The Musicians

The musicians of Excelsior Cornet Band are professional performers with many years of experience in a wide variety of musical genres. They perform with an enthusiastic professionalism that brings the music of the Civil War brass band era to life. Like the original brass bands of the Civil War era, our members come from all walks of life.

Click on a thumbnail for a larger picture.

Jeff Stockham, Founder, Leader and Solo E-flat Cornet, has been an in-demand freelance musician in the Upstate New York area for many years. He holds a Masters Degree from the Eastman School of Music and in addition to leading the Excelsior Cornet Band, has been a member of many of the region’s best-known jazz and popular music groups.


Lee Turner, E-flat Cornet, teaches music in the North Syracuse school district. He is a very active freelancer with popular and classical ensembles in the region and maintains a studio of private students.

David Driesen, B-flat Cornet, Charter Member, is University Professor of Law at Syracuse University, and is a world-renowned authority on the subject of environmental law. In addition to freelancing in the Syracuse area, he has played trumpet professionally in the Washington, DC region and in South America.

Dickson Rothwell, E-flat Alto Horn, Charter Member, has performed professionally on French horn for many years, in the Upstate New York region and with regional orchestras.

Jim Spencer, B-flat Tenor Horn, Charter Member, is Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences, and Professor of Chemistry, at Syracuse University. He studied French horn and Composition at Crane School of Music, and is director of the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble and senior editor for Cornucopia Music Press.

Al Thomson, E-flat Tuba, Charter Member, directs the Music program at Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School in Syracuse, NY. He performs with a number of ensembles including the Syracuse University Brass and the Regal Brass Quintet.

John Allis, Snare Drum, Charter Member, is recently retired from Syracuse University Audio-Visual Services, and actively freelances as a percussionist with many regional ensembles, including the Syracuse Symphony, Utica Symphony and Glimmerglas Opera.

Loyal Mitchell, Bass Drum, E-flat Tuba, Baritone, and Ophicleide, is recently retired from teaching music in the Utica, NY Central School System.

Damian Allis, Bass Drum, Charter Member, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Syracuse University Chemistry Department, specializing in computational quantum chemistry and molecular nanotechnology.

Tom Killian, Snare Drum, is in great demand on the upstate NY jazz scene. He has taught at Hartwick and Ithaca Colleges; been a guest conductor at many All-County Jazz Festivals, and is a frequent guest artist and clinician at many schools and colleges in upstate NY. He teaches in the Corning, NY public schools.

B.J. Boycheck, B-flat and E-flat Cornets, teaches instrumental music for the East Syracuse-Minoa Central Schools. He also teaches private brass lessons and is a freelance trumpeter who performs regularly in the Syracuse area.

John Laverty, B-flat and E-flat Cornets, is Director of Bands at Syracuse University, a Grammy-nominated record producer, and a frequent guest conductor at universities nationwide.

David Keck, B-flat and E-flat Cornets, is a charter jet pilot, flying Cessna Citation and Grumman Gulfstream executive jets to the far corners of the globe.