In June of 2009, Jay A. Durner retired as Conductor of the Pioneer Band after 30 years of service and relocated with his wife Christine to Virginia. He has been name "Conductor Emeritus" of the Pioneer Band of Allentown.
Jay graduated from Salisbury High School and received his B.A. in Music Education from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. He also has an M.A. in Conducting from the College of New Jersey where he studied with Dr. Edward Eicher. He ahs completed additional studies in conducting at Northwestern University, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and George Mason University in Virginia. He has attended clinic sessions with H. Robert Reynolds, Anthony Maiello, Dr. Fredrick Fennell and Mr. John Paynter.
Mr. Durner's most recent degree is in Education Administration from East Stroudsburg University, in East Stroudsburg, PA. He holds teaching certificates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and also has his Principal Certificate in New Jersey.
During his tenure as the thirteenth conductor of the Pioneer Band, the ensemble made several recordings, performed in Germany as part of the band's centennial celebration, performed on the Ellipse at the White House, and was invited to perform several times at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Before retiring, Jay taught at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, NJ where he directed the Marching, Concert, and Jazz Bands. He also taught in Belvidere, NJ; Allentown, PA; and Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA. He also freelances as a clinician, trombonist, and adjudicator. He has guest conducted for a variety of organizations including the Central Jersey Region Band.
Mr. Durner is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the National Band Association, The Association of Concert Bands, The New Jersey Music Educator's Association and the American Federation of Musician's, Local 45.
Conductor Emeritus, Jay Durner
Brian Smith, Assistant Conductor of the Pioneer Band, is a native of Delaware, and current resident of Hellertown. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from West Chester University and has completed his Master's of Education from Wilkes University. Mr. Smith started his teaching career in Delaware, teaching instrumental music and general music at Milton Middle School in Cape Henlopen School District. At Milton, he taught beginner band and general music to fifth and sixth graders, jazz band to seventh and eighth graders, and concert band to all levels for a total of four years.
In 2001, he moved to Pennsylvania and began teaching at Louis E. Dieruff High School in Allentown, PA. During his three years at Dieruff, he was responsible for the marching band, concert band, and jazz band. In addition, he also taught piano class, voice class, general music and music theory to students in grades nine through twelve.
Currently, Mr. Smith is the elementary instrumental music teacher in the Bangor Area School District, Bangor, PA, where he teaches beginner band students in grades four through six. Throughout his career, he ahs taught private music lessons fro flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, baritone, trombone, and percussion in his own home and studioes including the Delaware Music School, Sine's Music Studio in Quakertown, Pa and Saucon Valley Music in Hellertown, PA.
In addition to playing the french horn, trumpet and trombone in his spare time, Mr. Smith is also a member of the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Association, the Music Educator's National Conference, and Local 45 of the American Federation of Musicians.
Assistant Conductor,Brian Smith
In February of 2012, Robert Billig, Jr. accepted the position as Conductor of the Pioneer Band of Allentown. Mr. Billig brings many years of musical experience, ambition and enthusiasm to the Pioneer Band. He graduated from West Hazelton High School and received his B.S. in Music Education from Mansfield State University. He also completed graduate studies at Cazenovia College and Temple University and received his M.M. in Music Education from West Chester State University
Mr. Billig retired from the Northwestern Lehigh School District in 2011 where he directed high school marching band, concert band and jazz ensemble; taught music theory at the high school level, general music for kindergarten through grade 9, served as the middle and elementary school instrumental instructor and also worked with the elementary, middle and high school choruses.
Prior to becoming conductor of the Pioneer Band, Mr. Billig played bass trombone as his principle instrument with the Marine Band of Allentown. He also played baritone, tube, trumpet and french horn and served as assistant conductor, trombone and vocal soloist with the Marine Band.
In addition to serving as Conductor of the Pioneer Band, Mr. Billig also serves as the Synodiacally Authorized Lay Minister at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kempton, Pennsylvania. He volunteers with the Miller Keystone Blood Bank, plays and coaches softball, and bowls in his spare time.
Mr. Billig is a member of NEA/PSEA, the Music Educators National Conference/PMEA where he served 2 terms as the District 10 President and served on its State Executive Board, and the American Federation of Musicians, Local 45.
Conductor,Robert Billig Jr.