Mr. Van, as his student's call him, is currently the Director of Bands in Tonganoxie, KS teaching grades 5-12. He holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas. Under Mr. Van's currently 17 years of teaching in the Tonganoxie School District the High School Band has performed in numerous Marching Band festivals, parades and competitions.
Under Mr. Van's direction The Tonganoxie High School Band has made four Bowl Game appearances. The High School Band has performed in the Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX) in 2000, the Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) in 2002 and 2006, and the Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX) in 2004. During the festivals and competitions associated with the Bowl Game festivities the Band has earned numerous awards for their high level of performance. The band has received awards for Outstanding Drum Majors, Outstanding Percussion, 1st Place in the Parade Competition (Liberty Bowl 2002), Outstanding General Effect, 2nd and 3rd place in Field Show Competition, 2nd Place in the Jazz Band Competition and at the Liberty Bowl in 2002 the Band received The Sweepstakes Award which is awarded to the band earning the highest points at the festival.
The High School Band has also qualified numerous students at Regional and State Solo and Ensemble Music Festivals in the Spring. The Tonganoxie Band is also proud to announce that during Mr. Van's tenure four band students have been named to the All State Band performing at the State Music Convention, which is a first in Tonganoxie school History.
Mr. Van is also the founder and conductor of the Tonganoxie Community Band. Mr. Van's primary instrument is Saxophone and he continues to perform professionally as a Jazz Musician in Kansas City, Topeka, and the Metropolitan areas. Mr. Van has performed with the Dave Steven's Swing Orchestra, Swing 39 Jazz Ensemble, and has also performed saxophone at the National Missionary Convention in their worship band. Mr. Van has also performed for the Kansas City Chiefs and in The John Phillip Sousa Band. Mr. Van currently performs in The Lawrence City Band in Lawrence, KS.
Mr. Van has also been the Northeast District Jazz Chair for the Music Educators in the Northeast Music District. As a Jazz Educator Mr. Van's students have earned 27 Outstanding Jazz Soloist Awards for improvised solos at the KU Jazz Festival. Mr. Van's students have also earned 25 Outstanding Musicianship Awards for outstanding improvised solos and musicianship at the Kansas City Jazz Summit at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Mr. Van's Jazz Ensembles have also earned Outstanding Jazz Ensemble Awards in 2011, 2012, and 2014 at the Kansas City Jazz Summit at Kansas City Kansas Community College as well as his Jazz Ensembles have earned Superior Ratings at the KU Jazz Festival.
During Mr. Van's tenure in Tonganoxie he has been named the Kansas Teacher of the Year nominee for the Tonganoxie School District. He is also a winner of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Teacher Award as the winner for the State of Kansas. He is member of the Golden Key National Society and was a nominee for the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher Award for the Tonganoxie School District. Mr. Van is also an Eagle Scout.
Mr. Van is also a worship music leader at his church, is a Cub Scout Den leader for pack 3075 and coaches soccer, Baseball, T-Ball, and Basketball for the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission.
Mr. Van can be reached during the following office hours: