Our hosts take us behind the scenes of the IMB. Watch the programs on the IMB YouTube Channel.
IMB Tailgate Host
Michael Barasch is the co-founder of CollegeMarching.com and Executive Producer of the hit digital documentary series Take The Field.
He started playing trumpet at the age of 6 and was accepted into the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts summer program at age 10, where he would perform for the next 7 years through high school. He continued his trumpet education under Anthony Pasquarelli, artist-lecturer emeritus in trumpet at Carnegie Mellon University.
After high school, Michael began his education as a journalism student at Penn State. He marched all four years as a member of the trumpet section and performed in the Orange Bowl, Outback Bowl, Alamo Bowl and Rose Bowl. His senior year Michael was honored as a section leader of the trumpet section and was elected as Vice President of the Blue Band. After college Michael performed one season with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic.
Michael comes from a family of marchers with his father and brother having also marched at Penn State while his sister marched at the University of Pittsburgh. He now resides in Austin, Texas, where he moved to in 2012, after merging his education in journalism with his love for marching band to create CollegeMarching.com.
IMB Tailgate and Roundtable Host
Brian J. Coon is an Arizona State University graduate and alumni of the Sun Devil Marching Band under the direction of James G. Hudson. Brian majored in Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentrating in Business & Biology. Brian currently works in transportation logistics with Amazon in Tracy, California, and works as the Director of Granite Bay High School’s color guard program along with being a Brand Manager for Guard Closet. Brian has consulted, directed, and choreographed for numerous groups around the country such as: In Motion Performance Ensemble, West Broward High School, Gilbert High School, Relentless World, The Black Watch, Williams Field HS, and many more. Brian aspires to reach corporate levels at Amazon with a passion for supply chain management and people. As a performer, Brian performed with the Sacramento Mandarins in 2011 and won four Drum Corps International World Championships with the Concord Blue Devils before aging out in 2017. Brian performed on scholarship all four years at Arizona State University in the color guard of the Sun Devil Marching Band along with the World Class winter guard FeniX Independent from ASU. College marching band is one of the highlights of Brian’s career, and he is ecstatic to be co-hosting behind-the-scenes videos for this incredible inaugural year of the Intercollegiate Marching Band.
IMB Tailgate and Roundtable Host
Lexi Duda, born and raised in Maryland as a competitive baton twirler, is known as a multitime national and World Champion as well as a Maryland Feature Twirler Alumni. She grew up competing on Wheaton Dance Twirl Teams as well as individually since the moment she could walk. Over the last 21 years of competing, she has won more than 20 national titles as well as 20 gold medals from numerous World Championships.
Duda not only had the opportunity to compete in more than 10 countries starting when she was 9, but she’s also taught throughout Europe and the United States. While recently retiring from competing, she still carries her passion for baton twirling as a coach for the Wheaton Dance Twirl Teams.
While attending the University of Maryland she was the Feature Twirler performing at basketball games, football games, gymnastics/wrestling events and even a bowl game with the Mighty Sound of Maryland. In the past year, she graduated from UMD with a bachelors in broadcast journalism and began her new journey in Baltimore, Maryland, working as a news editor for Fox 45 News.
Barry L Houser
IMB Tailgate Host
Barry L. Houser is Associate Director of Bands, Director of the Marching Illini, Director of the Fighting Illini Athletic Bands, and Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
His responsibilities include conducting a variety of concert ensembles, the overall administration of the Athletic Bands consisting of the Volleyball Band, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Bands, and serving as the Director of the Nation’s Premiere College Marching Band – the 375-member Marching Illini. He teaches undergraduate courses in instrumental conducting, marching band procedures, and other courses within the School of Music. Professor Houser’s teaching experience encompasses both extensive public school and university experiences.
Previously, Houser served as Acting Director of Bands, Associate Director of Bands, and Director of Athletic Bands at Eastern Illinois University. A native of Indiana, he was Director of Bands and Performing Arts Director at NorthWood High School, NorthWood Middle School and three elementary schools in Nappanee, Indiana, where his bands developed a reputation of fine musicianship with state and national recognition. Prior to NorthWood, Houser served as the Assistant Director of Bands at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida.
