Ron Smith, Director of Bands, is currently serving in his eighteenth year as a member of the Van Buren Instrumental Music Department staff. A graduate of Alma (AR) High School, Mr. Smith holds a B.S.E. degree from the University of Arkansas as well as a M.Ed. degree from the University of Arkansas. Before accepting a position in the Van Buren School District, Mr. Smith conducted championship bands for eight years in the state of Oklahoma, consistently receiving accolades on the state and regional level.
While serving as the Director of Bands for the Van Buren Schools, Mr. Smith has added to the long and proud tradition of performance excellence that the Van Buren Instrumental Music Program is synonymous with throughout the state and region - including numerous marching band caption awards, class championships and overall championships, as well as the addition of 12 ASBOA Sweepstakes Awards to a legacy that spans more than thirty years consecutively.
Mr. Smith has served as the staff music arranger for numerous high school and university marching bands throughout the United States. Mr. Smith is also an active clinician, adjudicator and consultant throughout the southwest United States serving bands in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, California and New Mexico. Mr. Smith's professional affiliations include ASBOA, ABA, OMEA, OBA, MENC, and Phi Beta Mu.
This year Mr. Smith will be celebrating his twenty-sixth year of marriage to his extremely wonderful and supportive wife Stephanie Everitt-Smith, PhD. The Smith's have two wonderful children – Dylan (16) and Bailey (13).
Dustin Chambers is a 1994 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. Mr. Dustin Chambers taught for the Collinsville School District (OK) until 1999, when he accepted the position of Director of Percussion Studies for the Van Buren School District. In 2009 Mr. Chambers accepted the position as the Assistant Band Director for Van Buren High School while also remaining as the Percussion Director for the district grades 6 through 12.
During his tenure at VBHS, the drum line has won many awards for outstanding drum line at the Arkansas Open Marching contest, the Arkansas Governor's Cup Marching Contest, The Northwest Arkansas Marching Classic contest, and most recently at Renegade Review in Tulsa, OK. The high school percussion ensemble has performed at the Arkansas Day of Percussion at the University of Arkansas.
Mr. Chambers frequently serves as an adjudicator for marching contests in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Currently he has been performing with the Fort Smith Symphony. Mr. Chambers is also a staff percussion arranger/composer for Jair Klarfeld Music. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, the Vic Firth Education Team and an endorser of Evans Drumheads. Mr. Chambers plays drumset in the Grand Family Orchestra at Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Smith.
He is married to his wonderful wife Stacey and they have 2 children, Ariana and Davis.
Brad Reeves is in his 9th year as a member of the Van Buren Band Staff. Prior to coming to Van Buren, he served as the high school director for the Mansfield Public Schools (AR) and middle school director for the Cedarville Public Schools (AR). He holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Education from Arkansas Tech University. Mr. Reeves conducts the Van Buren Freshman Academy Wind Ensemble and has directed the Freshman Academy Symphonic Band & co-directed the Van Buren High School Wind Ensemble during his tenure. He serves as the low brass specialist for grades 6-12 in the Van Buren Public Schools as well as works with all aspects of the visual & musical design and implementation of the Pointer Pride Marching Band. During his time on staff, the Van Buren Pointer Pride Marching Band was the 2019 Arkansas State Marching Runner-Up & the 2017, 2018, & 2020 Arkansas State Marching Champions. The Van Buren concert bands were also the 2017 & 2020 Arkansas State Honor Band.
Mr. Reeves frequently serves as an adjudicator and guest clinician throughout Arkansas and holds professional membership in ASBOA, ABA, AASCD, and Phi Beta Mu.
He currently resides in Van Buren with his wife Crystal, who is the band director at Northridge Middle School in Van Buren, his 10-year-old daughter Avril Kay, who is a fifth grader at Oliver Springs Elementary, and his 5-year-old daughter Harper Leigh, who is a kindergartner at Oliver Springs Elementary. When not at school, Mr. Reeves enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on the hogs, and playing in the orchestra at Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Smith.
Brent Evans is in his third year as a member of the Van Buren Band Staff, joining the team after spending the past 5 years as a band director at Ramsey Junior High & Southside High Schools in Fort Smith (AR). Prior to coming to Arkansas, Mr. Evans spent 18 years directing bands in the State of Oklahoma where his bands were consistent OSSAA Sweepstakes winners.
Mr. Evans holds a degree in Instrumental Music Education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK. As a member of the Van Buren Band Staff, Mr. Evans co-directs the Van Buren High School Concert band, coordinates the Van Buren High School Jazz program, directs the Butterfield Trail Middle School 7th grade band, assists with the Pointer Pride Marching Band, teaches beginning trumpet, & works with Van Buren Freshman Academy Bands in all aspects of performance & player development.
Mr. Evans is a member of Phi Beta Mu, OBA, ABA, ASBOA, & past-president of the Eastern Oklahoma Band Directors Association. He firmly believes teaching music at any level to be a ministry.
