The Directors

David A. Leach

Director of Bands since 2002

David LeachDavid A. Leach has been Director of Bands at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School since 2002. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education at Eastern Michigan University, where he studied conducting with Professor Russell Reed and Dr. Max Plank. He began his teaching career at Ypsilanti High School
in 1988 and spent fourteen years there before coming
to Ann Arbor. He was appointed Chair of the Pioneer High School Performing Arts Department in 2006, and Fine Arts Department Chair in 2013.

Leach sustains the long tradition of quality performance and repertoire in the Pioneer Bands. During his eleven years at Pioneer, his Symphony and Concert Bands have received consistent top ratings at district and national festivals. His Symphony, Concert, and Jazz Bands have won overall festival championships at every national event entered. Leach wrote curriculum for and introduced a ninth-grade Jazz Lab, increased student numbers, and enhanced his students’ personal success in music with a high percentage of his graduates going on to study for careers in music education and performance. Under his baton, the Pioneer Symphony Band has performed twice at Carnegie Hall, the Mid-Europe Music Conference in Schladming Austria, and performed on tour in China. In 2014 the Pioneer Symphony was selected a New Music National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors project.

Mark of Excellence awardLeach has served on the executive board of MSBOA’s District XII as Secretary, Vice-President of Adjudication, Vice-President of Band & Orchestra, and is currently serving as President; He has been an active member since 1988. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and The American School Band Director’s Association. He has been included five times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. The University of Michigan chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia honored him in 2000 with the Pendleton Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in music education. He has been nominated four times for Disney’s American Teacher Award, and has received honors from the United States Marine Corps for sending his students to the Marine bands, including two to the Commandant’s Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C. He was the 2006 and 2010 MSBOA District XII Band Teacher of the Year. He has won the praise of international composers such as Michael Daugherty, Thomas Duffy, Alfred Reed, John W. Stout, Jan Van der Roost and others for his insightful conducting of their compositions. Mr. Leach has attended the Wind Conducting Symposium with John L. Whitwell and studied conducting with the University of Michigan Director of Bands Michael Haithcock, and Maestro Michael Adleson; former conductor with the New York Philharmonic.

Leach is a proud member of the Pioneer High School Music Department which has earned GRAMMY Signature School honors during his tenure there.
In 2002 and 2003, the department placed in the top 40 schools in
the nation. In 2004 and 2005, the department achieved GRAMMY Signature School Gold status as one of the top seven public high school music programs in the nation. In 2006 and 2011 the Pioneer Music Department was named the National GRAMMY Signature School as the number one public
high school music program in the nation, making it the first program ever honored twice by the GRAMMY Foundation.

Nancy Waring

Associate Director of Bands

Nancy WaringNancy Waring has worked with the bands at Pioneer High School since 1992. She has helped to produce the high level of performances for which the bands are known at music festivals and performances here in Michigan as well as Orlando, Chicago, Boston, New York, Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, Toronto, Orlando, Europe and Beijing and Tianjin, China.

During her tenure the Pioneer Music Department has been honored by the Grammy Foundation as The National GRAMMY Signature School, the most outstanding high school music department in the nation in 2006 and 2011. Pioneer was the first music department to ever receive this award two times. The department was also awarded Grammy Gold Signature School awards, one of the top seven high school music departments, in 2004 and 2005, and Grammy Signature School awards, one of the top fifty high school music departments, in 2002 and 2003.

Ms. Waring is included in the ninth edition of Who's Who Among America's Teachers, a listing of the best teachers in America selected by their students.

Ms. Waring's teachers include Roy Ernst, Larry Teal, Joseph Mariano, Keith Bryan, and Elizabeth A. H. Green. Ms. Waring was a flutist for two years in the U of M Symphony Band, under the direction of William D. Revelli. She is a graduate of The University of Michigan School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education (1971) and a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance (1972). She has performed as principal flutist and soloist with several orchestras in southeast Michigan. Before her appointment at Pioneer High School she was substitute flutist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. At present she freelances when time permits.

Ms. Waring has taught flute on the faculties of the University of Toledo and the Interlochen Arts Academy. She has maintained a private flute studio in the Ann Arbor area for over thirty years. Ms. Waring also wrote the proposal for, developed the course structure and content for, and teaches the Music Theory and Technology course at Pioneer High School.

Past Directors

One of the greatest strengths of the Pioneer Band Program is the amazing succession of directors who have provided excellent musical education and outstanding leadership for our students. Each director has brought unique talents and vision to the program, while fulfilling the legacy and mission they inherited. We invite you to learn more about: