Don Stinson graduated from Joliet Central High School in 2002. During his time as a student at Joliet Central, he performed as first trumpet with the Joliet Central Symphonic Band under the direction of Mr. Ted Lega, and earned honors such as being selected as an Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Honors Musician, receiving the Bruce Houseknecht Scholarship, and being named “Mr. J” in 2002 as a representation of the ideal student at Joliet Central High School.
Prior to coming to Joliet Central, Mr. Stinson was a band director at Naperville North High School, where he conducted the Symphonic Wind Ensemble twice at the University of Illinois Superstate Festival, once as 4A Honor Band in 2016. The NNHS Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony received Superior ratings at numerous festivals, and NNHS Jazz Band was named 2A Grand Champions at the Northshore Jazz Festival. The NNHS Marching Band finished as class champions or top three at many local shows, and performed at the Bands of America Regional Competition in Indianapolis. Prior to Naperville, Mr. Stinson was the director of bands at Morris Community High School in Morris, Illinois. Highlights at Morris High School included the doubling of band enrollment, the development of a Guest Artist Series, recognition from the NAMM Foundation as a 2014 SupportMusic Merit Award Winner, and Class 1A State of Illinois Concert Band Contest Champions.
Mr. Stinson holds two Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association, and was twice named as Grammy Music Educator Quarterfinalist in 2014 and 2016. He earned an Associate's Degree from Joliet Junior College, studying under Mr. Jerry E. Lewis, and completed his Bachelor’s summa cum laude at VanderCook College of Music, where he studied under Dr. Charles Menghini. Mr. Stinson completed his Master of Music Education degree at Northern Illinois University, and is a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification teacher.
Steven Pyter is the Assistant Director of Bands at Joliet West High School, where he works with the concert bands, Marching Tigers, and pep band. Prior to joining the faculty at Joliet West, Mr. Pyter served as Director of Bands at Lake Park High School and Plainfield North High School. Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Illinois SuperState Concert Band Festival, the Illinois Music Education Conference, Bands of America events, Walt Disney World, and the nationally televised McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago.
Mr. Pyter is a member of MENC, ILMEA, and has received multiple Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Music Education degree with teacher certification from VanderCook College of Music, where he served as graduate assistant to the President of the college, Dr. Charles Menghini.
Mr. Pyter is an active arranger and composer, writing primarily for concert and marching bands.