The Normal Community and Normal West High School Bands are the proud producers of the NORMAL MARCHING BAND!

The NORMAL MARCHING BAND continues the rich traditions of excellence previously established at Normal West and Normal Community High Schools. The group represents our schools, school district, and community on the local, regional, and national stages.

We are excited about the team-building, collaboration, and leadership opportunities available to students in this larger group. Participating students develop self-discipline as well as musical and marching skills as a part of a high caliber band, drum line, front ensemble, and color guard.  We feel very strongly about the quality of the young adults that participate in our marching programs, and we are excited to invite you to participate! The experience will be one to remember for a lifetime!



Ryan Budzinski received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and has since completed graduate level courses at the VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, IL), Illinois State University (Normal, IL), the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and The Juilliard School (New York, NY).  He has taught in the Unit 5 Schools since 2006.  Mr. Budzinski currently conducts the Normal West High School Wind Symphony and  Symphonic Band, and he teaches AP Music Theory.  He is the director of the Normal West Jazz Orchestra and the head of instrumental jazz studies at Normal West.  Additionally, he teaches AP Music Theory and serves as the Normal West High School Music Department Building Chair.  Mr. Budzinski is co-director of the Normal Marching Band, and he has written drill for the Normal Marching Band (since 2018), the Normal West High School Marching Band (2010-2017), the Olympia High School Marching Band (since 2010), and segments for the Normal Community High School Marching Band.  Mr. Budzinski was selected by the Normal West High School student body as the recipient of the Teacher Honor Roll Award in the spring of 2008.  Prior to his appointment at Normal West High School, Mr. Budzinski held the position of Assistant Director of Bands at Normal Community High School.  Mr. Budzinski has served as an adjudicator at events hosted by the Illinois High School Association, the Illinois Music Education Association, the Illinois Elementary School Association, and the Illinois Grade School Music Association.  Previously, he was a volunteer at the Bands of America Summer Symposium, the student director of the IWU Titan Athletic Bands, and Drum Major of the Lincoln-Way Marching Band for their Illinois State University Grand Championship and appearance in the 111th Tournament of Roses Parade.  Mr. Budzinski is professionally affiliated with the National Association for Music Education.  He recently completed a term as the Illinois Music Education Association District 3 Band Co-Representative and is currently serving on the Music Advisory Committee for the Illinois High School Association.

Paul Carter joins Unit 5 in 2021 as the Director of Bands at Normal Community High School and a co-director of the Normal Marching Band. He will receive his Master’s of Music in Wind Band Conducting from the University of Illinois. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a focus in Bass Trombone. While attending Ithaca College, Paul participated in a variety of ensembles and musical opportunities including the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Trombone Troupe, Jazz Repertory Ensemble, various chamber groups, and many other ensembles. A native of Pennsylvania, Paul attended North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA where he was a member of the 2011 USSBA Group 4 Open National Champion Marching Knights. While studying at Ithaca College, Paul was the Visual and Brass Captionhead for the Vestal High School Marching Band. After graduating from Ithaca College, he spent 3 years as the Middle School Band Director at Ray Middle School, Baldwinsville Central School District, near Syracuse, NY. While there he worked with the Baldwinsville High School Marching Bees as the Brass Captionhead as well as with the Plan Bee Pep Band and the Baldwinsville Indoor Drumline. During his time at Baldwinsville, the Marching Bees placed 4th and 2nd in the NYSFBC State Championship National Class. In January of 2020, the Baldwinsville Marching Bees participated in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA. While at the University of Illinois, Paul was the Mellophone and Saxophone section instructor for the Marching Illini as well as a conductor of the Basketball Pep Band for both Men’s and Women’s Big Ten Basketball games.

Lisa Preston has been a high school band director for over thirty years.  She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University and a Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of Connecticut where she studied under renowned conductor, Gary Green.  She is currently the conductor of the Normal West High School Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, and Concert Winds as well as the Normal Community High School Concert Winds.  She is co-director of the Normal Marching Band, and she has completed musical arrangements for the Normal West Marching Band, Normal Community Marching Band, and other schools outside of Illinois.  Marching Bands under her direction have been Bands of America Regional Class Champions, Regional Finalists, and Grand National Semifinalists.  Ms. Preston is the chapter adviser for the Normal West Chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.  Ms. Preston served as the Normal West Music Department Chairperson from 1995-2004.  Ms. Preston has received the "Teacher of the Year" award from the Normal West High School Future Teachers' Club, and has four times received the Student Council "Teacher Recognition" award.  Under her direction, the Normal West High School Bands have received five Mayoral Proclamations from the Town of Normal for excellence in both marching and concert bands.  Prior to her appointment at Normal West, Ms. Preston taught at Normal Community High School and Danville High School (IL).  Ms. Preston has received ten Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association for appearances at the University of Illinois SuperState Concert Band Festival.  Under her direction, the Normal West HS Wind Ensemble has performed at the All-State Illinois Music Education Conference three times.  She has guest conducted the Olympia High School Band, the Heyworth High School Band, the Miami Killian Senior High School Band, the Western Illinois University Summer Camp Band, the SIU-E Bi-State Honor Band, the Prairie Wind Ensemble, and the Illinois Wesleyan University Symphonic Winds.  She is professionally affiliated with the National Association for Music Education, and she recently completed a term as the Illinois Music Education Association District 3 Band Co-Representative.


Mr. Lance Meadows is retiring from NCHS in 2021 after 34 years of teaching, having served in Unit 5 for the last 32 of those years. The Unit 5 Bands gratefully acknowledge Mr. Meadows's service to the students and families in the Unit 5 community, and we wish him the very best in his retirement!