Band, Woodwind, Percussion and Brass Faculty

Dr. Bruce Ammann

Saxophone Instructor/Conducting

Dr. Bruce Ammann has recently retired as director of the Augustana Band, and is now a full-time professor of music. He teaches advanced conducting, woodwind pedagogy and applied saxophone. He is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the country. He has directed all-state bands in Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado and Rhode Island. He has presented clinics at several state music educators’ conventions, along with presenting clinic sessions at a College Band Directors National Association Regional Conference, a Music Educators National Conference and at the Mid-West Band Clinic. He has directed festival bands in Europe and has led the Augustana Band on three successful tours of Asia (1999, 2003, 2007) and to Egypt in 2011.

Ammann served on the faculties of Arizona State University and the University of Florida and taught for eight years in the public schools of Arizona. Ammann holds a doctor of musical arts degree in instrumental conducting from Arizona State University, a master of music degree in saxophone performance, and a bachelor of music education degree from the University of Arizona.

Emily Anderson

Flute Choir Instructor

Emily Anderson is the director of the Augustana Flute Choir. In addition to her teaching commitments at Augustana, Anderson maintains an active private flute studio and performance schedule. She has been a member of the Sioux Falls Municipal Band for 12 years, where she is currently the principal flutist. She has performed with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Dakota Wind Ensemble. She is a member of the National Flute Association and the South Dakota Bandmasters Association. She received a B.A. in music education from Augustana, and has over ten years of experience in secondary education.

Christopher Hill

Clarinet Instructor

Christopher Hill teaches applied clarinet and is the principal clarinetist of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO). He has performed throughout the United States and Europe with ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, New Sousa Band, Carousel National Tour, Evita World Tour, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Binghamton Symphony, and the Rome Festival Orchestra. He performed the world premiere of Nathan Pawelek’s Concertino in 2001. He and SDSO pianist John Walker performed at the international clarinet festival, ClarinetFest 2005, in Tokyo, Japan.

Hill is also the conductor of the Sioux Falls Municipal Band. He has been an active clinician nationally. A noted mouthpiece craftsman, he is a designer of the Chadash-Hill mouthpiece, which is used in many of the world’s finest orchestras and music schools. He is a Rico Grand Concert artist. He holds bachelor and master of music degrees from Temple University, where he was a student of Anthony Gigliotti.

Angie Larson
Clarinet Instructor

Angela Larson teaches applied clarinet. She returned to the Sioux Falls area in 2004 and has maintained a successful private clarinet studio since then. She has taught clarinet at the University of Sioux Falls since 2005 and at Augustana since 2006. She is an active musician in community ensembles, including the Dakota Wind Ensemble and the Sioux Falls Municipal Band. She is also employed at South Dakota Achieve as a support professional. She holds a B.A. in instrumental music education from Augustana and a master of music in clarinet performance degree from Kent State University, Ohio.

Patricia Masek

Flute Instructor

Patricia Masek is flute and woodwind pedagogy instructor. She has been a member of the South Dakota Symphony for 45 years, 24 of which as Principal Flute. She has served as the symphony performance librarian for 35 years. Other performing experiences are 37 years as Principal Flute with the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, solo appearances with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux Falls Municipal Band, Augustana Band and Chamber Orchestra. She recently retired from 30 years as an instrument repair technician and maintains a private studio of approximately 20 to 25 students. She received a bachelor of science in music education from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in music from the University of Kentucky.

Jeff Paul
Oboe Instructor

Dr. John Pennington

Dr. John Pennington, Chair of the Department of Music
Percussion Instructor global music/composition and arranging

John Pennington is an educator, composer, performer, author, producer and conductor and professor/chair of music at Augustana.  He is also the artistic director of the Animas Music Festival (Durango, Colo.) He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, University of Arizona, and Arizona State. Pennington is an orchestral percussionist, who currently performs with the South Dakota Symphony and the Music in the Mountains Music Festival Orchestra. Pennington is currently a cultural envoy for the State Department in the Middle East (most recently Lebanon), where he presents concerts, clinics and masterclasses.

With over thirty recordings to date he has recorded for the Ensemble 21, Summit, Cristo, OCP, and Equilibrium labels. Recent recording releases include: Brasileirinho, South American Music for Guitar and Percussion (co-produced composed and arranged, 2010), Steps (co-produced composed and arranged, 2008), Music for Trumpet and Percussion with Stephen Dunn, Lou Harrison, American Gamelan (produced, conducted and performed, 2007), Compassionate and Wise (co-produced, composed and performed, 2006, Equilibrium Press). With performances on four continents and over 25 states he has performed on Prairie Home Companion and been a featured performer at three Percussive Arts Society International Conventions.

Active as a composer and arranger he has over 25 compositions for soloist, duo, chamber and films and dozens of arrangements for numerous instrumental and vocal combinations. Extensive studies in world music have included experience in African, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, Cuban and the South Indian Karnatak tradition. Recently, Pennington studied the Northern Hindustani tradition of music in Haridwar and Delhi, India and the Javanese and Balinese traditions of Indonesia.

