Music - Instrumental Studies

Department of Music and Dance

About the program:

Instrumental studies at Kilgore College are taught by full-time and part-time faculty members in many areas, including brass, guitar, piano/organ, strings and woodwinds. Scholarships are typically awarded based on audition and ensemble participation.


  • T.J. Emsley: Percussion
  • Kevin Kelley: Double Bass, Guitar
  • Dr. Tom Kmiecik: Clarinet
  • Tristan Roberts: Strings
  • Dr. Jim Taylor: Guitar
  • Dr. Mike Turpin: Woodwinds
  • Danny Vinson: Low Brass
  • Glenn Wells: Brass

Course information:

Instrumental Studies

Bios of Instructors

T.J. Emsley

A native of Charleston, South Carolina and a product of Kingsland, Georgia, Mr. Emsley serves on the music faculties of Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMUC) and Kilgore College. (KC) His responsibilities include teaching music theory, music technology, and ear training at TAMUC and serving as Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Percussion at Kilgore College. Mr. Emsley started taking piano lessons at the age of eight from regionally known, Josephine Wammock in Kingsland, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia where he studied percussion with Dr. David Morris and Paul Campiglia and piano (minor) with Dr. Lyle Indergaard. He earned a Master of Music Education degree in wind band conducting from TAMUC where he studied conducting with Phillip Clements and piano (minor) with Dr. Luis Sanchez. As a performer, Mr. Emsley has performed percussion with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, the CICA Summer Music Festival Orchestra, the Valdosta Steel Drum Band, and the Irving Symphonic Band. He has also performed solo piano numerous times at Steinway Hall in Dallas, Texas and has served as the pianist for the TAMUC Symphonic and Concert bands.

Jeanne Johnson

Jeanne Johnson was named to the faculty of Kilgore College in 1976.  During her tenure at KC she has taught private voice, voice class, music theory, fundamentals and music appreciation.  She is currently in her nineteenth year serving as Chair of the Music and Dance department.

Mrs. Johnson, a native East Texan, was born in Henderson, and received her Associate of Arts degree from Kilgore College; bachelors and masters degrees from Texas A & M at Commerce; and did further graduate work at the University of North Texas.  During that time she studied voice with Dr. Edward Baird, Scharmal Schrock, and Carol Mayo.

During her college years, she was named Who’s Who in Music (KC), Outstanding Music Student (A&M-Commerce), Honor Graduate (KC and A&M-Commerce), Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges (A&M-Commerce), Phi Theta Kappa (KC), Alpha Chi (A&M-Commerce) and Mortar Board (A&M-Commerce).  Following her education, she was named to: Outstanding Young Women of America, Who’s Who in American Women, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and Who’s Who in America.

As a singer, she has performed with major symphony orchestras, college, community, church and civic choirs and choruses across the country.  She was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist as well as a National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Finalist.  She performed at the national convention of the National Association of Teachers of Singing in Louisville, Kentucky and for the premiere event honoring Van Cliburn of the East Texas Enrichment Series at Kilgore College.  She was named Outstanding Faculty Member of Kilgore College.  She received the Piper Professor Nomination for Kilgore College along with the Beeson Teaching Award.  She was awarded two NISOD Excellence in Teaching Awards from the University of Texas and was named an Outstanding Graduate of Henderson High School.

Kevin Kelley

Bio coming soon.

Dr. Thomas Kmiecik

Dr. Thomas Kmiecik serves as Instructor of Woodwinds at Kilgore College, and is also an active teacher and performer in the Dallas/Ft. Worth region. Dr. Kmiecik is the head clarinet teacher at Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX, where he teaches a full studio of private students and runs weekly masterclasses for all of the bands. He also teaches at Creek Valley and Killian Middle Schools, which are part of the Hebron cluster. In addition to his current teaching appointments, Dr. Kmiecik also works as a Reserve Method Clinician for D’Addario & Company, where he provides he provides clinics at middle schools, high schools, and universities to help students and directors learn about new equipment choices for clarinet and their pedagogical benefits. Prior to living in Texas, he served on the faculties at Southeastern Louisiana University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Dr. Kmiecik performs as the E-flat clarinetist with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Eugene Migliaro Corporon. He has performed at many concert halls across the United States and Europe with a number of high caliber ensembles, including the Dallas Wind Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Gulf Coast Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Nevada Pops Orchestra, and the North Texas Wind Symphony. He earned his D.M.A. in music performance from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, his M.M. in music performance with a related field in music education from the University of North Texas, and his B.M. in music performance from Eastern Michigan University. His primary teachers include Marina Sturm, James Gillespie, Kimberly Cole Luevano, and Andrew Mormile.

