Brian J. Harris Method
Student Accomplishments

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Spring/Summer 2014

March 2014

David Cai won the second chair orchestra position in the Arizona Allstate band and orchestra auditions. Congratulations, David!

Fall/Winter 2013-2014

February 2014

On February 16, nearly all my students performed in our annual studio recital. The audience heard a wide variety of instruments and styles, including Adam Gregorio's original work, featuring himself dancing hip-hop with Alistair McCallum on drum set. Congratulations to all the performers!

As a result of his audition, Thomas Elmer made the bass drum line for his freshman marching season at Catalina Foothills High School this fall. Congrats, Thomas!

January 2014

Congratulations to Kali Cornn for winning the first chair percussion spot as a result of her regional band and orchestra audition.

Spring/Summer 2013

September 2013

Student Kali Cornn is a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist. Fantastic!

Seventh-graders Jayden Hazel and Jackson Tint will perform in the University of Arizona's Middle School Honor Band this season. Jayden won the principal percussion spot. Congratulations to both of you!

As a result of her audition, high school junior Sandra Muller has been selected to participate in the percussion section in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. Sandra joins senior Kali Cornn in the section. Freshman Nathan Hooker, and seventh grader Jayden Hazel have been named as first and second alternates, should the orchestra need additional players this season. Congratulations to all of you!

August 2013

Tim Rachbach participated in this year's Stanford Jazz Camp again, and enjoyed workshops and clinics given by drumming greats Eric Harland, Louis Hayes, and many others.

June 2013

The Southern Arizona Roadrunners and Tune-Up-Tucson requested that sixth grade student Jayden Hazel play percussion music to inspire runners at Tucson's "Meet Me Downtown 5K" charity run, on June 1.  Jayden played timpani, marimba, snare drum, and drum set for 2,035 runners, inspiring them for just over 2 hours!

May 2013

Orange Grove Middle School student Jacob Waitt has won the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship for the Spring 2013 semester. Awarded by band director William Patterson, this scholarship will provide Jacob with $450 worth of lessons from me during the 2013 Summer Session. Congratulations, Jacob!

I have had the pleasure of working with each of these graduating high school seniors for five to eleven years, and I'm going to miss them all. Congratulations and best of luck in the next phase of your lives!

  • Stewart Bass graduated from St. Gregory High School. Stewart will attend Furman University in South Carolina this fall, majoring in Chinese Studies.

  • Colin Kelly graduated from Catalina Foothills High School. Colin will attend the University of Arizona this fall with an undeclared major.

  • Abby McCourt graduated from Catalina Foothills High School. Abby will attend the University of Arizona this fall, majoring in physiology.

  • Tim Rachbach graduated from Catalina Foothills High School. Tim will attend Manhattan School of Music as a jazz drum set major.

  • Allison Whitehill graduated from Catalina Foothills High School. Allison will attend Knox College in Illinois with an undeclared major.

Student Tim Rachbach won the Catalina Foothills High School silver award for grade point of 4.0, the Outstanding Senior band award, and the Louis Armstrong award for being the top jazz band senior!

Allie Whitehill received the Catalina Foothills High School silver award for a GPA over 4.0, a band award, a National Honor Society Award, and a Senior English award. Congrats, Allie!

Abby McCourt was selected to receive the Principal's Award at Catalina Foothills High School, awarded annually to one boy and one girl from the graduating class.

April 2013

Tim Rachbach has been accepted on drum set into the Jazz Studies programs at Manhattan School of Music, New School In NYC, University of Miami, and Arizona State University. Great list of choices, Tim. Enjoy the selection process!

Fall/Winter 2012-2013

March 2013

Nathan Hooker won a Solo Award for the drum set solo he played with the Tucson Jazz Institute's Ellington Band at the Fullerton College Jazz Festival, on March 23.

Michael Orlandella was assigned to cymbals for his 2012 freshman marching season at Catalina Foothills High School. After only five months of lessons, he won a spot on the tenor line for his sophomore year in 2013!

More Catalina Foothills Drumline audition results: Nick Dames and Nathan Hooker will play bass drum as freshmen (nice job, guys!). Soccer star Alex Berman will play tenors her senior year--her third year on tenors!

Student Alex Berman's Foothills High School soccer team took first place in state!

February 2013

Eighth grade student Nathan Hooker won a position in next year's Catalina Foothills High School's wind ensemble--their top ensemble during concert season. It's rare for a freshman to be a member of this group. Nice work, Nathan!

Stewart Bass won the St Gregory High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition and will move up to the national Shakespeare Competition at the University of Arizona in March!

January 2013

Kali Cornn won the principal percussion position in this year's regional band and orchestra festival. Congrats, Kali!

Student Tim Rachbach made it into the Arizona Allstate High School Jazz big band for the fourth year in a row. This will be his third and final time sitting in the top drum chair--in the Jazz I band. Congrats on an amazing high school Allstate Jazz record, Tim!

December 2012

Kali Cornn won a Special Citation in the first round of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra's Young Artist Competition last Saturday, December 8, playing the first movement of the Creston Concertino for Marimba. Congratulations, Kali!

Orange Grove Middle School student Rebecca Larson has won the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship for the Fall 2012 semester. Awarded by band director William Patterson, this scholarship will provide Rebecca $450 worth of lessons from me during the summer session. Congratulations, Rebecca!

My 90's student Jeff Friedl just finished a tour with rock band DEVO (and he was sick throughout the ENTIRE tour). Now he's rehearsing with A Perfect Circle for their upcoming performances in Las Vegas, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. Check him out if you find yourself in the right place at the right time!

November 2012

UA freshman Trevor Barroero won first place in the college division of the Tucson Symphony Concerto Competition. Hats off, señor Trevor!

October 2012

This summer, I heard that auditions would be held for my old 2nd Percussion position in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. I immediately encouraged Trevor Barroero to go for it. After preparing and practicing for over 300 hours, he made it past the first audition round with only half of the dozens of other high-level percussionists from around the country--a fantastic showing for the first time out on the professional circuit. No gig yet, but big congrats, Trevor. On to the next...

Spring/Summer 2012

September 2012

Student Kali Cornn is one of only twenty-seven Arizona high school students selected to be on the Arizona Governor's Youth Commission this year. Congrat's, Kali!

College freshman Gibb Mandish just reported that his audition placed him as the drummer for the top jazz big band at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Nice work, Gibb!

Sixth grader Jayden Hazel has won a percussion spot in the year's University of Arizona Middle School Outreach Honor Band. He scored 95 out of 100 in his audition!

High school senior student Tim Rachbach played drums for Phoenix-area pianist Russell Schmidt’s "Anachromysticism" CD release party at Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse, in Scottsdale, on September 6. The band also featured seasoned professionals Brice Winston on tenor sax, Eric Rasmussen on alto sax, and Dwight Kilian on bass.  This is another great gig in your back pocket, Tim.  Nice goin'!

August 2012

As a result of this year's Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra percussion auditions, Kali Cornn has won a spot in the percussion section for the 2012-2013 season. Eighth grader Nathan Hooker is the first alternate percussionist. Senior Stewart Bass is returning for his final year in the orchestra. Congratulations to all three of you!

When Trevor Barroero made it into Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra as an 8th grader, some eyebrows raised. When he won the PRINCIPAL percussion spot the same year, upperclassmen students furrowed their brows. 5 years later, having auditioned with undergrad and grad students, he's in the top percussion spot (principal percussionist/timpanist in the orchestra) at the University of Arizona.

College freshman Cory Boone won the drum set spot in the University of Arizona's Jazz B Band. This is quite an accomplishment for a freshman when there are only two big bands at UA, with a handful of undergraduate and graduate drummers auditioning. Hey, Cory, what's your major? Oh yes, engineering! Cory's looking forward to financing his college education by playing paid gigs around Tucson.

Tim Rachbach just returned from the Dave Brubeck Jazz Colony, an elite group of young jazz musicians who all attend with a full scholarship covering tuition, room, and board! Tim was one of only three drum set students in the U.S. to be selected. His tune "Lone Monk" was performed in the final concert, and he was featured on in this local interview. (Click on "See Full Article Text" to read the story.)

Allison Whitehill will be co-captain of the Catalina Foothills drumline pit this fall.

Abby McCourt will be DRUM MAJOR this year for the Catalina Foothills marching band.

Nicholas Dames has returned from Culver Military Academy where he was the center snare drummer in the middle school drum corps. You came a long way in 12 months, Nick. Nice job!

July 2012

This month, Jackson Tint attended a computer programming camp for 13 to 17-year-olds at Stanford. Jackson is 11. Note to Apple Computer: You'll want to hire this kid in a few years.

May 2012

At his school's fifth grade promotion ceremony, Jackson Tint presented an incredible speech about the distinction between important activities and world-changing activities. Read it, and you might find yourself contemplating Jackson's wisdom the rest of the day.

Orange Grove Middle School student Evan Goodson has won the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship for the Spring 2012 semester. Awarded by band director William Patterson, this scholarship will provide Evan $450 worth of lessons from me during the summer session. Congratulations, Evan!

Jordan Youngblood came into his lesson a few weeks ago and announced that he'll be moving to Austin, Texas this summer. Ugh. We talked about his plans to be in the Austin High drumline next fall, and I suggested that he get ahold of all drumline exercises and audition material he could ASAP. Turns out, the school was holding drumline workshops at that time, and Jordan got himself into the loop immediately with all the material they were covering. Long story short, Jordan sent in his audition video last week and found out the next day that he made the snare line!

Gibb Mandish and Tim Rachbach played at Jazz At Lincoln Center's 17th Annual Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition and festival. Gibb and Tim's "Ellington" big band in the Tucson Jazz Institute took first place in the community jazz big band division this year. Gibb received an Honorable Mention for his drum set solo with the band.

April 2012

Students Tim Rachbach and Gibb Mandish performed with the Tucson Jazz Institute's Ellington band in the Monterey NextGen Conglomerate Big Band Division. Tim played drums, and Gibb played drums and vibraphone. Since their band took first place in this division, they will perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Fantastic.

Based on his audition recordings, resume, and recommendation letters, Tim Rachbach is one of three drummers to be selected to participate in the 2012 Dave Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony at the University of the Pacific. This full scholarship program covers tuition, room and board, and is highly competitive. Nice work, Tim!

Senior Gibb Mandish has been accepted to the Manhattan School of Music jazz program, University of North Texas classical and jazz programs, the University of Arizona percussion program, and the Lawrence University percussion program. After two rounds of live jazz drum set auditions and an interview at Juilliard, he was next in line if one of two grad students had not accepted their invitations. What an amazing assortment of audition results. Gibb has decided to attend Lawrence University in the fall.

Senior Trevor Barroero was offered scholarships to enter the percussion departments at Northwestern University, University of North Texas, University of Michigan, and University of Arizona. Trevor was one of only twenty Arizona high school seniors to be awarded the prestigious Flinn Scholarship, which covers full tuition, room, and board, as well as summer study-abroad travel. Trevor has accepted the Flinn Scholarship and will attend the University of Arizona in the fall. He's already researching international percussion camps for his study-abroad summers.

Senior Yee Su will attend UCLA as a physics major this fall. He is interning this summer with the associate dean of physics at the University of Arizona, studying bosons and other cool things I had never heard of. Oh, yes, this summer he'll also play drums on a three-week west coast tour with his contemporary Christian band Life-Transforming Foundation. Talk about well-rounded!

Senior Harmony Zhang has been accepted to the Cornell College of Human Ecology, and the Duke College of Arts and Sciences. Impressive. She plans to continue singing and drumming wherever she goes, and she'll be on the west coast tour with Yee and Life Transforming Foundation this summer.

Senior Ira Pichler has been accepted into the College of Engineering at both the University of Arizona and University of California San Diego. He will attend the University of Arizona as a computer engineering major. Lemme hear some compositions coming out of your computer too, Ira!

Senior Cory Boone has been accepted into the University of Arizona College of Engineering. He will attend the U of A, receiving a full scholarship and a free iPad, and he looks forward to continuing his lucrative gigging life here in Tucson while attending college.

Fall/Winter 2011-2012

March 2012

Cory Boone's Basie Band from the Tucson Jazz Institute won first place in its division in the Fullerton High School Jazz Festival. Cory received a soloist award as well!

Tim Rachbach played drum set in the Tucson Jazz Institute's Blue Note combo for the Monterey NextGen Open Combo division competition.

On March 3, Harmony Zhang took second place with her University High School team in the Arizona Science Olympiads by co-building and playing her own home-made padauk marimba with her own hand-wound yarn mallets. In the competition, she played duets with another teammate who designed, built, and played a flute made of PVC pipe!

My former student Jeff Friedl graduated from Catalina Foothills High School back in 1998. Since then, he has made his way to Los Angeles and worked his way through the drumming ranks in that incredibly competetive town. His amazing story of dedication and success tells how he became the drummer for such bands as Ashes dIVIDE, Perfect Circle, and Devo. Watch it at

February 2012

On February 19, dozens of my private students performed in our annual studio recital. There were some fun, exciting, and mind-boggling performances, and many parents and friends told me afterward it was the best recital yet. Many thanks to everyone who performed for putting in the extra practice time--it paid off!

On February 12, Trevor Barroero won the only gold medal awarded in this year's Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra's scholarship competition. That's a great way to finish your TPYO competition career, Trevor. Congrats!

On February 4, Trevor Barroero won the senior Wind/Percussion division of the Civic Orchestra of Tucson's 2012 Young Artist's Competition playing a movement from Zalupe's Concertino for Marimba, Movement III. Trevor composed and inserted his own cadenza into the middle of the movement.

On February 2, Tim Rachbach performed on drum set in the top Arizona Allstate jazz band, and Gibb Mandish played in the 2nd band. Both played great on their January 7 auditions to have the opportunity to rehearse and perform with these amazing groups. Way to go, guys!

My former student Ben Reed has taken a year off from his electrical engineering career in order to focus completely on his techno/rave collaboration project 0SM. As a high school student, Ben was never one to mess around with mediocrity (see Summer 2003 entry). This is hardcore techno with gritty sounds combined with classic synths and even acoustic guitar. Turn it up and give it a listen!

January 2012

Allie Whitehill took the top spot in the Southern Arizona Regional Band And Orchestra percussion auditions on January 28. Abby McCourt also won a high position in the band. Congratulations to both of you!

Gibb Mandish has made it past the preliminary round of Juilliard videotaped jazz drum set auditions. He will have a live audition at Juilliard later this spring. Gibb also had a great audition at University of North Texas this month.

On January 27, rock band Wonderboy won The Rock's Battle of the Band preliminary round. I've enjoyed coaching this band since September 2011, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens March 31 in the final round of competition. Good luck to band members Maddie Collier, Paige Pearcy, Levi Post, and Teron Tidaback!

On January 26, I got to see my student Davis Baker playing drum set with the University of Arizona pep band at the U of A basketball game. I've never seen Davis have so much fun playing! It's rare that a freshman wins this spot, and Davis is excited to be playing for and traveling with the team. As I looked around the crowd that night, I realized that in having this gig, Davis is likely the most-heard, most-seen live drum set artist in Tucson!

December 2011

On New Years Eve, Cory Boone played drums for 60's bands The Platters, The Drifters, and The Coasters, famous for such songs as "Only You", "Save The Last Dance For Me", "There Goes My Baby", and "Yakety Yak". Nice gig for a 17-year-old!

Orange Grove Middle School band director William Patterson awarded Bobbie Alcanzo the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Bobbie will receive $450 worth of lessons from me during the spring semester. Congratulations, Bobbie!

Trevor Barroero has been named a finalist in the 2012 Tucson Philharmonia Scholarship Competition. Finals will take place on Sunday, February 12, at the Catalina Foothills High School auditorium. This is the fifth year in a row that Trevor has competed and been recognized in this competition. Way to go, Trevor!

November 2011

When the Ironwood Ridge drumline instructor quit in early August, Trevor Barroero stepped up and took over the coaching role for the line. This saved the school a bunch of money and propelled the drumline into a great season of performances at football games and competitions. Everything looked and sounded fantastic.

October 2011

Trevor Barroero and Gibb Mandish won co-principal positions in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra as a result of this fall's chair auditions. Congratulations to you guys--awesome way to end your years with the TPYO.

Spring/Summer 2011

September 2011

Stewart Bass and Abby McCourt auditioned for the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra on September 17. Stewart won a position in the orchestra, and Abby is an alternate, should one of the players bow out, or should the orchestra need an additional player. Congratulations to both of you!

Jimmy Lacey has been accepted into the Tucson Symphony Young Composer's Project for the 2011-2012 school year. I look forward to hearing what Jimmy creates in this top-notch program!

August 2011

Davis Baker had a handful of auditions at the University of Arizona with great results. As a freshman, he made the snare line in the Pride of Arizona drumline, drum set in the pep band, a percussion position in the Wind Symphony, and a spot in the World Music Gang. All that, along with two private lessons per week on drum set and percussion, should make for a diverse year.

July 2011

Gibb Mandish attended the Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshop at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He was fortunate enough to play drums in the top combo, participate in the top theory class, and work with Carl Allen, Benny Green, and many other jazz greats!

Trevor Barroero was overwhelmed with amazing information and musical experiences at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar. He and fifteen other participants from around the world worked day-in and day-out with clinicians and instructors including Glen Velez, Dan Druckman, Gordon Gottlieb, Joseph Pereira, Joseph Gramley, Jake Nissly, Jeffery Irving, Rob Knopper, John Kilkenny, Spectrum Trio, and So Percussion. The week he returned, we spent three hours digging into and clarifying his FIRST batch of notes. Glad you got so much out of it, Trevor!

June 2011

Trevor Barroero's mom offered to pay the travel, tuition, and room and board expenses for Trevor's participation in the July Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar. However, Trevor decided that he wanted to repay her as much as he could of the $3000 total costs. So on June 26, Trevor put on an event at St. Philips Plaza to raise money for the trip. With all of our marketing efforts, over 300 people braved the heat to hear some great music and donate generously to Trevor's cause. Many thanks to everyone who helped make the event such an incredible success, and to those who attended and donated!

May 2011

As a result of an audition, Tim Rachbach received a scholarship offer from Berklee College of Music to attend their 5-week Summer Performance Program in Boston.

Jerry and Kara Bartell performed "When I Hear My Name", by the White Stripes with a friend at their school's talent show on May 12. Jerry is getting to be quite the guitarist and singer, in addition to playing drums. Kara learned the drum part in about 5 minutes in her lesson.

Nathan Hooker and Sandra Muller performed with the University of Arizona Middle School Outreach Honor Band in their final performance of the year.

Orange Grove Middle School band director Anna Ames awarded Jordan Youngblood the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Jordan will receive $450 worth of lessons from me during the summer session. Congratulations, Jordan!

Travis Puckett was awarded Most Outstanding Musician in Drumline and Most Outstanding Musician in Jazz Band at the May 6, Flowing Wells High School Band Banquet.

Julia Villec just found out that she will be the cymbal line captain in the Catalina Foothills High School 2011 marching season. Julia plans to work with a UA cymbal line expert to make her line shine!

My son Patrick Harris will be the snare line captain in the Catalina Foothills High School 2011 marching season. Congrats, and get funky, Patrick!

April 2011

Trevor Barroero just found out he is one of 16 percussion students in the world to be accepted into the 2011 Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar, where the focus will be preparation for college and conservatory auditions. Fantastic.

Gibb Mandish has been selected to participate in the Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshop at Snow College in Utah. Hmm, a week studying jazz drum set with Carl Allen? Have fun, Gibb.

March 2011

High school junior Yee Su played the percussion book in St Gregory High School's production of Beauty & The Beast, including timpani, orchestra bells, drum set, and many auxiliary instruments. All the other instrumental musicians were local professionals hired to play the show. Yee sounded great.

Kali Cornn and her team partner took third place in the Arizona Science Olympiad's "Sound of Music" event. They built, tuned, and performed music on a homemade marimba made of PVC, ABS, and padauk wood keys. The entire Catalina Foothills High School team took first place, and they will now move on to the national competition in May. Kali and her partner will now redesign the marimba to sound better and break down small enough to take on a plane. Good luck, Kali!

Davis Baker auditioned in February for the University of Arizona percussion department on drum set, concert snare drum, timpani, marimba, and marching snare. On March 17, he received a large scholarship offer, which is very rare with UA's significant budget cuts these days. This is fantastic news, and I'm very proud of Davis for all his hard work during these past few years of lessons.

Tim Rachbach just told me that he and his friends from the Tucson Jazz Institute have created a volunteer organization called The Jazzateers. This group performs jazz for charitable events, assisted living homes, and people who would otherwise not have a chance to hear live jazz--always at no cost. What an amazing way to contribute to the community!

Fall/Winter 2010-2011

February 2011

Over thirty of my students performed in our annual studio recital on February 20. There were some very unique pieces this year, including a voice and marimba solo by Sandra Muller, a family rendition of Seven Nation Army by Ben Millerd with his parents and brother, an amplified Udu drum and drum set solo by Cory Boone, and ensemble arrangements by Hoshin Gupta. Thanks to everyone for your hard work and great playing!

Trevor Barroero was accepted into the Arizona Percussive Arts Society High School Honor Percussion Ensemble as a result of his video audition. He'll perform with the ensemble on March 25, 2011, at ASU. Have a blast, Trevor!

Daniel Olitzky's band Manic After Hours took second place in the Arizona Daily Star Battle of the Bands on February 18 at the Rialto Theatre. Congratulations, Daniel!

The following students won positions in their ABODA Regional High School Bands and Orchestras: Trevor Barroero, Davis Baker, Andy Gee, Oscar Saens, Abby McCourt, Kali Cornn, Julia Villec. Principal percussionists in their regional ensembles are: Trevor Barroero (band), Davis Baker (orchestra), Oscar Saenz (band). Congratulations, and enjoy your experience with some of the top music students in Southern Arizona!

January 2011

Sandra Muller auditioned and was selected to be a member of University of Arizona Middle School Outreach Band. Enjoy, Sandra.

Trevor Barroero won bronze in the TPYO Young Artists Scholarship Competition by playing the finale from Ney Rosauro's Concerto No 1 for Marimba and String Orchestra. Congratulations, Trevor!

Multi-talented Kali Cornn also competed in the TPYO competition and won a bronze playing the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3. Kali also plays harp with the orchestra. Talk about a busy practice schedule! Way to go, Kali!

Cory Boone received the first second-round perfect score in the history of Arizona Allstate Jazz Band auditions! He will play drum set for the top band later this semester. Tim Rachbach also had a great audition at Allstate Jazz, receiving a perfect score in the first round, and just a few points below perfect in the second round. Tim will play drum set for the second Allstate Jazz Band. What a tight race. Congratulations to both of you!

December 2010

Trevor Barroero made it through the preliminary round of the TPYO Young Artists Scholarship Competition. The final round will be held on Sunday, January 23, at 4:00 pm, at the Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium. Yeah, yeah, we've come to expect this from you, Trevor, now that it's been happening for the last who-knows-how-many years. (Just kidding--congratulations and good luck in the final round!)

Nathan Hooker has been nominated and selected to play in the 2011 Arizona Elementary/Junior High All-State Band Festival in March. Nathan also plays in the University of Arizona Middle School Outreach Band. Keep up the great work, Nathan.

On December 3, nine-year-old Carlos Fonseca gave a Powerpoint presentation on snare drums for his school's talent show, including a recording of himself playing a snare drum solo. Nice work, Carlos!

November 2010

On November 21, Trevor Barroero, Gibb Mandish, and Kali Cornn played a great concert with the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. This was Gibb and Kali's first performance with the orchestra. Trevor was featured on the Milhaud Concerto For Percussion and Small Orchestra and received a standing ovation for his graceful performance.

Orange Grove Middle School band director Anna Ames awarded Jeffrey Kalitan the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Jeffrey will receive $450 worth of lessons from me during the spring semester. Congratulations, Jeffrey!

October 2010

Out of over 60 contestants, Trevor Barroero is one of six finalists in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's Youth Concerto Competition high school division. His piece this year is Ney Rosauro's Concerto No 1 for Marimba and String Orchestra. That's a great start to a new season of competitions, Trevor.

September 2010

Trevor Barroero won the principal percussion spot in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. Gibb Mandish took second chair percussion. Way to go, guys.

Gibb Mandish won a position in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra as a result of his audition. Your persistence paid off, Gibb. I had a feeling it would.

Kali Cornn auditioned for the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra on both harp and percussion. She will be the TPYO's new harpist, and she'll cover percussion parts when necessary. Nice job, Kali!

Tim Rachbach was the Tucson young jazz artist selected to perform at the Jazz Legends event at Tucson's El Conquistador Resort on September 18. Jamming on stage with the likes of Shelly Berg and Chuck Berghofer--not too shabby, Tim.

Spring/Summer 2010

August 2010

After preparing audition material all summer, Lindsay McEldowny was accepted into the Northern Arizona percussion department as a music minor. Enjoy your first semester of college, Lindsay. Enjoy your semester on the tenor line!

Yee Su, a junior at St. Gregory, just returned from Taiwan where he toured with his group LTF (Life Transforming Foundation). In their travels, they performed at eight churches and one jail. What a great summer project!

Alyssa Vanderwood is the side ensemble (pit) section leader at Tucson High this year. Keep those freshmen in line, Alyssa.

July 2010

Tim Rachbach had a great week-long jazz camp at Stanford. He brought back some very cool materials we'll work on together in lessons.

Danielle Roosa and Sean Rhude have both been accepted into the percussion department at the University of Arizona for fall 2010. Congratulations to both of you.

May 2010

James Zipperian is the house drummer for the contemporary service band at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church. A weekly gig like this is the best way to learn to read charts and play new songs with short turnaround periods. Keep up the great work, James!

Unfortunately, Trevor Barroero's performance with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson was rained and winded out on May 2. However, Laszlo Veres invited him to perform with the Tucson Pops Orchestra on May 16. Trevor had a blast finally performing the Creston Concertino with a real live orchestra!

Orange Grove Middle School band director Anna Ames awarded Nicholas Baumann the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Nick will receive $450 worth of lessons from me during the summer. Congratulations, Nick!

On May 14, Jerry and Kara Bartell performed "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes for their school's talent show. While Jerry studies snare drum and drum set with me, he played guitar and sang on this song. Kara played drums and sang as well. What a talented duo!

March 2010

On March 27, Jayden Hazel, Nathan Hooker, and Alyssa Vanderwood played for the solo and ensemble portion of AZPAS Days of Percussion. All three received high ratings and helpful comments from the judges. Congratulations to all three of you!

As an added bonus at AZPAS, nine-year-old Jayden Hazel was asked back to perform at the showcase concert in the afternoon, along with middle school, high school, and college students from around the state. When Jayden finished, Arizona PAS President Josh Gottry said, "That was scary good." Keep it up, Jayden!

Trevor Barroero was named one of six finalists in the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition. What a great concerto competition season this year, Trevor!

Fall/Winter 2009-2010

February 2010

On February 14, Trevor Barroero gave an amazing performance of movement three of the Creston Concertino for Marimba at the Tucson Philharmonia Young Soloist Competition final round. He took a gold medal and won $1000 cash. Fantastic job, Trevor!

Dozens of my students performed in our annual studio recital on February 13. Many played their solos, duets, and larger ensembles the best ever. Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for your hard work!

Trevor Barroero, Danielle Roosa, and Davis Baker all won positions as percussionists in regional band and orchestra. Trevor and Danielle both received top placement in their respective regions. Congratulations to all three of you!

Travis Puckett received an excellent rating on his snare drum solo at the regional solo and ensemble contest. Congratulations, Travis!

January 2010

Playing the Creston Concertino for Marimba, mvt 3, Trevor Barroero took first place in the Civic Orchestra of Tucson Young Artists' Competition senior winds & percussion division. Congratulations, Trevor!

Danielle Roosa placed third in the Civic Orchestra of Tucson Young Artists' Competition senior winds & percussion division. Her piece was mvt 1 of the Bach Violin Concerto in A Minor adapted for marimba. Danielle, you have gained much by doing this, and I am so proud of you!

Alex Merideth, who is now a freshman at University of North Texas, practiced a lot in my studio while he was in town over the holidays. Why? So he could win a spot in the Phantom Regiment, of course. He just found out he'll be playing Parsifal bells, chimes, and lots of cool effects instruments this coming season. Congratulations, Alex. You're going to have an awesome summer!

Freshman Tim Rachbach found out that the Arizona Allstate Jazz Band drumset audition scores were mixed up. Initially, he was told that he didn't make it. However, after reviewing their records, the judges realized he was the highest-scoring drummer on the audition. He will play in the top jazz band on January 6 and 7. Congratulations to Tim, and many thanks to Dom Moio for catching the error.

December 2009

As a result of his December 5 audition on third movement of the Creston Concertino For Marimba, Trevor Barroero is one of eight finalists in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra's Soloist Competition. Considering sixty-five auditioned, and the other seven finalists are string players, this is quite an accomplishment. The final stage of the competition will take place on February 14, 2010, at 4 pm in the Artists Spotlight Concert at the Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium. Good luck, Trevor.

Fifteen-year-old Tim Rachbach has gigs scheduled with Tucson pro's Matt Mitchell at Old Pueblo Grill on December 6, Brice Winston and Scott Black at Tucson Estates on December 18, and he recently did a gig down in Tubac with some college-age friends. I'm glad you're out there making it happen, Tim!

October 2009

Cory Boone, Gibb Mandish, and Tim Rachbach, all drummers with Tucson Jazz Institute ensembles, are now playing paid jazz gigs around town. These three high school students started working with me in 2000, 2001, and 2002 respectively, when they were in first or second grade. What a pleasure it's been to see them grow musically and as human beings over the years.

Specifically, Gibb Mandish is playing with the Arizona Roadrunners on Tuesday nights, 6:30-9:00 PM at the Fire And Spice Grill in the Sheraton Hotel, 5151 E Grant. Be sure to check them out!

Also, Cory Boone is playing electric drum set in a praise band at Resurrection Lutheran Church. He also recently played a 3 hour gig at The Forum with Rob Boone, piano, Rick Shosie, bass and Mike Kuhn, sax.

As a result of the chair placement audition, Sean Rhude was named co-principal of the percussion section in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra for 2009-2010. Trevor Barroero and Danielle Roosa placed just below principal. You three are going to have a great season. Congratulations!

September 2009

Second grader Jayden Hazel was the youngest performer at the AZPAS Fall Festival of Percussion on September 26, at Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix. Jayden was awarded a superior rating for his solo performance of "Flim Flam". He enjoyed watching the older high school students perform too. I'm glad you went, Jayden!

Current and former students Davis Baker, Danielle Roosa, Tim Rachbach, Andy Gee, Essang Akpan, Patrick Harris, Abby McCourt, Erin Dowling, Allison Whitehill, Julia Villec, Liam Ahlers, Tim Mulkerin, Jenny Brobeck, and Luis Rosado performed with the Catalina Foothills Drumline at the AZPAS Fall Festival of Percussion. Not only did they receive a superior rating, they also took captions in all categories. Sheesh. You guys are multiple bombs. Nice work.

Students Davis Baker and Andy Gee performed a snare/tenor duet at AZPAS and received a superior rating!

Julia Villec won an alternate position with the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra after auditioning on timpani, marimba, and snare drum. Congratulations, Julia!

Spring/Summer 2009

August 2009

Alex Merideth has begun his freshman year at the University of North Texas. At the last minute, he received an out-of-state tuition waiver, plus a scholarship on top of that! He's planning to audition for Phantom Regiment and Cavaliers this semester. You're off to a great start, Alex.

Trevor Barroero is on the snare line at Ironwood Ridge High for his second year!

Travis Puckett is on the snare line at Flowing Wells High for his second year!

Alyssa Vanderwood is assistant section leader of the side ensemble in the Tucson High marching band. She also happens to be the band historian--the person who documents all the images and events of the band for the year. How multi-talented can you get? I want to see that left-hand-2-mallet + right-hand-1-camera technique sometime, Alyssa!

June 2009

Seventh grader Jimmy Lacey decided to switch from baritone to percussion, and he began studying with me 4 months ago in February. As a result of his audition for Northern Arizona University Summer Band Camp, he was placed in the Honor Band. All your hard work has paid off already, Jimmy!

Colin Kelly also had a great NAU camp audition and made the Honor Band. Nice job, Colin!

May 2009

Orange Grove Middle School band director Anna Ames awarded David Cai the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. In addition, former Orange Grove Band Director Michael Oliver (now teaching in Buenos Aires, Argentina) donated money to my CFSD 30/60 Challenge fundraiser so that David can take an extra two lessons with me. All told, David will receive over $500 worth of lessons from me during the late spring and summer sessions. Great job, David!

Fall/Winter 2008-2009

March 2009

Alex Merideth and Trevor Barroero have won the audition to play in the Arizona allstate orchestra. Congratulations, gentlemen.

Alex Merideth just found out that based on his fantastic audition, he has been accepted into the University of North Texas music performance program. Way to go, Alex! Let's see what kind of scholarships UA and UNT offer you.

February 2009

About thirty of my students performed in our annual student recital on February 14. Everyone did an incredible job. Some played their pieces the best ever!

Tim Rachbach and Cory Boone were the two Soloist Award winners at the Northern Arizona University Jazz Festival on February 28. Congrats, gentlemen.

Tim Rachbach and Davis Baker decided to focus their efforts on getting on the CFHS snare line for next fall. As a result of their auditions this month, they both did. Congratulations to both of you, and special congrats to Tim who made it as a freshman--something that only happens about once every four years at their school. Of course, Danielle Roosa also made it, but she's no stranger to the snare line!

Andy Gee decided he wanted to be on the CFHS tenor line next fall. Now that his audition results are back, he will be. Nice work, Andy!

Julia Villec, Allison Whitehill, and Erin Dowling all auditioned for and made the CFHS side ensemble. Great job, ladies!

Essang Akpan made the CFHS bass drum line as a result of his audition. Nice work, Essang!

January 2009

Alex Merideth was accepted into the University of Arizona's music performance program. That's great, Alex!

Brian Foreman, another student who graduated in 2006, performed with the USC drumline in both the Grammy Awards (with Radiohead) and the Oscars (with Hugh Jackman, Beyoncé, Amanda Seyfried, Zach Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and others). These two gigs occurred within the course of two weeks!

December 2008

Alex McCourt, my student who graduated from high school in 2006, just finished his third season with the UA Drumline. This year, he was center snare and was named captain of the whole drumline. Plus, at the UA Marching Band Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Alex was awarded "Most Valuable Player" for the entire band! Incredible.

Trevor Barroero received the "special citation" award on his Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra Soloist Competition performance. This award included $500. Trevor will be a featured soloist with the TPYO on their February 8, 2009, 4:00 pm performance at Catalina Foothills High School. Great work, Trevor!

Orange Grove Middle School band director Anna Ames awarded Essang Akpan the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Essang will receive over $500 worth of lessons from me during the spring semester. Congratulations, Essang!

On December 7, my students Trevor Barroero, Cory Boone, Kali Cornn, Patrick Harris, Gibb Mandish, Zach Mulder, Sean Rhude, Danielle Roosa, and Yee Su performed three selections in the University of Arizona Fall Percussion Ensemble Concert. The final piece was an arrangement of Joe Zawinul's "Birdland" with the full UA percussion ensemble. Everyone played incredibly well and sounded fantastic!

September 2008

Danielle Roosa auditioned and was awarded one of the three open Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra percussion section spots. Congratulations, Danielle!

Alex Merideth was awarded first chair in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra percussion chair auditions. Have a great final year in the orchestra, Alex.

Kali Cornn was accepted into the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's Young Composers Project. I'm looking forward to hearing recordings of her music being played by TSO musicians.

Spring/Summer 2008

May 2008

Orange Grove Middle School band director Michael Oliver awarded Kali Cornn the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship. Nice job, Kali!

April 2008

Trevor Barroero won a bronze medal and a $600 scholarship in the Tucson Philharmonia Scholarship Competition by playing the first movement of the Mayuzumi Concertino For Xylophone And Orchestra. He did a fantastic job, and the judges enjoyed his dramatic performance.

Fall/Winter 2007-2008

March 2008

Alex Merideth took his Arizona allstate audition and was named timpanist for the 2008 Allstate Orchestra. Nice work, Alex.

Alex Merideth and Trevor Barroero both auditioned for the Tucson Philharmonia Scholarship Competition. Alex received the Merit Award, and Trevor was named one of twelve finalists!

On March 29, students Trevor Barroero, Cory Boone, Kali Cornn, Patrick Harris, Gibb Mandish, Alex Merideth, Zach Mulder, Sean Rhude, and Danielle Roosa performed at the Arizona Percussive Arts Society Mass Marimba concert at Arizona State University. Our special guest Robin Horn played drum set and took an extended solo on my keyboard percussion arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke". All nine students and I had a blast performing a number of pieces with college and professional marimbists from around the state of Arizona!

February 2008

Michael Evenchik has succeeded in winning a spot on the Catalina Foothills High School tenor line for the 2008-2009 season after playing a tie-breaker audition late this month. Congratulations on going after and getting what you wanted, Michael!

December 2007

Band director Michael Oliver awarded Patrick Harris the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship at Orange Grove Middle School. Way to go, Patrick!

October 2007

The results of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra Auditions are in. Based on two very difficult excerpts from a John Williams piece, eighth grader Trevor Barroero took first chair. Congratulations, Trevor! That's an amazing accomplishment.

Kali Cornn, Patrick Harris, Abby McCourt, and Tim Rachbach all auditioned for and were invited to play in the Catalina Foothills District Middle School Honor Band for 2007-2008, directed by Roger Valencia and Michael Oliver.

September 2007

Alex Merideth received a superior rating for his performance of Nocturnal Dance, by Jesse Monkman, and performed at the Arizona Percussive Arts Society (AZPAS) showcase concert on September 29. He was ranked 2nd out of all participants!

Of the six percussionists who auditioned, students Trevor Barroero and Sean Rhude filled the two available positions in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. Alex Merideth will continue as a member of the group.

The Catalina Foothills High School Drum Line received a superior rating and took all captions at the Arizona Percussive Arts Society (AZPAS) marching festival. Congratulations to all the students and instructors who have worked so hard to put on such a great show this fall!

Seventh grader Tim Rachbach auditioned for and was invited to play drum set with the middle school and high school jazz groups in the Arizona Jazz Academy.

Eighth grader Cory Boone auditioned for and will be playing drum set with the Jazzwerx high school big band.

Trevor Barroero was voted president of the student body of his entire middle school.

Spring/Summer 2007

July 2007

Seventh grader Andrew Neal got a hole-in-one on a professional golf course!

June 2007

Alex Samoy-Alvarado got a call from The Academy Drum And Bugle Corps this month. Their second bass drummer quit unexpectedly, and they needed someone who could jump in and learn the entire show quickly. Alex will be marching with them this summer! As you see below, Alex had been cut from the snare line back in December. This shows how important it is to stay optimistic even after you lose an audition. If you keep your chin up and continue working hard, you may get called to play the gig after all. Many students have experienced this through the years.

May 2007

Abby McCourt received the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship at Orange Grove Middle School. Congratulations, Abby!

Fall/Winter 2006-2007

February 2007

Colin Jones-Weinert, Alex Samoy-Alvarado, Alex Merideth, and Sean Rhude all made it into regional band/orchestra based on their auditions. Sean took first chair!

December 2006

Alex Samoy-Alvarado and Danny Erickson auditioned for The Academy Drum And Bugle Corps in Phoenix this month. Of the dozens of drummers who auditioned, ages 14-21, Danny and Alex (both 15 years old) made it into the final round and were the last two people to be cut before the line was finalized. Congratulations on all your hard work, guys. I'm sure they want you back for another audition next year, and you'll have another year of chops under your belts.

Alex McCourt finished his freshman year on the U of A drumline and was awarded Rookie of the Year. Great work, Alex!

Patrick Harris and Trevor Barroero were both nominated and accepted into the Southern Arizona Honor Band, which will take place in February 2007.

Tim Rachbach received the Kristin Smith Memorial Percussion Scholarship at Orange Grove Middle School. Enjoy those free lessons, Tim!

October 2006

Joe Lewis' band The Dealers won the Trucktoberfest Battle of the Bands at Immaculate Heart School on October 14. Another success, Joe. Congrats!

September 2006

Travis Puckett was named student of the month at Flowing Wells Middle School for the month of September. Congratulations, Travis!

Alex Merideth and Colin Jones-Weinert were both accepted into the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra after their audition on snare drum, marimba, and timpani. Danny Erickson was named an alternate percussionist. Have a great year in this amazing group, gentlemen.

Tim Rachbach is the drummer for the top Arizona Jazz Academy Middle School Big Band this fall, plus the drummer for one combo. Spang Spang-a-lang, Tim!

Joe Lewis and his band The Dealers won the Teen Band Jam in Flagstaff, Arizona, on September 23. They spent their winnings, a $350 gift certificate, at a Flagstaff music store, before returning to Tucson. Way to go, Joe!

Late this month, Patrick Harris, Abby McCourt, and Tim Rachbach auditioned for and were accepted into the Catalina Foothills Middle School Honor Band. Congratulations on your hard work, guys.

Trevor Barroero and Cory Boone performed at the AZPAS Fall Festival of Marching Percussion at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, AZ. While Trevor and Cory are only seventh graders, they spent the day with high school percussionists from around Arizona checking out the drumlines and clinics. For their performance, they received a rating of EXCELLENT and were one of only four performers invited to play at the showcase concert. In front of a few hundred kids, they enjoyed playing their arrangement of Jay Wanamaker's "Struttin'" with their own karate moves tossed in for excitement. You guys should be proud of yourselves!

Spring/Summer 2006

August 2006

Alex McCourt has graduated from Catalina Foothills High School, and he made the snare line in the University of Arizona's Pride of Arizona marching band. Best of luck to you, Alex!

Brian Foreman made the snare line in the USC marching band. Sounds like he's got double-duty between marching band and all of his music major commitments. Stay sane, Brian, and send us some of those hip USC licks sometime.

May 2006

Alex McCourt was named a winner in the Scholar-Activity Participant of the Year in the Everyday Heroes program. Sponsored by Cox Communications, Inc. and the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the program recognizes outstanding teachers, coaches, and students for displaying strong character and interscholastic achievement. What a great way to end your senior year, Alex!

Brian Foreman has decided to take the four-year full scholarship offer from University of Southern California. He'll major in Percussion Performance at the Thornton School of Music. Have fun, Brian. Say "hi" to Erik Forrester and Peter Erskine for us! Read an informative interview with Brian about his college audition and selection process.

Dodge Middle School's band director, Julia White-Hester, named Sean Rhude Outstanding Eighth Grade Musician for 2005-2006. Nice going, Sean. I can't wait to hear about your accomplishments in high school!

Eric Thompson has been playing all sorts of gigs at Skrappy's, Gameworks (Foothills Mall), and private parties in his two bands Reiland and Why Die For Me? Keep hustling for those gigs and moving things forward, Eric!

Many of my students participated in the tenth annual Tucson Institute of Percussion's Percussion Camp at Pima Community College. The final performance featured performances of Varese's "Ionisation", an arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke", a ragtime tune, and various other percussion ensembles. What a blast.

April 2006

The Tucson Philharmonia performed their Spring Gala concert on April 8, and what an awesome show it was! Brian Foreman received the Homero Ceron award for all-around musician, which is a cash prize of $300. Plus, the percussion section received the Best Section award for the year. Congratulations to Brian Foreman, Alex McCourt, Colin Jones-Weinert, Seth Vietti, Arthur Vint, and Jesse Gundy on this achievement, and great job on the concert, too!

Brian Foreman has received offers from four colleges around the country. He's been accepted into Peabody Conservatory, University of Arizona, Shepard School of Music at Rice University, and USC. Both Rice and USC have offered him full scholarships based on his auditions, interviews, and amazing scholastic records. Wow! Decisions, decisions...

March 2006

As a result of their state band and orchestra auditions, Alex McCourt took first chair percussion in the orchestra, and Brian Foreman took second chair percussion in the band. Congratulations on being among the best high school percussionists in the state, guys!

Nick Neal and Jake Bantlin both performed drum set solos for the Manzanita Elementary School Talent Show. Multiple sources tell me they did a fabulous job. Great work, gentlemen!

Cory Boone and Trevor Barroero took first and second place in their karate competitions. It's awesome to have students who are talented in musical and non-musical activities.

Fall/Winter 2005-2006

February 2006

Colin Jones-Weinert, Alex McCourt, and Alex Samoy-Alvarado took the top three places in this year's regional band and orchestra auditions. Brian Foreman also won a position in the audition.

Sean Rhude was awarded first chair percussion as an eighth grader in the Tucson Unified School District Honor Band, which will rehearse and perform later this semester. This is Sean's second year as first chair percussionist for the TUSD Honor Band. Nice work, Sean!

The Catalina Foothills fall 2006 drumline audition results are in. After going through the most competitive drum line audition to date, my students have done well again this year. Alex Samoy-Alvarado is on the snare line again. Colin Jones-Weinert is on the tenor line again. Will Harrison and Alex Merideth will be on the bass drum line next year. Christopher Ronquillo and Navid Fallahi will play in the pit again. Rebecca Higney will be on the cymbal line again. Freshmen Tim Mulkerin and Bailey Madden made it into the pit, and Danielle Roosa made cymbal line. Freshman Michael Evenchik will be in the junior varsity drumline, which is getting off the ground next fall. Congratulations to everyone for their hard work and positions on the line.

I want to share a story with you about one more Foothills high school student who gets the MOST IMPROVED award for the past year. Freshman Danny Erickson came to me as an eighth grader in January 2005 to take private lessons. He hadn't spent much time on snare drum technique or rhythm reading, and we started from scratch. By the time drumline auditions rolled around, Danny had raised himself to a high playing level. He was awarded a position on the bass drum line, which is excellent for having just started this type of drumming. Once Danny had experienced the first week of drumline practice in August 2005, he came in and told me that he wanted to play tenors next year. For the next five months, Danny worked incredibly hard, came to every lesson completely prepared, took extra lessons with other teachers, and improved significantly. Despite being told repeatedly (by other students) that only upperclassmen can get on the tenor line, he stuck with it and kept pushing. Well, Danny won a position on the tenor line for 2006. Here's another awesome example of how well someone can do by ignoring naysayers, seeking the best information available, paying attention at lessons, and practicing hard!

December 2005

After working hard on their marimba and xylophone concertos, Brian Foreman and Alex McCourt both performed at the 2006 Philharmonia Solo/Scholarship Competition on December 10. Both won big-time in experience. Brian won the Merit Award, which includes a cash award of $200 and a certificate. Congratulations to both Brian and Alex for participating, and Kudos to Brian for winning the Merit Award!

Patrick Harris and Danielle Roosa were both nominated and accepted into the Southern Arizona Honor Band, which will take place in February 2006. Way to be, Patrick and Danielle!

November 2005

This fall's Tucson Battle of the Bands took place on November 10, at Santa Rita High School. Fourteen bands--mostly high school and college-age musicians--competed for recognition and gigs at local venues. Orange Grove Middle School seventh grade student Eric Thompson's band Reiland took FOURTH place! Nice job, guys!

October 2005

Brian Foreman has been nominated by Amphi High School to apply for the Baird Scholarship, which stresses leadership qualities and overcoming adversity. If you've read about Brian's past achievements, you know that he certainly possesses both. I could predict a future entry on this web page, but instead I'll send good thoughts along with his recommendation letter.

Spring/Summer 2005

August 2005

Brian Foreman has again arranged the Amphi High School Band marching band show for this fall, this time completely on his own. This year, he decided to do an assortment of Missing Persons tunes from the '80's. Great charts, Brian. Good luck this fall!

May 2005

Alex McCourt received the Catalina Foothills High School Excellence in Music award/scholarship. This award is given each year by the US Marines. Congratulations, Alex!

Brian Foreman auditioned for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra on May 6. While he did not win the position, he came away with an incredible amount of experience and knowledge. Plus, I heard through the grapevine that his skills were right up there with many of the other auditioners, including mainly college students and professional percussionists.

Fall/Winter 2004-2005

March 2005

Joey Crandall took first place in his weight class in the Arizona State Wrestling Championships. He is the first state champion in any sport in his new school--Ironwood Ridge High School. What an honor, Joey. Congratulations!

February 2005

Sean Rhude auditioned and was awarded first chair percussion in the TUSD Middle School Honor Band. Nice going, Sean!

Brian Foreman, Colin Jones-Weinert, Alex McCourt, and Seth Vietti all were awarded positions as a result of the regional band and orchestra auditions. Brian Foreman took first chair.

Tim Steehler's Sabino High School Soccer team won the Arizona 4A Championship! Tim was selected as his team's MVP this year. This guy plays soccer like he plays drums! Nice job, Tim.

January 2005

Danny Erickson came to me at the end of November for lessons. He had decided that he wanted to be on the Catalina Foothills Drumline. Auditions were to be held in January. Danny hadn't really worked on a lot of reading or rudimental drumming, and he hadn't been in the school band in grades 5-8, but he sure was up for the challenge. He found out recently that he made the bass drum line, beating out other students who had been in band through middle school and even some high school students who auditioned. Each time I saw Danny in a lesson, he had made significant improvements based on my suggestions from the previous lesson. Danny knew what he wanted and worked hard to get it. He didn't take ANYTHING for granted and pushed all the way to the audition day. I would love for more students to take on this healthy, rewarding attitude! Congratulations, Danny!

December 2004

I just received word that Andrew Collberg has been named a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for 2004-2005. Read about him and other finalists in the Daily Star Article. You may remember that last year, Tim Steehler's band Forgotten Melody won the contest. I hope Andrew has the same good fortune. Good luck, Andrew!

November 2004

OK, here's the story of the year. Last spring, student Brian Foreman decided he wanted to attend Catalina Foothills High School so that he could be a part of their top-notch band program. Since he lives in the Amphi District, he jumped through all the hoops to get into the school legally through open enrollment. He also attended all the drumline workshops in January-February 2004, auditioned, and made the snare line. However, by late spring, the Foothills District notified him that they were not accepting new upperclassmen through open enrollment.

Brian was devastated by this, as anyone would be. He was really looking forward to being on the Foothills drumline with other top high school musicians from the area. But, by the time summer rolled around, he channelled his energy into something very positive. He decided to transcribe and arrange music from Cartoon Network's "Cowboy Bebop" show for the Amphi band to play. For the entire summer, he and friend James Hanson worked on the task. Once school resumed, they convinced the whole band to give everything they had to the project.

On December 7, 2004, the Arizona Daily Star ran an article on Brian and James due to the fact that the Amphi band received the "superior distinction" award at the November 13 Division IV State Marching Festival in Gilbert.

Next time you experience a setback, remember to live by Brian's example. Turn that setback into an opportunity!

October 2004

Sophomore Seth Vietti has accepted a position with the Tucson Civic Orchestra as percussionist/timpanist. Congratulations, Seth!

September 2004

Alex McCourt, Brian Foreman, Colin Jones-Weinert, and Seth Vietti all auditioned for the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. Alex, Brian, and Colin were awarded positions for the year, and as of January 2005, Seth is first alternate.

Rebecca Higney auditioned on flute for the TPYO and won first alternate as a freshman. It's great to have students like Rebecca who are talented on more than one instrument!

Sean Rhude will perform this year with the U of A Outreach Band, as well as the Catalina Foothills Middle School Honor Band.

Fifth grader (and my son!) Patrick Harris is in his second year with the Catalina Foothills Middle School Honor Band.

Spring/Summer 2004

August 2004

Chris Waters auditioned for the University of Arizona drumline and won a spot on the tenor line. All of his UA drumline packet and sightreading work over the summer really paid off.

June 2004

Navid Fallahi won the Kristin Smith Memorial Scholarship for the second semester of the school year. He is doing an amazing job at his lessons this summer. Watch out for this guy!

May 2004

Bobby Russell found out that not only was he accepted as a music major at the University of Arizona, he has received a full tuition waiver as a result of his percussion audition. Congratulations, Bobby! I know you'll find a good use for that college savings, now that you don't need it to attend school.

Based on his percussion audition and scholastic achievements, David Butler has received the Presidential Scholarship to attend the University of Portland. He has been accepted into the Honors College there as well.

David Butler and Chris Waters each received the John Phillip Sousa Award at their respective schools, Catalina Foothills High School and Ironwood Ridge High School. This award is presented to an outstanding musician from each high school in the U.S. Congratulations to both David and Chris!

Third grader Jake Bantlin received an award for Best Defenseman in the State of Arizona from the Arizona Inline Hockey Association. The way he's practicing, Jake could someday win an award for Best Snare Drummer in Arizona. Keep up the great work in everything you're doing, