Staff

The Rocketeers Staff

Bill Gullatt : Executive Director

Bill Gullatt

Executive Director

bill.gullatt@therocketeers.org
Doug Childs : Tour Manager

Doug Childs

Tour Manager

doug.childs@therocketeers.org
Roque Haines : Equipment Manager

Roque Haines

Equipment Manager

roque.haines@therocketeers.org
Connor Johnson : Operations Manager

Connor Johnson

Operations Manager

connor.johnson@therocketeers.org
Thomas Peterson : Program Director

Thomas Peterson

Program Director

tom.peterson@therocketeers.org
Thomas Peterson : Brass Caption Head

Thomas Peterson

Brass Caption Head

Thomas Peterson has been involved in music and the marching arts for over 40 years as a performer, teacher, and arranger. His drum corps experience began with the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, as a member of the baritone section. He later performed with Music City Legend Drum and Bugle Corps while also serving on their Board of Directors.

Thomas received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Instrumental Music Education from The University of Mississippi. At Ole Miss he served as principal trombonist with the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz band, trombone choir and brass choir. He later went on to serve as a teaching assistant at The University of Southern Mississippi. While at USM, Thomas served as Assistant Marching Director for The “Pride of Mississippi” Marching Band and Assistant Conductor of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, as well as performing with the trombone choir.

Thomas currently serves as the Program Director, Brass Supervisor and Brass Arranger for The Rocketeers Drum and Bugle Corps, positions he has held since 2012. He also served as an instructor for Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps and Music City Legend Drum and Bugle Corps.

Thomas’ teaching and performing background expands beyond the drum corps activity. For over 20 years he was a band director in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. His performance experiences include the Mississippians Jazz Band, Desoto Brass Quintet, Collierville Symphony Orchestra and the Danny Blurton Big Band.

Currently, Thomas maintains a full time private teaching studio and works for Hallman’s Music in Huntsville, Alabama. He resides in Madison, Alabama with his wife, Phyllis, and daughter, Rachel.

tom.peterson@therocketeers.org
Davin Kyle : Brass Instructor

Davin Kyle

Brass Instructor

Davin Kyle is the Band Director at West Limestone High School. He is also a proud graduate of West and was lucky enough to have been involved in the band program as Trumpet Section Leader and Band Captain. Davin's love and knowledge of music and education instilled in him at West Limestone, provided the opportunity to attend the University of North Alabama. While attending Una he became a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity of America, and performed in several musical ensembles including The Shoals Symphony, Collegiate Singers, Concert Band, The Wind Ensemble, The Brass Ensemble, and The "Pride of Dixie" Marching Band!

Davin believes that every child can learn, and that through hard work, resilience, dedication, perseverance, team work, and with a touch of talent, all goals are attainable. In addition to teaching he enjoys performing with several local groups such as The Brass Band of Huntsville, Huntsville's In the Mood Big Swing Band, Athens Community Band and the Rocketeers - Solid Rocket Brass.

Cody Morgan : Brass Instructor

Cody Morgan

Brass Instructor

Cody Morgan is from the small town of Sylvania, Alabama. He started band at Boaz Middle School then transferred to Plainview High School where as a junior & senior, he made Alabama All-state band & received the John Phillip Sousa award for outstanding musicianship. After graduating high school with an advanced diploma, Mr. Morgan attended the University of North Alabama where he received his Bachelor's in Instrumental Music. While at UNA, he performed with the Pride of Dixie Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Brass Ensemble, Brass Quartet, Shoals Symphony, Pep Band & was a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. He is also 1st trumpet at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church and plays soprano with the Solid Rocket Brass as part of the Rocketeers Drum and Bugle corps.

Jeannette Vega : Brass Instructor

Jeannette Vega

Brass Instructor

Jeannette began her music career at the age of 5. Fast forward to today and she plays piano, violin, flute, trumpet, french horn, & mellophone, just to name a few.  She was a 1st Violinist in the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra during her middle school years.  In high school, she was in Wind Ensemble Concert Band as 1st chair flute and 1st chair french horn.  She also played trumpet & tenor sax in Jazz Band, vibraphone in Winter Drumline, and 1st Mellophone and soloist in marching band.  School musicals were another passion that she pursued as a high school french horn player.  In 1998, she was named Mellophone section leader, and Brass Captain in 1999-2000.  

Jeannette grew fond of everything marching band related and in 2000 was accepted into The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps as a mellophone player.  In 2002, she marched mellophone with Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps helping take the corps from Division II back up to a Division I.

Jeanette took a long pause from music to get married to her high school sweetheart, Victor Vega.  They have grown to a family of four who love music, outdoors and adventure!  They have a 4 year old girl, Tiana, and a 6 year old girl, Aliyah.  After moving to Huntsville, AL, Jeannette and Victor discovered The Rocketeers at a local DCI show in 2014.  They signed up immediately and have been performing with them since.  Jeannette also performs as a freelance musician for local plays and musicals.  She most recently played trumpet in the musicals “Guys n Dolls” and “In the Heights”, performing with some of the best musicians in the Huntsville area. Jeannette is excited to be a performing member and staff member for The Rocketeers.

