Meet the Leadership
Albert T. Nguyen, Director of Bands
Albert Nguyen, Director of Bands, conducts the UofM Wind Ensemble, directs the graduate level instrumental conducting program, and oversees the Athletic, Symphonic and University Bands. Dr. Nguyen was the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Memphis for three years and served as Interim Director of Bands in 2011-2012.
Before coming to the University of Memphis, Dr. Nguyen served as a Graduate Assistant at The University of Texas at Austin where he directed the Concert Band and was a member of the Longhorn Band teaching staff. He was also an assistant conductor for the Wind Ensemble and frequently appeared as a guest conductor with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Band and Chamber Winds. Dr. Nguyen began his professional teaching career in Arkansas as the Director of Bands at Morrilton High School.
Maintaining his connection with public schools, Dr. Nguyen frequently serves as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education from Arkansas Tech University and the Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, the College Band Directors National Association and is a contributing author in the GIA publication - Teaching Music through Performance in Band, Volume 7.
Armand V. Hall, II, Associate Director of Bands
Armand Hall, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Bands, conducts the Symphony Band and teaches courses in Music Education. He earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts in wind conducting at Michigan State University and Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in music education from the University of Michigan. From 2002-10, Professor Hall served as director of bands at Dunckel Middle School and, from 2003-09, Assistant Director of the North Farmington High School "Raider" Marching Band in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Dedicated to teaching, he is the educational director for the Archipelago Project, a non-profit organization charged with engaging students in music and their instruments by teaching multiple folk idioms using pedagogical techniques based on the Venezuelan El Sistema. With the Archipelago Project, he has traveled throughout the country and Venezuela teaching music students and performing for their communities. He is also active as an adjudicator and clinician; and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, College Music Society, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. Dr. Hall joined the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music in 2012.
William Plenk, Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands
William Plenk has been on the faculty of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis since Fall 2017. Serving as Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands, Dr. Plenk oversees the Mighty Sound of the South, University of Memphis Pep Band, University Band, and teaches Marching Band Techniques as well as other courses within the School of Music.
Outside of the University of Memphis, Dr. Plenk is highly active as a clinician and adjudicator. He has worked with concert bands and marching bands from across the United States, Singapore, and Japan, including a three-season tenure with the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band from Nagoya, Japan, the eight-time All Japan National Champion. He has served on the staff of several drum and bugle corps including The Academy, The Cadets, Boston Crusaders, and Phantom Regiment.
Dr. Plenk previously served for six years as Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Nevada, Reno, developing the the athletic band program into one of the most respected in the region. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was Conductor of the UCLA Symphonic Band, Associate Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble, and Associate Conductor of the UCLA Brass Ensemble. He also received a Master of Music degree in tuba performance from UCLA, and a Bachelor of Music degree in tuba performance from Ithaca College.
Dr. Plenk holds memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, and is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha, and the national band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi.
Zeke David, Percussion Instructor
Zeke David is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where he earned a bachelors in Music Business and is now an active writer/arranger/teacher in the Memphis area.
His performance background includes five years with the University of Memphis Mighty Sound of the South, one summer with the Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps, and four summers with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps where they won two High Drum Trophies, and one World Championship. Zeke has also been a performing member with the Grizzline, the drumline for the Memphis Grizzlies for 10 years now.
Along with directing the University of Memphis Drumline, he now manages The Memphis Grizzline. Zeke works with several high schools in the area, most notably the Munford High School Marching Band, and has worked with several DCI groups such as The Phantom Regiment, Crossmen, and most recently the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps.
Melissa Jenkins, Guard Instructor
Missy’s performance career includes The University of Memphis (captain), Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, The Phantom Regiment Drum Corps (4 years, sabre) and the WGI Independent Open Class World Champions, Chimeras (sabre).
Missy is proud to have taught several local high school colorguards over her teaching career, including Houston, Munford, Cordova (BOA St Louis Finalist) and Southaven (BOA Lab band, 3 time Mississippi State Marching Band Champions, 3 time Mississippi Indoor Ass. SA Winterguard Champions & WGI Semi-finalist). In addition, Missy cofounded Amalgamation Winterguard (WGI Finalist).
Since receiving her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Memphis, Missy has taught in Florida, Mississippi & Tennessee schools. As a teacher at Arlington High School, Missy teaches Math Intervention classes and an Algebra 1 class. Missy is excited to be starting her 8th year teaching The University of Memphis Colorguard and starting a new chapter with the Arlington High School Colorguard.
Suzanne Jackson, Head Baton Instructor
Suzanne Jackson is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she was the Captain and Feature Twirler for the Tigerettes, the baton twirling line for the Mighty Sound of the South. She has been the instructor of the Tigerette line for 15 years. Suzanne is a former Mrs. Tennessee and is currently on staff at the Miss Tennessee America Organization as Director of the Miss Tennessee Iris Princess Program. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Miss Delta Fair Queen Pageant System, and is the Director of the Miss Collierville Princess pageant.
Suzanne is a former Account Executive for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and she currently works as a Community Liaison for Monogram Foods, makers of “King Cotton” products.
Suzanne is a past President of the Evangelical Christian School PTA and has served in leadership roles within the organization for over 13 years. She is involved in her community by serving on the Board of two organizations - Playhouse on the Square and Best Buddies, an association benefitting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Mandy Xa, Baton Instructor
Mandy is a graduate of the University of Memphis and former Mighty Sound of the South Head Majorette. Her baton twirling resume begins at age 5 and includes achievements such as Miss Majorette of Tennessee and Miss Collierville. She competed with her baton twirling talent on the Miss Tennessee stage in 2010 and is proud to return to share her passion for baton with future generations of Tigerettes!
After receiving a Bachelors Degree in English Creative Writing - Poetry, Mandy worked as a Marketing Analyst and Brand Manager for Monogram Foods in Memphis for 3 years. In 2014, she began her own home based business and built a sales force of over 3,300 individuals across the US and internationally.
Mandy and her husband Johnny are expecting their first son in December 2017!
Carol Rakestraw, Administrative Assistant
Student Leadership Staff