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Our staff

Lincoln Band Directors

Dan Carlson

Mr. Daniel Carlson received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, and completed his Master of Music Education Degree from the American Band College of Southern Oregon University in 2004.


Mr. Carlson is an active drill writer and clinician for drum majors around the region. He began his teaching career at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1999 and has performed with his bands on seven separate occasions at the South Dakota Bandmaster’s Conference.

During his time at Lincoln, the LHS Patriot Marching Band has performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2000 and 2008, and in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in 2005 and 2013. The band will be performing in the 2024 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well. 

In 2015, 2017, and 2021, the Lincoln Band was a finalist at the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional, placing 13th overall in finals competition in 2015 and 2017, 11th overall in 2021, and had an astounding 4th place finish in 2022 against a field of 63 bands from 10 states. In 2023, the Patriot Marching band placed 12th in finals at the BOA Indianapolis Super Regional. The Lincoln Band also became the first South Dakota band to win a Bands of America Regional when they received Grand Champion honors at the BOA Iowa Regional in Waukee, IA, in 2022. The band continues to be recognized as one of the top programs in the upper Midwest in all facets. 


Mr. Carlson is a member of Phi Beta Mu and the South Dakota Bandmasters Association and was twice featured in School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s article “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” In 2016, Mr. Carlson received the “Outstanding Bandmaster” Award from Phi Beta Mu, an award granted to one South Dakota Band Director each year. During the summer of 2019, Mr. Carlson also co-directed a band on a seven-country tour of Europe with the South Dakota Ambassadors of Music.


Mr. Carlson is in his 25th year as a director at Lincoln. He directs the Symphonic and Varsity Bands, as well as the Marching band, Pep Band, and Jazz 3. Daniel and his wife, Anne, have four daughters, Isabel, Serena, Trayanna, and Adrienne.

Contact Mr. Carlson at

Drew Balta

Drew Balta is in his tenth year of teaching and second as the Associate Director of Bands at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School; the previous eight spent at West Lyon High School where he served as the Director of Bands. At Lincoln High School, he co-directs the “Patriot” Marching Band and Pep Band; and directs Jazz I (Jazz Collective), Jazz II (Jazz Ensemble), Concert Band, and Freshmen Band. During his time at Lincoln:

  • The marching band earned their first BOA regional championship in program history (Iowa, 2022)

  • The marching band earned its highest finish at a BOA Super Regional in state history (4th, St. Louis, 2022)

  • The marching band was accepted into the 2024 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  • The Concert Band (Lincoln’s second group) received the 2nd highest score at the state Large Group contest in 2023, receiving one perfect ballot (scoring behind only Lincoln’s top group).

  • The Jazz Collective (Lincoln’s top jazz ensemble) earned numerous awards including 1st place finishes at The Morningside Jazz Festival, The Augustana Jazz Festival, and the Coyote Jazz Festival (USD).

  • In addition, the ensemble finished in 1st at one of the largest jazz festivals in the Midwest, The Coe College Jazz Summit (Cedar Rapids, IA).

  • Finally, the ensemble was selected to perform at the 2024 South Dakota Bandmasters Conference in Brookings, South Dakota. 

Under his direction at West Lyon, the Marching Band, Jazz Band and Symphonic Bands earned consistent division I ratings at their respective IHSMA State Events. During Balta’s tenure, the “Wildcat” Marching Band earned numerous 1st place finishes accompanied by some major highlights, including but not limited to, a four-time finalist at the Festival of Bands in Sioux Falls, a 5th place overall finish at the 2019 F.O.B., and Grand Champion regardless of class at the 2019 Dutchmen Field Championships; the top jazz ensemble qualified for the Iowa Jazz Championships in six consecutive years, featuring a state championship in 2022 and runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017; 100 percent of high school students participate in the IHSMA state solo and ensemble contest; the top concert band was selected to perform at the 2020 and 2021 Iowa Bandmasters Association Conferences as the guest 2A honor band; and the number of band participants in grades 5-12 continued to grow reaching as high as 37% of the total enrollment in 2021.

In addition to his teaching duties at West Lyon, Mr. Balta served as the Northwest Iowa Honor Band Chair and district representative and state chair of the IBA Marching Band Affairs Committee. In 2017, he was named the NWIBA Martin Crandell Award recipient for outstanding High School Educator. In 2022, Balta was accepted to present on building a successful band culture at the Iowa Bandmasters Conference and in 2023, was asked to present at the South Dakota Bandmasters Symposium. Balta is an avid leadership consultant in the tri-state area giving leadership clinics to more than ten schools during the summer of 2023.

Mr. Balta is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and attended Cedar Rapids Prairie High School under the direction of Mr. Craig Aune.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Music with an emphasis in trumpet performance from William Penn University.  While at William Penn, Balta served as the Marching and Maneuvering Instructor for the Prairie “Hawk” Marching Band and taught under Jason Pentico at Pella High School, and Bruce Peiffer and Carolyn Brickley at North Mahaska. He studied trumpet with Mr. Dick Redman. In the summer of 2022, Balta graduated with his Masters of Music Education degree from the University of Florida.


In his spare time, Mr. Balta enjoys watching Cubs baseball and Hawkeye basketball and football while spending every minute possible with his wife Amanda and daughters Wrigley and Lennyn. In addition, Mr. Balta is an assistant baseball coach at West Lyon. 

Contact Mr. Balta at

Marching Band Staff

  • Custom Composition Arrangements: Blueprint Pageantry Designs

  • Battery Percussion Arrangements: Dan Sailer

  • Percussion Coordinator: Pete Hansen

  • Color Guard, Visual Coordinator and Designer: Julie Hadley

  • Sound Technicians: Jason Raether and Paul Hlavnicka

  • Section Instructors: Shannon Abels (flutes), Tasondra Walicke (clarinets), Tyler Dormaier (saxophones), Lon Semansky (trumpets), Michael Hoffman (trumpets), Andrea Carlson (mellophones), Tim Eckart (low brass), Robert Conrad (low brass), Rolyn Beaird (low brass), Julia Burns (front ensemble), Ashton Weston (front ensemble), Spencer Smith (battery), Sierra Pattin (colorguard), Rose Hoffeldt (colorguard)

  • Visual and Musical Instructors: Sam Anderson, Ali Dunbar, Zac Carlson, Mason LeMaster, Joe Waters, Kayden Hoeke, McKenzie Griffith and Alex Sanchez

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