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West Georgia Winds' mission is to provide a safe, inclusive, and musically challenging environment for young musicians. Students will rehearse and perform diverse, engaging, and inspiring repertoire that motivates them to grow musically and become leaders in their own band program.

This group is open to all 6th-8th grade woodwind, brass and percussion players.




Dr. Josh Byrd, Conductor

Josh Byrd serves as Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of West Georgia.   His primary responsibilities include conducting the Wind Ensemble, teaching music education courses, supervising student teachers, and administrating all aspects of the UWG band program.  Prior to his appointment he served as Director of Bands at Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisconsin and Assistant Director of Bands at Lanier Middle School and Norcross High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Dr. Byrd received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting and a minor in Music Theory from the University of Georgia where he studied with John Lynch.  He received his Master of Music degree in Conducting while studying with Tom Dvorak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Georgia where he studied saxophone with Kenneth Fischer and conducting with Dwight Satterwhite and John Culvahouse.

Dr. Byrd is an active clinician, most recently having presented at the 2017 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, 2018 CBDNA National Conference, and the 2018 GMEA annual In-Service conference both as a clinician and as conductor of the UWG Wind Ensemble. In UWG 2020, the Wind Ensemble performed at the CBDNA Southern Division Conference for the first time in the program’s history. Dr. Byrd is a strong advocate of new music, having been part of numerous commissioning consortiums during his tenure at the University of West Georgia, including Joseph Schwantner’s Luminosity, David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 10, Viet Cuong’s Bull’s-Eye, and John Mackey’s Places we can no longer go.

His professional affiliations include the Georgia Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Phi Beta Mu.  Dr. Byrd lives in Carrollton with his wife, Katie, and their two children, Tripp and Haley.

Ms. Emma Eddleman, Director of Percussion

Emma Eddleman is the current Director of Bands at Moses Middle School in Dallas, GA. Ms. Eddleman is an avid performer and graduated with a Master of Music in Music Performance - Percussion from the University of West Georgia in the Spring of 2022. She has performed as a featured soloist with the University of West Georgia Wind Ensemble on Nathan Daughtrey’s Concerto for Vibraphone, Adam Silverman’s Carbon Paper, Nitrogen Ink, and Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion. Ms. Eddleman has also performed with Atlanta Quest Indoor Percussion, the Georgia State University Wind Ensemble, and participated in the 2020 Percussive Arts Society solo marimba competition.


Ms. Eddleman received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of West Georgia. She is a member of Women Band Directors International, the National Association for Music Education, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, and the Georgia chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Ms. Eddleman currently resides in Marietta, GA.


Ms. Maria Menendez, Executive Director

Maria Menendez is the current Director of Bands at Carrollton Junior High School in Carrollton, Georgia. Ms. Menendez, a native of Ontario, Canada, joined the Carrollton City School System as a band director in 2014. After three years at Carrollton Upper Elementary School she joined the faculty at Carrollton Junior High School. Ms. Menendez is an active teacher, player and clinician outside of her daily schedule at Carrollton City Schools. In 2015 she presented at the Georgia Music Educators In-Service Conference in Athens, Georgia aimed at aiding young teachers beginning in the field. In 2018 she served as one of the guest conductors for the 2018 Fayette County Sixth Grade Honor Band.  Past awards include the Fred Factor Award (2016) awarded for going above and beyond as well as the University of West Georgia’s Graduate Studies Fellowship for Underrepresented Minority Students in 2017.  In 2019, Ms. Menendez was named the CJHS Teacher of the Year!

She is a graduate of South Paulding High School and attended Columbus State University where she earned her Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education. While attending, Ms. Menendez was a member of the Columbus State University’s Trombone Choir, Trombone Octet, CSU Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and the CSU Philharmonic Orchestra. During her senior year Ms. Menendez served as the president of CSU’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education. Recently, Ms. Menendez earned her Masters in Music Education from the University of West Georgia.


At CJHS Ms. Menendez serves as co-department chair for the electives department and as a member of the PBIS, Aspiring Leaders, SEE-KS team, and the head of the CJHS Cultural Committee. She currently resides in Carrollton, Georgia.