Aaron Lehde -  Director of Bands, District Music Facilitator  

Aaron Lehde is Director of Bands and District Music Facilitator in the Ladue School District, where he has taught since 2002. His duties include conducting the Symphonic, Concert and Jazz Bands at the High School along with the Seventh and Eighth grade Concert Bands and Jazz Bands at the Middle School. Lehde also conducts the High School Musical Pit Orchestra and the Pep Band. In 2000, he graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with his B.M.  in Jazz Performance and Music Education. In 2010, he earned his M.M. in Jazz performance. He is the President Elect of the St. Louis All-Suburban Music Educators Association and has previously served as Vice-President of High School Jazz (2010-2014) and Middle School Jazz (2004-2008). Lehde has directed the IMEA District 6 High School Jazz Band 2 and 3 and is currently a teaching artist for Jazz St. Louis’ Jazz U program. Lehde has played saxophone and other woodwinds with numerous nationally and locally known acts including Frankie Valli, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Manhattan Transfer, Wayne Newton, Bernadette Peters, Idina Menzel, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Jay Leno and Bob Newhart. His touring and performance experience has brought him to 47 states and 27 countries worldwide. He continues to be in demand as a performer, clinician and adjudicator.  Lehde lives with his wife Kristie, son Owen, daughter Eleanor, and dogs Murphy and Molly in Webster Groves. In his free time, he enjoys playing chess, golfing and writing about himself in the third person.

Michael D. Faris – Associate Director, High School & Middle School Bands  

Michael Faris is currently the associate director of bands and percussion instructor for the Ladue School District.  In addition to his work with the bands, Faris directs the Concert and Symphonic percussion ensembles at the high school along with the sixth, seventh and eighth grade percussion ensembles at the middle school.  A native of Washington state, Faris completed his undergraduate work at Central Washington University receiving degrees in Music Education and Music Performance concurrently, completing both in 1985.  For the 1986-87 season he was the principal substitute timpanist for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 1987 he relocated to Missouri to pursue graduate studies at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music from which he graduated with a Master of Music in 1989.  In 1990, Faris was appointed principal percussionist with the Illinois Symphony and Illinois Chamber Orchestra with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1991.  During this same time he was also the percussion instructor for Lindenwood University and Webster University.  In 1993 he accepted his current position with the Ladue school district.  Faris is past president of the Missouri Percussive Arts Society and an active performer throughout the Greater St. Louis area. He has performed with the St. Louis Symphony and is past principal percussionist with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra and the Metropolitan Symphony of St. Louis.  As an author, he has written three method books including “Initial Studies for Snare Drum and Keyboard Mallets” which he originally developed for the Ladue District percussion curriculum. He currently resides in Ballwin, Missouri with his wife Lenore and their three children.  Aubrey is finishing her degree work in political science at The Ohio State University, Hans is in training with the U.S. army as a military intelligence specialist, and Miles attends Marquette high school.

Katie Solomon - Associate Director, Fifth Grade Center & Middle School Bands

Katie Solomon directs the Fifth Grade Center Band as well as the sixth grade band at Ladue Middle School.  Solomon has been teaching in the Ladue School District since 2006.  She graduated from Truman State University with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and her Master of the Arts Degree in Education. She is a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the Missouri Music Educators Association. Solomon lives in University City with her husband Mark, children Owen and Cora, and cats George and Gracie. She enjoys playing softball and cheering for the Cardinals.

Betsy Cytron Associate Director, Fifth Grade Center & Middle School Bands

Betsy Cytron directs the Fifth Grade Center Band as well as the sixth grade band at Ladue Middle School.  Cytron has been teaching in the Ladue School District since 1997.  Previously, she taught elementary and junior high bands in Lockport, Illinois; Scarsdale, New York; and the Mehlville School District in Missouri.  Cytron received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  Cytron has directed Summer Bands at Great Lakes Music Camp in Valparaiso, Indiana and was a percussion instructor at Southeast Missouri State Band Camp in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She has also served as a percussion judge for solo and ensemble festivals in Missouri and Illinois. She has authored an elementary band method “The Great Beginning” which is used with the Fifth Grade Center Band in Ladue.  She is a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the Missouri Music Educators Association.  She lives with her husband Ron, and their three children.

Scott E. Harris - Associate Director, High School & Middle School Bands  

A native of Kansas City, Scott graduated from Central Missouri State University in 1987 and began his teaching career as Director of Bands at West County High School.  From there, Scott has taught in the Central R-3, Fox C-6 and Northwest R-1 School Districts.  Concert Bands and Wind Ensembles under his direction, have consistently received I ratings at both the Missouri Large Ensemble Contest and Festivals around the country.  His 1995 Fox High School Jazz Ensemble was the featured Jazz performance at the Missouri Music Educators Association Convention.  He returned in 2001 as the Co-director of the Northwest High School Jazz Ensemble.  Scott was also the Director of the Mineral Area Kicks Band in the early 1990’s and the Director of the St. Louis Community College Wednesday Night Jazz Lab Band from 1997-2005.  A professional Bass Trombonist, Scott has shared the stage with many jazz musicians such as Louie Belson, Marvin Stamm, Bobby Shew, Bill Watrous, Ed Schaughnessy and Manhattan Transfer.  He is in demand across the Midwest as a clinician, adjudicator, conductor and professional Audio Engineer.  Scott is also the owner of “Shhh” Productions, a professional On-Location Recording and Sound Company.  Scott resides in Arnold with his wonderful wife Danelle, their son, Vincent, three cats and Sassy the dog.