Robert Tanis, Director of Bands

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Robert Tanis earned a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from the Schwob School of Music in conducting and music education, where he studied with Dr. Robert Rumbelow. Mr. Tanis has been at Lakota East High School since 1997. Mr. Tanis was associate band director from 1997-2011. Before coming to Lakota, he was the director of bands for two years at a Brownsville, Texas high school. Mr. Tanis’s current teaching responsibilities include directing the three Lakota East High School Main Campus bands: Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Symphonic Winds. Mr. Tanis also assists with the two Lakota East Freshman Campus concert bands and is the director of the Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks. Mr. Tanis directs all brass ensembles, conducts the pit orchestra and oversees the Pep Band. Mr. Tanis’s students have consistently received superior ratings and numerous other awards at the district and state level in small ensemble, concert band and marching band competitions. Mr. Tanis has performed with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Castle Festival Orchestra in Heidelberg, Germany, the Southwest Ohio Symphonic Band, the Ohio Valley British Brass Band, the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

Kevin Engel, Assistant Director of Bands

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Kevin Engel joined the Lakota Local Schools music department in 2015. During the previous 11 years, Mr. Engel served as Director of Bands for the Madeira City School District, where he was responsible for all bands, grades 5–12. Mr. Engel holds degrees in music performance from the University of Illinois, music education from Wright State University and master’s work in bassoon performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM). While at Madeira, Mr. Engel built and maintained a quality band program, receiving superior and excellent ratings in all OMEA (Ohio Music Education Association) venues at both the high school and junior high levels. Mr. Engel also engaged the band program in events throughout the school year, highlighting the importance of band as being vital of the local community. As an active member of OMEA, Mr. Engel has served as District 14 Secretary Treasurer and hosted Adjudicated Events at both the junior high and high school levels for the past eight years. The opportunity to be involved in the program at Lakota East High School has been a long-term goal for Mr. Engel. He is thrilled to be part of the continuing traditions of joy and musical excellence.

Aaron Todahl, Director of Jazz Studies

(513) 755-7211 Voice Mail: 10186

Aaron Todahl is the Jazz Band Director at both the Lakota East Main and Lakota West Main Campus. Mr. Todahl earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a Specialization in Jazz from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). During his time at CCM, he had the opportunity to perform with the CCM Jazz Orchestra, John Von Ohlen, Fareed Haque, Steve Allee, and many others including performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Todahl still continues to perform regularly as a trumpet player and guitarist in the Greater Cincinnati area.

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from CCM, Mr. Todahl was the K-8 Music Director for Cardinal Pacelli School in Mt. Lookout, OH for the 2017-2018 school year. Mr. Todahl’s current responsibilities at Lakota include directing the jazz ensembles at Lakota West Main Campus and Lakota East Main Campus. He also assists with Symphonic Winds, works with the pep band, and will be conducting the pit orchestra at East. Mr. Todahl is a Lakota East alum and is proud to be involved in the continued excellence of the programs at Lakota East and West.


William Thomas, Director of Bands Emeritus

William Thomas retired in 2012 after 30 years of service to Waynesfield-Goshen, Minster and Lakota Local Schools. Under Mr. Thomas’s direction, Lakota East High School concert and marching bands earned more than 78 superior ratings at the state and national levels. Mr. Thomas has served on the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Adjudicated Events Committee in roles as Marching Band Adjudications Chair, Band Affairs Chair, Instrumental Advisor, Committee Chair and Rules and Procedures Chair. Mr. Thomas is also a member of OMEA, American School Band Directors Association and Phi Beta Mu. In 2004, he was named the Lakota East High School Teacher of the Year. Mr. Thomas has also been a solo/ensemble, large group and marching band adjudicator for more than 20 years. Mr. Thomas thanks his children Christopher and Brittany, former students, parents, colleagues and administrators for their support throughout the years. Special thanks go to his wife, Katherine, for putting up with him all of these years!