Dr. Paul Schilf
Director of Jazz Studies and Instrumental Music Education

Dr. Paul R. Schilf is in his 14th year at Augustana and is the conductor of the College & Community Band, The Brass Choir and Northlanders Jazz Ensemble.  Additionally, he teaches classes in brass pedagogy, music education and supervises the instrumental student teachers. Prior to his appointment at Augustana, Schilf was a faculty member at Concordia University (St. Paul, Minn.). He holds a bachelor of music education degree from Concordia University (Chicago, Ill.), an M.A. with an emphasis in conducting and a doctor of philosophy degree in music education, both from the University of Iowa. Schilf has taught all levels of instrumental music.

Schilf’s research interests lie in intergenerational instrumental music education and in the supervision of instrumental music student teachers. He has presented clinics and presentations across the United States on these topics, including the prestigious Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference. Dr. Schilf has led six international tours with intergenerational ensembles and has conducted these ensembles across Europe and Asia. His intergenerational research, student teaching supervision information, and music education articles have appeared in prominent national magazines and journals.

In November 1992, Schilf was recognized as an outstanding nationally certified teacher of music by the Music Educators National Conference, an honor he maintains yet today. Dr. Schilf serves musicians and students state-wide as the executive director of the South Dakota Music Education Association  His professional memberships include the National Association of Music Education, South Dakota Bandmasters Association, and The Wisconsin School Music Association.

Vance Shoemaker
Trombone/Euphonium Instructor/Trombone Choir

Vance Shoemaker is trombone and euphonium instructor and director the trombone choir. He is principal trombonist with the South Dakota Symphony and principal trombonist with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra. He performs with the Sioux City Symphony, Sioux City and LeMars Municipal Bands and spent six summers with the Kansas Lyric Opera Company summer series. He participates in the Brass Section, a professional brass quintet that performs throughout the region.

Shoemaker has been a member of the backup bands for the following artists: Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Dylan, Liberace, Victor Borge, The Carpenters, Hal Lynden, Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, Bobby Vinton, Mel Torme, Myron Floren, and Buddy Morrow. He is founder of the Siouxland Trombone Festival, which has featured such well known trombonists as Joseph Alessi, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. He is a graduate of Morningside College (Sioux City, Iowa).

John Tomkins

Bassoon Instructor


John Tomkins is bassoon instructor. He serves as principal bassoon of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Dakota Wind Quintet. He has attended many summer music festivals, including the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, Kent/Blossom Summer Music, the Festival-Institute at Round Top, the National Orchestral Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Ensembles he has performed with include the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, the Cleveland Pops, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, South Dakota Chamber Orchestra, and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. He was the soloist for the world premiere of Jeffrey Paul’s Bassoon Concerto with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. He holds a bachelor of music degree summa cum laude from the Ohio State University, and his master of music degree is from the Cleveland Institute of Music. His primary teachers were Christopher Weait, Ronald Phillips and John Clouser.

Dr. Christopher UngerDr. Christopher Unger

Director of Bands, horn instructor

Dr. Christopher Unger was named the 5th conductor of the Augustana Band and began his tenure at the university in September 2015. Previously, Unger was the Interim Director of Bands at the University of British Columbia. Prior to his appointment at U.B.C., Dr. Unger served as the Assistant Conductor of both the Eastman Wind Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. At Eastman, Dr. Unger was honoured with the Frederick Fennell Fellowship for Advanced Conducting Study, the Evan Whallon Conducting Award, and the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.  His role at Eastman provided him with the opportunity to act as a producer on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s 2013 release on Avie Records titled Stravinsky-Octet/L’Histoire du Soldat. In addition to conducting the wind ensembles, Dr. Unger worked with the Brass Guild, the Trumpet Ensemble, and the Graduate Chamber Orchestra. He also was chosen to conduct a featured performance of Imis, by Massimo Luaricella, the 2011/2012 OSSIA International Composition Competition winner, with the Ossia New Music Ensemble. 

Prior to his graduate studies, Dr. Unger was the Instrumental Music Teacher at G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, British Columbia. Under his baton, the instrumental ensembles at Vanier participated in regional and national festivals and received national recognition for their performances at Musicfest Canada. Recently, Dr. Unger won the American Prize in Conducting in the Wind Ensemble Division (2013).

Dr. Unger’s principal conducting teachers were Dr. Mark Scatterday and Dr. Colleen Richardson.  He has attended a number of influential conducting symposiums where he worked with master wind conductors such as Donald Hunsberger, Frank Battisti, Charles Peltz, Michael Haithcock, Allan McMurray, Craig Kirchhoff, Michael Votta, Gary Hill, and Rodney Winther. He maintains professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductor’s Guild.

Dr. Unger received his D.M.A in conducting from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. Additionally, he holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia.