Director of Bands
Bill earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and his Master of Music Education in Conducting from Wichita State University. He served on the staff of Kansas Music Ambassadors for two European tours, was a staff member of the K101 Honor Marching Band in Woodward, Oklahoma, for six years, is a member of Kansas Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu – Honorary Band Fraternity, Kappa, Kappa Psi – Honorary Band Fraternity, Phi Beta Lambda – Honorary Professional Musicians Fraternity, and is currently the Assistant Jazz Chairman of the Kansas Music Educators Association.
Bill was the Director of Bands in Dodge City, Kansas, for 14 years during which time their bands traveled to Washington D.C., Orlando Florida, and Hollywood, California. They were also invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall High School Honors Concert Series in New York City as well as the 40th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.
Bill was named “Outstanding Young Band Director” by the Kansas Bandmasters Association in 1994. His biography has been listed five times in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers as well as Who’s Who in America. Already in his career, he is very active as an adjudicator, consultant, and guest conductor in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois.
Bill enjoys all things technical (when not directing a band). While he was working on his Masters Degree at WSU he was known as “Techno Bill” by the university staff and students for his abilities with their computers and sound equipment. Mr. Thomas has been a sound engineer for the Count Basie Big Band, the Divas Big Band, and contemporary Christian artist Rebecca St. James. He also works with Dr. Larry Blocher from Troy State University in Alabama producing music for the Out Back Bowl & Peach Bowl half time shows as well as the Morehead State University Marching Band in Kentucky and our very own Kansas State University Marching Band.
His wife, Becky, is the Choral Director at Sumner Academy in the Kansas City, KS school district. He and Becky have taught in the same school for many years, co-producing many musicals and other concerts throughout their time together. They have twins, Preston and Brianna, who graduated in 2015 from Shawnee Mission West, having both been actively involved in music, just like their parents.
Assistant Director of Bands
Kevin came to Shawnee Mission West in 2006, and has been teaching in Kansas public schools since 1998. During that time, he has remained active as a performer and an adjudicator, and has been published as a reviewer for the International Trumpet Guild. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Kansas State University (1995) and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies awarded jointly by The Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music (1998). His professional affiliations include the Kansas Music Educators Association, Kansas Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Convention, and the International Trumpet Guild.
Kevin has been married to his wonderful wife Brenda since 2002, and they have three daughters: Abigail, Madeline and Lillian. Outside of his professional interests, Kevin enjoys playing tennis and golf and is an avid student of chess.
Assistant Percussion Instructor
Kyle Brown is a versatile percussionist playing a wide range of music from jazz to orchestra to experimental. Kyle earned his Bachelor’s of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Fort Hays State University where he specialized in keyboard percussion and drum set. Kyle has received several outstanding performance awards from the acclaimed Wichita Jazz Festival and UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival. Kyle performs regularly in the Kansas City area with local jazz, funk and rock bands as well as performing on and off stage with many professional theaters. He has been working with the Shawnee Mission West Drumline since 2013.
Battery Percussion Instructor
Brandon Draper holds a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Arts in Percussion from Bethany College. He has taught and arranged percussion at Eldorado High School, Manzano High School, and Rio Rancho High School in Albuquerque, NM. He has been a clinician at many summer music camps in Kansas and New Mexico and is part of the Vic Firth Education Team.
He has performed in many classical settings including The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and can be heard on the Summit label recording Illuminations featuring Joe Alessi, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic, and the UNM Wind Symphony. Brandon has performed with Ottmar Liebert , John Fedchock, Bobby Shew, Frank Mantooth, Mose Allison, Anthony Braxton, Bruce Dunlap, Kenny Werner, Robin Eubanks, Eddie Daniels, and Kevin Hays.