Guest Artist Residency at Mars Hill University

This week I spent two days with the Mars Hill Percussion Studio, Dr. Brian Tinkel, 10-can percussion, and Cassie Swiney. We were invited by Dr. Tinkel to be a part of the first Mars Hill Percussion Guest Artist Residency. It was a great few days seeing the guys from 10-can again and meeting Dr. Tinkel and his students. There are GREAT things happening at Mars Hill. The students are hard-working, driven, and ready to learn. From the moment I walked in the door, there was always 2-3 (or more) students around ready to move, set up, or tear down equipment!

The first event was my solo recital on Wednesday afternoon. I played the four solo pieces from my upcoming recital at UNCG plus my world percussion solo, Across the Floor

Thursday morning I worked with the world music class. I played Across the Floor and my arrangement of Piru Bole by John Bergamo and discussed the blending of cultures and how to preserve as much of the original tradition as possible when playing one culture's rhythms on another culture's drums.

Later that morning, I presented my clinic, "Music Theory on Marimba: Bringing the Classroom into the Practice Room." I discussed my method book of the same name and how it can be used to get young marimba players to think more about what they are learning in music theory class when playing marimba.

Next, Cassie Swiney performed the first movement of Sejourne's Concerto for Marimba and gave a clinic on healthy four-mallet Stevens technique.

Finally, Thursday evening I performed with 10-can and Dr. Tinkel on an incredible concert. My participation in the program was on Gravity by Marc Mellits, Postludes by Elliot Cole and Mudra by Bob Becker. The concert went incredibly well and the week was a huge success. Thank you to Grover Pro Percussion and the Zildjian Company for their support!

UNCG Percussion Symposium

This weekend, UNCG Percussion hosted the first UNCG Percussion Symposium. The event brought around 65 high school students grades 9-12 to our music building for a day of clinics, performances, and masterclasses on the North Carolina All-State audition music. Clinics were: Dr. Eric Willie, drum set; MM student Cassie Swiney, Stevens Technique; DMA student Adam Snow, West African drumming; and I presented an accessory clinic.

The students were fantastic and the day was a huge success!

End of the summer

This summer has not been without great musical experiences. I kicked it off back in May by appearing with the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra for a weekend of Ravel's La Valse and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris. Tamir Hendelman, who I previously met as part of the Jeff Hamilton Trio in Ohio a few years back, was the soloist on Rhapsody. It was great seeing him again. Thanks to John R. Beck for letting me play the taxi horn part on American in Paris.

Soon after, I was part of a percussion trio from the Greensboro Symphony that performed music to accompany a reading of "Peter Rabbit" at UNCG and the Greensboro Science Center. It's always fun seeing the kids react not only the story, but to the sound of the instruments. 

Next, fellow UNCG DMA student and flutist Janet Phillips and I recorded the demo for Steve Landis's "Hemingway was a bomb maker" for flute and drum set. It was a thrill to premiere this work back in February and maybe more fun to record it! Check out Steve's music at

At the end of June, I continued my ongoing work with Greensboro Opera and Greensboro Light Opera & Song. I spent a week in the pit for their production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. It is always a great experience and with the rather sparse percussion part, I had quite the view of the show on stage!

Also in June, I performed with Greensboro Symphony Pops at White Oak Amphitheatre presenting the music of Simon and Garfunkel. It's always a good time when you get to play congas on "Cecilia."

Last summer, I worked as the percussion teacher at UNCG's Summer Music Camp. This year, I was a counselor. I helped with the percussion section of the Aycock Senior Band. This was a great group of kids that were really attentive and open to hearing my suggestions and advice. It's always fun seeing kids progress throughout these experiences.

Now, I'm gearing up for the final year of my DMA and the final year of my formal education! There are many exciting things in the works that I will share on here when the time comes!