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Meet Our Directors 

Jared Wacker is in his twenty-first year of directing bands. This will be his first year at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. Previously, Jared taught band at Kennedy High School, Harding Middle School, and Waterloo West High School.  He began his career at Anamosa High School. In the past, groups under Jared’s direction have consistently earned Division I ratings at concert band, jazz band, and marching band festivals. In 2015, the Kennedy Wind Symphony was invited to perform as the class 4A Honor Band at the Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference. In 2014 and 2019, that same group was selected to perform as one of the IBA conference clinic ensembles. Jared also coordinates and directs the Cedar Rapids Metro Area Youth Wind Ensemble, an ensemble consisting of the finest high school musicians from around the Cedar Rapids area.   

A native of Cedar Rapids, Jared holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Iowa State University and a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Jared is a member of the Iowa Bandmasters Association as well as the Northeast Iowa Bandmasters Association. He and his wife Angie reside in Robins, Iowa with their children Eli, Elianna, and Benjamin. 

Joel Nagel is in his seventh year as a music teacher at Washington High School, where he directs the jazz ensembles, conducts the second concert band, assists with the marching band, coordinates All-State audition preparation, and teaches Advanced Placement Music Theory. He is also in his seventh year as an adjunct instructor of low brass at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA).

Nagel earned a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He played lead trombone for the Downbeat award-winning UNC Jazz Lab 1 as well as the nationally renowned UNI Jazz Band One. In 2010, Nagel was a member of UNC’s Vanguard Combo, which was recognized as Downbeat magazine’s “Best College Jazz Small Group.”

Nagel has received individual awards as a jazz trombonist and as a composer. In 2010, he was a finalist for the International Trombone Association’s J.J. Johnson competition, and he was the winner of the National Jazz Solo Competition at the Eastern Trombone Workshop, hosted at Fort Myer in Washington, D.C. Nagel has been active as a composer and arranger for many of the ensembles in which he was a performer. His writing for UNC’s Vanguard Combo culminated with a 2010 Downbeat student music award for “Best Original Song” for his piece, Almost Just About.

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