About Our Experts
Michael Tran - Drum Major Judge
Michael Tran is currently the director of the Seattle Cascades Drum Corps and his entering his second year as a music teacher at Inglewood Middle School.
Michael has spent the last several years instructing and coordinating numerous high school marching ensembles within the state including, Mercer Island, Kamiak, Newport, Cedarcrest, Chiawana, West Valley, Eastlake, Sultan, Naches Valley, and Eisenhower. Additionally, he spent three years writing for, instructing, and leading the Central Washington University "Wildcat" Marching Band in Ellensburg, WA.
His marching experience began back in sixth grade in parade band. After four years at Sultan High School, Michael participated in the drum corps activity as a lead trumpet player at Seattle Cascades Drum Corps and The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. He served his final year as the Drum Major for the Seattle Cascades.
Michael graduated from Central Washington University with his degree in music education and psychology. During his enrollment, he performed and participated in a varying array of ensembles. He was extremely involved in the music program serving as the NAfME Collegiate Senator, a position he held for three years. He now lives in Redmond where he teaches the best students in the world!
We welcome Michael to the Sunset Festival of Bands for the first time!
Jeff Ray - Music Judge
Jeff Ray is in his 30th year of working in public education, and is currently the director of the 350 member Olympic View Middle School Band from Mukilteo, WA. This group has won events all over the Pacific Northwest and California. They were the first middle school in the United States to perform at a division one NCAA Bowl game, performing with Destiny’s Child. Prior to entering education, Mr. Ray spent 25 years in drum and bugle corps as a member, instructor, and as a director. His affiliations include the Percussionaut Patriots, Renaissance, Freelancers, Imperials, Marauders, Argonauts, Spartans, and Cascades Corps. Mr. Ray also keeps a very busy performance schedule as a lead trumpet player and plays in several big bands in the area.
We welcome Jeff back, serving his nineth year as a judge for SFOB.
Chris Grant - Percussion Judge
Chris Grant is a percussionist, composer and music educator residing in Spokane Valley, WA. Chris completed a BAE in Music (2003), and MA in Music Education (2013) from Eastern Washington University. Chris is presently a faculty member at Gonzaga University, conductor of the Spokane British Brass Band, percussion caption-head/arranger for the Columbians Drum & Bugle Corps, and serves as the Vice President of the Washington State Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.
Chris is an active composer and arranger of percussion, wind and string literature. His clients have included Mt. Spokane High School, Pasco High School, Eastern Washington University, Spokane Thunder and the Seattle Cascades.
As a performer, Chris is a sought after percussionist. Chris is the principal timpanist for the Coeur d’Alene Symphony, and percussionist for many regional rock and jazz groups such as: Kari Marguerite and the 76, Pink Tango, The Working Spliffs, Ron Reed, Spokane Jazz Orchestra and salsa band, Son Dulce.
We welcome Chris to his first Sunset Festival of Bands!
Ron Maier - Visual Judge
A native of Bremerton, Washington, Mr. Maier has performed in the Titans Drum and Bugle Corps, the Seattle Imperials Drum and Bugle Corps, the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps and the State Street Review Winter Guard. He has designed for and taught many groups across the United States and Canada, including the Phantom Regiment, of Rockford, Illinois, the Thunderbolts of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, the Marauders of Longview, Washington, Les Eclipses of Montreal, Quebec, and numerous high school bands and winter guards. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Washington, a Master’s Degree in Integrated Arts from Lesley University and is a National Board certified music educator. Currently, Mr. Maier is Director of Bands at Finn Hill Middle School in Kirkland, Washington, and serves as Judges Coordinator for the Northwest Pageantry Association.
We welcome Ron back for his fourth year as a judge for SFOB.