Aaron Cunningham, Director of Bands
Aaron Cunningham is currently the Director of Bands at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, KY. Before assuming this position he served as the Assistant Director at Tates Creek High School from 2007-2015. Prior schools include Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, KY (2001-2007) and Union County High School in Morganfield, KY (1999-2001).
Mr. Cunningham earned his Bachelors in Music Education from Western Kentucky University. While there he studied conducting with Dr. John Carmichael. He received his Masters in Education Leadership from Georgetown College. His professional affiliations include NAFME, KMEA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He has also served as the KMEA District 7 Band Chair and Marching Band Representative.
Mr. Cunningham is originally from Oldham County, KY where he attended South Oldham High School, but is happy to call Lexington home. He has lived in Lexington since 2001 with his 2 children, Abigail and Jacob.
Samantha Hightower, Associate Director of Bands
Samantha Hightower is currently the Associate Director of Bands at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky.
Mrs. Hightower is a native of Murray, Kentucky and received her Bachelors of Music Education degree in 2009 from Murray State University.
She has 6 years of prior band teaching experience in Massac County, Illinois (2009-2010), Austin, Texas (2012-2014), Trigg County, Kentucky (2014-2015) and Marshall County, Kentucky (2015-2016), and Texas A&M University (2017-2018).
She taught as a graduate teaching assistant and graduated from Texas A&M University in Kingsville, TX with a Master of Music Performance degree in 2018 where she assisted in directing the “Pride of South Texas” Javelina Marching Band, assisted in conducting the TAMUK Concert Band, and conducted the TAMUK University Band.
She is a member of TMEA, KMEA, and NAfME and was awarded as a MSU Quad State Junior High conductor in 2015.
Mrs. Hightower is very happy to call Lexington, Kentucky her home and share it with her cats, Roxy, Ava, Max, and Pinky and with her husband, Dr. Matthew Hightower who is the Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Kentucky.
Brian Flack, Percussion Caption Head
Brian Flack is the Executive Director of Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble in Lexington, KY and a past member of Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently in his 16th season as Percussion Coordinator at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, KY where he also instructs multiple surrounding middle schools. Flack also performs with the nationally recognized band, Conch Republic, voted Gigmasters #1 Beach band. Conch Republic has opened for The Beach Boys, Peter Mayer, and KC and the Sunshine Band.
Mr. Flack attended the University of Kentucky under the instruction of Mr. James Campbell and performed with the University's top organizations including the UK Wind Ensemble, Steel Band, Percussion Ensemble, and UK Orchestra. He also played tenors with the UK marching band for 4 years before later serving as Percussion Caption Head for the UK Drumline
in 1999. During the previous year in 1998, Flack marched tenors for Phantom Regiment under the instruction of Dr. Brian Mason as well as being invited to perform in the 1998 PASIC Solo Timpani Competition.
As a composer and arranger, Flack has written for several organizations including Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble (KY), the University of Kentucky Drumline, Tates Creek HS (KY), Bryan Station HS (KY), Brandon HS (MS), North Pike HS (MS), and Warren Central HS (MS) to name a few.
Mr. Flack is also a contributing artist in The Blue Book by Tapspace. His original solo BUS BOWL for tenors is performed at Solo and Ensembles around the region.
Mr. Flack has been recognized as a leading percussion educator and his ensembles have received national honors. Brian Flack proudly represents Innovative Percussion Inc., Sabian Inc., Beetle Percussion, and Remo Heads Inc.
Harley Blane, Color Guard Caption Head
Harley Blane is a native of Hopkinsville, KY and moved to Lexington to be a part of our dynamic team. He is the founder of the Hopkinsville Youth Performance Ensemble (HYPE). Formerly, at Hopkinsville High School, he has served as one of the band's administrators and color guard director, As well as the director of color/winter guards for Christian County school district. Harley began his marching career in 2000 at age 12 in the Hopkinsville JV (middle school) winter guard. The following year he joined the Hopkinsville High School Marching band and was an active member in the Marching Band, Concert Band, and winter guard until graduation in the spring of 2006. Harley has years of DCI and WGI experience leading to final year in World Class (2010) where he received his Independent World Class Gold Medal with Onyx. Harley's high school teaching experience spans across the country teaching for groups in KY, IN, OH, TX, AL, IL, FL, CO, and TN. Harley looks forward to many great memories and wonderful experiences to come here at Tates Creek High School.