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Mark Richardson

Executive Director

Mark Richardson was born in Casa Grande, Arizona and later raised in Tempe, Arizona as a third generation Arizona music educator. After graduating from Corona del Sol High School, Mark attended Arizona State University where he studied trumpet under David Hickman, receiving a bachelor of music degree in music education.


In the year 2000, with the help of a small group of influential supporters, Mark founded the Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts. The Academy is a non-profit organization whose mission is “Building Great People Through Great Performances”. Since then, he has continued to serve as Executive Director and Corps Director of The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2006, Mark was awarded the Drum Corps International Division II Director of the Year award and The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps earned the Division II World Championship title. In 2016 The Academy advanced into the elite top 12 of the activity for the first time, earning Mark the Dr. Bernard Baggs Award for Outstanding Leadership. Currently, Mark is the Chairperson of the DCI Pacific Advisory Committee, serving its member organizations within the Pacific region.


Mark began instructing the marching band and concert ensembles at Corona del Sol High School in 1994 and served as Band Director from 2005-2007. Since 1998, Mark has served as design consultant and instructor for various high school band programs in Arizona. In 2009, Mark began working as an instructor with the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band under the direction of Mr. James G. Hudson and enjoys teaching at his alma mater here to this day.


Mark enjoys occasionally performing as a freelance trumpet player around the greater Phoenix area, and currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with his beautiful wife, Sarah, and three children, Matthew, Lucas, and Grace. 

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Jordan Nelson

Corps Director

Jordan Nelson brings a rich history in the marching and pageantry arts activities and has served as an educator, clinician, designer, and adjudicator for years.


His love for music began at a young age and soon found himself heavily involved in the marching arts. Jordan’s dedication and passion for marching band grew and flourished into an illustrative performance and educational career as he worked with bands and drum corps across the country including the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps (Canton, OH), Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps (Rockford, IL), The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps (Tempe, AZ), and Phenom Drum & Bugle Corps (Tempe, AZ).


Jordan currently serves as an Associate Faculty member at Arizona State University instructing the Sun Devil Marching Band, is on the brass education team at The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps, and is the current Corps Director and Brass Caption Head at Phenom Drum & Bugle Corps.


Jeff Whipple

Assistant Corps Director

Jeff began his performing arts career in Saint Charles, Missouri at Francis Howell North High School where he participated in Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Band, and Winter Drumline programs. Jeff’s performance background continued into college, Spending Three seasons in the Hawkeye Marching Band, and one full season performing as The University of Iowa’s mascot. Jeff also spent two summers marching with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps marching in both 2008 and aging out in 2010.


Jeff’s teaching experience began in 2013, joining on and serving as the Visual Caption Head for The Dowling Catholic High School Vanguard in Des Moines, Iowa through 2015. While with the Dowling program, the band received several accolades and awards from across the state. Additionally, Jeff spent the marching off season teaching a brass choir course at Dowling, with the group receiving Division One ratings every season.


In 2016, Jeff made the move out west, joining Mesa High School’s Marching Band staff as Visual Caption Head. During his first season with the group, Mesa received several awards throughout the season including a superior with distinction rating in Division One at the ABODA State Festival with visual emphasis, named AZMBA Class 3A State Champions, and earned the

distinction of a BOA- St. George Finalist. In both his second and third season, the band was named AZMBA Class 3A State champions and ABODA Division II State champions, taking home both the visual and music captions. In 2019, Mesa High School was crowned ABODA State Champions, again taking home the visual and general effect captions.


Additionally, Jeff has spent the past three seasons as the Visual Caption head for the Phenom. Recently appointed to Assistant Corps Director, Jeff is thrilled to serve in this capacity during Phenom’s inaugural year in Open Class!


Jeff is a sought after clinician across Arizona, working with multiple programs as a visual performance and design consultant. He is also a respected adjudicator for the AZMBA marching band circuit. Outside of his time spent with the performance arts, Jeff also works as a Manager, Client Success for


Jenny Alan

Business Manager

Jenny Alan currently serves as the Business Manager of the Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts. She comes from a background of arts administration, music production, and fundraising.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from Nebraska Wesleyan University and has worked with the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, Performers & Writers, Creighton University, and volunteered for many years with The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps while her son was a member.  She and her husband Todd have been blessed with five kids, Kyle, Brian, Julia, Lauren, and Daniel. 

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Lauren Scott

Member Advocate

Lauren Scott is a Phoenix-based music educator and dance maker. She is a graduate of Desert Vista High School and Arizona State University, where she studied music education and dance. In the spring of 2021, Lauren earned her Master's in Music Education from Arizona State University.


Throughout her career, she's had the privilege of performing with The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, Sun Devil Marching Band, Binary Theatre Company, and Breakthrough Indoor Percussion. Lauren continues to perform with Desert Echoes Flute Project based in Mesa, and the Tempe-based Grey Box Collective. She is passionate about providing creative outlets for young performers.


Performer mental health, physical mindfulness, and water breaks are some of her top priorities. In her free time, Lauren enjoys playing video games, painting, and blacksmithing.

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