Professional Staff


Joy McClaugherty

Administrative Associate

Joy McClaugherty serves the Illinois band program as communications specialist, event coordinator, and office manager. Joining the Illinois Bands staff in 2015, Ms. McClaugherty handles the logistics for the Illinois SuperState Concert Band Festival, the Illinois Band Conductors Symposium, and other Illinois band events. She also oversees the editing, layout, and production of all performance and event programs and marketing materials, as well as manages the Illinois Bands website and content development. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, McClaugherty served as area manager of the meetings and exhibits department of the American Oil Chemists Society. She also has a strong background in marketing and communications, having worked as an associate creative director, director of creative services, and senior copywriter for FCB Healthcare West, Penta Corporation, and Campbell Mithun advertising agencies, respectively.

Graduate Conducting Assistants

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Jason Gardner

DMA, Conducting

Graduate Conducting/Teaching Assistant

Jason Gardner is a candidate for the doctor of musical arts in wind conducting at the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign. He currently serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Illinois Bands. He received his master of music in wind conducting degree from Ball State University in 2016 where he served as graduate teaching assistant with the Ball State University Bands and studied conducting with Dr. Thomas Caneva. In 2000, he earned a bachelor of music education degree from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

From 20002014, Jason served as a high school band director in Indiana, with the final eight years as director of bands at Mt. Vernon High School near Indianapolis. He conducted the concert bands and taught marching, jazz, and pep bands, music history, and music theory. He also oversaw an active indoor drumline, winter color guard, and steel drum ensembles. His bands earned the ISSMA “All-Music” Award multiple years for distinguished performance in marching band, jazz ensemble, solo/ensemble, and concert band. His bands consistently earned Gold Ratings including the “With Distinction” designation. In 2011, his concert band performed at the USS Arizona Memorial Service on the Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary.

Beginning in 2014, Jason became music director for the Indiana Youth Wind Symphony. The IYWS is an honors band for high school students from Central Indiana and is the educational outreach program for the Indiana Wind Symphony. Jason performed with the Indiana Wind Symphony and Indianapolis Brass Choir for eleven seasons and was a guest conductor of the IWS.

Jason is a native of Spencer, Iowa. He and his wife recently celebrated fifteen years of marriage and live with their three children in the Champaign area.


Joe Clark

MM, Graduate Conducting

Graduate Conducting/Teaching Assistant


Joe Clark is currently a candidate for the master of music in wind band conducting and serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Illinois Bands. He recently completed his undergraduate career at the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester, where he received degrees in music education, clarinet performance, and mathematics. While there, Joe put together a wide variety of ensembles, ran a weekly reading orchestra, and was co-artistic director of the Eastman Clarinet Choir.

A native of Massachusetts, Joe continues to work with ensembles near home. He has been on the staff of the North Middlesex Regional High School marching band and winter percussion programs as both music/visual staff and drill-writer. He is a counselor at the UMass Lowell Symphonic Band Camp, a weeklong program for high school students. Additionally, he runs an annual summer chamber music program designed to allow high school and returning college students an opportunity to continue making music at a high level over the summer.  

In addition to conducting, Joe’s musical interests are diverse. As a clarinetist, he has put on a wide variety of recitals, ranging from standard classical repertoire accompanied by jazz combo to a recital entirely on alto clarinet. As a composer, he has had works premiered by the Nashua Chamber Orchestra and the Bay View Music Festival. As an educator, he intends to continue to work with high school students following his degree at Illinois.


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Will Sugg


DMA, Conducting

Graduate Conducting/Teaching Assistant

Will Sugg is currently a candidate for the doctorate of music in wind band conducting and serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Illinois Bands. Prior to coming to Illinois, Will taught for six years in Tennessee and for the last three years served as band director at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School in Nashville, Tennessee. The MLK band program includes over 250 members in grades 7-12 across five bands, and is generally recognized as one of the flagship music programs in Tennessee, having performed at the TMEA State Conference in 2015.

In addition to his professional teaching positions, Will has served as instructional staff with several programs throughout the state. He is a 2009 Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Honors Program with a bachelor of music degree in music education. While at UTK, he also served the UT “Pride of the Southland” marching band as instructional staff. During his time at UT, he engaged in independent studies in many facets of music education culminating in a nationwide field study regarding components of successful middle school and high school instrumental music education programs. These additional educational endeavors allowed him to be chosen the UT Outstanding Graduate in Music Education. Having grown up in Nashville, Will graduated from Father Ryan High School in 2005.

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Patricia Vanegas

DMA, Conducting

Graduate Conducting/Teaching Assistant

Patricia Vanegas Ruiz received her title of BFA in flute in 1998 at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. During her studies, she participated in conducting workshops and classes with Alejandro Zuleta and Ricardo Jaramillo, and became conductor of the youth symphonic band at the Javeriana. In 2000, she went to Germany to begin a formal training in wind band conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg-Augsburg, and then moved to the Conservatorium Maastricht in the Netherlands, where she studied with Jan Cober. Patricia received her title as wind band conductor in 2005, conducting the Real Band of Thorn. At the Istituto Superior Europeo Bandistico in Trento, Italy, she received her master diploma in conducting in 2006. 

From 2006-2017, she was the Javeriana University Symphonic Band´s main conductor. She has been invited to give workshops and conduct bands at the International Seminar organized by Yamaha in Bogotá in 2007, and participated in the first international seminar for bands in Medellin in 2010. She has given workshops in conducting at the Bogotá band network, as well as in the Red de Caldas band network. In November 2013, she was invited to conduct a whole-Colombian music program at the Symphonic Band at De Paul School of Music, and, in December 2013, she conducted the closing concert at the 67th annual Conference of the Midwest Clinic in Chicago with the Javeriana Symphonic Band. She was also invited in May 2014 to conduct a Colombian program with the Virginia Wind Symphony in Norfolk, Virginia.

Athletic Graduate Teaching Assistants


Aaron Kavelman

Athletic Bands Graduate Assistant

Aaron Kavelman is a percussion educator, clinician, performer and composer who grew up listening and performing jazz alongside his father, an accomplished jazz pianist. Growing up in a musical family, Aaron watched his four older sisters in the high school band program. Inspired by the local marching bands, Aaron would tape a set of bongos onto a chair and choreograph drill in the backyard, thus the beginning for his love with the marching arts.

With twenty-two years’ experience teaching private lessons and twenty years teaching drumlines throughout Illinois, Aaron brings a wealth of experience and passion to whomever he teaches. Regardless if it is on a competitive field or in support of athletics, he demands top effort from each group. Aaron also has numerous compositional and arranging credits throughout the Midwest from a variety of percussion programs.

Aaron has a bachelor of music and a master of music in percussion performance from Illinois State University where he studied with Dr. Tom Marko, director of jazz, and served as the teaching assistant to Dr. David Collier, head of percussion. Aaron is currently working on his doctor of musical arts in jazz performance with professor Joel Spencer, along with a cognate in North Indian classical music under Dr. Christopher Macklin at the University of Illinois. He currently serves as the drumline instructor for the Marching Illini and continues an active writing, playing and independent clinician schedule.

Reid Lasley

Athletic Bands Graduate Assistant


Michael Chapa

Athletic Bands Graduate Assistant

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David Lofy

Athletic Bands Graduate Assistant