2022 LMEA Award Recipients

LMEA Hall of Fame

Craig MilletCraig Millet

Craig Millet was born in Alexandria, Louisiana in 1966. He graduated from Alexandria Sr. High School, where he was under the direction of Edmund Winston III.

In 1989, Mr. Millet earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Instrumental Music Education from Louisiana Tech University. While at Louisiana Tech, he participated with the Saxophone Quartet, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and the Ruston Symphony Orchestra. While attending Louisiana Tech, he was under the direction of Raymond Young and Daniel Pittman. He has also studied privately with Dr. Edmund Winston II, Alan Keating, Dr. Larry Gwodz, and Sigurd Rascher. In 1990, he accepted the Assistant Director position under Carl Schexnayder at St. Amant High School. In 1999, Mr. Millet accepted the Director of Bands position and held that position until the fall of 2020.

All of the St. Amant Bands, including Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony, consistently receive superior ratings at the District and State Festival. The Wind Symphony has never made less than Sweepstakes at the District Festival since the school opened its doors in 1978. Under Mr. Millet’s direction, performing grade IV and V literature, the Wind Symphony has made straight Superiors and Sweepstakes at every LMEA State Festival since he became director of bands in 1999. In 2001, Mr. Millet received the Band Master of the Year Award for excellence in the field of music education from Louisiana Tech University. The St Amant Bands have performed at Carnegie Hall, Disney World, and Six Flags. They have also traveled to Italy, Ireland, and Scotland.

Mr. Millet’s professional affiliations include Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Beta Mu, MENC, LMEA, TBA, and NBA. He is also a Past President of the District IV Band Directors Association. He served on the LMEA Board as Band Division Chair for two terms and was instrumental in implementing State Solo Festival as well as the newly formed Class D classification for struggling large ensembles. He is a charter member fand founding member of LMAA (Louisiana Music Adjudicators Association).

Craig and Julie Millet have been happily married for 31 years and live in Prairieville, Louisiana. They have two children, Lindsey and Matthew.

Greg A. OdenGreg A. Oden

Greg A. Oden is a graduate of Crossett High School in Crossett, Arkansas. He began his musical career in the All State Choirs in Arkansas where he was able to work with Howard Swan, Paul Salamunovich, and Weston Noble. Upon graduation, he attended Northeast Louisiana State University under the direction of Dr. Edward Deckard. He graduated as the Outstanding Liberal Arts graduate of 1987 and began his Masters program at NLU. He was a teaching assistant with a vocal studio and assisted with the Concert Choir, Chorale, and Madrigal Singers. While at Northeast Louisiana State University, he received the B.M.E and Master of Music Degrees.

Upon graduation from NLU, he began his teaching career at Norman Jr. High School in Crossett, Arkansas. His choirs consistently made superiors at festival and were guests of then Governor Bill Clinton for a special requested Christmas performance in the Capital Rotunda. In 1990, he was married to Kristen Anderson and began his teaching career in Louisiana at Ouachita Jr. High School in Monroe, Louisiana. After the untimely death of Louise Boteler, he became the LA- ACDA Junior High All State Chairman. In 1993, he moved to West Monroe High School and began his work in the high school area. In his tenure at West Monroe High School, he has served as RS Chair for Women’s Choir, Editor of the Choral Advocate, President of the North Louisiana Chapter of NATS, President of District 1 Choral Directors, President of the Fine Arts Council, LMEA District Director, LMEA Vocal Chairman, and LMAA Vocal Vice-President. Under his baton, WMHS choirs have performed in St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salzburg Duomo, and at the Wreathe Laying Ceremony at Normandy Beach at the American Cemetery on June 6, 2010. Mr. Oden’s choirs have also performed throughout the United States and have appeared at Carnegie Hall on four different occasions.

Greg A. Oden is a sought after composer, conductor, and arranger. He has performed with Maynard Ferguson, The Cathedrals, The Continental Singers, Tim McGraw, and numerous performers. He can be heard on the new Taylor Fife CD In These Fields. Taylor Fife and its music can be heard on ITunes, CDBaby.com, and other music outlets. He is currently the Music Coordinator for Ouachita Parish Schools. The thing he is most proud of is that he has been married to Kristen Anderson Oden for 24 years and is the father of Blake, a four-time LMEA All State baritone, and Morgan Oden. They have both been selected to perform at ACDA National Conventions as members of the Honor Choirs.

