Director of Bands
Mr. Benjamin Gerrard recently completed his Master of Music degree from Baylor University, studying conducting with Dr. J. Eric Wilson. He also studied flute with Dr. Charlotte Daniel and jazz improvisation with Mr. Alex Parker. While at Baylor, he played with the Wind Ensemble, including performances at the Southwest Regional CBDNA and Midwest Clinic. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Florida State University, where he performed with the Marching Chiefs, Symphonic Band, and University Philharmonia.
Before his studies at Baylor, Mr. Gerrard was the Director of Bands at Merritt Island High School in Brevard County, FL from 2014 to 2021. He was responsible for the marching band, three concert bands, two jazz bands, percussion ensemble, and winter guard. All ensembles received consistent superior ratings at all Florida Bandmasters Association events. He is an FMEA Emerging Leader and was on the Brevard County Public Schools Music Leadership Team. He also served as District Secretary for FBA District 10.
Don Zentz, Director of Jazz Studies
Don Zentz joined Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 2015. He is the Director of Jazz Studies and serves on the instrumental music faculty. Previously he was the Director of Fine & Performing Arts at The Bolles School (Jacksonville), a post he served for twelve years. He has held music professorships at the University of North Florida, Valdosta State University, and Florida Community College at Jacksonville. Prior to college teaching, Don was a high school and middle school band director in Georgia and at Wolfson Senior High School in Jacksonville. His programs earned superior ratings and championship recognition in all areas of band media – concert, marching and jazz. Don’s thirty-two-year teaching career has encompassed every possible level in education.
Don received much acclaim for his work and leadership in jazz education particularly during his tenure at the University of North Florida. He was originally hired at UNF by program founder and jazz education pioneer Rich Matteson. Don co-taught the saxophone studio with legendary altoist Bunky Green. As the director of the UNF Jazz Ensemble, Don brought national and international visibility to the jazz program at UNF. The ensemble produced two critically acclaimed CD’s, won the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and National Collegiate Jazz Festival in Mobile, performed at festivals in Europe, and was recognized by DownBeat for “Best Big Band Jazz – Outstanding Performance”. The extensive list of guest artists that have performed with his jazz ensembles reads like a “who’s who in jazz”- celebrated musicians like Herbie Hancock, Arturo Sandoval, Maria Schneider, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Joe Lovano, Ellis Marsalis, Don Menza, and Ernie Watts. In 1999, DownBeat awarded Don their Jazz Education Achievement Award. UNF had named him an Outstanding Undergraduate Professor in 1996, representing UNF at the state level. He also received a TIP Award from the Florida Board of Regents for Excellence in Teaching.
Don is very much in demand as a player, adjudicator, and clinician in both traditional and jazz idioms. He was a per service saxophonist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for over twenty years and works many of the off-Broadway shows that travel into Florida. He has performed in concert with notables that include Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, The New York Voices, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, The Manhattan Transfer, and Diane Schuur. He adjudicates extensively each year for the Florida Bandmasters Association and other independent band festivals across the south including Festival Disney.
He has directed the all-state high school jazz bands of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Maine, and also the Delaware All-State Symphonic Band. In 2016 Don directed the Florida All-State Middle School Jazz Band. He served as the jazz studies coordinator, music department chair, and wind ensemble director for the Georgia Governors Honors Program during the 1990’s. Don has presented a variety of clinics and master classes at numerous musical events for students and teachers alike. He will be presenting two jazz band clinics this year at FMEA. His articles have appeared in professional publications such as The Instrumentalist and Music Educators Journal. During his two terms as the Florida Unit President of IAJE, Don was responsible for instituting the State Jazz Workshop in Florida.
Don has been a Keilwerth Saxophones performing artist and clinician since 1995. His career reveals a deep commitment and passion for both the teaching and performing of music. He credits his professional success to his mentors – Bob Greenhaw, Joe David, and Rich Matteson – and to Laurie Zentz, his loving wife and soul mate for over thirty years.
Beginning his 50th year of music education, Dr. Kenneth Williams observes the 2023-2024 Douglas Anderson School of the Arts band as he prepares to take the baton for the next performance.
Dr. Kenneth Williams – Music Theory and Conducting
Kenneth Williams, a native of Florida, is a member of the Music faculty of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, Florida, where he teaches conducting and literature, music theory, and is a co-conductor of the DA Symphonic Band. He holds a BA in music education and an MA in conducting from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in music education from the Florida State University. His significant professors and mentors were Charles Quarmby and James Croft (AA/BA), Jerry Junkin (MM), and Clifford Madsen (Ph.D.).
Dr. Williams has been a teacher of music since 1974. He has conducted bands and orchestras at the middle school, high school, university, and professional levels. Williams began his career in Sarasota, Florida, serving on the faculties of the Booker School, Sarasota High School, and the Sarasota Visual and Performing Arts Center, all while holding a principal chair in the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra. He conducted both bands and orchestras at Winter Park High School in Winter Park, Florida, and served as a member of the conducting faculty of the LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville. During his tenure with Duval County Public Schools, he has held Director of Fine Arts and Instrumental Music Specialist positions for the district. His additional faculty positions include the Florida State College at Manatee, the Tallahassee Community College, the Florida State University, and, more recently, the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he served as Chair of Music Education and conductor of the UTSA Symphonic Band. In addition, he has been privileged to serve as Associate Conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra, and as Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony Youth Orchestra as well as the Cannon Music Camp Orchestra of Appalachian State University.
