Director of Athletic Bands
Tonya Mitchell is the interim Director of Athletic Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Valdosta State University. She directs and oversees the Blazin’ Brigade marching band, the basketball pep band, and the concert band. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in wind conducting from Indiana University where she had the honor of performing as a drum major with the Marching Hundred. Ms. Mitchell holds a master’s degree in music education from the University of Georgia, and is currently pursuing her doctorate of musical arts in wind conducting at the University of Kansas with Dr. Paul W. Popiel.
As a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Kansas, Ms. Mitchell conducted the wind ensemble, symphonic band, university band, percussion group, and the Helianthus new music ensemble. She also assisted with the Marching Jayhawks and directed the women’s basketball band. She was the organizer of, and guest conductor in, the Prairie Winds Honor Band Festival hosted at KU. From 2011 to 2015, Ms. Mitchell taught at Chamblee Charter High School, and was a frequent adjudicator and clinician in the Atlanta area. A clarinetist, she played in the Cobb Wind Symphony, Georgia’s premiere adult wind ensemble. In 2014, Ms. Mitchell performed as a guest clarinetist and conductor with the Dekalb Youth Symphony on their tour of the Baltics through Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
Ms. Mitchell was recently selected to present at the International Society for the Investigation and Promotion of Wind Band at the 2016 conference in Oberwölz, Austria on her research of Joan Tower’s Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman.
Coordinator of Color Guard
Coordinator of Blazette Dance Line
Coordinator of Marching Percussion
Mr. Aaron Savage is a product of the Tift County School System. He graduated from Tift County High School in 2002. He is the son of Rickey & Cathy Savage. Aaron was a member of the Southwind Drum & Bugle Corps for 3 years and a member of the Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps for 2 years. He attended Jacksonville State University and Abraham Baldwin College and is now finishing up his education at Valdosta State University. He has studied percussion with Clint Gillespie, Nick Angelis, Carl Eppler, Clif Walker, Jeff Ausdemore, Ryan Sirna and most recently Paul Campiglia. He is a current member of the Percussive Society and an educational consultant for the Vic Firth Cooperation. From 2006-2011, Aaron served as percussion caption head & arranger for the Tift County High School “Blue Devil” Brigade drum line. He is currently the Coordinator of Percussion Studies with the Colquitt County Schools.
Aaron lives in Moultrie with his wife Liz and their son, Jaxon Rylie.