Meet the 2020 Visual and Guard Teams

Spirit of Atlanta is excited to introduce the teams leading our visual and color guard programs for the upcoming season.

Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston joins Spirit of Atlanta in the role of Visual Caption Manager.  Chris is currently the music teacher at Jo Byrns Elementary School in Cedar Hill, Tennessee. He graduated from Austin Peay State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Music Education.  Chris marched with the Memphis Sound Drum & Bugle Corps as a trumpet soloist in 2005. He then joined the Phantom Regiment (Rockford, IL) in 2006 and marched through the corps’ 2008 World Championship season as a soloist and section leader. From 2012-2016, Chris had the distinct honor of performing as a soloist and lead trumpet player for the 12-time defending DCA Mini Corps Champions, Star United Drum & Bugle Corps (Indianapolis, IN).  Chris maintains an extremely active schedule as an adjudicator, designer, and clinician in the Southeastern United States. As a program coordinator and co-drill writer, Chris helps guide the design and instructional process for the WGI Percussion World Class ensemble Audio Theater and has worked with WGI World Class Finalist, Palmetto Percussion. Chris has served in a variety of instructional and drill design roles with The Academy, Memphis Sound, Music City, Music City Legend, The Colts, Arsenal, and The Cadets.


Dustin Del Moro

Serving as Assistant Caption Manager is Dustin Del Moro.  Dustin currently is a graduate of Halls High School and studied interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in Music and English at East Tennessee State University. While at ETSU, Dustin played in many ensembles including the ETSU Wind Ensemble, ETSU Jazz Band, and the ETSU Trumpet Ensemble.  Dustin spent five years marching lead trumpet for Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps (2005-09). In the fall of 2005, Dustin was a member of the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band. Dustin was also a member of the 2010 WGI Percussion Independent World Class Finalist Redline Percussion from Canton, Michigan.  Dustin has taught movement at world class ensembles including Carolina Crown, Madison Scouts, The Colts, The Crossmen and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps.  Dustin is a full-time designer, consultant, choreographer and drill writer for marching bands, winter guards and indoor percussion ensembles including the WGI PSOC Finalist Halls Indoor Percussion Ensemble, the IWC Finalist Palmetto Percussion and is currently on the design team for the WGI IWC Ensemble Audio Theater.



James Gabonay

James Gabonay is excited to be returning for another season as Color Guard Coordinator/Designer. James has led many high schools as both an outdoor and winter color guard director and designer including Norwin High School (7 Time WGI Scholastic World Finalist) and Gateway High School (2014 Scholastic A WGI Finalist). He has also worked with the Cadets2 Drum and Bugle Corps (DCA) [Designer] as well as the Troopers [Technician]. His marching and performing experience includes Norwin High School, where he currently serves as the director and designer, and the Cavaliers (2012-14). He holds a degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Secondary Education- Social Studies.




Nikki Szymanski

Nikki Szymanski returns for another year as Color Guard Caption Head.  Originally from Maumee, OH, Nikki fell in love with color guard in the fourth grade. After High School Nikki received a Bacholor’s degree in Middle Childhood Math and Science Education from Bowling Green State University. Nikki’s diverse marching experience includes The Glassmen (‘10-’11), The Academy (‘13), The Cadets (‘14-’16), and Juxtaposition Winterguard (‘13-’15).  As an instructor Nikki has taught numerous high school programs in Ohio as well as the Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps in ‘17 and ‘18. Currently residing in Columbus Ohio, Nikki is the Vice President of the Ohio Indoor Performance Association, a 6th grade Science teacher in Grove City, and Color Guard Director at Central Crossing High School.


Our full visual and guard staff is listed below.  New additions to the staff for 2020 are listed in bold.

Visual – Read All Bios Here

Peter Inglett, Strength & Conditioning (NSCA-CSCS)
Craig Sellers
Alex Cardona
Andrew Gaskill
Casey Hallahan
Daniel Del Moro
Jack Bounds
Josh Neujahr
Kelsey Murphy
Scott Tanner
Tiffany Kostuch
Tom Eder

Guard  – Read All Bios Here

Adam Dalton, Choreographer
Scott Toosley, Choreographer
Susan Hanggi, Guard Consultant
Alex Bolender
Jose Morales
Elaine Fite
Laurѐn Manriki
Kirstin Shatzer
Bobby Glass
Dalton Stout
Terry Hurley