Tristan Roberts

Tristan Roberts is Director of Orchestras at Kilgore ISD and Adjunct Professor of Strings at Kilgore College. His fine orchestras without fail earn “Sweepstakes” and 1st division ratings at UIL Contests as well as regional TEA sanctioned festivals. This year Kilgore High School Orchestra will, for the third year in a row, have record enrollment with 99 students. Tristan earned his Bachelor of Music Education in 2008 with cum laude distinction at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches Louisiana where he sat concertmaster and assistant concertmaster. In 2009 he directed the sub non varsity band at Hallsville High School to earn 1st division ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading for the first time in the school’s history. In 2010, he eagerly took associate conductor post for Longview Area Youth Symphony Orchestra and plays violin for Longview Symphony Orchestra as well the surrounding area. He regularly works with fine arts departments in the East Texas area and sits on the Fine Arts Advisory Committee at Region 7. In 2012 Tristan featured Kilgore High School Symphony Orchestra which performed for 1200 audience members. He is currently studying conducting with Dr. Gene Moon at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Dr. Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor is Director of Choral Activities at Kilgore College, where he directs the Kilgore College Chorale, the Camerata Singers, the East Texas Community Chorus, and the Kilgore College Children’s Chorus.  He also teaches Composition, Guitar, Music Appreciation, and Applied Voice.  Under his direction the Kilgore College choirs have performed the Brahms and Mozart Requiems, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, the Beethoven Choral Fantasy, and many smaller works.  He was one of six instructors at Kilgore College to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2012-13 academic year. Prior to coming to Kilgore, Dr. Taylor completed a doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he was Narramore Scholar from 2006-8.  Earlier studies were done at the University of Miami, the University of North Texas, and Florida Atlantic University.  His inquiry into the choral arrangements of Alice Parker and Robert Shaw has been the subject of a dissertation at the University of Alabama and an article in the Choral Journal. Dr. Taylor made his European conducting debut in 2005, conducting the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the Mozart Mass in C Minor and works by Ravel, Copland, and John Williams.

He was invited to return in 2006 and again in 2008 to conduct the KSOC in performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Britten’s Cantata misericordium and Haydn’s Paukenmesse. Jim has extensive experience in the field of church music, having served churches in a full-time music ministry in Florida, Colorado, and Alabama from 1982 to 2006.  It was during this time that he founded the Jacksonville (FL) Children’s Chorus, which grew to 100 singers under his leadership.  The JCC performed at Carnegie Hall three times in children’s festivals, at Walt DisneyWorld, and at major venues in Jacksonville, and now numbers over 350 children. Dr. Taylor’s choral compositions are published by Oxford University Press, Hinshaw Music, Roger Dean Music, Choristers Guild, Colla Voce, and other publishers. Jim and his wife, Karen, have three grown children and three grandchildren.

Dr. Mike Turpin

Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Michael H. Turpin currently teaches music appreciation and applied woodwinds. Dr. Turpin earned a bachelor of science degree in music from Lamar University (1979), a master of music education degree from the University of South Carolina (1981), Texas Professional Counselor certification (1993), and a Ph.D. in educational human resource development from Texas A&M University (2003). A summa cum laude graduate of Lamar University, Dr. Turpin was honored with membership in Who‘s Who, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Blue Key and was selected also as the university’s outstanding graduate as well as the music department’s outstanding band graduate.

His teaching experience includes two years as a USC graduate assistant and three years in the public school arena. He began his higher education career at Kilgore College in 1984 and currently serving serves as Vice President of Instruction and adjunct instructor of music. He was the recipient of Kilgore College’ s Outstanding Administrator Award in 1999 and 2008.

Danny Vinson

Bio coming soon.

Glenn Wells

Glenn Wells, a KC graduate, took over as head band director in September of 2011. Wells previously served as head band director at Chapel Hill High School, a position he held since July of 2010. During his 31-year public school teaching career, his bands have amassed 28 First Division rankings in marching contests and have won 26 University Interscholastic League Sweepstakes awards. Wells has also served as head high school band director at Pine Tree (2005-2010); Gladewater (2004-05); Overton (1997-2004); Livingston (1996-97); Kilgore (1989-1996); and Lufkin (1987-89).

While band director at Overton High School, his bands won the UIL State Marching Contest in 2001, and the Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band Award in 2003. Wells earned a Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2002 and a Master of Arts from SFASU in 1986.

He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Instrumental Music Education from SFASU in 1980, is a 1977 KC graduate and a graduate of Union Grove High School. Wells has lived in Kilgore for nearly 25 years, and is married to wife, Tracy Wells.  They have two children, Kirk and John.

For information about Music - Instrumental:

Jeanne Johnson
Department Chair, Instructor
Music and Dance Department
(903) 983-8121
Turk Fine Arts Center (FA), 6