ORHS Band Staff

Michael Spirko (B.M. - University of Tennessee, Knoxville) Trumpet

Mr. Spirko is the Band Director at Oak Ridge High School after serving as the Assistant Band Director for six years. He is in his 20th year of teaching in the region. After beginning his career in Sevier County, he served as Director of Bands at Halls High School and has most recently taught for 11 years at West Valley Middle School. Mr. Spirko holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  While at UT, Mr. Spirko played in many ensembles and pursued a double major in Studio Music and Jazz. He was an active member of the "Pride of the Southland Band" for 6 years and was honored to serve as Drum Major in 1997. 

Mr. Spirko has been an active trumpet player and performer in the Knoxville area for 20 years. He is currently a member of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and leads his own swing big band, The Streamliners. He has played in the orchestra for Clarence Brown Theater for over 10 musical productions and served in the  Worship Orchestra at First Baptist Concord for 12 years. He has also enjoyed performing over the years in many local jazz combos and dance bands.

Sean Rutherford (B.M. - University of Tennessee, Knoxville) Percussion

Mr. Rutherford is Assistant Band Director at ORHS and also directs the percussion section. He comes to the high school after two years as the Jefferson Middle School Band Director. After serving one year as the assistant at Fulton High School, Mr. Rutherford spent six years as the Director of Bands at Clinton Middle School and the assistant at Clinton High School. While at the University of Tennessee he was a member of the "Pride of the Southland Band" along with the many wind, percussion and chamber ensembles.

He also spent four years in DCI, including 2 years in Division III, one year as a member of the front ensemble for the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps, and aged out in the tenor line for the 2000 Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps. During these years, Mr. Rutherford had the opportunity to study with Thom Hannum, Lee Beddis, Colin McNutt, Brian Tinkel, James Ancona, and Ian Moyer.

Mr Rutherford is a member of MENC, TMEA, ETSBOA, PAS, and is part of the Vic Firth Education Team. Sean and his wife, Missy, reside in Knoxville with their son, Silas.

Elizabeth Reams (B.M. - University of Tennessee, Knoxville) Flute

Ms. Reams is the Band Director at Robertsville Middle School and also assists with the Oak Ridge High School Band. She holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ms. Reams was a member of the “Pride of the Southland Band” and participated in various performance ensembles. She is a professional flutist and private teacher in the greater Knox County, Sevier County and Maryville areas, and has had the privilege to teach master classes in public and private settings in flute pedagogy and performance in East Tennessee. Ms. Reams taught in the Knox County School system as Assistant Director of Bands at Gibbs High School in Corryton, TN, and worked with multiple ensembles in the state of Virginia in the areas of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk.

Alex Cantrell (B.M., M.M. - University of Tennessee, Knoxville) Horn

Mr. Cantrell is the Band Director at Jefferson Middle School and also assists with the Oak Ridge High School Band.  A graduate of the University of Tennessee,  Mr. Cantrell holds a Bachelor's of Music and Masters in Music Performance.  During his time at UT, he performed with the Wind Ensemble, the Symphony Orchestra, and the “Pride of the Southland Band”.  Since graduating, Mr. Cantrell has been active both as an educator and performer.  From 2014 – 2019, he was the Band Director at Whittle Springs Middle School and assisted at Fulton High School, both in Knoxville.  He has also been an active private horn instructor since 2006, with several students who have been placed in honor bands and received music scholarships.  Mr. Cantrell is an active horn player across East Tennessee, most notably with the Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge Symphonies. 

Emma Madison 

Ms. Madison is the Color Guard Director for the Oak Ridge High School Band. She is a graduate of Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, TN, and an alumna of the Spirit of the Valley Band. She served as Color Guard Captain for two seasons on the award winning HVA Winterguard, competing in multiple BOA competitions and traveling to WGI Nationals three times.

She is currently residing in Knoxville, and is attending the University of Tennessee, studying Elementary Education and Psychology.

Merny Hughey (B.S. - Bus. Admin. - Accounting/Computer Science - ECSU, CT)

Merny is the Teachers Assistent for the ORHS Band. She has been involved with the program since 2002 as
an 8 year band parent of two daughters on trombone, Band Booster President, and TA since the Spring of
2007. She lives in Oak Ridge with her husband, Charlie.