Geoffrey Sperling, Head Designer
Geoffrey Sperling, originally from Detroit, MI, graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with a Bachelor of the Arts. Geoffrey has been a performing member, and currently is an alumni of Interplay, Zydeco, and The Pride of Cincinnati Winterguards. In 2011, Geoffrey ended his 8 year DCI career as a performing member with the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps where he was a part of the George Zingali "Best Color guard" award winning cast. Prior to that, Geoffrey was a marching member with the Cadets (2008-2010), Bluecoats (2007), Hawthorne Caballeros (2009), Capital Regiment (2006), Racine Kilties (2005-2006),and The Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps (2004-2005).
Geoffrey was an integral part of the design staff at Cedar Ridge High School (Round Rock, TX) from 2012-2013. During his time at Cedar Ridge the marching band made its inaugural appearance in the Bands of America Grand National Finals. The Winterguard received a Scholastic A bronze medal in the Texas Colorguard Circuit (TCGC), and made finals at all WGI regional appearances. Currently, Geoffrey resides in Austin , TX where he served as the Director of Colorguards at New Braunfels High School from 2014-2017. Under his leadership, The New Braunfels Marching Band & Winterguard experienced growth numerically and competitively. In 2015, The winter guard was named the WGI San Antonio Regional A Class Champion, and were Regional A class silver medalists within the Texas Educational Colorguard Association (TECA). In 2016, The New Braunfels Junior Varsity Winterguard was named gold medalists and novice class champions in TECA. In 2017, The New Braunfels Marching Band made UIL Area D finals for the first time in 6A. The program fielded 3 winter guards (Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Cadet) which contained over 50 students, and The Varsity Winterguard made finals at the WGI San Antonio, Austin, and Southwest Power Regional. Outside of his involvement with scholastic programs, Geoffrey has served as choreographer for The Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps (2012), The Louisiana Stars Drum & Bugle Corps(2014-2015), and Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps(2017). Geoffrey has also choreographed for White Gold (2012), Industry Independent(2015), and Spirit Independent Winterguard (2016-Present). Geoffrey has been a U.S. Bands Adjucator since 2013 in the caption of Colorguard. Presently, Geoffrey serves as a co-director for Origins Colorguard, an Independent Open Class winterguard based out of Austin, Tx.
Christopher McCarthy, Designer
Originally from Binghamton, NY, Chris discovered his love for color guard and the marching activity at age 12. From 2001 to 2007, he attended Susquehanna Valley MS and HS performing with the marching band, color guard, concert band and spending his last two years serving as Drum Major. In 2006, Chris made the jump during his junior year to independent color guard. He spent several years performing with Spectrum Winterguard, primarily in the Independent Open class, as well as the A and World Class. He served as Guard Captain in ’09, ’10 and ’11. Chris has also marched with The DCA finalists Syracuse Brigadiers Drum and Bugle Corps from ’07 – ’08.
At the age of 16, Chris began to choreograph and stage for small programs throughout upstate New York. Following HS, he spent a short time studying at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and then spent four years as an Operating Room assistant at a regional trauma center. During this time, he served as designer, choreographer and/or director for a number of programs. His experiences led him to transition to Texas in the summer of 2013. Some programs he has worked with include: University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (WI), Spectrum (NY), Greater Johnstown HS (NY), Round Rock HS (TX), Westwood HS (TX), New Braunfels HS (TX), Cedar Ridge HS (TX), Dripping Springs HS (TX) and Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps (TX).
Chris currently resides in Austin, TX, and is the Colorguard Director at McNeil HS as well as the Co Director of Origins Colorguard. Aside from McNeil and Origins, Chris is on staff with The Crossmen Colorguard and also designs, stages and choreographs for numerous groups across the country both as a freelance artist as well as working for SperlingDesigns.
Outside of pageantry, Chris enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, coffee with friends and the endless pursuit of craft beer. He is a firm believer that laughter truly is the best medicine and never takes life for granted.
Alex Thode, Music Arranger
Alex Thode has been heavily involved in the marching arts since 2008, and is becoming a heavily sought-after arranger for marching bands across the continental United States. His intuitive sense of musical color, emotion, pacing and direction helps derive maximum general effect in his marching band arrangements. He aims to steer clear of literal, verbatim transcriptions of source material for his marching band arrangements, instead injecting his own unique compositional voice and arranging style, while still maintaining accessibility and recognizability for audiences and judges.
Alex's clientele includes numerous class champions and runners-up, semi-finalists, finalists and grand champions at the local and state level. His clients have also been Bands of America (BOA) Regional Finalists, as well as regular participants at BOA Grand Nationals and many other Regional and Super Regional events.
Alex is a graduate of Greendale High School in Greendale, Wisconsin, where he was an avid student leader and participant in all areas of their music program, including their Sudler Shield award-winning marching band as a member of the front ensemble for all four years, where he also served as section leader his senior year. He was also the proud recipient of the John Philip Sousa award. Immediately after graduating in 2012, he joined the Greendale band staff as a front ensemble technician until 2014, and has been arranging their music and serving as an additional music instructor since 2013. During his time with Greendale, his arrangements have been performed by them in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and will also be featured in the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
Along with composing works for marching band, Alex also has been commissioned to write middle school and high school concert band works. Alex is a member of ASCAP. You can check out more of his works at www.themusicofalexthode.com.
Joe Cataneo, Drill Designer
Joe has been involved with color guard for over 30 years. Originally from Staten Island, New York, he has been a Houston resident since 1991. He has a long history of working with various guards in Texas and Louisiana. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Houston, and a M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. He is currently the Color Guard Director of both the University of Houston and Spirit Independent.