NCHS Bands Staff

DJ Alstadt, Director of Bands 

Mr. Alstadt conducts Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble. Mr. Alstadt also teaches AP Music Theory, Jazz Studio Orchestra (I of III), and collaborates with all areas of the program. He is the 2012 Western Illinois University ‘Distinguished Alumni of the College of Fine Arts and Communications,’ the 2012 ‘Outstanding Chicagoland Music Educator,’ and the 2011 ‘Office Max Innovative Teacher of the Year.’ Along with numerous national, state, and local awards, he is a National Board Certified Teacher. 

In 2009, Mr. Alstadt received “Distinguished Music Alumni Of the Year” from Western Illinois University. Mr. Alstadt was the first recipient of this award. Mr. Alstadt was also profiled and listed among “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” in ‘School Band and Orchestra Magazine.’ He was a cover story on ‘Drum Corps International.’ Mr. Alstadt’s extensive background in marching band comes from intensive tours with two-world champion DCI corps: The Cadets and The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. As a member of The Cadets, he performed in the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia; as a Cavalier, he participated in their first World Championship season. He has been a guest clinician for the District IX Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA).

Ensembles Mr. Alstadt teaches have garnered many accolades. The Grammy Foundation has issued multiple citations of excellence for the NCHS Music Program. The Wind Ensemble has performed at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Convention. The Jazz Ensemble (Jazz Studio Orchestra) was a featured performer at the Illinois Music Educator’s Conference. The ensembles have been multiple honor bands within our state and far from her borders. The Marching Redhawks have been multiple finalists in the Illinois State University Invitational. Alumni include professional musicians in our nation’s finest orchestras, military music careers, freelance performers, music therapists, ethnomusicology, and recording engineers. Great people come from the band at Naperville Central High School!

He has served as the 2011-2012 Benedictine University Concert Band Conductor, Jazz Artistic Director for the Illinois Ambassadors of Music (2008 and 2010) and toured Europe. He has served, in a sabbatical role for one term, as the Conductor of the North Central College Wind Ensemble.

Additionally, Mr. Alstadt received his B.A. in Music Education from Western Illinois University and his Masters Degree from Vandercook College of Music. He has studied trumpet with Dr. Bruce Briney and Dr. Leah Schumann and conducting with Dr. Jon Dugle and Dr. Charles Menghini.


Band Office: (630) 420-6462

Brandon Estes, Associate Band Director

Mr. Estes conducts Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble and also teaches Music Appreciation: Bach to Rock. Mr. Estes is the director of the Jazz Band and is the director of the Marching Redhawks.

Mr. Estes has been an active arranger, clinician and adjudicator in the Chicagoland area and various areas in Texas. A native of Houston Texas, he holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Texas State University – San Marcos where he studied percussion under Genaro Gonzalez, Tony Edwards and John Lopez. He earned his master’s degree in Music Performance — Percussion from Northern Illinois University, where he studied under and was Graduate Percussion Assistant to Professor Robert Chappell and Dr. Gregory Beyer as well as Richard Holly and Liam Teague.

Mr. Estes’ extensive drum corps marching experience includes membership with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps as well as the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps between 1998 and 2002. In 2005, he also served as Co-Arranger and Percussion Caption Head of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. Estes is currently a member of the Chicago Bears Drumline and a founding member of the Chicago Bulls “Stampede” Drumline. As an orchestral performer, Mr. Estes has performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and currently with the Elmhurst Symphony of Elmhurst, Illinois.

In 2006, Mr. Estes served as Assistant Band Director at Langham Creek High School in Houston, Texas. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Estes served as General Music Teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Addison, Illinois.. In addition to teaching full-time as an elementary general music teacher, Mr. Estes served as the composer and marching percussion instructor for the Waubonsie Valley High School Drumline. Mr. Estes also serves on the design team as Battery Coordinator and Snare tech for the Open Class Pioneer Indoor independent WGI marching percussion ensemble.


Vidya Padmanabhan,  Department Secretary for Fine Arts.

Mrs. Padmanabhan (“Mrs. P”) manages and organizes the band program and also assists the directors and students with all administrative and program related needs.

Mrs. P holds a masters degree in English and bachelors degree in Education. She speaks 6 different Indian Languages. She has worked as a teacher and project manager in India and has experience in organizing and managing various aspects in different educational institutions in India. She is an active community contributor and helps various organizations locally. Mrs. P served as Home and School President for an elementary school in District 203.

Mrs. P and her husband Paddy have two daughters, Sarayu and Sahitya.