Matthew Ezeh, Director of Bands
Mr. Ezeh is the Director of Bands at Luella High School. He is in charge of all Concert Bands, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Blue Dynasty Auxiliary Squad, and the LHS Marching Lions. Mr. Ezeh received his degree in Music Education from Mercer University in Macon, GA and studied trombone under Hollie Lawing-Pritchard.
As a DCI performer, he marched with Alliance DBC in 2016, the Oregon Crusaders in 2017, and finished his marching career with The Cavaliers as a featured soloist in 2018. Outside of drum corps, he played in numerous ensembles at Mercer, including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Brass Quintet and Pit Orchestra.
As an educator, he has worked with many schools teaching brass sectionals and private lessons. Mr. Ezeh has taught the Jones County High School Marching Band as a brass and visual instructor. In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the band has done very well competitively, now frequently receiving superior ratings and even winning Best In Class at the Oconee Classic in 2017. In 2019, Mr. Ezeh taught the Houston County High School Marching Band and the Mercer University Marching Band as a low brass instructor and a visual instructor. In his free time, Matthew enjoys watching basketball, playing tennis, and discovering new & weird music.
Desmond Tarplin, Percussion Instructor
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Mr. Desmond T. Tarplin began playing drums at the age of 3 and hasn't looked back since. Mr. Tarplin grew up always interested in sports and music, participating in many activities while also excelling as a student. In 2005, he graduated from Stockbridge High School as a 3-year veteran of the Tiger Marching Band and a multi-sport athlete.
Following high school, Mr. Tarplin attended the University of West Georgia (Go Wolves!) in Carrollton, GA and majored in music performance with a concentration in jazz studies. During his time at UWG, he was an active member in many ensembles including the UWG Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, the UWG Jazz Percussion Group, jazz combo, concert band, percussion ensemble, and "The Sound that Lights the South," the UWG marching band. He served as a section leader or principal player for at least two years in every ensemble. Mr. Tarplin was initiated in the Spring of 2007 as a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. and worked in a service capacity to the music department and UWG Bands. In May of 2011, he graduated from UWG with a bachelor's degree in music performance.
Mr. Tarplin continued his education by pursuing a master's degree in music performance from Valdosta State University (Go Blazers!) while also serving as an athletic bands graduate assistant. He assisted with the direction and instruction of the VSU Blazin' Brigade Marching Band and co-directed the Blazin' Brigade Pep Band during basketball season. During his time at VSU, he also participated in the VSU Wind Ensemble, steel drum band, percussion ensemble, jazz ensemble, and jazz combo. Mr. Tarplin continued to serve with his fraternity including holding the elected office of Southeast District Member-at-Large. He completed his degree at VSU in the spring of 2013.
Mr. Desmond Tarplin brings in a wealth of knowledge from learning, performing, and teaching at various levels. In addition to nine years of scholastic marching band experience, he has also performed with Drum Corps Associates Southern Champion, Atlanta CV. Mr. Tarplin has been a percussion caption head, visual/marching technician, and arranger for many high school programs since 2007 including Lakeside High School (Atlanta, GA), Heard County High School (Franklin, GA), Bowdon High School (Bowdon, GA), Glynn Academy (Brunswick, GA), Burke County High School (Waynesboro, GA), and Liberty Technology Magnet High School (Jackson, TN). He continues to teach private lessons and perform nationally and internationally.
Mr. Tarplin's teaching philosophy has two basic tenets: first, to provide students with the technical knowledge to play their instruments; and second, to teach students to make personal and emotional attachments to the music and music-making process. This encourages the students to think critically about what they are performing and may lead to success in other areas of academia. He believes that the classroom relationship should revolve around trust and respect; with those two factors in place, the students will be in a better position to succeed.
Nyesha Bowens, Auxiliary Team Coach
Mrs. Bowens is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Booker T. Washington High School, graduating the year of 2006. She is a 2019 graduate of Mercer University and is currently pursuing a Master's in School Counseling from Walden University. Mrs. Bowens is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success with over 15 years of dance experience.
Mrs. Bowens works closely with the Luella staff to generate the overall vision, marketing and strategic direction of the Blue Dynasty Auxiliary. She is very hands-on with the day to day operations including uniform design, show design and choreography, web design/social media presence and leadership development. She is excited to work with the auxiliary and empower the girls to be great leaders.