Bands under Houser’s direction have performed throughout the world including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on eight occasions, the NBC Today Show, a variety of NFL halftime shows, Music for All events, two tours of Ireland and the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and performances with Maynard Ferguson, the Dallas Brass, Gregg Potter of the Buddy Rich Band, the Canadian Brass, and Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other performances include the ISSMA State Marching Finals, the Indiana Music Educators Association State Convention, the Indianapolis 500 Parade, Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, Outback Bowl, Hollywood Christmas Parade, and the Washington, D.C. National Memorial Day Parade.
Houser is in frequent demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, and has presented clinics throughout the United States in both the marching and concert band mediums. He has served on the staff of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Mass Band, and currently serves as the Artistic Director for the Bob Rogers Travel Thanksgiving Parade of Bands as part of Walt Disney World. Houser is a contributing author for the marching band textbook “The System” as well as several editions of the “Teaching Music through Performance in Band” series. Professor Houser served on the Board of Directors for the National Band Association serving as state chair, North Central Division chair, and College/University representative. He currently serves as chair of the College Band Directors National Association Athletic Band Committee, as well as President and Head Clinician of the Smith Walbridge Clinics, one of the pioneer marching band & leadership camps in the country established in 1949.
Houser holds professional memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, NAfME, Golden Key National Honor Society, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi International Band Fraternity, Honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is an elected member of Phi Beta Mu, the international bandmasters fraternity. Professor Houser has been recognized by the Indiana General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives, is the recipient of the Indianapolis Star Academic All-Star Award, the WNDU Channel 16 Excellence in Education Award, Urbana Rotary Vocational Achievement Award, Outstanding Philanthropy Award from the East Central Illinois Association of Fundraising Professionals, and was recently honored as one of Chicagoland’s Outstanding Music Educator Awards by Quinlan and Fabish.
Barry L. Houser is a Yamaha Master Educator and an educational consultant for Ultimate Drill Book!
IMB Tailgate Host
Moises Martinez is from Hollywood, Florida, and graduated from McArthur High school in 2017. He currently is a senior at Florida A&M University where he is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and minor in Political Science. He is the House Manager for one of the three scholarship houses on FAMU’s campus for the Southern Scholarship Foundation in Tallahassee, Florida. He also serves as the Head Drum Major for The Incomparable Marching 100. Moises had begun marching in the band in 2017 in the Euphonium Section.
IMB Roundtable Host
Erika Plez was born in Norfolk, Virginia. As a child, she started dance between the ages 5 and 6. She started her marching arts career doing Jazz and Ballet dance. In the 8th grade, she moved to New Jersey and found her passion for Color Guard. She went to Washington Township High School in Sewell, New Jersey, where she began her color guard career during her sophomore year by joining the Township Marching Band and the Township Mirage Indoor Guard. She became Captain of the color guard her senior year. During her first year of guard, she joined Drum Corps at Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corp in 2011. She stayed there from ages 15 to 21 and was color guard captain for her last three seasons. She went to Wesley College, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Criminal Justice. She also completed graduate school in Criminal Justice from Wesley College. She lives in Delaware and works for a Registered Agent Company called COGENCY GLOBAL INC.
While in college, she marched with AMP Winter Guard Open Class in 2017 and AMP World Class in 2018 and 2019. She teaches AMP A and Open Guards as well as the color guard at Shawnee High School in Medford, New Jersey. This year, she started her own personal color guard channel called Color Guard With Plezzz! She also has a YouTube show on STYLEPLUS TV called “Beyond The Color.” Both of these channels have opened so many doors but also keep her involved in color guard, even in Corona times. She is so happy to be on board and cannot wait to see what is in store!
You can follow me on Instagram at @erika_plez
IMB Tailgate Host
Jeremy is a graduate of West Chester University and a former member of the Field of View World Class Colorguard. He went on to work on large parades and events. After many years of selling costumes, flags, and accessories he decided to expand his reach. Jeremy and his husband Chris purchased Guard Closet in hopes of bringing together a place where all groups, regardless of budget, can have amazing products.
Guard Closet will continue to bring the great consignment items to the groups that need it. Guard Closet will also expand its new product offerings including custom shows and educational programming. Unlimited Orange, the parent company to Guard Closet, will continue its work providing marketing and social media services to the Marching Arts.