Syll-Young Lee OlsonSyll-Young Lee Olson

Syll-Young Lee Olson was born March 12, 1949, in Seoul, Korea. Her teaching career covers 30 plus years in Natchitoches Parish. She earned her bachelor’s degree in composition from the Seoul National University where she ranked top in her class.  Later, she received her master’s degree from the “Hachschule der Kueneste” in Berlin (University of Arts in Berlin, Germany). She moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana where she was the piano instructor at the Louisiana School for Math Science and Arts in 1991. She later moved to the Natchitoches Parish school system where she continued to conduct the orchestra at Natchitoches Central High School.

Throughout her teaching career, Olson remained active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician of numerous Honor Orchestras and Festivals. During her tenure at Natchitoches Central her students have participated in L.M.E.A. All-State Orchestra/Symphonic Band and All-National Honor Symphony in New York sponsored by NAfME. She was a recipient of 2002-03 Teacher of the Year from the Natchitoches Parish School Board, also 2002-03 Teacher of the Year from the Louisiana, Mississippi, West Tennessee District Kiwanis International. Additionally, on numerous occasions she was a recipient of the Mayor’s Award in Natchitoches Louisiana for her community service with the orchestra. In 2022 she received her 25-year service award from L.M.E.A. at the annual music educators conference.

LAJE Hall of Fame

Lee HicksLee Hicks

Mr. Lee Hicks is in his 21st year as the Director of Bands at Fontainebleau High School. Since Mr. Hicks’ arrival at Fontainebleau the FHS Band program has become one of the most well-rounded and successful programs in Louisiana. Mr. Hicks feels incredibly blessed to be working with incredible students, parents and supportive colleagues and administrators.

His high school bands have been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. The Fontainebleau Jazz Ensemble One, under the direction of Mr. Hicks, has been recognized as one of the top high school jazz big bands in America. Past notable performances include the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL in 2010 and 2019, at the Jazz Education Network International Conference both in New Orleans in 2011 and 2020, the French Quarter Festival in 2015 and 2022, and the Swing Central Jazz High School Big Band Competition in Savannah, Georgia in 2008, 2010, 2015, and 2016. The band has also performed with or hosted clinics with musicians such as Wycliffe Gordon, Joey DeFrancesco, Ronnie Kole, Roland Guerin, Stanton Moore, Jason Marsalis, Mark Mullins, Bonerama, George Porter, Jr., Matt Lemmler, Dan Caro, and others.

Outside of being a band director, Mr. Hicks continues to play music professionally around the city of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. Mr. Hicks has performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saenger Theater Broadway Orchestra, the JPAS Broadway Pit Orchestra, the Crescent River Orchestra, the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, the Pat Barberot Orchestra, the Tulane Summer Lyric Theater Orchestra, and the John Mahoney Big Band. In addition, he has performed with numerous brass bands, soul, funk, rock and Latin bands. He has also performed with celebrities such as Bernadette Peters, Barry Manilow, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, Shirley Jones, Wayne Newton, Bobby Vinton, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Lewis, Natalie Cole, The Coasters, Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Brian Blade, and more. He has recorded for Six Flags Entertainment, The National World War II Museum, several New Orleans musicians and composers, The John Mahoney Big Band, and with the jazz vocal group Five by Design.

Mr. Hicks belongs to several music organizations including the Louisiana Music Educators Association, in which he serves as a board member and the President-Elect, the National Association for Music Education, the Jazz Education Network, and the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education. Of course, none of this would be possible without the love and support from his family. Mr. Hicks is married to Mrs. Becky Brenner Hicks, who is the band director at Lake Harbor Middle School in Mandeville and a professional bass player. Mr. and Mrs. Hicks have performed many gigs together in the New Orleans area including many local musical theater productions and national tours at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans. Their most important gig, however, is raising their two amazing and wonderful sons, Kenton and Carson.

LMEA Distinguished Legacy Award

Beginning in 2022, LMEA will announce recipients of the Distinguished Legacy Award. This award recognizes lifetime achievement. It is reserved for LMEA members with thirty or more years of distinguished service in support of the mission and goals of the Louisiana Music Educator Association. These goals include elevating character, advancing professional interest, and otherwise promoting the cause of music education in the State of Louisiana. No more than two LMEA members may be recognized within a calendar year.

Patrick DeavillePatrick Deaville

Over the past fifty years, Patrick Deaville’s impact on the Louisiana Music Education Association has been profound. His contributions as Editor of the Louisiana Musician, Chairman of the annual Professional Development Conference, and advisor to the LMEA Board of Directors cannot be overstated.

Mr. Deaville’s broad spectrum of expertise as a musician, teacher, and administrator made him an invaluable resource to LMEA during decades of meaningful discussions, debates, and decisions. His wisdom, professional demeanor, and communication skills restored order and calm during countless heated moments. In addition, his ability to galvanize consensus kept LMEA on an even keel as it worked through expansion, challenges, and crises. But Pat’s greatest gift to LMEA has been his uncompromising commitment to integrity, loyalty, and excellence. He has been both a lighthouse and a north star for LMEA.

A native of Jennings, Louisiana, Pat Deaville majored in music education at McNeese State University, earning the positions of principal trumpet and drum major. In 1972 he was awarded summa cum laude honors at McNeese and ranked first in a graduating class of over five hundred Bachelor’s degree candidates. Eight years later, he maintained a perfect 4.0 average in graduate studies at McNeese while earning a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision.

In 1972, Mr. Deaville was commissioned as a military officer. He graduated with honors from the United States Army Adjutant General School and remained on active duty for two years in the famed 18th Airborne Corps.

Upon completing his military commitment in 1974, Mr. Deaville served as a band director for twenty years at Jefferson Davis and Calcasieu Parishes public schools. His directorships included Lake Arthur High School, Jennings High School, Lake Charles High School, LaGrange High School, and SJ Welsh Middle School. Over those two decades, his bands earned twenty-three sweepstakes awards at LMEA concert assessments. His marching and concert bands received superior ratings in district, state, regional, and national competitions, with his ensembles performing in six states.

During his time as band director at Lake Arthur High School, band participation grew from just 13 members to over 200 students in a school with a total enrollment of less than 400. While band director at SJ Welsh Middle School, the band grew from approximately 100 students to 350.

In 1993, Mr. Deaville left the rehearsal hall and started a twenty-year administrative career. He first served as an assistant principal at SJ Welsh Middle School before assuming the same role at Sam Houston High School. In 2000, he was promoted to district-level leadership, where he functioned as Director of High School Curriculum and Instruction and as the Music Supervisor for all Calcasieu Parish schools.

Bruce LambertBruce Lambert

Bruce Lambert is an iconic figure in the history of the Louisiana Music Educators Association. For fifty years, his firm leadership style and passionate focus on “doing what is right for our students” have created an extraordinary environment for achievement in music education throughout Louisiana.

Bruce enabled a steady expansion of LMEA’s membership and services with a commonsense vision and fiscal expertise. In addition, Bruce’s keen sense of linking broad strategic goals to practical and efficient processes made him the single most influential leader on the Board of Directors for many decades.

As LMEA’s Band Division Chair, then President, and ultimately Executive Director, Mr. Lambert was the principal architect of the organizational and financial superstructure built upon the foundation that LMEA’s founders established. Demonstrating unquestioned loyalty and exceptional charisma, Mr. Lambert’s professional career is, to a large extent, LMEA’s story.

A native of Oakdale, Louisiana, Bruce Lambert earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in addition to a +30, in music education at McNeese State University. Beginning in 1972, Mr. Lambert served for over 35 years as a high school and collegiate band director in Louisiana. His directorships include Zwolle High School, Kinder High School, Sam Houston High School, and McNeese State University. After his brilliant teaching career, Mr. Lambert served as the Instrumental Music Consultant for the Calcasieu Parish School Board.

During his long and storied tenure as a Director of Bands, Mr. Lambert’s ensembles earned over eighty sweepstakes trophies at LMEA concert assessments while also earning superior ratings in marching band competitions every year for several decades. During this time, Mr. Lambert became recognized as one of Louisiana’s premier clinicians and adjudicators. In addition, his extraordinary influence and impact on fellow band directors throughout the state have been immeasurable.

Mr. Lambert’s contributions to music education organizations beyond LMEA included Presidencies of the District V Band Directors Association, the Louisiana Bandmasters Association, and the Louisiana Chapter of Phi Beta Mu (national honorary bandmasters’ fraternity). He also served for many years as Coordinator of the LBA All-Star Band.

LMEA Standard of Excellence

Jessica FainJessica Fain

Jessica Fain graduated in 2009 from Northwestern State University with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree. She is currently in her fourteenth-year teaching and is in her third year as the band director at Bluff Middle School in Ascension Parish. Prior to teaching at Bluff Middle School, Ms. Fain was the band director at Tioga Junior High where she followed many successful band directors and maintained the long-standing success of the program.

