Olathe East Band Staff
Jeff Smikahl- Director of Bands
Jeff Smikahl took over as the Director of Bands at Olathe East High School in 2010 after serving as the Associate Director of Bands for the previous 11 years.
His current teaching duties includes teaching the Wind Ensemble, Advanced Percussion Ensemble Class, the Nighthawks Jazz Band, the Drumline Class, the Freshmen Percussion Class, and the Jazz Combo Class. He also co-teaches the Orange and Blue Brigade and Concert Band. Under his direction the Olathe East Band program has experienced wonderful success in all areas of the band program.
The concert band programs at Olathe East were the first ever high school band to hold their own concert at the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City in 2015. They have also performed at Symphony Center in Chicago, home to the Chicago Symphony and Avery-Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City with guest conductor Eric Whitacre.
In 2016 and 2017 the Nighthawks Jazz Band was selected as runner-up at the KCCC Jazz Summit Basically Basie competition. They have consistently earned Outstand Band and One ratings at area jazz festivals for many years.
The marching band program has won 5 Grand Championships and numerous caption awards in the last 5 years at regional marching competitions. They were also the first band from Olathe to ever compete in the highly competitive Bands of America Super Regional in St. Louis.
The percussion program has received recognition as one of the top percussion programs in the nation, earning numerous State and Regional honors for both the marching and concert ensembles and performers. In 2016 the Percussion Ensemble was selected to perform at the Bands of America Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival in Indianapolis. The Percussion Ensemble has also performed at KMEA twice and the Kansas Day of Percussion twice.
Mr. Smikahl holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music Education from the University of Kansas. Mr. Smikahl has performed with several regional ensembles including the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Overland Park Symphony, and the Topeka Symphony.
Mr. Smikahl currently resides in Olathe with his wife Tracy, his daughters Isabel and Teagan and their puggle Peanut. Mr. Smikahl is an artist/endorser for Innovative Percussion.
Rebecca Fillingham - Assistant Director of Bands
Rebecca Fillingham joined the Olathe East band staff in 2023 having previously taught in the Shawnee Mission School District, the Monett school district, and the West Platte School District.
She co-teaches the Orange and Blue Brigade, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band with Mr. Smikahl, as well as traveling to area elementary schools to co-teach 5th grade beginning bands.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Fillingham has instructed at all levels, teaching and conducting groups ranging from 5th grade beginners to university wind ensembles and chamber groups. High school bands under her direction have earned numerous “I” ratings at the Kansas and Missouri State Band Festivals, and top placements in area marching competitions. However, her greatest joy in teaching band is fostering meaningful connections with her students and sharing a love of music and the band community with any kid that shows up willing to try.
Rebecca graduated from Olathe East High School, going on to earn her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Missouri State University, and her Master of Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Central Missouri—under the mentorship of Dr. Scott Lubaroff.
Ms. Fillingham enjoys biking, running, and anything sci-fi. She resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Matt, who is an accomplished trombonist in the Kansas City music scene, and their three sons: Josiah, Robbie, and Kai.
Brandon Graves- Percussion Instructor
Kimberlyn Angelo- Percussion Instructor