and staff arranger of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Band and director of instrumental music at Marist School in Atlanta. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jacksonville State University and a Master of Music degree from East Carolina University.  Moore is an active freelance performer, clinician, arranger, composer, and film scorer. His compositions and arrangements have been performed nationally and internationally. He has served as percussion and arranging consultant to Wynton Marsalis on three large works for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Moore also is director of the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps.

Benjamin "BJ" Diden

BJ Diden conducting an ensemble.
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

Benjamin J. Diden is the assistant director of bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He serves as conductor of the symphonic band and assistant director of athletic bands. Diden received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree and the Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting degree from the University of Tennessee. He has served as a graduate assistant for the Pride of the Southland Marching Band at UT and the Mighty Sound of the Southeast Marching Band at USC, where he worked extensively with the entire band program of each university. He taught for several years in the public schools of Tennessee, most recently at Cumberland County High School in Crossville, Tennessee.  Diden is a member of MENC, the College Band Directors National Association, and the National Band Association. He is also an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi.

Cameron "Chip" Crotts

Chip Crotts posing with his trumpet in front of green space.
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

Dr. Chip Crotts is Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Director of Bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. Highly active as a professional trumpet player, Chip has performed and recorded for the Disney Company in Europe and the United States, and as a first call player, maintains an active career of national touring shows, regional symphony dates and local performances throughout the year. A Grammy nominated performer, Dr. Crotts has recorded and worked with hundreds of artists over the years, including Boston Brass, the Manhattan Transfer, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, The Temptations and Maynard Ferguson, among others.

Colorguard Staff

Alexa Ramirez

Alexa smiling and posing with Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot.

Alexa Ramirez has served as the director of the Georgia Tech Colorguard since 2015. An Atlanta area native, she started her colorguard journey in 2001 at Pope High School (Marietta, GA). She continued as a performer with several organizations including the Georgia Tech Colorguard and Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as Lulablel Independent, Aureus Independent, and CrownGUARD winterguards. She also taught and choregraphed for several high school programs in the Atlanta area over the years, including Pope, Norcross, Centennial, and Union Grove High Schools. Alexa has a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs from Georgia Tech and a Master of Arts in History from Georgia State University. She currently works at the Georgia Tech Research Institute as a project manager for the Center for Health Analytics & Informatics (CHAI).

Mallory Kliesrath

Mallory posing for a picture in the stands before a game.

In 2018 Mallory Kliesrath, after spinning as a cross-registered student at Georgia Tech from 2010-2013, became an assistant coach of the Georgia Tech Colorguard. A lifetime performer and Atlanta suburbanite, Mallory has spun over 20 seasons from programs across Georgia: Collins Hill HS, Georgia Tech Color Guard, Aureus Independent, The Edge Independent, Georgia State University Winterguard, and in special performances like the Super Bowl halftime show and an Atlanta Falcons pregame show. As a seasoned coach, Mallory has also spent 4 years on the Lakeside Independent staff. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology she is looking forward to starting her new job as a Project Support Specialist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. In her spare time you can catch her at music festivals across the country.

Josh Swain

Mr. Josh Swain has been involved with the pageantry arts for many years now as an active instructor, clinician, and adjudicator. Coming from Florida, he is an alumni of the University of Florida and has performed with the University of Florida’s “Fightin’ Gator Marching Band” and Florida Visual Ensemble. Josh’s instructional credits consist of top drum corps such as Santa Clara Vanguard, Spirit of Atlanta, and the Cavaliers as well as winter guards, high school programs, and collegiate groups across the Southeast.  Josh is also a judge in the Movement and Equipment captions for winter guard circuits extending across the country. He is an alumni member of Tau Beta Sigma – Beta Xi at the University of Florida and Honorary Member of Georgia Tech’s Tau Beta Sigma – Epsilon Theta and Kappa Kappa Psi - Iota. When he is not working with the GT Colorguard, he is a Dietetics Analyst and Supervisor for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. 

Percussion Staff

Matt Groves

A headshot of Matt Groves smiling.

Matt is a percussion educator, arranger, and clinician in the North Georgia area. He currently teaches middle and high school percussion classes in the North Gwinnett and Buford area and arranges full percussion scores for marching bands throughout the southeast.

Matt has held instructional staff positions at Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps, Collins Hill High School, North Gwinnett High School, and Q2 Independent Drumline, and has been a performer with the Atlanta Falcons Drumline and the Atlanta Pipe Band. Matt is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, and is an educational artist for Innovative Percussion.

Brandon Kunka

A headshot of Brandon Kunka smiling.

Mr. Brandon Kunka is a private teacher, educator, performer, and composer based out of Roswell, GA. Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Mr. Kunka holds degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Composition from Georgia Southern University, and a Master's Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Miami. Mr. Kunka is an active clinician, giving master classes for middle and high school students throughout the state of Georgia.  He has performed with such artists as Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, Sarah McLachlan, Red Holloway, Tom “Bones” Malone, and Paul Oakenfold, and toured China as the timpanist with the Hollywood Concert Orchestra.  He has performed at the 2010 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).  Mr. Kunka is also a drummer, bassist, guitarist, and vocalist for various live and studio projects in Atlanta. 

Mr. Kunka currently has a private studio comprised of students who consistently earn membership in All-State Band, All-State Jazz Band, and District Honor Band. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, the National Association for Music Education, and the Georgia Music Educators Association.  He is endorsed by Vic Firth, Incorporated.

Andy Haupt

A headshot of Andy Haupt smiling.

Andy was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Thought he’s spent time in both DC and NYC, he’s definitely at home in the ATL. Andy’s had a range of computer gigs over the years, everything from hardware repairs (still misses working on iPhones) to contract support for some three letter agencies in Washington. Andy is currently an IT Engineer for Instacart. Along with being a member of the Georgia Tech Drumline from 2005-2009, Andy marched the Independent World WGI group Odyssey Percussion Theater in 2005 and 2006, then again in 2008 and 2009. Andy was also a member of the Atlanta Falcons Drumline. 

Nigel Conton

A headshot of Nigel Conton smiling.

Nigel Conton comes from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Portland, Oregon. He started his marching career at George Walton Academy in Monroe Georgia and continued into college at the Georgia Tech where he studied Electrical Engineering. He has marched with several ensembles including Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, Odyssey Percussion Theatre and the Atlanta Falcons Drumline.

Nigel has taught and directed several percussion programs in the Atlanta area including George Walton Academy, Rockdale County High-school, McEachern High-school, Q2 and Palmetto Percussion. He currently serves as a bass technician at Equinox Percussion.

Nigel holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and currently works full-time for a local engineering consulting firm. He is excited for the opportunity to work with his Alma Mater.


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