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.

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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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Patrick Walls, Ph.D., Orchestra Director

Patrick Walls is originally from Hollidaysburg, Pa. and has lived in Maryland since 1993. He has over 26 years of teaching experience, 24 of which have been in Howard County. He is currently teaching at Folly Quarter Middle and Marriotts Ridge High School. He is also the program coordinator of all Howard County GT/Honors music programs. In addition to his responsibilities in Howard County, Dr. Walls has served as President of the Maryland Orchestra Director’s Association and as Manager of the Senior All-State Orchestra. He has also served as the Chairperson for the Orchestra Festival List for the State of Maryland. Furthermore, He is highly sought after as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician throughout the East coast. As a violinist, Dr. Walls has performed with Altoona Symphony, Baltimore Opera, Baltimore Philharmonia, Charleston Symphony, Gettysburg Symphony, Huntington Chamber Orchestra, Maryland Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, and Youngstown Symphony. Dr. Walls holds degrees in music from West Virginia University and Boston University and a technology degree from Loyola University of Maryland.

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