Travis Barzee Director of Bands: Director of the Marching Eagles, Director of the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band, Director of Eagle Jazz Ensemble, Program Administrator
Mr. Barzee is the Director of Bands at Grain Valley High School where he oversees all aspects of the nationally recognized band program. Mr. Barzee teaches the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, AP Music Theory, Music Appreciation, assists with the Symphonic Band, and leads the Grain Valley Marching Eagles. At North Middle School, he teaches 6th grade brass and assists with the 7th grade bands.
Mr. Barzee is in his 5th year in the Grain Valley School District and his second year as director of bands in 2021-22. He graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2017, studying euphonium with Kansas City Symphony principal trombonist Mr. Roger Oyster, and music education with Dr. Scott Lubaroff. Mr. Barzee is an active drill writer, visual consultant, choreographer, and private euphonium teacher. He is also active in the drum corps community, having marched 3 seasons with the Cavaliers (2010-12), aging out with the Blue Devils (2013), going on to teach at The Academy (2015) and Santa Clara Vanguard (2016-present). Travis and his wife Marisa live in Blue Springs with their two labs named Puppy and Violet.
Shane Batchelor Director of Percussion: Front Ensemble/Battery coordinator of the Marching Eagles, Director of 3 HS Percussion Ensembles, MS Percussion coordinator
Shane Batchelor coordinates all percussion activities for Grain Valley Bands. He leads the marching percussion ensemble for the Grain Valley Marching Eagles, and conducts three ability-based percussion ensembles at GVHS. Mr. Batchelor also teaches the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade percussion classes at South Middle School and leads the Middle School Drumline. The 2021-22 school year is his third year serving Grain Valley Schools.
Mr. Batchelor grew up in St. Charles, MO and graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2015 under the tutelage of Dr. Julia Gaines and Dr. Megan Arns. He has served as a percussion instructor and arranger for schools and universities across Missouri and has served on the educational teams for DCI and WGI ensembles. Mr. Batchelor has a diverse performance background with marching percussion, wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, entertainment groups, and solo performances. Mr. Batchelor has earned honors and awards competing as a solo marimbist, while his most notable experiences include performing with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, the Ruff Drags, and the MU Percussion Ensemble. Mr. Batchelor is proud to endorse Innovative Percussion and is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society.
Josh Farris Associate Director of Bands: Director of Bands at North Middle School, Middle School Bands coordinator, Marching Eagles Battery instructor.
Mr. Farris is the Director of Bands at North Middle School, where he conducts the 6th grade woodwind class, the 7th and 8th grade concert bands, and all percussion classes. He also facilitates the recruitment and enrollment process for all 5th grade students in the district each Spring.
Additionally, Mr. Farris assists with the percussion section of the Grain Valley Marching Eagles, and instructs the Middle School Drumline.
Prior to his time in Grain Valley, Mr. Farris worked as a percussion instructor at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri from 2007 to 2012. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in music education from Missouri State University, studying under Dr. Belva Prather and Dr. Guy Webb. Mr. Farris is a member of MMEA, NAfME, NEA, PAS, and has served as assistant percussion coordinator for MCCGA. He lives in Blue Springs with his wife, Megan, and son, Charlie.
Molly Batchelor Associate Director of Bands: Marching Eagles Woodwind coordinator, Director of Middle School Jazz Bands, Director of Bands at South Middle School.
Mrs. Batchelor is the Director of Bands at South Middle School, where she teaches 7th and 8th grade concert bands and 6th grade woodwind classes. She also teaches the Symphonic Band at the High School and assists with the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. In addition, Mrs. Batchelor coordinates all Jazz activities in the Grain Valley Middle School bands, and assists with the Grain Valley Marching Eagles.
