Dr. Michael Yonchak currently serves as Director of Bands is an Associate Professor of Music Education at Otterbein University. A native of Ohio, Dr. Yonchak earned the Bachelor of Music in Education (percussion emphasis) and Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting degrees from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Wind Conducting from the University of Kentucky. His dissertation monograph focused on the wind ensemble compositions of American composer Frank Zappa, leading to the publication of journal articles and numerous presentations, as well as research into American popular music and culture. Prior to his time in Kentucky, Dr. Yonchak taught for five and a half years in the public schools of northeast Ohio.
On campus, Dr. Yonchak teaches a variety of academic courses that includes History of Rock and Roll, Protest Music, Advanced Conducting, Secondary Education Methods, and directs the Wind Ensemble. Additionally, he maintains an active schedule as a freelance percussionist and drum set artist in the Columbus area, performing for Ohio Governors Ted Strickland and John Kasich, opening for percussionist Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), and with composer/saxophonist Bob Mintzer (Yellowjackets). He is a clinician on innovative educational pedagogy that integrates popular music styles into various teaching practices, and has presented sessions for the Ohio Music Education Association’s State Conference and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dr. Yonchak is also an active percussionist on the Columbus music scene, with performances ranging from indie-rock to jazz to traditional flamenco and Irish percussion.
Dr. Yonchak holds honorary memberships in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma. He is also an endorsee for Vic Firth, Inc., and Finnegan Hill Irish Percussion (www.finneganhill.com).