The Marching Band Staff

The marching band is led by gifted leaders and musicians who are concerned not only with the musical skills of each band member, but with how they develop as people; their character and heart. 

 
 
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Peter Guenther

Director

Mr. Peter Guenther is in his sixteenth year as Director of Bands at Owatonna High School. Previous to this position he was the director of junior and senior high bands at Lake City High School from 1993 to 2001. At Owatonna High School,Mr. Guenther conducts three concert bands, the marching band, and jazz ensemble.

He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Winona State University.

In 2010, he was honored by his colleagues as Owatonna Teacher of the Year.

In December of 2013, he co-presented a session on electroacoustic music at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. He has participated in collaborative efforts with numerous colleges in the midwest, as well as with composers John Zdechlik, J. Robert Hanson, Daniel Kallman, Samuel R. Hazo, Johan de Meij, Steven Bryant, and Alex Shapiro.

He is currently a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the National Band Association, the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the Minnesota Band Directors Association, and Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity.

Mr. Guenther currently conducts the Owatonna Community Band and Owatonna Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, the community of Owatonna honored him as the recipient of the Owatonna Community Arts Award. He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor in the state of Minnesota. Mr. Guenther enjoys golfing, running, camping, fishing and spending quality time with his wife Holly and their five children, Carly, Ryan, Brandon, Max and Evan.

Mr. Guenther loves music, teaching kids, and making a difference. He says, “The Owatonna High School Marching Band is always a journey, full of challenge, success, and personal growth for myself, our staff and our students. We never stop learning, and we always take great pride in our team.”

Email Pete Guenther

See the peach

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Ethan Wightkin

Assistant Band Director

Ethan is a 5th and 6th grade band and orchestra teacher in Austin MN. Prior to moving to southern Minnesota, Ethan lived in the cities for two years where he taught music in a metro area charter school. In 2014, Ethan graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, his home state. As a trumpet player, Ethan currently plays with the Southern Minnesota Real Big band, and the Austin Symphony.

In the world of marching arts, Ethan has marched with the 2012 Bluecoats and the 2007 Glassmen drum and bugle corps. He also marched with his college marching band, the Kutztown University Marching Unit.

This is Ethans second year working with the Owatonna Marching Band. This past winter, Ethan also helped with the visual design for Owatonna's first winter percussion ensemble. As a marching band instructor, Ethan previously worked as a brass/visual instructor with the 728 Cadets, and when he lived in Pennsylvania, the Dieruff High School Marching Band, and the Kutztown University Marching Unit.

As a music educator, Ethan's main goal is to help students become great people through music. He aims to build positive, respectful, and collaborative atmospheres in the groups he works with.

Outside of the world of music and marching, Ethan enjoys biking and cheering for the Baltimore Orioles. Go O's!

Ethan lives in Owatonna with his wife Amy who is also a band director in the area.

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Zach Miller

Woodwinds

Zach's bio will be posted soon. More of Zach's clever antics can be found here.

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Nick Liebl

Brass

Nicholas Liebl is an OHS Marching Band alum, and attends the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, where is working towards Masters of Music Degree in Tuba Performance with internationally recognized virtuoso euphonium and tuba artist, Dr. Benjamin Pierce.

As a Graduate Assistant, he teaches tuba and euphonium lessons, as well as music history courses. In the Fall of 2018, he will be the interim instructor of tuba at the University of Arkansas and will work with the Razorback Marching Band as an assistant. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. In Wisconsin was the principal tuba player of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra and performed with BASSically BRASS as well as the Clearwater Brass Quintet.

He won third prize in the Glenn Miller Society Solo Competition in 2013 and in 2016 he won the UWEC Symphony Band Concerto Competition and performed the Roland Szentpali Tuba Concerto. Liebl spent the spring semester of 2015 at the University of North Texas, where he had the privilege of studying with Mr. Don Little.

After initially studying with late Dr. Jeffery Hodapp, formerly of Emporia, Kansas, and Dr. Paul Niemisto in high school, his undergraduate studies have been with Dr. Jerry Young at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. He has had additional studies with Minnesota Orchestra principal tuba player, Steve Campbell. He won a position with the United States Navy Band Program in the fall of 2017, performs with the graduate tuba – euphonium CRIXUS and performed with the Arkansas BrassWorks BrassBand in their second-place performance at the Dublin City Brass Band Festival in Ohio, as Solo Eb bass.

He is a proud member of ITEA, the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, and has contributed and collaborated in numerous articles published by the ITEA Journal.

He has also participated in masterclasses from world renown brass musicians such as Randy Hawes of the Detroit Symphony and Oystein Baadsvik, acclaimed international tuba soloist.

Liebl has enjoyed teaching marching band in Minnesota during summers and is excited to get back to work with the team…

The best steel is forged from the hottest fire, let’s light this season up!

E-mail Nick Liebl

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Randy Zimmerman

Percussion

Randy has been with the Owatonna Marching Band program since 2012, as a percussion instructor and caption head. He also has worked with the Waseca Marching Jays since 2007, and two seasons with the Waseca Indoor Winter Drumline.

Randy also has a private lesson program for the Owatonna and Waseca area, focusing on rudimental percussion, and technique. Prior to instructing, Randy marched with the Waseca Marching Jays for 3 years, and Chops percussion for 3 seasons, under the direction of Richard “Butch” Dufault, and Michael P. Mayer.

Randy is an alumni of Waseca High School, and Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management and Business Administration. He and his wife have 4 children, and live in Waseca, MN, and Randy is a Residential Architect.

In his free time, he enjoys golf, wilderness camping, alpine skiing, fishing, hunting, traveling, playing guitar and piano, and definitely spending time with his own kids; watching all of their sports and activities, including football, hockey, wrestling, track and field, baseball, gymnastics, cheerleading, and of course, music.

Randy’s teaching philosophy and focus is building relationships, promoting self confidence and self responsibility, setting and achieving goals, and rewarding effort, attitude, and skill.

Email Randy Zimmerman

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Lee Sackett

Percussion

Lee Sackett joined the Owatonna Marching band program in 2017 as a percussion and front line instructor when his oldest daughter joined the band as one of the banner carriers in the front line. He also has been known to occasionally pull the band trailer to and from parades with his big blue Ford F-650 pickup.

Lee has been teaching private percussion lessons since 1993. His goal is to develop well rounded percussionists who can play in all settings including band, orchestra, marching band, jazz ensembles, church groups, etc. He is currently the section leader and a board member of the Bloomington Medalist Concert Band, “one of the foremost community bands in the nation”. He also plays guitar, drums, and sings with the praise team at church. He has also performed recently with the Kenwood (Minneapolis) Symphony Orchestra, Owatonna Community Orchestra, Owatonna Community Band, and the Austin Big Band.

Lee graduated from Bloomington Jefferson High School where he participated in the concert bands, marching band, hockey pep band, and the show choir band. He also had a successful rock band in high school. Lee earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. While working on his Major, he also earned a minor in music. Lee performed with the UMD Wind Ensemble, Jazz Big Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Choir, Guitar Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. He also taught private percussion lessons and performed in the Duluth area with the Twin Ports Wind Ensemble and several other groups/organizations.

Lee and his wife, Shannon, have three daughters who all share Lee’s love of music. They also share a love for the outdoors, science, and…antique tractors! In 2002, Lee started Lee J. Sackett, Inc., a premiere antique tractor and vehicle restoration company that now boasts 20 employees, shops in Minnesota and Iowa, and customers from all over the USA. In the summer when the Sackett family isn’t doing something musical, you might find them “playing” with antique machinery.