Dr. Michael “Doc Nix” Nickens | Director of Athletic Bands

Dr. Michael W. Nickens completed his academic degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the George Mason University School of Music in fall 2006 as Director of the Pep Band (Doc Nix and the Green Machine) and as an Assistant Professor of Music. At Mason, he teaches courses in sight-singing/ear training, popular music in America, an improvisatory music ensemble, brass methods, and regularly collaborates with the George Mason University School of Dance. During the summers he has taught tuba, jazz performance, improvisation, chamber music, and theory at the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary and the Northern Arizona University Music Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona.

He draws on his experiences as a former marching member of the Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps, the James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes, the Yale Precision Marching Band, and as a drum major and marching member of the Spirit of America National Honor Band. He is active as a composer/arranger, and clinician working with a variety of marching programs around the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. These programs include Annandale High School, Thomas A. Edison High School, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax High School, West Potomac High School, Mount Vernon High School, Damascus High School, South County High School and Falls Church High School. Other programs include Franklin Central and Warren Central High Schools in Indiana, Farmington High School in Michigan, the Vision Elite Drum and Bugle Corps in Brooklyn, New York.


Jeremy Freer | Assistant Director of Athletic Bands

Jeremy M. Freer earned his BME (Instrumental) from Louisiana State University and his MM (Performance) from George Mason University. First as a volunteer and then as a graduate student he was instrumental in founding and developing the current incarnation of the university pep band, the Green Machine. He joins the faculty of Mason Music in 2011 as Assistant Director of Athletic Ensembles. Professor Freer teaches courses in brass techniques and music in motion pictures and regularly collaborates with the George Mason University Healing Arts Ensemble.

His band experience includes elementary and high school band director positions in Virginia and New York, leadership roles with LSU’s Golden Band From Tigerland, and serving as marching band clinician for high schools across northern Virginia. An active arranger, he has written a majority of the Green Machine’s award-winning repertoire and his music has been sought after nationally and internationally.


Chris Martin | Program Coordinator, Drumline

Chris Martin has been teaching marching percussion in Fairfax County since 1999, most notably with Thomas Edison, West Springfield and Chantilly high schools. Writing for battery, front ensemble and visual design, his achievements in the indoor drumline activity include 11 Winter Guard International regional championships, 8 Atlantic Indoor Association circuit championships and a 2006 WGI Scholastic A Class Bronze Medal. Under his direction, the Mean Green achieved National Finalist status in their first year of WGI PIO competition.

In addition to actively teaching, Chris has been a member of the United States Air Force Band Ceremonial Brass in Washington DC since 1997. A graduate of Florida State University, he has been instructing and arranging for the FSU Marching Chiefs “Big 8″ drumline for the past 15 years. Chris most recently joined the Innovative Percussion family of endorsers as well as being an educator for Pearl/Adams percussion and Evans Drumheads.


David Porter | Graduate Teaching Assistant

David Porter, tuba, Retired USAF Band, Washington DC.  BS, Technological University, MM, University of New Mexico and pursuing a DMA with Dr. Nickens from George Mason University.  Studied with Mr. R. Winston Morris, Dr. Karl Hinterbichler, Dr. Milton Stevens, Mr. David Fedderly and Mr. Gene Porkorny.  Mr. Porter is formerly principal tuba with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, substitute with the Maryland Symphony and currently principal tuba with the gospel brass group Tim Zimmerman and The King’s Brass, The McLean Orchestra and The King Street Brass Quintet.  Mr. Porter is very busy as a private instructor in northern Virginia.  He contributes a quarterly article to the International Tuba and Euphonium Association Journal, which specializes as a teacher’s aide called “Tips for Tuba.”


Jesus Villeda | Guard Director

Jesus has 13 years of performing and teaching experience with groups in Florida, Maryland, and Virginia. He started his guard career with the Plantation High School Winterguard in 1999, his freshman year. He was guard captain there for three years in both fall and winter seasons. He also trained with the Boston Crusaders, made the guard but wasn’t allowed to go, sore subject. After high school he marched with the Alliance of Miami in ‘04 and FIU Winterguard in ’05, his last performance year.

Jesus started teaching guard his junior year of high school, along with his fellow guard members, at a local middle school in order to recruit for the high school. Since then he has taught at many high schools and independent groups in South Florida, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. His main goal when he works with a program is to help the kids grow as individuals and help them build confidence while having a great time at rehearsals and performances. His full time job is as a non-profit marketing and communication consultant for a firm in the District.