For several years from elementary through high school I attended all the band classes: Symphonic Band Jazz Big Band Orchestra Swing Chior Marching Band Jazz Combo. In high school I received the John Phillips Sousa Band Award and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, and won several NAJE Outstanding Musician Awards at our many jazz band competitions. My senior year I was elected band president and was first-chair tympani in the Missouri All-State Band.
Our school put on two musical productions during my high school years- West Side Story and Music Man, in which I played drumset in both. My senior year of high school I also played in the top jazz combo at Webster University (St. Louis, MO.) with saxophonist Todd Williams (pictured left - who went on to play for Wynton Marsalis for several years), and bassist Steve Kirby (Cyrus Chestnut Trio, Elvin Jones, also pictured left).
Through high school I studied with Mark Tate (St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra) at the Clayton Academy of Music, and also Steve Davis (Lynne Arriale Trio, Bill Evans, John Patitucci). During this time I also attended three great music camps: UMKC Music Camp, The Eastman Conservatory of Music Jazz Camp (studying with Rich Thompson, Dave Mancini, & John Beck), and the Jamie Abersold Jazz Camp (studying with Steve Davis, Adam Nussbaum, & Ed Soph). A few years later I attended the Yamaha Music Drumset Camp as well (studying with Gary Chaffee, Steve Houghton, & again with Ed Soph).
After high school, drum lessons continued, as well as playing many gigs in the thriving St. Louis music scene with such notable musicians as Peter and Jim Mayer (of the Peter Mayer Group and Jimmy Buffet) and again with bassist Steve Kirby. Later, living in North Carolina for a brief stint, I studied with Lee Venters (Aquairian Rescue Unit) and also played in the r&b group Company (led by Donald Lawrence - composer, vocalist, & musical director for Stephanie Mills and the Tri-City Singers).
A Start In the Industry
After a couple of moves, and touring the U.S. with a band from Ohio at the age of nineteen....at twenty-one the trek was made to Nashville. Four months later, auditioning and getting the tour with BeBe & CeCe Winans was an important step in further getting established in the music industry.
A variety of other artist tours have followed, including Barbara Mandrell, Aaron Tippin, Pam Tillis, Michael W. Smith, Kathy Troccoli, White Heart, Susan Ashton, Eddy Raven and other artists....as well as session work for producers Cedric & Victor Caldwell (Whitney Houston, Take6), Brent Rowan (Barbara Mandrell, Julie Roberts), Tim Minor (Steve Perry), Phil Naish, Jay DeMarkus (Rascal Flatts), Bryan Lennox (Michael W. Smith), Brian Hardin, Dez Dickerson (Prince), Donald Lawrence (Stephanie Mills, Tri-City Singers), Bill Drescher (Rick Springfield, Richard Marx) and others.