He currently resides in Sallisaw, OK with his wife of 28 years, Carol who teaches 1st grade at Liberty Elementary in Sallisaw. The Evans's also have 3 children, Hayden (25) who is an electrician for Lowder Brothers in Fort Smith, AR, daughter Haleigh (21) Senior Public Relations Major at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK and Hope (19) a freshman at Oklahoma Christian University majoring in Vocal Music Education. They also are blessed with a beautiful daughter-in-law Jamie and their precious granddaughter Roseleigh. (15 months)
Julie Konzelman is in her 21st year of teaching. Julie is a 2010 graduate of Arkansas Tech University (M.Ed., Teaching, Learning and Leadership). She also holds a degree from the University of North Texas (M.M., Flute Performance) and is a 1985 graduate of Arkansas Tech University (B.A., Music Education). She is an active flute clinician and also serves as a mentor for new teachers throughout the state. She earned her National Board Certification in 2005 and was awarded a renewal in 2015.
Julie currently teaches 8th Grade Band at Butterfield Trail Middle School in Van Buren, Arkansas. She also team-teaches with colleagues and provides flute instruction for the Van Buren Band program. Ms. Konzelman previously held performing positions with the Fort Smith Symphony, the Altoona Orchestra, the Nittany Valley Symphony, and served as a Master flute teacher with the Victoria Conservatory of Music in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Ms. Konzelman is a member of ASBOA, ABA, and Phi Beta Mu. Julie also holds leadership offices in ASBOA and ABA.
Julie is married to Charles Konzelman and has a daughter, Carly, who is attending Baylor-Texas A&M College of Dentistry and a son, Alex, who is a student at the University of Arkansas.
Crystal Reeves is the Band Director at Northridge Middle School in Van Buren. Prior to coming to Van Buren, she served as the band director at Clarksville Junior High in Clarksville (AR). She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Arkansas Tech University and is a National Board Certified Teacher (2017). Mrs. Reeves is currently working on her Master of Education through Arkansas Tech University.
Mrs. Reeves serves as the single reed specialist for the Van Buren Public Schools teaching clarinet, saxophone, & low reeds throughout the district. She considers her own clarinet teachers, Mr. Earl Allain and Dr. Kelly Johnson as some of her greatest influences.
In 2017, the Northridge Middle School 8th grade band was selected as a featured performing group at the ArkMEA State Convention. Mrs. Reeves has served as a guest clinician throughout Arkansas and holds professional membership in ASBOA, ABA, and Phi Beta Mu.
She currently resides in Van Buren with her husband Brad, who is a band director at Van Buren High School, her 10-year-old daughter Avril Kay, who is a fifth grader at Oliver Springs Elementary, and her 5-year-old daughter Harper Leigh, who is a kindergartner at Oliver Springs Elementary. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family and enjoying all things Disney.
Jacob Lehman is the newest member of the Van Buren Band Staff. Mr. Lehman is a 2011 graduate of Van Buren High School and a 2015 graduate of Arkansas Tech University. While at Arkansas Tech, Mr. Lehman served as the field conductor for the Arkansas Tech Marching Band and was principal flutist for the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mr. Lehman also earned the prestigious Alfred J. Crabaugh Award, recognizing him as the outstanding male student at Arkansas Tech.
Prior to joining the Van Buren Band Staff Mr. Lehman served as the Band Director at Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, AR. While at Shiloh Christian, the band earned numerous accolades in both marching band and concert band. Most notably, the Shiloh Christian Marching Band was named the Class 3A Silver Medalist at the 2019 Arkansas State Marching Championship.
Mr. Lehman is celebrating 5 years of marriage with his wife Rachel (formerly Rachel LeDat), also a proud alum of the Van Buren Band program. While at Van Buren High School Rachel was a 3 time All-State Clarinet player. Rachel has recently graduated from the University of Arkansas with a PhD in Mathematics. We are thrilled to have Mr. and Mrs. Lehman “RE” join our Van Buren Band family and know they will be a wonderful addition to our school district and community!
Kaitlyn Craven is a 2020 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. During her time at the U of A, Ms. Craven studied flute with Catalina Ortega and served as a drum major for the Razorback Marching Band. She also has two seasons of experience playing the mellophone with Drum Corps International marching with Pioneer & The Academy. Ms. Craven is excited to join the Van Buren Band team at Butterfield Trail Middle School where she will direct the 7th grade band and assist with all aspects of player development grades 6-12 in the Van Buren School District.
In her free time, Ms. Craven enjoys singing and calling the hogs. She is also a Disney enthusiast and wrote her honors thesis on the music produced by the Walt Disney Company.
Colleen O'Connor joined the Van Buren Band Staff in 2019 and serves as the Director of Colorguard Activities for the Van Buren Public Schools. A native of St. Louis, MO, Ms. O’Connor has performed with the Lindbergh High School Colorguard in front of a televised audience of over 47 million viewers at the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. and has also performed with the 300 member Pride of Missouri State Marching Band while serving as the captain of their 80 member colorguard. Ms. O’Connor brings an extensive resume of Winter Guard International World Championship performance experience with both the Pride of Missouri State Independent ‘Open’ class winter guard and the National Avenue Independent ‘A’ class winter guard.
Ms. O'Connor also serves as a Culinary Arts teacher for the Van Buren High School. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. When she has free time, she loves to curl up on the couch with her dog and watch movies on Netflix, finding new hiking trails, or visiting her family in St. Louis.