Thomas Whitten : Brass Instructor

Thomas Whitten

Brass Instructor

Thomas Whitten was born in Huntsville, AL and graduated from Bob Jones High School. While at Bob Jones, Whitten was a member of “The Bob Jones High School Marching Patriots” band as well as the concert and symphonic bands. Following high school Whitten attended the University of North Alabama and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music.

While at UNA, Whitten was a member of “The Pride of Dixie” marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, pep band, brass ensemble, and the Tuba and Euphonium ensemble. He also served as the drum major for “The Pride of Dixie” from 2001-2004.

From 1998 until 2002, Whitten also performed with the “Spirit of Atlanta” Drum and Bugle Corps.  He served in the horn line as a contra player from 1998-2000 and took on leadership duties as horn sergeant in 2000. From there Whitten left the horn line and moved to the podium to take over drum major responsibilities in 2001 and 2002. As drum major for Spirit in 2002, Whitten helped the corps regain finalist status in Drum Corps International for the first time in twelve years with a placement of 10th place.   During the years 2001 and 2002, Spirit was incorporated into a marching curriculum conducted by Jacksonville State University.   During that time, Mr. Whitten had the unique experience of serving concurrently as the drum major for two separate university marching programs, the University of North Alabama and Jacksonville State University.  In 2003, after he aged out from drum corps, Whitten returned to Spirit as a staff member. Taking on the role of tour director, Whitten saw Spirit achieve success again as a finalist in Drum Corps International Competition in Orlando, FL.

Over the past several years, Thomas Whitten has instructed numerous students in what he refers to as being a “complete drum major”. In addition to teaching his students conducting, he also included leadership skills, and how to instruct on various levels of marching. All of his students have received superior ratings and some have received the honor of Best in Class. Whitten stays relevant in the activity through adjudication by serving on judging panels for numerous contests across north Alabama and Tennessee.

Mr. Whitten currently resides is Franklin, TN with his wife, Natalie and two daughters Kennedy and Audrey. He works in Nashville as a Sales Account Manager for Dell EMC.

Thomas Whitten : Visual Caption Head

Thomas Whitten

Visual Caption Head

Thomas Whitten was born in Huntsville, AL and graduated from Bob Jones High School. While at Bob Jones, Whitten was a member of “The Bob Jones High School Marching Patriots” band as well as the concert and symphonic bands. Following high school Whitten attended the University of North Alabama and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music.

While at UNA, Whitten was a member of “The Pride of Dixie” marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, pep band, brass ensemble, and the Tuba and Euphonium ensemble. He also served as the drum major for “The Pride of Dixie” from 2001-2004.

From 1998 until 2002, Whitten also performed with the “Spirit of Atlanta” Drum and Bugle Corps.  He served in the horn line as a contra player from 1998-2000 and took on leadership duties as horn sergeant in 2000. From there Whitten left the horn line and moved to the podium to take over drum major responsibilities in 2001 and 2002. As drum major for Spirit in 2002, Whitten helped the corps regain finalist status in Drum Corps International for the first time in twelve years with a placement of 10th place.   During the years 2001 and 2002, Spirit was incorporated into a marching curriculum conducted by Jacksonville State University.   During that time, Mr. Whitten had the unique experience of serving concurrently as the drum major for two separate university marching programs, the University of North Alabama and Jacksonville State University.  In 2003, after he aged out from drum corps, Whitten returned to Spirit as a staff member. Taking on the role of tour director, Whitten saw Spirit achieve success again as a finalist in Drum Corps International Competition in Orlando, FL.

Over the past several years, Thomas Whitten has instructed numerous students in what he refers to as being a “complete drum major”. In addition to teaching his students conducting, he also included leadership skills, and how to instruct on various levels of marching. All of his students have received superior ratings and some have received the honor of Best in Class. Whitten stays relevant in the activity through adjudication by serving on judging panels for numerous contests across north Alabama and Tennessee.

Mr. Whitten currently resides is Franklin, TN with his wife, Natalie and two daughters Kennedy and Audrey. He works in Nashville as a Sales Account Manager for Dell EMC.

Josh Basilio : Visual Instructor

Josh Basilio

Visual Instructor

Josh Basilio is excited to return to The Rocketeers in his first year as a member of the visual staff, having previously performed with the organization on mellophone, including The Rocketeers’ appearance at the 2014 DCA Minicorps Championships. Josh brings several years of drum corps performing experience from Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps, the reigning DCA Open Class Silver Medalist, where he was an 8 year member from 2010-2017 on mellophone and trumpet, and was honored as the 2013 Director’s Award recipient. Josh also marched mellophone as a rook-out member of the 2011 Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, a DCI World Class Finalist.

Josh holds a Bachelor's degree in Materials Science & Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he performed in the Marching Band, Concert and Symphonic Bands, Jazz Band, and Symphony Orchestra, and was a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority. He works in Huntsville as an engineer and as a freelance cellist, oboist, and vocalist.

Connor Johnson : Visual Instructor

Connor Johnson

Visual Instructor

A lifelong resident of north Alabama, Mr. Johnson has been involved in drum and bugle corps since 2005. Having performed with several distinct groups, including Music City Legend, ALLIANCE, and Southern Knights, he commands a wide range of knowledge with regards to corps operation and management. The 2018 season will be Mr. Johnson's fifth, nonconsecutive year with the Rocketeers and his second as a member of the Board of Directors.

Having graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he was also a member of the wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, and pep band, Mr. Johnson works full-time as an engineer and furthers his passion for music and the performing arts in his free time.

connor.johnson@therocketeers.org
Victor Vega : Visual Instructor

Victor Vega

Visual Instructor

Victor brings two DCI Championships to the experience of The Rockeeteers staff. This includes 3 years of Drum Corps International (DCI) with The Cadets (2000, Trumpet) and Magic of Orlando (1999, Alto; 2002, Trumpet) and 4 years of DCA Minicorps/Soundsport (Soprano/Mellophone) with The Rocketeers. As a high brass player he has played both G Bugles and Bb instruments in drum corps and marching band settings. In addition to marching groups, his performing arts experience includes Concert Bands, Wind Ensembles, Jazz Band, Latin Band, Weddings, and Church events. As part of the visual staff, Victor will bring his precision and artistic marching experience to the Rocketeers. He participates in Solid Rocket Brass year round performing at local and regional events and is also a freelance trumpet player for local musical pit orchestras. Victor is a career aerospace engineer and his day time job is that of Director of Emerging Technologies at GATR Technologies in Huntsville, AL.

Mark Gajewski : Percussion Caption Head

Mark Gajewski

Percussion Caption Head

Mark Gajewski has been involved in music as a performer and teacher for nearly 25 years.  He has a Bachelor's Degree in Music from The University of North Alabama as well as a Master of Arts in Music Education. He also performed for millions with the First and Second Marine Division Bands. In addition to performing he has taught percussion at several schools in the north Alabama area, to include the University of North Alabama’s “Pride of Dixie” Drumline.

Mr. Gajewski’s musical abilities are reflected in his performance credits, highlights of which include: principal percussion of the First and Second Marine Division Bands, principal percussion for the Shoals Symphony at UNA, principal timpanist and section player with the Orchestra of St. Andrews Bay, the National Association for Music Educators Convention, the Alabama Music Educators Convention and the North Alabama Day of Percussion; percussion and drumset work for “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat”, "West Side Story", “South Pacific”, “1776”, “Cabaret”, and the “Fantasticks” with the Shoals Community Theater Group.

His teachers have included David Waters, Tom Risher, Arthur Press, Bob Habib, Iain Moyer, and Tracy Wiggins.

Mark Gajewski is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Kappa Kappa Psi,

Jennifer Janzen : Percussion Consultant

Jennifer Janzen

Percussion Consultant

Chelsea Kucejko : Guard Instructor

Chelsea Kucejko

Guard Instructor

I have always loved performing arts. I have been involved in marching music for 13 years now. My performance experience includes  clarinet, conducting, and spinning flag.

I studied dance at the Madison Dance Company and the Alabama Christian Dance Theatre. I have also completed many leadership-training programs and have learned under some of the best conductors in the nation. (Dr. Kenneth G. Bodiford, Dr. Andrew Putnam, Koji Mori, Freddie Martin, to name a few.) Additionally I have held many leadership positions, and have won over ten leadership awards including the Semper Fidelis Award, and the John Philips Sousa Award.

I was drum major at East Limestone High School and in 2013 served as Drum Major for Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps. My teaching experience includes marching, drill, music, conducting, choreography, and leadership. I have served on the instructional staff for East Limestone High School and Music City Drum & Bugle Corps in Nashville, TN.

I am a graduate of East Limestone High School in Athens, AL and am currently pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at Jacksonville State University

Kelly Kelley : Guard Instructor

Kelly Kelley

Guard Instructor

Hi, my name is Kelly and this is my first year with the Rocketeers Drum & Bugle Corps. I am  blessed to be married for the past nine years my high school sweetheart, and we have two children together. My family and I moved to Mobile, AL in the spring of 2016, and we recently relocated to Huntsville this past summer. I grew up in Gulf Breeze, FL where I had been involved in the band program there playing the flute, clarinet and saxophone. My junior year of high school, I found my passion marching with the Colorguard. Later, I taught guard at a high school in Corpus Christi, TX. I am very excited to join the Rocketeers staff at this pivotal time of growth and change, and I look forward to what the following year will bring to the Corps! 

Coming soon!