The Carolina Winter Ensemble Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating under the leadership of the Executive Board of Directors as elected by the general membership. The Executive Board and its appointees are responsible for managing and organizing the operations of the circuit. CWEA operating procedures are governed by the organization’s Bylaws document. Each director is elected to a two year term.
Cody Crawford, originally from Greenwood, South Carolina, moved to Rock Hill in the winter of 2012. Serving the circuit in many roles over the years including Media Manager, Contest Assistant, Contest Administrator, Director of Events and now President, Cody has overseen historic growth within CWEA. Under his guidance, CWEA has tripled in size and has become the premiere circuit serving the Carolinas.
Outside of CWEA, Cody spends a majority of time working for the Crown Organization, which includes the Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps. Though he currently serves Crown as the Division Manager for CrownTICKETS (the organization’s event ticketing service), he also serves as the lead for the organization’s fundraising efforts, event management, graphic design, web development and IT support. Previously, he served as the Customer Service Manager for the CrownSTORE, a musical products industry leader in the marching arts. In addition to CWEA and Crown, he also works as a Contest Administrator for Winter Guard International, where he oversees and manages WGI Regional Events across the country.
Before entering the non-profit sector, Cody began as a student at Greenwood High School, eventually going on to attend the University of South Carolina. As a percussionist, Cody worked with many programs throughout the Carolinas including Belton Honea-Path HS, Greenwood HS, Spring Valley HS, Lexington HS, Paradigm Percussion, Marvin Ridge HS and Batesburg-Leesville HS, where he helped lead the program to its first of several SCBDA State Championships. When he’s not working (which isn’t often), you’ll find Cody enjoying time at home with his family. And if he’s not there, he’s in the air going somewhere – most likely Las Vegas!
Clayton Parker has been an instructor and designer for over twenty-five years. He has worked with color guards, marching bands, and winter guards in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Prior to becoming Vice President, he served on the CWEA Board of Directors in several positions, including Contest Administrator, Judges Liaison, and President.
Currently, Clayton is a freelance visual consultant and designer. He has judged as a member of the Florida Federation Judges Association in the captions General Effect and Design Analysis. He has also been an adjudicator for Fiesta-Val of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Parker is a graduate of South Carolina State University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. Currently, Mr. Parker resides in Columbia, SC, where he is an Information Resource Coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
Chaz Paxton is currently the Director of Bands at Pickens High School (SC) where he directs and conducts the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, and the Pickens Marching Band. Chaz is an active clinician and guest conductor and has worked with various high school bands in South Carolina as a consultant, arranger, and designer, as well as having worked as an instructor and arranger with the Clemson University Tiger Band. In addition, Chaz has presented clinics at the South Carolina Music Educators In-Service Conference, the North Carolina Bandmasters Association In-Service Conference, and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Bands and ensembles under Paxton’s direction have received consistent Superior Ratings throughout the Southeast in concert and marching venues and have won four South Carolina Marching Band State Championships.
Chaz received the Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision from Southern Wesleyan University. Performance experience includes the Carolina Wind Symphony and the Palmetto Concert Band, both community wind bands in the Columbia, SC area. Professional memberships include the National Association for Music Education, the South Carolina Music Educator’s Association, the South Carolina Band Director’s Association, the National Band Association, American School Band Directors Association and Phi Beta Mu Honorary Bandmasters Fraternity. Chaz served as a representative on the SCBDA Marching Committee for seven years, has served on the SCBDA Adjudication Committee, and is currently serving on the SCBDA Executive Board as the Marching Band Committee Chairman as well as Director of Events for the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association. Chaz was the 2008 Batesburg-Leesville High School Teacher of the Year, the 2017 Pickens High School Teacher of the Year, is a four time recipient of the National Band Association Citation for Marching Excellence, and in 2009 received the Professional Excellence Alumni Award from the Southern Wesleyan University School of Education. In addition, Chaz is an Education Artist with Innovative Percussion, Inc. and currently resides in Central, SC, with his wife Leah and their two children, Cadence and Carter.
After discovering a love for the performing arts as a member of the Fort Mill High School Marching Band, Riley taught and consulted with marching bands around the Charlotte area. While freelance work in audio engineering and software design took him around the country, working with the Providence High School band drove him back to Winthrop University to pursue a Music Education degree. He is now the Director of Bands at Newberry High School in Newberry, SC. Outside of teaching duties, Riley has served on a number of technology and finance-related non-profit councils and committees. Before assuming the role of Treasurer with CWEA, he was a Contest Administrator and Timing & Penalties judge.
Torey Riser is a native of Greenwood, SC where he attended Lander University, majoring in Music Education. Mr. Riser has previously served on the CWEA Board of Directors as the organizations Percussion Representative and on the advisory board as PSA Representative.
