ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Mr. Ryan Budzinski, Director of Bands,
received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2006 and has since completed graduate level courses at VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, IL), Illinois State University (Normal, IL), the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and The Juilliard School (New York, NY). He has taught in the Unit 5 Schools since 2006. Mr. Budzinski conducts the Normal West High School Wind Symphony 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. Prior to his appointment at Normal West High School, Mr. Budzinski held the position of Assistant Director of Bands at Normal Community High School. He serves as the Illinois Music Education Association District 3 Senior Band Co-Representative (2018-2021) and as a member of the Illinois High School Association Music Advisory Committee (2019-2022.) He is a member of the Illinois Music Education Association and the National Association for Music Education.
Ms. Lisa Preston, Director of Bands,
has been a high school band director for over twenty-five years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University and a Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of Connecticut where she studied under Gary Green. She is currently the conductor of the Normal West High School Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, and Symphonic Band. She is also co-director of the Normal Marching Band, director of the flute choir, color guard sponsor, and chapter adviser for the Normal West Chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Ms. Preston served as the Normal West Music Department Chairperson from 1995-2004. Ms. Preston has received the "Teacher of the Year" award from the Normal West High School Future Teachers' Club, and has four times received the Student Council "Teacher Recognition" award. The Normal West High School Bands have received four Mayoral Declarations from the Town of Normal for excellence in both marching and concert bands. Prior to her appointment at Normal West, Ms. Preston taught at Normal Community High School and Danville High School (IL). Ms. Preston has received numerous Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association. She served as the Illinois Music Education Association District 3 Senior Band Co-Representative from 2018-2021. Her professional affiliations include the National Band Association and the National Association for Music Education.
Click here to read School Band and Orchestra Magazine's October 2009 article featuring Ms. Preston.