2019 Natatorium
Photo by John Osumi

Mustang Band Directors

Nicholas P. Waldron

Associate Director of Bands

Director of Athletic Bands

Nicholas Waldron

Nicholas P. Waldron is appointed Associate Director of Bands at Cal Poly, where he oversees the Mustang Band and Wind Orchestra. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with honors in Wind Conducting at the University of Kansas School of Music where he studied with Dr. Paul W. Popiel. He served as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Bands, was the director of the Women’s Basketball Band and assistant director for the Men’s Basketball Band and taught conducting and music education courses. He holds a Master of Music Degree and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Indiana University, where he studied conducting with Stephen W. Pratt and bassoon with William Ludwig and Kathleen McLean.

Just prior to his time in Kansas, Dr. Waldron was an Associate Instructor in the Department of Bands/Wind Conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In this role, his responsibilities included teaching undergraduate conducting, directing athletic bands and guest conducting Indiana’s three concert bands.

A native of Hudson, Ohio, he served as director of bands for Sheridan Community Schools in Sheridan, Indiana.  His responsibilities included teaching several concert ensembles, music education courses, and marching and pep bands.  Under his direction, the SCS ensembles received consistent first place finishes and Caption Awards in Class A at State Fair Band Day and unanimous superior ratings at music festivals. Dr. Waldron’s professional memberships include CBDNA, Kappa Kappa Psi, the International Double Reed Society, and the Society for the Promotion and Research of Wind Music.

Christopher J. Woodruff

Director of Bands

Christopher Woodruff Christopher Woodruff joined the faculty at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo as Associate Director of Bands in the fall of 2006. In addition to his responsibilities with the concert and athletic bands, he teaches courses in music theory, and music appreciation. As Instructor of Trumpet he also coaches the Cal Poly Brass choir and teaches methods courses in brass pedagogy.

Woodruff received the bachelors degree in music education at Louisiana State University and taught high school band for several years in Florida. He continued studies in conducting at Northwestern University, where he received the Eckstein Band Conducting Grant and completed the master of music. While in Chicago, he served as Music Director of the Spring Valley Concert Band and was a guest conductor for the Northshore Concert Band and the Northshore Chamber Orchestra.

Prior to his arrival on the Central Coast, he served as Director of Symphonic and Marching Bands at University of Northern Iowa and Director of Bands at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. His guest conducting appearances have included concerts with the Penn Central Wind Band, Williamsport Symphony chamber players as well as the Northshore Concert Band and Northshore Chamber Orchestra, both in Chicago. As a trumpet player, he has played with the Baton Rouge Symphony, Billtown Brass Band, and Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Woodruff holds professional memberships with the Music Educators National Conference, California Band Directors Association, College Music Educators Association, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the International Trumpet Guild. He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Pi Kappa Lambda and is chapter co-sponsor of the Iota Pi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.

Len Kawamoto

Mustang Band Assistant Director

Len KawamotoLen Kawamoto has been serving as the assistant director of the Mustang Band since the fall of 1998. Born in New Hyde Park, New York and raised in Torrance, California, he is an alumnus of Cal Poly and the Mustang Band. As a student, Kawamoto studied Computer Science while playing horn in the Mustang Band, Wind Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he participated in musical organizations such as the SLO County Band, SLO Chamber Orchestra and the Sacramento Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corps. His student leadership positions included Equipment Manager, Executive Officer, and Mustang Band President. Kawamoto is also a Founding Father of the Iota Pi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity.

After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, Kawamoto accepted his current position as assistant director for the Mustang Band. Kawamoto is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the International Horn Society, and the IEEE Computer Society. He performs regularly with the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra, and has previously performed with the Cuesta Wind Ensemble, the San Francisco Renegades Senior Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Renegades Mini-Corps.

In 2022, Kawamoto was recognized by the College of Liberal Arts for Outstanding Career Achievement for his devotion to excellence, commitment to the athletic band program and supporting a standard recognized by his colleauges and fans of Mustang Band.

In addition to his responsibilities with the Mustang Band, Kawamoto maintains his professional alter ego as a software engineer for a local engineering company.

Jeffrey Brown

Second Assistant Director

Jeff Brown Jeffrey Brown has been a band staff director since 2013. He studied business administration at Cal Poly with an information systems concentration and a minor in computer science. He also earned an MBA. Since graduating, he has performed with the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra and works at MINDBODY as a software engineer. He is co-founder of Bishop Peak Technology. He was a member of Mustang Band, first in the clarinet section, then drum major. He also performed in Cal Poly's Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. He was a member of the Iota Pi chapter of the National Honorary Band Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi.

Emily Lopez

Colorguard Instructor

Emily Lopez Emily Lopez graduated in 2017 with a BS in Computer Engineering. During her time at Cal Poly, she was a member of the Mustang Band Colorguard and served as colorguard captain and Mustang Band CEO. She was also a member of the Iota Pi chapter of the National Honorary Band Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. Since graduating, she has worked as a software test engineer for Boeing. She has been the instructor for the San Luis Obispo High School Colorguard for 3 years. This will be her second year as the colorguard instructor for Mustang Band.

Laurent Chang

Drumline Instructor

Laurent Chang Laurent Chang is a Mustang Band Alumnus involved with the band from 2019 to 2021. He has since been involved in professional mechanical engineering and structural design work at Universal Studios Hollywood, while teaching indoor drumlines in Southern California. Laurent’s performance experience includes multiple seasons marching snare drum with the Blue Devils, RCC Indoor Percussion, Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets, Vessel Indoor Percussion, and POW Percussion.


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Would you like to know more?

All prospective and current Cal Poly students interested in joining the Mustang Band should fill out our Online Interest Form.

We enjoy meeting new students and encourage you to send an email if you have any questions or plan to visit campus. Contact information for directors and all band faculty and staff can be found on our contacts page.