Lafe1Lafe Cook has been a high school band director for twenty-one years years and is in his seventeenth year as the Director of the Dobyns-Bennett Band Program. Under his direction, the Dobyns-Bennett Band has experienced tremendous growth, increasing from 180 to over 300 musicians. The Dobyns-Bennett Symphonic Band has performed at numerous conventions including the College Band Directors National Association and National Band Association Southern Regional Convention in 2002, the Tennessee Music Education Association Conference in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, the Bands of America’s National Concert Band Festival in 2006 and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Convention in 2002 and 2009. Our band program was the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s 2004 Sudler Flag of Honor Award.

Mr. Cook is a four-time recipient of the National Band Associations’ Citation of Excellence and has been honored by the John Philip Sousa Foundation as a Sudler Flag of Honor Laureate. He was named “Aide de Camp” to the Governor of the State of Tennessee in 2005. His professional and honorary affiliations include the National Band Association, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, National Education Association, Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. Cook was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2009.

Ryan-Gilbert1Ryan Gilbert has been teaching since 1997 and has served as the Assistant Director of Bands at Dobyns-Bennett High School since 2002. He received his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Lee University and his Master’s in Education from Tusculum College.

Mr. Gilbert has arranged the marching band music for 11 shows performed by the Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band. These shows have produced numerous first place awards including two Governor’s Cup wins at the Contest of Champions, 1st place overall at the WCU Tournament of Champions, and 1st place music at the Towson, MD Bands of America Regional.

Mr. Gilbert’s teaching responsibilities include Music Technology, AP Music Theory, Marching Band, and director of the Symphonic I band. Mr. Gilbert’s theory students have typically maintained 95% passing rate on the AP exam since he began teaching the course in 2002. His concert bands have received superior ratings every year they have participated in concert festival.

Tom Padgett has served as Assistant Director of Bands for Dobyns-Bennett High School since July 2013. Tom completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in December of 2008. Mr. Padgett started his teaching career as the Director of Bands and Program Coordinator for three years at Tennessee High School in Bristol, TN.

Mr. Padgett brings an array of World Class musical and visual experience through his teaching of Drum Corps and Winterguard. Mr. Padgett’s performing experience in DCI and WGI was with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2005 and The Cast Winterguard from 2005-2007. Mr. Padgett’s most recent teaching affiliations in DCI and WGI include The Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps 2009, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps 2010, and is currently the Director of Southeast Independent Winterguard from 2009-present.

Mr. Padgett’s professional affiliations include NAfME, East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association, Tennessee Music Educators Association, the National Band Association, the National Education Association, and the Tennessee Education Association. Mr. Padgett also serves on the Advisory Board and is the current Scholastic A/AA Representative for the Carolina Indoor Performance Association.

Myprettyface1-e1391439820909Dave Whaley, Percussion Director for Dobyns-Bennett High School, began working with the program in 2009. Dave is a graduate of Sullivan East High School and East Tennessee State University. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. In 2005 he was a member of the ETSU percussion ensemble that took first place in the small ensemble division of the PASIC marching festival.

Dave has spent time working with several other high schools in the Tri-Cities area and most recently served as the Percussion Director at Tennessee High School in Bristol, TN. His professional affiliations include the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association and the Percussive Arts Society. Dave is also proud to a part of the education family at Innovative Percussion.

Dave lives in Elizabethton with his wife Jen where he is a part-time music minister.