Dr. Williams is a past president of the Florida School Music Association (FSMA) and the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA). He presently serves as the artistic consultant to the First Coast Wind Symphony, Jacksonville, Florida. He is a member of the FMEA Government Relations Committee and is a longstanding member of the Florida Bandmasters Association’s (FBA) Concert Music Committee. For many years he led the retraining of veteran adjudicators for the FBA Adjudication Training Program. He has often had the privilege of serving as concert adjudicator and clinician at the State Music Performance Assessment (MPA) of both the Florida Bandmasters Association and the Florida Orchestra Association. In addition, he has served as both guest conductor and clinic presenter at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago and has twice conducted a Florida All-State Band. One can find articles by Dr. Williams in the Florida Music Director magazine, the Glaesel/Selmer Newsletter, the Band World magazine, the National Band Association Journal, and the Music Educators Journal.
Dr. Williams holds membership with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the National Band Association (NBA), the Florida Music Education Association, and the Florida Bandmasters Association. He continues to be active as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
In November of 2016, the FBA honored Dr. Williams by inducting him into the Florida Bandmasters Association Roll of Distinction of the FBA Hall of Fame.
Paige DeDecker, Percussion Instructor
Paige DeDecker is a percussionist from Flower Mound, Texas. She joined the staff in 2018 as Percussion Instructor at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. She graduated with her Masters in Percussion Performance from the University of North Florida in 2020 and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2018. At UNF, Paige studied with Andrea Venet and worked as a graduate teaching assistant, instructing the UNF Drumline and participating in NuMIX, the university’s contemporary chamber ensemble.
At UNL, Paige studied with Dave Hall and was a member of the university’s percussion ensemble that performed at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention as a winner of the International Percussion Ensemble Competition’s Call for Tapes. She also participated in the Cornhusker Marching Band under the direction of Anthony Falcone and had the privilege of leading the Front Ensemble and Drumline as section leader during her senior year.
In addition to teaching during the school year, Paige keeps busy during the summer as well! She was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps Front Ensemble from 2014 to 2016, where she worked closely with Paul and Sandi Rennick. In both 2014 and 2016, the Drumline section won the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award. Currently she is an Operations Assistant for Nief-Norf, a contemporary music festival that focuses on performance, composition, and research, and she interns at Girls March, an organization dedicated to empowering women through music and leadership. Paige also works with Ivan Trevino and is a founding member of Flat Water Trio, a contemporary percussion ensemble that started in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Previous Band Directors
Ted Shistle, Instrumental Music Chair and Director of Bands
Ted Shistle assumed the role as Director of Bands at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) in 2013. His duties at DA include coordinating the band program, directing the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Chamber Winds, and teaching AP Music Theory. Additionally at DA Mr. Shistle has conducted the annual musical (including an appearance at the Florida State Thespian Festival), the jazz band, and often guest conducts with the DA Symphony Orchestra. Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Florida Music Educator’s Convention, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (twice), and the International Music Festival in Carnegie Hall. Prior to his appointment at DA, Mr. Shistle held director of band positions at Hagerty High School, University High School (Orange City), DeLand High School, and Northeast High School in Kansas City, MO. Ensembles under his direction have consistently earned superior ratings at all FBA District and State level events.
Mr. Shistle is active as an adjudicator throughout the state of Florida and makes frequent appearances conducting honor bands including the 3rd FBA Nine-Star Honor Band, and Flagler, Lee, and Polk County Honor Bands. Additionally Mr. Shistle has presented clinics at the Florida Music Educator’s Association convention (twice), and works with local band programs by invitation.
In addition to his duties as a band director, Mr. Shistle is active as a bassoonist making frequent appearances with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Coastal Symphony Orchestra, and performs chamber music throughout Northeast Florida. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, Mr. Shistle performed bassoon and/or contrabassoon with the Orlando Philharmonic, Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Florida Lakes Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Topeka Symphony, and Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Shistle also served on the faculty at the University of Central Florida teaching bassoon and bassoon studio class.
Additionally, Mr. Shistle serves as the chair of the Concert Music Committee for the Florida Bandmasters Association and serves on the Executive Board of the FMEA as “Member-at-large.” He is a proud member of FBA, FMEA, National Band Association, NAfME, Phi Beta Mu, and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Bassoon Performance from the Conservatory of Music at UMKC, and a Master’s in Music Education from Florida State University. elected to the American Bandmasters Association, one of the greatest honors that can be awarded to members of the band conducting profession.
Of all his professional achievements, Mr. Shistle is most proud of his students that have continued to study music and music education, and also those that have continued to find ways to stay involved with music in some way either in campus bands, community bands, or as educated consumers and supporters of art music in their communities.
1985 – 2015