MEET THE TEAM
West Ranch High School Music has achieved a reputation of excellence, owing to its committed and talented team members and mentors. Brought together by a deep passion for performance and music, each bandmate brings their own unique character and sound to the Marching Band. Get to meet the faces behind the music.
Director of Instrumental Music
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Stephen Hufford is the Director of Instrumental Music at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, California. Now in his 9th year of teaching, Mr. Hufford directs the West Ranch Wind Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and three-time SCSBOA Champion Wildcat Marching Band. Prior to his arrival at West Ranch, Mr. Hufford taught at Canyon High School for eight years and Antelope Valley High School for one year.
Stephen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Art in Music Education and Percussion Performance. At UCLA, he participated in and led several musical ensembles including the UCLA Bruin Marching Band as Head Drum Major and the UCLA Symphonic Band as Student Conductor. He has also guest conducted the California State University, Northridge Wind Symphony.
Stephen recently graduated from the American Band College of Central Washington University with his Master’s Degree in Music Education. He has worked with renowned composers and conductors such as Frank Ticheli, Robert W. Smith, and Richard Floyd. He has also been a quarter-finalist for the Grammy Foundation Music Educator of the Year Award for both 2016 and 2017. Stephen adjudicates auditions for the California All-State Honor Bands at both the junior high and high school level annually. He is excited to work with the students at West Ranch High School and strives to share his knowledge and passion for music for many years to come!
Director of Jazz Studies
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Brian Leff is the Director of Jazz Studies at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, California and the Jazz Coordinator for the William S. Hart Union High School District. Mr. Leff directs the West Ranch Studio A Jazz Band, Lab Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, as well as teaches AP Music Theory. Mr. Leff is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, and received his Bachelors and Masters in Music Education from University of Pacific. After Graduation, he performed with Celebrity Cruises, traveling and playing throughout the Caribbean and Alaska. Mr. Leff also is an inaugural member, and director since 2014, of the GO Jazz Big Band, Santa Clarita’s premier jazz ensemble.
Julio C. Diaz III is the Percussion Director/Arranger/Designer for West Ranch High School. West Ranch High School competes in the SCPA (Southern California Percussion Alliance) and WGI (Winter Guard International) circuits. Julio is a D’Addario Artist who proudly uses Evans, ProMark, Planet Waves, D’Addario strings, and pure sound snares.
Esther Kamp is the Director of the West Ranch HS Colorguard. She started with West Ranch when the school opened in 2004, first as a parent of a Colorguard member, volunteer, and charter Band Booster board member. She became director of the Colorguard in 2005. Esther proudly performed with the El Camino Real HS Marching Band & Colorguard, the Cal State University Northridge Marching Band & Colorguard, Conquistadores Comp Guard, the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps, Avatar Winterguard, the All-American Olympic Marching Band for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Opening & Closing Ceremonies, the 1986 Statue of Liberty Rededication Marching Band, and the 2017 Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corp. Long before coming to West Ranch she taught at Venice High School, Cal State University-Northridge, Avatar, and Zephyr Winterguards. Esther is thrilled to be able to teach at West Ranch with her husband and daughter (WRHS class of ’08). The Colorguard competes in the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC) and Winterguard International (WGI). In 2017 the Colorguard earned a spot in the WGI World Championships finals for the first time.