Throughout her career, Ms. Fain’s bands have consistently received superior and excellent ratings at both the District and State levels. Her students have been invited to perform at the Louisiana Concert Band Invitational in Lafayette, Louisiana as well.

Ms. Fain also served as the Assistant Band Director at Tioga High School where she helped lead the band to many Superior Ratings during marching season. Her primary responsibilities included instructing the percussion section which consistently received high ratings including Best in Class and Most Outstanding Percussion at a number of competitions.

In addition to her responsibilities at Bluff Middle School, Ms. Fain also serves as the District Director for LMEA District IV, President of Louisiana Bandmasters Association, State Chair for the National Band Association, and President-Elect of the Louisiana Music Adjudicators Association.  She has also served as an honor band clinician and as an adjudicator across Louisiana and Texas. 

Ms. Fain was selected by her colleagues as the District II Band Director of the Year (2011), Tioga Junior High Teacher of the Year (2013 & 2016), received the Golden Apple Teacher Award (2015 & 2016) and was named as the Bandmaster of the Year for Louisiana Bandmasters Association (2018).  She has presented at LMEA and was published in the November issue of The Instrumentalist (2018). She is a member of NAfME, NBA, LMEA, TMEA, Louisiana Bandmasters Association, LMAA, and Phi Beta Mu.

Eric LeBlancEric LeBlanc

Eric LeBlanc is a native of Abbeville, LA, and a graduate of Abbeville High School. While in high school, he studied saxophone with the late Santy Runyon of Runyon Products and began playing saxophone in various church, school, and civic organizations. He went on to graduate from the University of Louisiana – Lafayette, receiving many scholarships including the Romaine Picard Memorial Scholarship and the Outstanding Senior Bandsmen Scholarship. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, the College Honors Program, and served as a representative to the Dean of the School of Music’s Advisory Board for Two Years.

After graduating, he then went on to teach band and culinary arts at Pickering Jr. / Sr. High School in Fort Polk, LA. Eric has taught middle school band in Lafayette Parish teaching at Paul Breaux Middle School and Edgar Martin Middle School. He now teaches at Paul Breaux Middle School and serves as the director of the Concert, Intermediate, Cadet, Jazz, Percussion Ensemble, and Pep Bands (Tiger Band). He serves as department head at Paul Breaux Middle for electives and physical education courses. Eric has been nominated numerous times for the LEF (Lafayette Education Foundation) Teacher of the year Award, and was one of the finalists for the LEF Teacher of The Year Award for middle school teacher of the year in 2010. In 2019 he was selected by his colleagues to be the Paul Breaux Middle teacher of the year, and was a semifinalist for the middle school teacher of the year in Lafayette Parish in that same year. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Mu.

His bands consistently perform to superior ratings at both the local and state levels. The Paul Breaux Bands also perform for numerous civic and community events throughout the Greater Lafayette area. He also helps prepare young teachers as a mentor teacher, and serves as vice-president for the area band directors’ association (SLBDA). He is also one of the middle school chair-persons for SLBDA’s middle school honor band. Eric is active as a clinician and as a musician playing saxophone in the Acadiana area. He lives with his amazing wife Sarah and their beautiful daughters Isabella and Maria in Leroy, LA.

Robert L. Wilhite Award of Excellence

Aleisa HudlowAleisa Hudlow

Aleisa Hudlow is currently in her sixteenth year of teaching and in her eighth year serving Natchitoches Parish Schools. She attended Northwestern State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2007 and her Master of Music degree in 2019. Mrs. Hudlow taught in Bellville Independent School District in Bellville, TX from 2007-2009, Northshore High School in Slidell, LA from 2009-2013, Pineville High School in Pineville, LA from 2013-2015, and has served Natchitoches Parish Schools since 2015. These positions resulted in numerous Superior and Excellent ratings for marching and concert bands at both the district and state level.

Mrs. Hudlow first came to Natchitoches Parish as a Talented Music Instructor. She started the Marthaville Junior High School band program in 2016 and then transitioned to Director of Bands at Natchitoches Central High School in 2017. While at Natchitoches Central, she also started the band program at Natchitoches Magnet School in 2018. While at Natchitoches Central, Mrs. Hudlow increased the band size as well as Honor Band, Solo and Ensemble, and All-State participation, where her students were awarded many Superior ratings and also had their first All-State musician in over fifteen years. The “Pride of the Tribe” Marching Band returned to marching contests for the first time in many years and were able to bring home several awards in both marching competitions and parade performances. The concert band returned to LMEA Large Ensemble Assessment for the first time in over a decade and earned their first Superior rating in Sight Reading in 2019, their first Superior Rating in Concert in 2021, and their first Sweepstakes Awards in 2022 for both the Concert Band and Symphonic Band. Mrs. Hudlow has now transitioned back to middle school teaching and currently serves as the band director for both Marthaville Junior High School and Natchitoches Magnet School, the two programs she was honored to start several years ago.

