Colonel Timothy J. Holtan was appointed Leader and Commander of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in December 2014 until his retirement in February 2017. He holds the distinction of being the first officer to command all three of the Army’s premier bands.
He is a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, and a former school music educator in Montana. An active conductor, adjudicator and clinician, Col. Holtan has presented concerts and clinics in all 50 states, Canada, Japan, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe.
Col. Holtan’s other military assignments include: Commandant, U.S. Army School of Music, Virginia Beach, VA, where he served as the primary Proponent for all 100 Army Bands, and oversaw the training of over 500 professional musicians annually; 22nd Leader of the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, NY; Deputy Commander of The U.S. Army Field Band; Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer; tours as Commander and Executive Officer of the U.S. Continental Army Band, Fort Monroe, Virginia; and Executive Officer of the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” Washington, D.C., where he served in overlapping capacities as Director of the Ceremonial Band, Brass Band, Chorale and Chorus.
In 2000, Col. Holtan was selected for the Army’s “Training with Industry” program. He served as the Director of Operations and Associate Conductor of the Dallas Winds, while concurrently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of North Texas. Col. Holtan holds music education degrees from Montana State University and the University of Montana, and has pursued additional conducting studies with Elizabeth Green, H. Robert Reynolds, John Paynter, Larry Rachleff, Jerry Junkin and Eugene Corporon.
Col. Holtan’s ensembles have been seen on many nationally televised broadcasts and diverse stages such as the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall, DAR Constitution Hall, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Myerson Symphony Center and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Under his leadership and after a 44-year absence, the West Point Band reestablished a partnership with the New York Philharmonic, which resulted in five Lincoln Center joint performances. Col. Holtan also led the West Point Band in the Emmy-nominated “Marina at West Point” PBS television production that has reached over 160 million viewers.
Col. Holtan has been honored as Alumnus of the Year by Bismarck (North Dakota) State College, and was inducted into the Bismarck High School Hall of Fame. Col. Holtan served for twelve years on the National Band Association Board of Directors and has received multiple Citations of Excellence. In 2011, he was the University of Montana’s School of Visual and Performing Arts “Odyssey of the Stars” honoree, and was inducted into their Hall of Honor. Col. Holtan also holds membership in the prestigious American Bandsmasters Association and serves on the Advisory Committee to the Midwest Clinic. He is married to Laurie Matheson Holtan and they have two daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine.
Loras John Schissel has served as conductor of the Blossom Festival Band since 1998. He also regularly conducts the Blossom Festival Orchestra and led The Cleveland Orchestra’s free annual community concert on Public Square in 2009, 2011 (a special 9/11 tenth anniversary concert), and 2014.
Mr. Schissel has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia conducting orchestras, bands, and choral ensembles in a broad range of musical styles and varied programs. A native of New Hampton, Iowa, Loras John Schissel studied brass instruments and conducting with Carlton Stewart, Frederick Fennell, and John Paynter. In the years following his studies at the University of Northern Iowa, Mr. Schissel has distinguished himself as a prominent conductor, orchestraor, and musicologist. He has served for over two decades as founding music director of the Arlington-based Virginia Grand Military Band, an ensemble comprised of current and former members of the four major U.S. service bands. In 2005, Mr. Schissel was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.
As a composer and orchestrator, Mr. Schissel has created an extensive catalogue of over 500 works for orchestra, symphonic wind band and jazz ensemble, published exclusively by Ludwig/Masters Music. His musical score for Bill Moyers: America’s First River, The Hudson, which first appeared on PBS in April 2002, received extensive coverage and critical acclaim. He also created musical scores for two films for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home in Hyde Park, New York. As a recording artist, Mr. Schissel has amassed a large discography with a wide variety of ensembles and various musical genres.
Loras John Schissel is a senior musicologist at the Library of Congress and a leading authority on the music of Percy Aldridge Grainger, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Serge Koussevitzky. Schissel and John Philip Sousa IV (great-grandson of the composer) recently co-authored a book titled The Stars and Stripes Forever in conjunction with the Sousa-Schissel book. Mr. Schissel is currently writing a study of the famed impresario Sergei Diaghilev.
Deeply committed to young musicians, Loras John Schissel has appeared as conductor of All-State music festivals and of festival bands and orchestras in more than thirty states. He has conducted the Berea All-County Orchestra Festival and regularly visits Baldwin Wallace University as conductor of the Summer Band Camp there. He frequently appears with the Patriot Band of Avon Lake, Strongsville Community Band, Lakewood Hometown Band, and the Packard Band of Warren, Ohio. In July 2008, Mr. Schissel made his debut with “Pershing’s Own,” the United States Army Band, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.