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Andrew Yaracs recently retired after a 39-year career as a music educator, band director, percussion arranger, and music instructor. During a prolific 15-year stint running the Butler Golden Tornado Marching Band in Butler, Pennsylvania between 1997 and 2012, Yaracs boosted the ensemble and program into the national spotlight, in large part due to his determination that he would take the entire 350-member band on a trip every year. Alternating between major excursions and more economical ones, the Golden Tornado Marching Band represented the town of Butler, the high school, and their community at such notable events as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (in 2000 and 2007), the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (in 1997 and 2002), and the Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix, Arizona (in 2004 and 2010), among others.

Now after fifteen years of successful travel throughout the United States and Canada with the Butler Golden Tornado Band Mr. Yaracs shares his knowledge and advice for planning safe student travel opportunities.  The band has appeared in some of the most prestigious events in our country and has been seen by millions on both national and global television.  His love for travel was fostered as a teenager touring the country with the General Butler Vagabond Drum & Bugle Corps.  

Born and raised in Lyndora, Pennsylvania he attended Butler High School and was a member of the Golden Tornado Band.  After graduation in 1969 he entered Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a Music Education Major studying percussion with Dr. Gary Olmstead.  While at Indiana he performed with numerous concert ensembles and the IUP Marching Band.  

He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in 1973 and began his career as an elementary instrumental music teacher in the Butler Area School District.  In addition to his teaching duties Mr. Yaracs served as the Music Department Chairman for sixteen years and during his tenure was instrumental in expanding the music staff and curriculum.  In 1994 he spearheaded the combining of the Intermediate and high school marching bands creating one of the largest bands in the country.  In June of 2012 he retired from teaching after thirty-nine years as a music educator.

Outside of school he has worked as a percussion arranger and instructor for numerous bands and drum and bugle corps.  He has been an adjudicator at band and drum and bugle corps competitions for more than thirty-five years.  Mr. Yaracs has been nominated by his students multiple times and is listed in Who’s Who among Americas Teachers.  His professional affiliations include the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Professional Men’s Music Fraternity and Phi Beta Mu Band Directors Fraternity, PSEA and NEA.  

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