Youngblood Brass Band co-founder David Henzie-Skogen was fired in May from his role with the Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps.
Photo: David Henzie-Skogen looks towards the camera in a still image of a 2012 video diary entry.
Editor’s Note: This story deals with allegations of grooming, abuse, and inappropriate sexual behavior with minors. If you or someone you know needs help, please refer to a Google document that we have compiled local, state and national resources.
David Henzie-Skogen, a longtime Madison musician known for his work in Youngblood Brass Band and Cougar, was fired from his job as a youth music teacher in May after a former student accused him of having used their position to initiate sex. Since then, several other accusations have emerged from former students. They allege that Henzie-Skogen treated the students, communicated with them through inappropriate private messages, and began physical relationships with them right after completing the programs he taught.
Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps, based in the hometown of Henzie-Skogen, Oregon, announced on Oct. 4 that it had “investigated and confirmed inappropriate behavior and grooming” and reported Henzie-Skogen to Drum Corps International, the governing body of youth bands. The anti-sexual violence organization RAINN defines grooming as “manipulative behaviors that the abuser uses to access a potential victim, coerce them into accepting the abuse and reduce the risk of being caught.”
The Shadow program is for 13 to 18 year olds. Skogen is 42 years old. As of this writing, Tone Madison has no knowledge of any criminal charges or civil lawsuits against Henzie-Skogen. Shadow President Ken McGlauchlen said detectives from the Oregon Police Department contacted him about the allegations. Henzie-Skogen did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
McGlauchlen says a former student of the program introduced himself to former Shadow Executive Director Rebecca Compton-Allen on May 18, 2021 to report an inappropriate relationship that started with Henzie-Skogen when the student was in the program. The executive committee of Shadow’s board investigated the accusations, finding evidence that the relationship first started in the form of inappropriate text messages and images, and then turned into a physical relationship after the student was 18 years old. On May 27, McGlauchlen says, Henzie-Skogen admitted to Shadow’s leadership that he behaved inappropriately with the student. He was fired the same day. At this point, the organization’s leadership was prepared to believe it was an isolated lack of judgment and did not release the news of the layoff to the public.
“I asked him specifically on that call, were there any others coming out? And he said no,” McGlauchlen said. “He admitted that he had had an inappropriate relationship with this member and took possession of it, and we thought it was a done deal and that we could part with his legacy intact … the victim at the era didn’t seek any additional comments or that you wanted him to be hurt. “
But over the next few months, two more former students showed up to Shadow’s board or staff to report similar experiences with Henzie-Skogen, McGlauchlen says. The cases the organization is currently experiencing date back to 2007. After further investigation and discussion, Shadow’s board decided to make a public statement and report Henzie-Skogen to DCI to prevent him from having access to students in the future. After the statement was released on Monday evening, a fourth student came forward. Shadow’s counsel is also currently investigating a fifth complaint.
People who reported on Henzie-Skogen did not speak with Tone Madison for this story, but gave McGlauchlen permission to speak publicly about the investigation.
As of this writing, Shadow’s management does not believe that any of the relationships turned physical until the students turned 18 and completed the Shadow program.
“We definitely saw a model there and it was very calculated, very motivated, very disturbing, and it was determined that something needed to be said louder so that it could not be repeated or continued elsewhere,” McGlauchlen said. Some students said they were only 14 and 15 when they started exchanging private messages with Henzie-Skogen. Most of the women who have introduced themselves to Shadow, McGlauchlen says, still live or visit the Madison area and decided to come forward in part because Henzie-Skogen’s presence made them fearful of meeting him in town.
Henzie-Skogen has played a leading role in Madison’s music community for over 20 years. In the late 1990s, he co-founded the Youngblood Brass Band, which built a solid following for its hybrid of hip-hop and second-line jazz. Youngblood has toured internationally and released his most recent album, 2013’s Pax Volume, on the British label Tru Thoughts. Henzie-Skogen is also a member of the instrumental rock band Cougar, whose 2006 debut album Law captured the attention of the national press and included some additional mixing work from Tortoise’s John McEntire. The band’s second album, Patriot, was released in 2009 on Counter Records, a sub-label of the famous British electronic label Ninja Tune. Henzie-Skogen also co-founded and operates Layered Music, an independent label that has released albums by Madison-based artists including Tony Barba, Chants and Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, in addition to releasing sheet music.
RAINN’s grooming resource page explains that “building trust and keeping secrets” is often part of the pattern for this behavior. This matches the models the shadow leadership found in its investigation of the complaints against Henzie-Skogen.
“One of the biggest concerns was, it was reported that he would use code words with those he reached out to so he could come and say those code words to those students and no one would know what was happening, ”McGlauchlen said.
Shadow has been a private, non-profit organization since 2019, but initially derived from the Oregon High School Marching Band program in Wisconsin. Henzie-Skogen was a student of the program himself, then became an instructor in the early 2000s. He spoke about his work in a 2009 interview with The wrong penny:
“The program I work with, I’ve been involved at one level or another since I was 13,” he continued. “Since I was in eighth. … I paraded in their drum line when I was in high school. Then, I started teaching after I graduated, and I took over the percussion part in 2004. ”
The Oregon School District provides funds and other support for Shadow, but a separate nonprofit, Oregon Band Boosters, handles the actual hiring. An Oregon School District attorney referred the inquiries to district spokesperson Erika Mundinger. “Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps is an independent organization that includes students from the Oregon School District as well as students from across the country,” Mundinger said. “Mr. Henzie-Skogen is not and has never been employed by the Oregon School District.” Responding to a follow-up question about whether the incidents would trigger an investigation or other school district action, Mundinger wrote in an email:
“In the past, the OSD has provided some financial support for Shadow, as a large number of OSD students have participated. Over the years, the number of OSD students participating has decreased, while as our financial support OSD has not provided any financial support for the past two years.
“OSD just learned of the allegations this week. Mr. Henzie Skogen is not and has never been employed by the Oregon School District, so we would not be the organization to conduct an investigation.
Henzie-Skogen’s long involvement in the program raises an obvious question: why no one else in Shadow’s management, or in the local music community, noticed a problem until 2021 and attracted attention to him? Several of Henzie-Skogen’s group mates Tone Madison contacted for this story did not respond or declined to comment.
McGlauchlen acknowledges that other staff and board members have likely missed some “red flags” over the years. To further muddy the waters, McGlauchlen says Henzie-Skogen was a “big advocate” of creating documents and processes to protect students and allow them to report inappropriate behavior. Looking back, McGlauchlen asks, “Did he put these policies in place to cover himself?”
The world of young drum corps has seen several abuse scandals in recent years. In 2018, the leader of a prominent drumming body in Pennsylvania resigned after former students reported a pattern of sexual misconduct for decades. A wide range of reports for The Philadelphia Investigator that year revealed that “Almost half of the 24 world-class drum corps employed at least one former teacher already sanctioned for misconduct with a student.” Closer to home, DCI suspended the Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps & Color Guard in Cudahy in 2018, after conducting an investigation that found poor health and safety practices and a registered sex offender among staff at the body.
McGlauchlen says Shadow won’t be performing as a drum corps in 2022, and the organization wants to recognize its responsibility to provide a safe place for its students. “This having been violated and abused, we are not in a position to honestly say that it is a safe place, and we have the opportunity to review all of our policies and make sure that we never put another student in a safe place. [position] that they could be cured, ”says McGlauchlen.