Mrs. Batchelor grew up in Collinsville, IL and studied music education at Missouri State University, where she earned a degree in Music Education with a performance diploma distinction in 2014 under Dr. Jill Heyboer. She recently graduated with her Master of Music Education in 2021 from Missouri State University. Molly has 7 years of teaching experience, serving as an assistant director at Willard Public Schools for 5 years and beginning her third year in Grain Valley. Molly also currently serves as the principal flutist of the Heart of America Winds based out of Kansas City, Missouri, and maintains a flute studio in the Grain Valley area.
Casey VanBiber Assistant Director: Casey VanBiber is joining the Grain Valley band staff as an assistant director, serving as a brass specialist with the Marching Eagles, and teaching at South Middle School and North Middle School.
Mr. VanBiber is a Blue Springs native, growing up in the Blue Springs School District and graduating from Blue Springs High School in 2003. After high school, Mr. VanBiber attended Missouri State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education. While at Missouri State University, Mr. VanBiber was principal euphonium in the wind ensemble, a member of the jazz band, a drum major with the Missouri State Pride Marching Band, and was a marching member in the euphonium section with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. VanBiber has 13 years of teaching experience, serving as an assistant director at Blue Springs South High School, director of bands at Moreland Ridge Middle School, and most recently, director of bands at Delta Woods Middle School. Outside of teaching, Mr. VanBiber enjoys spending time with his wife, Angela, and his two daughters, Charlotte and Amelie.
Chris McDonald Color Guard Director: Marching Eagles Color Guard coordinator, GVHS Junior Varsity and MS Color Guard coordinator, Sni-A-Bar Elementary K-5 Music Teacher
Mr. McDonald is the K-5 music teacher at Sni-a-Bar Elementary School, and is the Director of the Color Guard program for Grain Valley Bands. Mr. McDonald has been a part of the Color Guard program at Grain Valley since 2015 and has been the director since 2017. In the Fall, he serves as the program director in charge of the Color Guard program. In the Winter, Mr. McDonald is program director, the junior varsity Winter Guard coach and assists with the Middle School Winter Guard.
Mr. McDonald started his Color Guard career as a member of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. Since then, he has worked as a clinician, coach, and choreographer across Missouri and Kansas in districts such as Savannah, Lees Summit, Odessa and Blue Valley.
He is happy to call the Grain Valley School District his full-time home as he has taught elementary music in the district since 2012. Mr. McDonald has received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, MO, a master in Arts Degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Baker University in Baldwin City, KS and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. He loves the city and the district dearly as he has lived in Grain Valley for over 30 years and graduated high school from Grain Valley in 2002.
Araya Penfield Assistant Color Guard Director: Marching Eagles Color Guard Assistant, Coordinator of GVHS Varsity Winter Guard, GVHS Special Education Teacher
Miss Penfield is currently a Special Education Teacher at the High School, teaches the Color Guard class for the Marching Eagles, and coordinates the Varsity Winter Guard. Additionally, she helps with the technique, choreography, and show design of the MS and Junior Varsity Winter Guard programs during their respected seasons. As of Fall 2021, Miss Penfield is beginning her 6th year with the program. Miss Penfield is an alumna of Grain Valley High School where she participated in the Color Guard and Winter Guard, 2010-2013. She continued her education at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (2013-2019), where she graduated with degrees in Political Science and History in December 2019. While attending UMKC she was able to perform and compete with the University of Central Missouri Marching Mules and Winter Guard during the 2015-2016 seasons. Miss Penfield is currently working towards her Masters in Special Education through Missouri State University.
GVME Technician Staff
Jesse Arnold - Battery Katie Bohannon - Color Guard Abby Bowser - Mellophones Nyemah Etienne - Color Guard Brooke Florida - Front Ensemble Arien Frye - Color Guard Marie Hall - Visual Hailey Huerter - Visual Austin Hawkins - Low Brass Sarah Malot - Color Guard Andy Reyes - Battery Sara Rios - Color Guard Katelyn Rusert - Trumpets Christopher Smith - Clarinets Aaron Wallace - Front Ensemble Kevin Wanner - Trumpets Charlie Welch - Visual