Mr. Zachary Fruits - Director of Bands
Zachary Fruits is a native of Columbia, Missouri where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Performance Diploma (clarinet) from Missouri State University. Mr. Fruits has taught public schools in both Missouri and Colorado, where he has developed award-winning concert, marching, and jazz bands.
In 2015, Mr. Fruits received a Master's Degree in Wind Conducting from Colorado State University, serving as a graduate assistant with the CSU Marching Band, the basketball pep bands, and as director of the Presidential Pep Band. In addition, he served as guest conductor of the Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Band, and the Concert Band. Under his direction, the Colorado State University’s new music ensemble performed the world premiere of Kevin Olsen’s When I Am Silent, I Have Thunder Hidden Inside. During his time at CSU, he was selected to participate in the Frederick Fennell Memorial Conducting Workshop, hosted by the Eastman School of Music.
With the Rock Canyon Bands Mr. Fruits instructs and manages all aspects of a diverse music program which includes a symphonic band, concert band, jazz ensemble, pep band, color guard, a CBA competitive marching band, a musical pit orchestra, and digital music production classes. His pedagogical objectives involve providing young people with well-rounded musical experiences, inspiring excellence at the highest level.
Mr. Fruits’ conducting mentors include Dr. Rebecca Phillips, Dr. Belva Prather, and Professor Jerry Hoover. In addition, he has studied with Dr. Kevin Sedatole, Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Steven Davis, and Dr. Mark Scatterday. He has been a clinician throughout Missouri and Colorado and was guest conductor of the Springfield Community Band and CSU Pueblo University Band. As a clarinetist, Mr. Fruits won the Missouri State Concerto Competition in 2009 and performed Krommer’s Concerto for 2 Clarinets with the Missouri State Symphony. He has also performed internationally throughout Europe as Assistant Principal Clarinetist with the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project.
Mr. Fruits is a member of The Conductors Guild, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), National Band Association (NBA), Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA), and the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA). He also is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia National Music Fraternity and Kappa Kappa Psi National Band Service Fraternity.
Ms. Marguerite Sanford - Director of Color Guard
Marguerite Sanford is a native of Colorado Springs, CO, and has been involved in the Color Guard activity for over a decade. She has performed internationally with independent groups based in Colorado and has worked with multiple groups qualifying for WGI World Championships for multiple years, herself earning semifinalist and finalist commendations.
Ms. Sanford has been dancing with OPE (Oracle performance ensemble) since 2014, performing an array of different styles including jazz, modern, ballet, contemporary, and lyrical. She also has experience with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, recently performing in the opening ceremony of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain and the BK Alumni performance at "Drums Along the Rockies."
Ms. Sanford is passionate about her craft and strives to develop the future of the activity through teaching. Ms. Sanford has been involved in the Rock Canyon Bands Program since 2016.
Ms. Gina Bliss - Woodwind Specialist
Gina Bliss is a classically trained clarinetist who performs a wide range of musical works from classical to new music. Currently residing in Denver, Gina is an active performer and subs with local musical ensembles including Denver Philharmonic, Jefferson Symphony and the Colorado Wind Ensemble. She is also involved with musical theatre companies such as Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown, CO .
Gina has a well established and successful clarinet studio with students coming from all over the Colorado Front Range. Her students have placed first chair in Douglas County Honor bands, as well as in Cherry Creek Honor Band, Citywide, and Jeffco Honor Band. Students of Ms. Bliss have also continued on to colleges to pursue degrees in music.
In addition to her clarinet studio, Gina works with the Rock Canyon High School Marching Band and Horizon High School Marching Band as their Woodwind Coach. She also coaches woodwinds with several schools in Douglas County and several middle schools and high schools throughout the Colorado Front Range.
Gina holds a Masters’ Degree in Music Performance from the University of Denver and Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Northern Arizona University. Her primary teachers have included: Jeremy Reynolds, Abby Raymond, Jason Shafer, and John Masserini.
Mr. Ryan Crump - Brass Specialist
Mr. Ryan Crump - Brass Specialist
Ryan Crump is an active performer and educator from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Currently residing in Castle Rock, CO Ryan has performed with groups such as; Pueblo Symphony, Colorado Springs Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy Jazz Ensemble on Bass Trombone. He has had the pleasure of touring the country while performing with two of the country's premier DCI marching ensembles the Blue Knights and the Madison Scouts.
As an educator, Ryan has been an instructor for over a decade. He is currently the Brass and Visual Caption Head at Rock Canyon. Besides teaching marching band, Ryan has held various clinics and sectionals for schools in Southern Colorado. He has an active trombone studio, with former students making All-State and/or pursuing music in college. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and playing disc golf. He is extremely excited to be back teaching at Rock Canyon!