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Gates Chili Winterguard
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 IA Staff 
Michael Heaney
Michael Heaney

Lead instructor

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that Mike returns to the Gates Chili Organization as their Executive Director, as well as the Lead Instructor of the IA Guard. Mike is looking forward to working with the members, staff, parents, and Board of Directors to ensure that Gates Chili Winter Guards continue to be a leading organization in the marching arts in Western NY. Mike has been involved in the marching arts since 1995 when he began his marching career with the Hilton Crimson Cadet Marching Band.

Mike’s greatest passion for the marching arts is sharing his knowledge to members, instructors, and other programs to ensure that the marching arts stay alive in Western NY. He has worked with numerous organizations over his 27 years of being involved in the marching arts including Hilton Crimson Cadet Marching Band, Empire Statesmen Drum & Bugle Corps, Mansfield University Marching band, Patriots Winterguard, Victor Varsity Winterguard, Gates Chili Winterguard, Medina Marching band and Winterguard, and Marcus Whitman Winterguard.

Mike has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Mansfield University and currently works for New York State as a Standard Compliance Analyst II for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

When he is not teaching, Mike resides in Greece, NY with his Husband Peter and his 3 very active Australian Shepard’s Aeris, Sadie and Phoebe.

Kevin McLoud
Kevin McLoud

Kevin is beyond excited to return to the Gates Chili Winterguard instructional staff for the 2023 season. He is glad to be back and ready to have fun teaching the Gates Chili Independent A Winterguard with longtime friend Mike Heaney.

Kevin started his Winterguard experience with the Penn Yan Jr. guard in 1989. Over his 33 years with the activity, Kevin has marched with such groups as the Penn Yan Senior Winterguard, Rochester Patriots Winterguard and Drum Corp (including when they won gold in independent open in 1998), Emerald Marquis Winterguard, and Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corp for 1 season.

His teaching career is just as impressive as his marching career, teaching such groups as St. Johns of Beverly including when they won gold in IA in 2005, Sacred heart including when they won gold in IO in 2004, Gates Chili Varsity Winterguard, Naples Winterguard, Greater Johnstown Winterguard, Patriots Winterguard and Alter Ego Winterguard.

Kevin currently resides in Penn Yan.

Kara Brown
Kara Brown

Kara has been involved in the marching arts since 2005. She began her color guard career marching with the Patriots Winterguard and continued marching with them for 10 years until her age-out of A class in 2015. Kara has performed with the Rochester Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps (2007-2009), the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps (2010-2013), and the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps (2015-2019).

Kara enjoys passing along her passion for the activity to students and colorguard members of all ages. She has worked with numerous organizations in the upstate NY area, including Gates Chili Colorguard, Medina Marching Band, and the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps. She will be returning to instruct with the Gates Chili Independent Winterguard for her 11th season and is excited to be working with the IA program for the first time.

When she is not teaching colorguard, Kara works full time as an Interior Designer at an Architectural Firm in Rochester, NY. She is also co-director of the Rochester city center planning board of the international interior design association. Kara enjoys being creative with photography and crafting in her free time.

Kerri Palmer
Kerri Palmer

Kerri began her involvement with the Gates Chili Winterguard in 2003 where she was a marching member from 2003 – 2010. She has also performed with The Empire Statesmen and The Rochester Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps. In 2018 she returned to the Gates Chili Winterguard as an Instructional Staff member and has been teaching with the organization ever since. In addition to teaching Winterguard she has also been teaching yoga in Buffalo since 2014.

Kerri holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Buffalo State College and currently works as a Senior Analyst in Benefits Administration. She also volunteers and fosters for two animal rescues in Buffalo and is active within the local yoga and vegetarian communities. Kerri lives in Buffalo with her 3 chaotic rescue cats Raspberry, Andie and Franklin.