John Keith | Director of Bands
John has been the Director of Bands at Millard West High School since the fall of 2002. His responsibilities include directing the Varsity Marching Band, the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I and co-directing the Junior Varsity Marching Band and Concert Band. In addition to his directing responsibilities, John teaches Music Connections (History of American Popular Music), Music Theory, A.P. Music Theory, and is the Music Department Chair. John also served as President for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA).
Prior to moving to Omaha, John taught at Pekin Community High School in Pekin, Illinois for eleven years. While teaching in Illinois, John was active at both the District and State levels of the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA), serving as the District IV Jazz Chairman and the All-State Jazz Band Chair, judging percussion auditions for the student All-State Ensembles, presenting at the IMEA Convention (as a member of the Rhythm City Percussion Ensemble), and Guest Conducting the District II Junior High Jazz Band.
John received his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1990) and his Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Western Illinois University (2000). John’s professional memberships include NSBA, NMEA, NAfME, and PAS.
A native of Decatur, Illinois, John currently resides in Omaha with his wife Tracy and their children Tyler and Kelsey.
Byron Braasch | Assistant Director of Bands
Byron is the Assistant Director of Bands at Millard West High School. Prior teaching experience includes twenty-five years as a high school director including nineteen years as Director of Bands at Bellevue West High School. He spent eight years as the Director of Bands at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Bellevue and as the District 6-12 Instrumental Coordinator. He holds both a Masters and Bachelor of Music in Education degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Byron is a Past President of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association and has also served two terms as their Marching Band Chairman. In addition he has served as the Chair of Band Affairs for the Nebraska Music Educators Association.
Mr. Braasch was inducted into the Nebraska Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in 2015. Byron received the National Federation Interscholastic Music Association Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2008. He received the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and the Donald Lentz Outstanding Bandmaster Award in 2005. Byron was recognized in the December 2005 issue of the School Band and Orchestra Magazine as “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” representing the state of Nebraska. He received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence in 2005 and 2010, along with the Citation For Marching Band Excellence in 1998. Byron was awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor award by the John Philip Sousa Foundation at the 2002 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Ill. He was one of the first recipients of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Jack R. Snider Young Band Director Award. Byron was recognized as a “Champion For Children” in the Bellevue Public Schools.
Byron is an active arranger, drill writer, clinician, adjudicator, and conductor in the Midwest region. Byron’s professional affiliations include: Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, Nebraska Music Educators Association, Bellevue Education Association, and the Phi Beta Mu Bandmaster Fraternity.