Section Coaches

img-0005Josh Cvijanovic began serving as Director of Bands at Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough in the Fall of 2014.  Mr. Cvijanovic graduated Summa Cum Laude with the Bachelor of Music in Music Education (2007) and the Master of Music in Percussion Performance (2009) from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.  At UNCG Josh served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, working with the Music Research Institute, Music Education Department, and the Percussion Studio.  He was also an active performer with the nationally recognized UNCG Wind Ensemble, Casella Sinfonietta, Steel Drumming Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and various jazz combos.

Prior to his arrival at Cedar Ridge, Mr. Cvijanovic was the band director at Eastern Randolph HS, where in five years he doubled the size of the band program and his ensembles received numerous awards and recognition, with consistent Excellent and Superior Ratings in marching competitions and concert band MPA.  His students frequently participate in collegiate, District and State level honor bands, including performances with the All-American Marching Band, the NAfME National Jazz Ensemble, and the Grammy Jazz Band. Josh has continued the success of the Cedar Ridge program with superior ratings at Concert and Jazz MPA, and a performance by his Jazz Ensemble at the 2015 NCMEA In-Service Conference. Jazz Ensemble I placed 4th in the Swing Central Jazz Festival hosted annually by the Savannah Music Festival in March of 2017 and won the Regional Essentially Ellington Festival Hosted at UNC in 2018. In May of the same year, the Wind Ensemble was recognized by High Point University as an “Honor Band of North Carolina” and was invited to the HPU campus to rehearse with guest clinician Gary Green.

​Mr. Cvijanovic is active with the NC Bandmasters Association and NC Music Educations Association, currently serving as the Chair for the Jazz Education Section, the CDBA Central Region MPA Site Host, Central District Clinic Co-Chair, and previously served as Jazz Section Delegate and on the Honors Band Committee.  Josh is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician across the state for concert, jazz and marching events.  He has worked as a rehearsal assistant and conductor with the UNCG Summer Music Camp for eleven years, served as an Educational Consultant for Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, and in 2017 was a conductor with the “Carolina Ambassador’s Honor Band,” which tours the U.K., France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy giving concerts in each country bi-annually in June and July.

He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda Honors Society in Music, NAfME, the Percussive Arts Society, the North Carolina Bandmasters Association, and the Vic Firth Education Team.  In 2015, Cvijanovic was awarded the “Ed Rooker Encore Award” by the NC Chapter of the American School Band Directors Association; which is given to honor the achievements and service of new band directors and to promote the ASBDA mission of fostering rising talent in the music education profession.  Josh and his wife Amanda, an EC Teacher at Eastlawn Elementary School,  live in Burlington with their sons Henry and Benjamin.


Wisconsin native Ryan Ellefsen is the Director of Bands and Orchestras at East Chapel Hill High School. In his role at East Chapel Hill HS, Mr. Ellefsen directs two concert bands, two orchestras, and two jazz combos. Under his direction, the program has grown to 250 students while creating the advanced Chamber Strings and Wind Ensemble courses. Mr. Ellefsen is also the adviser for the East Chapel Hill Chamber Society, an extra-curricular group of over 70 students devoted to the lifelong pursuit of chamber music as well as the Online Composition and Tri-M Clubs.

Mr. Ellefsen is currently the NC Orchestra Section Chair Elect but has served as the Orchestra Section Delegate, Chairperson for the Central District Band Middle School MPA and the NC Eastern Regional Honors Orchestra as well as a Member at Large for the Central District Bandmasters Association. In addition he has conducted groups at the NCMEA In-Service Clinic in the fall of 2008, with the UNC-G Symphony in 2013, and has presented a session entitled Chamber Music in the High School at the NCMEA In-service Clinic in the fall of 2010 in addition to presentations in both the band and orchestra sections in 2017. In the fall of 2015, Ryan was elected as North Carolina Eastern Regional Orchestra Director of the Year.

susan_fancherSusan Fancher is an internationally-recognized concert saxophonist known for her deep, poetic musical interpretations. She has performed in hundreds of concerts internationally as a soloist and as the member of chamber music ensembles, including the Red Clay, Amherst, Vienna and Rollin’ Phones saxophone quartets.  A much sought-after performer of new music,  Susan Fancher has inspired and premiered over 100 new works for saxophone.  She is an active recitalist, performing frequently with pianist Ināra Zandmane and presenting master classes as an artist clinician for the Selmer and Vandoren/DANSR companies.  She has performed in many of the world’s leading venues including Sala São Paulo, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall,  London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Filharmonia Hall in Warsaw and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.  Tours have taken her to Albania, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and throughout the US.

In recent years, Susan Fancher has commissioned several composers to add to the growing repertoire of concertos for soprano saxophone.  Upcoming projects include a new work for soprano saxophone and wind ensemble by Charles Nichols. The 2015-2016 season included the premiere performance of the wind ensemble version of Mark Engebretson‘s Concerto for soprano saxophone, with the SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble, conducted by Paula Holcomb.  Past seasons featured the premiere of David Kirkland Garner‘s Concerto, based on Celtic themes, with the Duke Wind Symphony under the direction of Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant.  In April 2012, Susan Fancher premiered Mark Engebretson’s Concerto for soprano saxophone and orchestra in Sala São Paulo under the baton of Ligia Amadio. Her May 2013 CD release “Of Erthe and Air: Susan Fancher and friends play music of Hilary Tann” (Arizona University Records CD 5014) features a live performance of Tann’s soprano saxophone concerto Shakkei with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, performed in 2009 in Bangkok.  Together with a consortium of wind ensembles, she also commissioned and premiered the wind ensemble version of Michael Torke‘s Concerto for soprano saxophone.

Susan Fancher earned her Doctor of Music from Northwestern University, where she was a student of Dr. Frederick Hemke, and the Médaille d’Or from the conservatory in Bordeaux, France, where she studied with Monsieur Jean-Marie Londeix. She teaches saxophone and coaches chamber music at Duke University and at Wake Forest University.

Robert Meese - headshotRobert Meese is currently in his senior year at Duke University where he studies conducting with Verena Mösenbichler­-Bryant and trombone with Michael Kris. He is the Music Director of the Duke Chamber Players and has enjoyed working with the Eastern Festival Orchestra, London Classical Soloists, Durham Medical Orchestra, Duke Waltz Orchestra, Duke Symphony Orchestra, and Duke Wind Symphony in the past.


ChristmasParade-Head Shot

Alyssa Marie Montgomery grew up in the Raleigh area and is an alumnus of the Leesville Road High School Band Program where she currently serves as the Director of Bands. While a student there, she was the second drum major in Leesville High School Band history to serve as a two year Drum Major. Ms. Montgomery graduated Summa Cum Laude from Appalachian State University with two Bachelor’s degrees – one in Music Education and the other in Piano Performance. While at Appalachian State, Ms. Montgomery was recognized as a Chancellor’s Scholar (Full-Ride Scholarship), Academic Scholar, Harbinson Family Music Scholar, a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, and an Honors Student. She performed in the Appalachian Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, ASU Marching Mountaineers and other chamber ensembles. She also led the Marching Mountaineers as a Drum Major for two years.

 Prior to her appointment at Leesville Road High School, Ms. Montgomery was the Conductor for the Wendell Middle School Band Program where the concert bands and jazz band performed for many in and out of state concerts and festivals – receiving multiple superior ratings. There, she was nominated for the Diane Kent Parker 1st Year Teacher of the Year.

 In May 2013, Ms. Montgomery was named the Conductor for the Leesville Road High School Band Program. She feels it is truly an honor to conduct the Leesville Band Program where she once sat as a student. As its Conductor and Director of Bands, Ms. Montgomery has led the bands to consistent Superior ratings at North Carolina’s Music Performance Adjudication. Since her arrival the band program has almost doubled in size. The bands have performed nationwide including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Orlando along with invitations for the band to perform with area college wind ensembles and professional groups. The LRHS Bands have been featured in the News and Observer, 919 Magazine, and on UNCTV. In 2017, she was named an “Ed Rooker” Encore Award winner by the NC Chapter of the ASBDA – given to top band directors in the field with less than 7 years of experience.  Under her direction, the LRHS Band was invited to perform at the 2017 NCMEA Conference, the 2018 President’s Cup National High School Band Invitational, and will perform at the Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival in 2019. She is a frequent adjudicator, guest speaker, and guest clinician. Ms. Montgomery is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the North Carolina Music Educators Association – where she served on the board as the Advocacy Chair, and the North Carolina Bandmasters Association, where she currently serves as the secretary of her district. 

Sitting ShotJohn Morrison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Hartt School, CT, and a Master of Music Education degree from Rutgers University, NJ. He received private trumpet instruction from Roger Murtha, William Babcock, and William Fielder, and studied conducting and solfege with Attilio Poto and George Monseur in Boston.

Mr. Morrison has enjoyed a varied performance career. He has played with the Atlantic Brass Quintet, the Premier Theater Company, Phoenix Productions, The Algonquin Theater, and the Two River Theater. For 25 years he was a member of the St. Peter’s Orchestra by the Sea.

Mr. Morrison taught instrumental music and marching band in the Metuchen and Rumson-Fair Haven school systems in NJ for 28 years. He also served as the Director of Music at Lincroft Presbyterian Church, NJ, conducting the choir. Most recently Mr. Morrison has performed with the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and the Duke Wind Symphony. He has recently published Themes of 19th Century Composers for Band and Themes of Early 20th Century Composers for Band.

Headshot-1-200x300Dr. Laura Stevens is the Lecturer of Flute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Carolina Wind Quintet, UNC’s longest continuously active faculty ensemble in the department’s history. She has served as the principal flutist of the Western Piedmont Symphony since 2002 and has been a member of the Salisbury Symphony since 2000.

Stevens was a featured guest artist with the Western Piedmont Symphony performing Carl Neilsen’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. She currently performs with Elektra Winds and was a founding member of the Relevents Wind Quintet who made their critically acclaimed debut tour through Southern Germany in April 2009. She also traveled to Venezuela, South America with the Archipelago Project to teach and perform through El Sistema — a publicly financed, voluntary sector music education program.

A native of Christiansburg, Virginia, Stevens received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where her research focused on the unearthing of an 18th century flute quartet by Joseph Aloys Schmittbauer located in the Moravian Music Foundation Archives. She received the Master of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Bachelor of Music Degree from the Salem College School of Music. Her teachers have included Debra Reuter-Pivetta, Philip Dunigan, Tadeu Coelho, Deborah Egekvist, Elizabeth Crone, and Deborah Kemper.