Illinois native Nicholas Loafman has been hired as Wilton High School's new band director, following the retirement of Frank “Chip” Gawle, who retired after 35 years at the high school.

In his new role, Loafman will direct Wilton High School's 190-member marching band, wind ensemble, concert band and jazz ensembles.

Loafman said he is “incredibly thrilled” to join the Wilton High School faculty and community and “can't wait to get to work with the wonderful students of Wilton High School.”

“I learned very quickly that these are some outstanding young people,” Loafman said in a press release. “As has been evident since I began the interview process, the music programs here are highly valued by the parents, school administration, and the community at large.”

In April alone, Wilton High School’s band, orchestra and choral groups earned eight gold and two silver medals at the 2016 Music Adjudication competition in Staten Island, N.Y., and the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation named Wilton’s public school music education program one of the best in the nation.

Although their school contracts expired June 30, Gawle and retired music director John Rhodes stuck around to help Loafman transition into his new position.

“I am very thankful to Mr. Gawle and Mr. Rhodes for their hard work in transitioning me in,” said Loafman, “and we are looking forward to continuing the strength and legacy of the Wilton High School bands.”

Loafman comes to Wilton High School from Mt. Vernon Township High School, in Mt. Vernon, Ill., where he directed all the school's music ensembles for six years. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

During his time at Mt. Vernon Township High School, Loafman served as an adjudicator, guest conductor and conference presenter throughout Illinois, and also participated in conducting clinics, director's workshops and conductor's symposiums.  

Wilton High School Principal Robert O'Donnell said he is excited to welcome Loafman to Wilton High School.

"He is a music educator with strong credentials, who has been highly successful building a program that encourages students to excel in their musical pursuits," O'Donnell said in a press release.

"I trust that he will continue the perennial Wilton Warrior tradition of a collaborative learning partnership with our students, staff, and families."

The marching band will premiere a new half-time show during the first home football game of the season on Friday, Sept. 9. The show will feature the music of classic rock band Blood Sweat & Tears, with a few contemporary twists.

All band parents — new and returning — are invited to an informational session with Loafman at the annual New Band Parent Orientation Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m., at the high school.