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Michael nickens

Green machine ensembles director

Serving as director of Campus Life Ensembles and Collaborative Arts, and as an associate professor of music, Michael W. Nickens (aka Doc Nix) is most recognized as the leader of the “Green Machine,” which in 2015 was named the #1 pep band in college basketball by the NCAA and commended by the Senate and House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, Nickens launched Mason’s fife and drum corps and WGI world champion drumline, and oversees Mason’s winter guard. This collection of performing units, known as the “Green Machine Ensembles,” are internationally known for their thrilling, high-energy performances at Mason ceremonies and basketball games, professional sports games and events (Washington Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins), community events (Celebrate Fairfax and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon), and marching competitions, as well as their popular internet videos that have been viewed more than 100 million times.

During summers, he has taught tuba and euphonium, conducting, jazz performance, composition, improvisation, chamber music, large ensemble performance, and theory at the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania; the Music, Art, and Theatre Camp in Evanston, Wyoming; and the Northern Arizona University Music Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, and taught at Mason’s Potomac Arts Academy. He has also coached a professional marching ensemble, “Mix It Up,” at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.


Nickens was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Fairfax County Public Schools in Alexandria,  Virginia. He completed his academic degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the University of Michigan.

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julie trkula

general manager

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lindell palmer

winterguard Director


carolyn drislane

choreography team

Carolyn is excited to enter her 3rd season with George Mason Winterguard! She has been heavily involved in the marching arts since 2002 as a performer, designer, choreographer, and technician. She has been fortunate to work with numerous performance ensembles, with most recent ventures as a visual designer for George Mason Open Winterguard/Indoor Percussion and a visual technician for Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. Carolyn holds a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and a clinical doctorate in physical therapy from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. She currently works as a sports physical therapist at the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network in Washington, DC and a research fellow at George Mason University. She is eager to share her passion and expertise with George Mason Winterguard!


Brian davis

choreography team

Brian was born in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in Northern Virginia. He began his color guard career in the fall of 2004, his senior year at Herndon High School. He began his teaching career by joining the Herndon High School color guard staff the year after he graduated. After teaching at Herndon and spinning with WGI IA Finalist, Act 1 Winter Guard, he decided to move to Kentucky and then back to Dayton, Ohio to pursue new opportunities teaching and spinning. Brian has had the pleasure to spin with some remarkable organizations such as Act 1 2006-2008, Pride of Cincinnati 2013, and Onyx 2009-2012, 2014-2016. He has also worked on staff with fantastic programs such as Herndon High School, Mason County High School, Bourbon County High School, Northmont High School, Miamisburg High School, Bellbrook High School, William Mason High School, South Shore Drill Team, O2, and Onyx.


tykeem rainey

choreography team

Tykeem began his performing arts career in 2004-2007 in El Paso, Texas with El Dorado High School. In 2008, Tykeem relocated to Alexandria, Virginia and marched Impact Independent until 2012. In 2012, Impact Independent won the WGI Independent A Class Championship. Tykeem’s drum corps experience includes marching the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from 2008-2011. He served as color guard captain in 2010 and 2011. Tykeem severed as an intern and instructor for the Madison Scouts color guard in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2014, Tykeem performed in the Tony and Emmy Award Winning production, “BLAST!” that toured multiple prefectures in Japan. From 2015-2017 Tykeem has performed in “Mix it Up,” a staged theme show located at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, Virginia. From 2015-2017, Tykeem served as weapon technician and choreographer for Stonewall Independent Open guard, located in Manassas. Virginia. In the spring of 2017, Tykeem earned his Bachelor’s Degree (w/Honors) in History from Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia. He was also nominated twice for the History Department’s W.E.B Du Bois Award, which is awarded to the top African American male or female student. In 2018, Tykeem was a choreographer for George Mason University’s Independent Open Color Guard located in Fairfax, Virginia. Tykeem is an active color guard choreographer and instructor at Ronald Reagan High School, Winston Churchill High School, Union High School, Green Hope High School, Origins Winter Guard and ONYX.


chelsea arenas

choreography team

Chelsea is the current color guard director at Union High School from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chelsea was a featured performer with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from 2008-2011, where she helped capture their 10th DCI national championship. Arenas then continued on to be a staff member for the following two seasons. Chelsea has also performed with the WGI World Class Champion Pride of Cincinnati during their 2010 and 2012 seasons. Most recently, Chelsea performed in Japan with "Blast, the music of Disney" during the summer of 2016.


michael lentz

design team

Michael designs for winter guard, drum & bugle corps (WGI, DCI World & Open Class & DCA), indoor winds, marching band and stage productions including shows in Chicago and Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Michael has designed finalist teams in all six WGI Color Guard Classes and two WGI Winds Classes including 11 World Champions. Michael recently became a costume designer with a California-based company that produces costumes & uniforms for all marching pageantry arts. He has also been a clinician for numerous indoor & outdoor circuits all over the United States and is currently an independent pageantry designer & judge. Michael is a previous adjudicator for DCI & BOA, judging multiple years at the DCI World Championships. Michael was the Education Director, Chief Judge and first President of the Ohio Indoor Performance Association (2007-2017). He has served on the WGI Color Guard Advisory Board for the past 19 years, also serving 5 years on the Board of Directors and 1 term on the Steering Committee. Michael has been the Director of Onyx since 1988 where he now works as the Creative Artist. Michael loves to travel, volunteer at the Humane Society, design and create with competitive & entertainment groups around the country focusing on concepts, costuming & flag design, staging, drill, motion and production.

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