Kevin M. Still

Director of Bands

Kevin M. Still serves as the Director of Bands at Willow Spring High School in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, since the founding of the school in 2021. In this capacity, Mr. Still conducts the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Marching Band and Jazz Band. The band program has been praised for its contemporary approach to performances, family-like atmosphere and comprehensive ensemble offerings.

Prior to opening Willow Spring, Mr. Still served as the Director of Bands at North Lincoln High School in Lincolnton, NC. His teaching responsibilities included conducting the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, “Band of Knights” Marching Band, Jazz Band, and Pit Orchestras. He also assisted with the middle school bands at North Lincoln Middle School. The NLHS Wind Ensemble regularly earned Superior ratings at concert festivals, and the Marching Band was a consistent winner of 1st place and Grand Champion awards. The North Lincoln Band program consisted of over 160 students supported by a comprehensive parent booster organization.

Mr. Still began his career as the Director of Bands & Choirs at West Stanly High School in Oakboro, NC, where he conducted the Concert Band, Marching Band, Vocal Ensemble and Jazz Band. During his tenure, the band and choir grew substantially, including the band enrollment at West Stanly Middle School almost tripling. Ensembles from West Stanly consistently earned ratings of “excellent” and “superior” at state and regional music festivals and competitions.

Mr. Still holds a Master’s of Music Education from Texas Tech University as well as a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he was awarded the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship. As a performer, Mr. Still marched trumpet with the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps in 2009, earning a silver medal at DCI World Championships and high brass honors.

Mr. Still holds professional memberships with Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, and the National Band Association. Outside of music, he enjoys golfing, hiking, running and church service opportunities. He lives in Willow Spring, NC, with his wife Kristen, sons Craig and Colin, and their cat Gracie.

Stephen Downing

Concert Percussion Instructor

Stephen Downing is a North Carolina-based teacher, performer, and composer.

His music searches to find the intersection of the classical tradition, organic structures, absurdism, and the man-made world. His music draws inspiration from the obsessiveness of minimalism, the relentlessness of rock, the mysticism of sacred music, and the organic structures of global music. Some of Stephen's recent projects include move, a new piece for Imani Winds, and a new electro-acoustic flute solo (So many moving parts) for Alex Sopp. His music has been performed by musicians such as the JACK Quartet, HYPERCUBE, RighteousGIRLS, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. fellow in Music Composition at Duke University.

He is particularly interested in performing and championing contemporary solo and chamber repertoire from modern composers. Some notable performances include the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) as a member of the University of Tennessee at Martin Percussion Ensemble, the Tennessee Day of Percussion as a featured performer with Anders Åstrand, and many curated concerts of contemporary music in the West Tennessee area. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the University of Tennessee at Martin, where his teachers included Dr. Julie Hill, Dr. Shane Jones, Dr. Joshua Smith, Dr. Dan Piccolo, and Dr. Daniel Heagney.

Dwayne Barnes

Colorguard Instructor

Dwayne Barnes has grown up in the marching arts. He has been involved with many band and winter guards across Eastern NC. He is an AIA Hall of Honor recipient and has most recently been awarded the NCSU/CALS Award for Excellence. He is the current Executive Director for Carolina Visual Productions winter guard and the Visual Director for the Campbell University Sounds of the Sandhills marching band. Previously he worked with the UNC Marching Tar Heels color guard and was the Executive Director for Carolina Gold drum & bugle corps. Outside of band, guard and work, he spends time with family and his dog Manny. In addition to his colorguard responsibility at Willow Spring, Mr. Barnes' day job is a Graduate Services Coordinator with the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at NC State University in Raleigh.

Dominique Ruffin

Marching Percussion Instructor

Dominique Ruffin was introduced to percussion through the drum set at two years old. He is a proud product of the Orange County public school sys. Participating in the band programs from elementary school through high school. His middle school band director, Dr. Arris Golden, high school band director, Andy Carter, and mentor, Scott Thomas, saw his promise and potential as a musician. Dominique was later encouraged to audition for Drum Corps International, where he went on to march with Coastal Surge Drum and Bugle Corps from 2013-2015. Dominique has cultivated percussion programs all over the state of North Carolina as a percussion tech and clinician, most recently with Apex Friendship High School in Apex, NC. During the school year, Mr. Ruffin works as a Security Official for Chapel-Hill High School and owns his own tree cutting service! He is so thankful to be a part of the Willow Spring Sound of the Storm team!