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DMA has been around as a company since 1978.  George N. Parks was teaching his philosophy and approach to being a drum major since 1973. Over the past 40 years the staff expanded from just one or two assistants to Mr. Parks to locations today where over 20 staff members are required. Of course, staff members have come and gone over the years–let’s face it, life moves on and so do people.  Marriage, children, new responsibilities that do not allow for summer workshop jobs, etc.  But throughout the years there have been a select few who just always seem to be there! Like the company itself, stability and longevity seem to be the key words that describe the DMA Staff, and this year we celebrate the commitment and dedication of two people:  Chris Cansler and Fred Omega Pye!

Chris Cansler is celebrating his 20th year on staff with DMA!  He is the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas. His responsibilities include directing the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, and assisting with the Symphonic Band.  He also assists with the Crownover and Harpool Middle School Band programs.

Mr. Cansler is a native of Beebe, Arkansas, and a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he studied conducting with Timothy Gunter and W. Dale Warren and was a trumpet student of Wiff Rudd.  Mr. Cansler is in his twelveth year as a Texas music educator, with previous teaching appointments served at Abilene High School, R. L. Turner High School, and Denton High School.  During his teaching career, Mr. Cansler’s ensembles have earned numerous first division ratings and “Best in Class” awards at festivals across the country and in U. I. L. performance.  In 2008, the Guyer HS Band was a featured performer at New York City’s world renowned Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Cansler was the Drum Major of the University of Arkansas Razorback Marching Band for five years and is now a lead clinician for the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy®.  He has been named to “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers”, and is currently serving as the Region 2 Band Division Chair of the Texas Music Educators Association.  Mr. Cansler is also a member of Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi.  He is married to Carolyn Cansler, Associate Director of Bands at Lakeview Middle School in the Lewisville ISD.  Together, they have a daughter, Haley, and a son, Eric.

Celebrating his 30th year with DMA is none other than Frederick Omega Pye.  Currently the Assistant Director and Colorguard Director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band, Fred is no stranger to the world of pageantry. He has an extensive teaching and performance career in the Pageantry Arts, having marched with the Madison Scouts, State Street Review, Reading Buccaneers, Westshoremen, and the Philadelphia PAL Cadets.

Fred is the founder, director, and designer/instructor for Winter Guard Internationals’ first University Class Champions, the Penn State Syndicate, who won the title in 1986, 1987, & 1988. Fred instructed WGI Champions, Blessed Sacrament (MA) in 1991 and was designer/creator of the “Wire Frame Rifle” and he also created the “Script T” for WGI Finalist, Threshold Winter Guard (PA).

Other highlights of Fred’s career include; 15 years with Entertainment Special Productions (ESP), producing the Capital One Bowl Halftime Shows and the Inaugural Pregame Festivities for the Grand Opening of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Stadium, performing member of the Madison Scouts Alumni Reunion Project in 2006, featuring an exhibition at the DCI Semi-Finals in Madison.

Thank you Chris and Fred—thank you for everything you have done over the years to keep DMA at the cutting edge of drum majoring, leadership and music education.  Thank you for all of YOUR sacrifices over the years—we are better, the students are better because of YOU.

….in short, thank you for believing my friends.   (–heidi)