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Educational and Support Staff

Steve McKeithen

Director of Athletic Bands

Steve McKeithen is the Associate Director of Bands at California State University, Fresno, where he directs the Bulldog Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Bulldog Basketball Band, Bulldog Beat.


McKeithen recently completed a successful appointment as the Assistant Director of Bands at Northwestern State University, in Natchitoches, Louisiana. While at Northwestern State, he directed the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, and Magale Symphonic Band, as well as teaching conducting classes and select music education courses. The Spirit of Northwestern was also selected as an “Ensemble of Excellence” by the College Band Directors Association, Southern Division during the 2013 season as the result of a juried video submission.  


Mr. McKeithen is the former Director of Bands for Seguin High School and served as the Instrumental Music Coordinator for the Seguin Independent School District in Seguin, Texas.  Under his direction, the Seguin Band program was recognized for significant performances at Winter Guard International, Bands of America, Texas State Wind Ensemble Festival, Percussive Arts Society International Conference, UIL State Marching Contest, and at the Bands of America National Concert Band and Percussion Festival.


McKeithen completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting at Arizona State University, a Master of Science in Music Education and Conducting from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Florida. He was awarded the coveted Performer’s Certificate by the faculty for his study and performance on clarinet, was the principal clarinet for the Wind Ensemble, performed with the Faculty Woodwind Quintet, and premiered a solo for clarinet at the Society of Composer’s National Conference.


McKeithen was a performing member with Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps and has served on the brass staff of the Madison Scouts, Glassmen, and Spirit of Atlanta.  His professional affiliations include the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Band Directors National Association, California Band Directors Association, Louisiana Music Educators Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and the Central States Judging Association. Mr. McKeithen is an active designer, program consultant, clinician, curriculum consultant, conductor, and adjudicator of concert bands and marching bands.

Gary P. Gilroy

Director of Bands

Gary P. Gilroy is a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at California State University, Fresno where he has been teaching since 1993. Prior to this appointment Dr. Gilroy served as a high school band director.  He also served as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon where he completed his doctorate in 1995. 


In March of 2014 Dr. Gilroy was voted into the membership of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.  He has served on the board of California Band Directors Association for fourteen years and he is a Past President of that organization.  Gilroy is also a Past President of the Fresno Madera Counties Music Educators Association.


Dr. Gilroy is in demand as a guest conductor of many honor bands throughout the United States.  As an adjudicator and guest conductor he has served in 40 states, Canada, China and England.


An ASCAP award-winning composer, Dr. Gilroy has more than 150 publications for a variety of ensembles available from 11 different publishers.  His compositions have been featured at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the International Trombone Festival, and on many occasions at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.


Dr. Gilroy and his wife Dena have lived in Clovis, California since 1993.  His daughter, Alexandra, is a middle school band director and his son, Nicholas, is a freelance percussionist in the Los Angeles area.

Joseph Avery

Percussion Caption Head

Joseph Avery is a band director, percussion educator, composer/designer, and drill writer based in the San Joaquin Valley specializing in battery technique and percussion performance. Receiving his degree in Music Education from California State University, Fresno, he is a proud alumnus of the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band. Avery is currently the Associate Director of Bands for Buchanan High School in Clovis, California. He is also the Director of Percussion for the Buchanan High School area, which includes Alta Sierra Intermediate School and its six feeding elementary schools. Avery has worked, choreographed, written, designed, and taught for Clovis Unified School District, Madera Unified School District, and Fresno Unified School District, as well as been a consultant for a multitude of high schools and middle schools in the San Joaquin Valley. He has also served on the steering committee for San Joaquin Valley Color Guard and Percussion Review, the largest indoor marching circuit in Central California. Avery’s performance in the percussion community has taken place both outdoors and indoors with the Sacramento Freelancers Indoor, the Concord Blue Devils, and Carolina Crown.

Esperanza Tovar

Director of the BMB Guard

Esperanza Tovar has performed in and taught color guard for the past 13 years. Upon Graduating from Madera South High School, she went on to a 4-year career in Drum Corps International, which included: Vanguard Cadets, Mandarins, Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Devils, and Blue Devils International Corps. She also performed for four years with the Imbue, a world-class winter guard based out of Modesto, and two years with the Bulldog Marching Band. As a cast member of Blue Devils Entertainment, she has performed in the pre-game show of Super Bowl 50 and has taught color guard clinics in Guatemala, Mexico, Taiwan, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Tovar currently designs and instructs the high school and Jr. high feeder program in Selma Unified School District. During the summer, she assists in teaching various color guard clinics around the country with System Blue. As the Director of the BMB Guard Program, Esperanza is the primary instructor and designer and is excited to build a premier, collegiate guard program at Fresno State.

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