Monte C. Gmur
Monte Gmur became the Director of the Sounds of Freedom Band in 2003. He has since served as a driving force in the promotion of a unique programming style that creates a concert experience that awakens curiosity, imagination, wonder, awareness, and appreciation of band music. Bands performing under his direction have been described as “Well Rehearsed” and “Grand”. A reporter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram once wrote that “He brings clarity, balance, and precision to the ensemble”.
A past president of the Youth Band Council of Southern California, founding member of the Pacific Coast Judges Association, and member of the prestigious National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Mr. Gmur has contributed to the success of several television and motion picture projects; served as musical conductor for the Miss California Pageant; production consultant for The All-Western Band Review, Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Telecast, ARCO’s National Jesse Owens Games, and Disneyland.
For several years, he has also participated in the prestigious World Adult Wind Orchestra Project in Schladming, Austria.
Niko Morales is the Assistant Director of the Sounds of Freedom Band. He is finishing up his Associate's Degree in Music Education at Fresno City College and is currently the principal chair bass clarinetist in the Wind Symphony and a multi-clarinetist in the Symphony Orchestra.
In the past, Niko has performed in many Central Valley honor bands such as the Dr. Lawrence R. Sutherland Honor Band, the FMCMEA Honor Band, and the California All-State Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of Central High School, his Wind Ensemble was considered to be one of the finest ensembles in the state of California. They were awarded several national honors, selected to perform at CASMEC, and selected to perform at Carnegie Hall receiving a rousing standing ovation.
Niko has also received many prestigious awards as a high school drum major and was given the permanent title of an “All-American Drum Major” by the USA Varsity Spirit Brand and “Drum Major Ambassador - Central California” by the Peacocks American Drum Major Association representing the high school drum majors around the Central Valley. As a collegiate student, Niko was awarded the Dale Engstrom Excellence in Music Award in 2021 and won the Fresno City College Conducting Competition in 2022. In the Fall of 2023, Niko plans to attend San Jose State University to complete his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education.