ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Mr. Ryan Budzinski
Ryan Budzinski is the Director of Bands at Normal West High School. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2006 and is currently a graduate student at Illinois State University. He has also studied at the VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, IL), the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and The Juilliard School (New York, NY). Mr. Budzinski joined the Unit 5 band faculty in 2006. He conducts the Normal West High School Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Winds, and Concert Winds. He is co-director of the Normal Marching Band, director of the Normal West Jazz Orchestra, and head of instrumental jazz studies at Normal West. Additionally, he teaches AP Music Theory and serves as the Normal West High School Music Department Building Chair. Mr. Budzinski was selected by the Normal West High School student body as the recipient of the Teacher Honor Roll Award in the spring of 2008. Mr. Budzinski has served as an adjudicator at events hosted by the Illinois High School Association, the Illinois Music Education Association, the Illinois Elementary School Association, and the Illinois Grade School Music Association. He recently completed a term as the Illinois Music Education Association District 3 Band Co-Representative, and he also served on the Music Advisory Committee for the Illinois High School Association. Mr. Budzinski is a recipient of the National Band Association Citation of Excellence, and as a leader of the Normal Marching Band staff, he is a recipient of the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Award of Excellence.
Mr. Tyler Harr
Mr. Harr is excited to join the Unit 5 band faculty in 2022! After growing up in Bloomington-Normal, he is thrilled to be coming back home to teach in the school district that helped him fall in love with making music!
Mr. Harr previously taught for five years in Brimfield, IL and Paxton, IL. He has taught K-12 general music, choir, and band classes over the past few years. He is a graduate of Normal West High School and Eastern Illinois University.
Mr. Harr will be teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands at Kingsley Junior High School as well as the Symphonic Band at NCWHS and Jazz Band at Kingsley.
Ms. Lisa Preston, Director of Bands Emerita
Lisa Preston was the founding Director of Bands at Normal West High School from its opening day in 1995 through the spring of 2022. The Bands gratefully acknowledge and celebrate her exemplary career!
Click here to learn more about Ms. Preston.
Click here to read School Band and Orchestra Magazine's October 2009 article featuring Ms. Preston.