Mr. Riser was a charter member of Palmetto Percussion in 2007 and aged out as the snare line section leader in 2009. For the last 13 years, he has worked with many successful high school programs in South Carolina as an instructor, designer, and composer, including Greenwood High School, Belton Honea Path High School, Bluffton High School, and works currently as the Director of Percussion at Ninety Six High School. In his free time, Mr. Riser has also worked with many ensembles in the state, including Palmetto Percussion (2010), NGI (2016), and Civitas (2018)
Recently at Ninety Six, Riser founded the school’s first ever indoor percussion program in 2015 which. The organization has since won 4 SCBDA State Championships, 2 CWEA titles, 1 WGI Regional and advanced to the 2018 WGI Semifinals for the first time in the program’s history.
Mr. Riser also coaches Varsity Girls Soccer and instructs the 7-time 1A State Champion Ninety Six Marching Band as well.
Mr. Riser would like to credit A.J. Pace, Erik Crook, Colin Brown, Joel Gardner, Luiz Riviera, Mike McIntosh, Paul Rennick, Cliff Sutton, and Chris Turner for their direct and indirect influences on his life as a music educator.
Tracy Smith resides in Charleston, SC and is the Director of Charles Towne Independent. She also serves as an instructional staff member for Summerville High School. Before relocating to Charleston in 2016, Tracy was involved with several programs in North Carolina. Some of the groups that she has had the privilege of working with are: Aria Winter Guard (2014-2016), Carolina Gold Independent (2012-2014), and Reynolda Winter Guard (2008-2012). In 2014 she also worked with two Independent Percussion units as a movement trainer and choreographer, Paradigm and Revelation. Tracy also served as the color guard caption head at Coastal Surge Drum and Bugle Corps for two years. For the 2018-2019 season she will also have the honor of participating as a member of the WGI Advisory Board.
Brian Winn, a native of Rock Hill, SC, began his performing experience in the marching arts playing trumpet and performing in his high school winter guard. After graduating, he began his drum corps experience marching in the color guard at the Capital Regiment in 2004. He then went on to perform with the Phantom Regiment in 2006 and 2007, where he aged out. In the winter seasons, Brian performed with Étude Winter Guard from 2005-2007 and Phantom Regiment Winter Guard in 2008.
Brian has had the honor of teaching and designing for various programs including East Lincoln High School, The District Independent Winterguard, and Tampa Independent. He is currently the color guard director at Marvin Ridge High School and Etude Winter Guard. Brian taught on the color guard staff for 5 years at the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, where he served as a caption head in 2017. Currently, Brian is a choreographer at the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.
Brian received his degree in Dance Education from Winthrop University and continues to stay active in the dance community in Charlotte, NC. He has performed professionally with Plexus Dance and Caroline Calouche & Company, where he trained, performed, and taught aerial dance as well as contemporary dance. Additionally, he was cast in Martha Graham’s Panorama, where he had the honor of working with former Graham dancer Kim Jones. As a strong advocate for life-long learning, Brian continues to train with various professional teachers and studios in the Charlotte area. He is currently in his 7th year teaching on the dance faculty at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC.
Jeff Bridges currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina. He served 4 years as an A and Open Class Representative on the Advisory Board and Steering Committee for WGI and is an active adjudicator for WGI Winds. He also judges guard, percussion and winds for various circuits around the United States, in addition to marching band. Jeff also is a designer for many high school bands across the country including the states of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia, and South Carolina. In 40 years as a designer and instructor, Jeff has produced multiple State Champions and finalists. He proudly serves as the designer and consultant for Somerset Academy marching band and winter guard in Pembroke Pines, FL.
Jeff's drum corps experience as a member was with the Crossmen in the years 1980 and 1981. He has taught and designed for Florida Wave, Colts, Spirit of Atlanta, Troopers and Southwind. While with the Colts from 1990 to 1997, Jeff served as the Visual Caption Head and designer, helping guide the corps to its first DCI finals in 1993. In 2000, Jeff became the director of the Crossmen, where he served them for 2 years and returned the corps to the Top 8 in 2001.
Jeff Served as President for the South Florida Winter Guard Circuit for 10 years. He currently instructs or consults with winter guards. Among his instructed and consulted winter guards are 2 WGI Scholastic A Class champions, multiple A Class finalists, 3 Scholastic Open Class multiple-time finalists, 1 independent A and Open class finalist at WGI Championships and Regionals. He proudly has been voted into 3 Hall of Fames with The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, South Florida Winter Guard Association and most recently with the Florida Marching Band Coalition.