Director of the Marching Illini

Director of the Marching Illini

Director of Fighting Illini Athletic Bands

Associate Director of Bands

Barry L. Houser is the Director of the Marching Illini & Fighting Illini Athletic Bands, Associate Director of Bands and Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His duties include conducting the Illinois Wind Orchestra, the 360-member Marching Illini-The Nation’s Premier College Marching Band, the Illinois Basketball Bands, Volleyball Band, and teaching courses in instrumental wind band conducting and marching band procedures.

Professor Houser’s teaching experience encompasses both extensive public school and university experiences. Prior to his current position at Illinois, his bands have performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the NBC Today Show, the ISSMA State Marching Finals, and the IMEA State Convention.  Other performances include the Indianapolis 500 Parade, the Target Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Outback Bowl Parade and Half-Time Show, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, the Washington DC National Memorial Parade, Chicago Bears Game, and performances with Maynard Ferguson and the Dallas Brass.  Professor Houser serves as President and Director of the Smith-Walbridge Clinics, Chair for the North Central Division and Board of Directors for the National Band Association, and as one of the Directors of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band!

Professor Houser received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Florida, and a Master of Music in Wind Conducting degree from the University of Illinois, where he was a student of James Keene.


Email:[email protected]

Director of Bands

Peterson-3Dr. Stephen G. Peterson was appointed Director of Bands at the University of Illinois in the fall of 2015.  As Director of Bands, he conducts the Wind Symphony, leads the graduate wind conducting program, teaches courses in wind literature, and guides all aspects of one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most storied band programs. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois he served as Director of Bands at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, for seventeen years. From 1988-1998 he served as Associate Director of Bands at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Peterson was also conductor of the renowned Northshore Concert Band.  He held positions as Associate and Interim Director of Bands at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and has several years of successful teaching experience in the public schools in Arizona.

Peterson maintains a busy schedule as a conductor and clinician, and as such, has appeared on four continents and in forty-two states. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and has been honored with membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association.  He is also member of Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota, and Kappa Kappa Psi. He is immediate past president of the College Band Directors National Association.

Dr. Peterson was the first to receive the Doctor of Music degree in wind conducting from Northwestern University and earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Ithaca College Faculty Excellence Award, recognizing his contributions to Ithaca College. His ensembles have appeared before national conventions of the American Bandmaster’s Association, the College Band Director’s National Association, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, the American School Band Director’s Association, at Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and at Lincoln Center.


IMG_8080Joe Busuito is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a Bands graduate teaching assistant, he works with students in the university concert bands, athletic bands, and conducting classes. He received a Master of Music in Wind Conducting at Western Michigan University in 2015, where he served as a graduate assistant and studied with Dr. Scott Boerma. In 2009, Joe received a Bachelor of Music Education degreen from Western Michigan, where he studied trombone with Dr. Steve Wolfinbarger.

Between 2009 and 2013, Joe served as the Assistant Director of Bands at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. He directed over two hundred students in a variety of ensembles, including the wind ensemble, symphonic, concert, jazz and marching bands. He was also responsible for the implementation of AP Music Theory and International Baccalaureate Music courses, and helped bring to life the Oxford Arts Conservatory, which provides a specialized curriculum to those students who wish to pursue an artistic field beyond high school.

For the past four years, Joe has been a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard brass staff. He was also a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2006 and 2007.

Joe is originally from Lake Orion, Michigan. He lives with his wife to whom he has been happily married for two years.

Graduate Teaching Assistant


Graduate Teaching Assistant

IMG_8076A native of Illinois, Sean Smith is currently a candidate for the Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting and serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Illinois Bands.

Sean completed a year of coursework at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York prior to coming to the University of Illinois. He has six years of public school teaching experience as Director of Bands in the Conneaut Area City Schools in Conneaut, Ohio. While in Conneaut, Sean taught bands from fifth grade through high school, directed the Conneaut High School Marching Band, and developed the music technology, guitar, and piano courses offered by the high school.

Before teaching, Sean studied at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Music Education. Sean received much conducting experience at Baldwin Wallace as Conducting Apprentice for the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble and student conductor for the Brass Choir and the Contemporary Ensemble. Sean’s professional experiences include serving as Music Director of the Euclid Civic Orchestra and working as a National Director for Bugles Across America.

In August of 2015, The Instrumentalist Magazine published an article Sean authored titled “The Ideal Marching Schedule.” He had previously presented on the topic at the Ohio Music Education State Conference and at the Whalen Symposium at Ithaca College.

Marching Illini Guard Staff


Bands Business Service

(Picture Forthcoming)

Lana Custer serves the band program as accountant, product inventory, and business services expert. She joined the UI Band staff in 2011 and has helped create significant organization systems to benefit the professional workflow of the organization. Ms. Custer reports directly to the Director of Bands, and serves the program in all business related matters.  Her position requires a high degree of organization and coordination with all band faculty, staff, and students.

Official Videographer

Mark Herman has been involved in video production, script writing and post-production editing for more than 25 years since graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in video production in 1985. After earning a master’s degree in speech communication at Eastern Illinois University in 1990, Mark was hired as the first Director of Video for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Illinois. Beginning in 2001, Mark along with his wife Julie expanded their role of service with to the Marching Illini. It was at this time that Mark began creating full highlights video packages to go along with all the show footage from each season.  Mark and Julie have traveled with the band to multiple bowls and on the 2008 trip to England and Ireland.

The Voice of the Marching Illini