Our Directors

 J. Nick Ellis, Band Director

Mr. Ellis was born and raised in Howard County and has lived in the area all his life. A graduate of Atholton High School in Columbia, Mr. Ellis studied music at Frostburg State University and Peabody Conservatory. He has advanced degrees in music education, trumpet performance, and audio engineering. Mr. Ellis has taught band at all levels from elementary through high school. His groups are well known for having impeccable sound and attention to detail in performance. He has been actively involved in Maryland Music Educators Association and has contributed at many levels. In previous years, he has served as an equipment manager for the All-State groups, Chief Trumpet Judge and chairman of the Maryland State Solo and Ensemble Festival. He is a sought after brass clinician and adjudicator. In addition to his teaching, Mr. Ellis owns and operates the audio production company Mobile Sound Reinforcement which has served many notable clients including AOL/Time Warner, Howard County Recreation and Parks, The Today Show, former Governor Bob Erlich, WMAR Channel 2, The American Cancer Society, Lifebridge Health systems, and Senator Jay Rockefeller.

 Mr. Ellis' Website

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 Ross Rawlings, Choral Director

Ross Rawlings was born and raised in Maryland and called Columbia home for twenty years. He now resides in Mount Airy. His first teaching assignment was at Atholton High School after student teaching at Wilde Lake High School. During his tenure at Atholton, Mr. Rawlings saw a program of eighty-four students grow to over two hundred students by the time he left the school. He has also held positions at Hammond High School, and most recently Glenelg High. His programs can boast consistent superior quality, ratings, awards and accolades from judges, peers and critics of the highest caliber. His ensembles have found their way into the auspices of performing for several dignitaries, VIP’s, and elected officials over the years, as well as being sought after as the premium guest entertainment for various ceremonial events year round. He is a sought after mentor, conductor, clinician, and arranger (both instrumental and choral.) Outside of his teaching duties, Mr. Rawlings is a renowned musical director/conductor, orchestrator and pianist. He began his “professional life” at age eleven. Since then he has acquired an impressive list of over four hundred credits. Locally he serves as Resident Musical Director at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia. As a musical director he has received four Helen Hayes nominations, as well as the Maryland Theatrical award for Outstanding Musical Direction. Other local venues include: Rep Stage, and The Olney Theatre. For over eighteen years he traveled extensively across the globe supervising and musically directing over twenty-two of Broadway’s most spectacular hits. He holds advanced degrees in Music Education, Piano Performance, and Teacher Education.

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James Woomert, Orchestra Director

James Woomert is the Director of Orchestras at Marriotts Ridge High School in Howard County, Maryland. Prior to arriving at Marriotts Ridge, James served as Director of Orchestras at Atholton High School in Columbia, Maryland, and Associate Director of Orchestras at the nationally recognized Carmel High School Orchestra Program in Carmel, Indiana. Originally from Toronto, Canada, James moved to Indiana to study at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he completed a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and a Master of Science in Music Education. While attending IU, James studied string pedagogy with Dr. Brenda Brenner and Mimi Zweig and was a member of the founding staff of the Fairview Violin Project, a pilot musical outreach program providing violin instruction to at-risk elementary school students. As well as conducting and coaching various southern Indiana youth wind and string ensembles, James also taught music introduction and methods courses at Indiana University as an Associate Instructor. 

In addition to his classroom and private studio teaching, James has been a freelance violist in the Indianapolis area, performed as a member of the Owensboro (KY) Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2012, toured with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and was selected to participate in three summer seasons with the National Academy Orchestra. James has also held leadership positions in the orchestras of Indiana University, performed with almost every regional orchestra in Indiana, and enjoyed the opportunity to work with such renowned musicians as Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Jaime Laredo, and Joshua Bell. Orchestras under James' direction have recently had the honor of being selected as featured performing ensembles at the Maryland Music Educators Association State Conference, and the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference. James has served on the faculties of the Howard County Youth Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic’s National Take a Stand Festival, and is currently serving as the Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra's Concert Orchestra. In 2018, James received the Outstanding Music Educator award from the Maryland Music Educators Association. James was a contributing author for Teaching Music Through Performance in Orchestra, Volume 4, which was published by GIA Publications in 2021.

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