XRG 2020 staff
Annie Pelka, originally from Chicagoland, studied the art of movement at the University of North Texas, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. While in school she simultaneously marched 4 years at the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, which grew into a long teaching career at the same corps. After graduating she moved to Atlanta, GA as a performer and teacher. Studying hands-on bodywork and deciphering common movement patterns proved to be the foundation for her massage practice after becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Annie has had the great honor of working with many marching band, winter guard and percussion programs in various design and instruction capacities; some of these programs include Paramount Winter Guard, Odyssey Percussion Theatre, Harrison High School, Kell High School, Mill Creek High School, Pope High School, Mt. Juliet High School, Chantilly High School, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, and Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.
Currently living in Ames, Iowa, Annie teaches at Iowa State University, Graceland University, and Waukee High School. She continues to grow a private practice in myofascial and sports rehab techniques in Ames, while also teaching at Body Wisdom Massage School in Urbandale.
Ashleigh Wright, originally from Waterloo, IA, received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Special Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She now lives in Waukee with her husband (Tyler), dog (Ganon), and cats (Zelda and Navi). She is currently teaching kindergarten at Eason Elementary in the Waukee Community School District.
She started her color guard experience as a performer with the Waterloo West High School color guard from 2005-2008 under the direction of William Martin. In 2008, Ashleigh got the opportunity to march with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. From there, Ashleigh has had the privilege of directing and choreographing for several different programs around Iowa and Missouri. Some of these programs include Waterloo West High School, Winterset High School, Dallas-Center Grimes High School, Waukee High School, and Odessa High School. Ashleigh has also been a guest instructor at the Cyclone Guard Academy and is an instructor at the Iowa Central Color Guard Camp, as well.
Ashleigh is excited to return for her second season with XRG!
Darrin Mell, originally from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, recently completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Iowa State University in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. He is currently the color guard director at Ankeny High School in Iowa, and the Sound of Sun Prairie in Wisconsin. He has had the pleasure of working with numerous other color guard and marching band programs throughout the country over the past 12 years as a choreographer, instructor, designer, and clinician, including Saydel HS, West Marshall HS, the UWEC Blugold Marching Band, and the Colt Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps.
Darrin’s marching journey began in high school, spending four summers with the Sound of Sun Prairie Marching Band and two seasons with Premiere Winterguard. In 2002 he skipped a summer of marching band in order to fulfill his dream of spinning with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps. He went on to participate in the UW - Eau Claire Blugold Marching Band for two years and then finished his remaining two years of drum corps with The Colts in 2005 and 2006.
This fall Darrin will be embarking on his new career in the merchandising/design world and couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the Crossroads team!
STAGING & CHOREOGRAPHER
Christopher Farley - Bio to come!
Keri Songer, a lifelong native of south central Iowa, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from William Penn University. She currently does behind-the-scenes work for KBOE Radio, a station based out of Oskaloosa, Iowa, while living in Waukee with her husband Emery and two greyhounds, Emma and Jagger.
Keri fell in love with the performance arts at a young age, growing up in studio dance. Following high school graduation, she was a color guard member in the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps for four years (’11-’14). Since then she has had the privilege of instructing and choreographing for color guard programs in Iowa including Iowa State University, William Penn University, Oskaloosa High School, and Waukee High School. Keri has also had the opportunity to teach dance classes and an intermediate flag class at the Central Iowa Color Guard Camp for the last four years.
Jessica Coblentz is originally from Indiana, but has made a new home in central Iowa stepping into several teaching opportunities with performing arts groups across the state. As a performer herself, she marched four seasons with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps (‘13-‘16). Since her age out in 2016, Jessica has been returning each season to work with the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps color guard during the summer. She will also be returning for her third year with Anamosa High School as their Color Guard Director during their fall and winter seasons. She is ecstatic to return for her second season with Crossroads Guard after such a moving inaugural season!
In her time away from teaching students, she promotes healthy living as an entrepreneur and online fitness coach. This allows her to work remotely, help others daily, and give her students her best work and full focus throughout the year. She is grateful to step into these instructional roles to make color guard more accessible in the state of Iowa and across the Midwest!
Lianne Beliveau is a teacher and color guard instructor from Davenport, Iowa. She has been the choreographer and color guard Caption Head at Davenport Central for the past 4 years. In addition to working with the marching band program, Lianne started a competitive winter guard program at the school, which competes in the Midwest Color Guard Circuit.
Lianne is originally from Indiana and attended New Prairie High School. After graduation, she performed with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps during the 2008 season. She received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 2012. While there, she performed with Purdue University’s All-American Marching Band color guard program and their winter guard program. Additionally, she took dance classes at the university and performed with the Higher Ground Dance Company. Following graduation, Lianne moved to Ankeny, Iowa and assisted with Ankeny Centennial’s color guard program before moving to Davenport.
Lianne is thrilled to return for a second season with Crossroads!
Rachael Baethke was born and raised in Polk City, IA. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies in 2009, where she was also a Color Guard member in the ISUCF"V"MB. Rachael marched in the North Polk High School marching band where she graduated from in 2004, then went on to march with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps Color Guard from 2004-2007. She was head color guard coach at North Polk from 2006-2009, on color guard staff with the Colt Cadets in 2009 and has been the head color guard coach at Valley High School since 2014. She is also a substitute teacher at Valley High School. Rachael lived in Houston, TX from July 2010-December 2011 where she leased apartments and lived near her brother-in-law who was training for the Olympics in gymnastics!
Aside from coaching, Rachael is a long distance runner with goals of running a half marathon in every state. She has run the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge, Market to Market Relay, Dam to Dam, along with many other races locally and across the country!
Elizabeth Lovell, known by most as Liz, grew up in a small town called Prairie City, IA. After competing and performing in color guard throughout her high school career, she knew she had found her passion. At Iowa State University, she participated in Cyclone Sound (WGI WIO) for two competitive seasons, the ISU Winter Guard Club for three years, and the ISUCF'V'MB, where she was a captain for two out of her four years and was part of a select group who traveled to France for D-Day memorial performances in 2016.
After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Event Management, she planned weddings and events for two years with The District Venue and worked with the Ankeny High School color guard in her spare time. Recently, she took on a new role with Helena Agri-Enterprises as a member of their Admin team planning corporate meetings and events. She also works with XRG during their competitive season as a member of the Instructional Staff and with the Cyclone Academy camp at Iowa State as a movement instructor. Her color guard experience primarily involves choreographing and performing with flag, rifle, and movement.
Liz is excited to return for her second season with Crossroads!