Since her arrival in Natchitoches Parish, Mrs. Hudlow has also worked closely with the district to revive band programs in the area, which has resulted in the number of Natchitoches Parish band programs to double and has greatly increased the amount of students with access to music programs. She has also worked closely with other music educators in the area to guide the district in how to improve music education for the parish, which led to new positions, new general music programs for elementary schools, and new instruments for all the music programs. She now proudly serves with other local educators on the Teacher Advisory Council for Natchitoches Parish Schools.

In 2020, Mrs. Hudlow was selected by her colleagues as the District II Band Director of the Year. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, Kappa Kappa Psi, NAfME, LMEA, serves as Past-President for the District II Band Directors Association, and serves on the LMEA Board as the District Director for District II. She resides in Natchitoches with her husband Adam, two children Jack and Lily, and their dog Indy.

LMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator

Alyxis MayeauxAlyxis Mayeaux

Alyxis Mayeaux currently serves as band director for Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge Parish (WBR) and has held this position for the past five years. Throughout her time, she has been instrumental in not only growing the band program at Brusly High School but also advocating for the growth of all music programs within WBR parish. During the 2019 school year, Alyxis took the opportunity to start the West Baton Rouge Parish Honor Band. This honor band takes place during the summer, which allows students to make up any missed playing or instructional time due to scheduling adjustments made during the year. She has also worked closely with the school board to ensure that Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds were distributed properly and appropriately to all music programs within WBR.

Under Alyxis’s direction, Brusly’s marching band and concert band have earned superior ratings in multiple assessments and competitions. During her 2nd year with Brusly, she led the concert band to earn Sweepstakes at LMEA’s District IV Large Ensemble Assessment. In addition, she has had multiple students selected for District IV Honor Band and LMEA’s All – State Orchestra and Band.

Alyxis received her Bachelor’s of Music Education from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and completed her student teaching internship at Dutchtown Middle and High School with Joseph Casselberry and Sheily Bell.  She was a member of Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for their inaugural season and a member of the Louisiana Star’s administration team for the 2022 season. Alyxis is also a member of the National Association for Music Education, Louisiana Music Educators Association, and District IV Honor Band Directors Association, where she serves as Treasurer; she is part of Salyers Percussion Education Team.

Tom D Wafer Outstanding Administrator

Shelby AinsworthShelby Ainsworth

Shelby Ainsworth graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1980. He was raised by hard-working parents who valued a love of God, family, and education. His mother also instilled in Shelby a love and appreciation for music. Even though he spent most of his time and effort pursuing athletic endeavors, Shelby grew to learn how various forms of music proved to be inspirational.

In 1985 Shelby graduated from Northeast Louisiana University (now known as ULM) with his bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education and a teaching minor in Biology. While working as a graduate assistant with the NLU football team, he continued to pursue his masters in H & PE with a minor concentration in Educational Leadership. Upon receiving his masters in 1987, the stage was set for his career in education as Shelby took his first teaching and coaching job at Ouachita Junior High School. After one year, he went to Ouachita High School for six years, West Ouachita High School for two years, and then in 1996 he made his final stop at West Monroe High School. Along his journey, Shelby returned to college and received his Educational Leadership certification, as well as his plus 30, from NLU.

After having devoted most of his 36 year educational career to teaching, coaching, and serving as an assistant principal, Shelby transitioned into a different role. It was in 2014 that he was named Principal of West Monroe High School. Along with all the other new found tasks, Shelby quickly discovered that he was returning to his roots. Surrounded by many extremely talented students and dedicated instructors, it became a priority of his to support and encourage the entire music program at the school, including band, choir, orchestra, and piano. The positive attitude and diligent work ethic of the young musicians always seemed to impress Mr. Ainsworth. Their relentless pursuit of their passion is what spoke to his heart the most. According to Mr. Ainsworth, “Music is sometimes the only venue that will inspire, uplift, and encourage hurting people. Our kids make beautiful music, and I love it!”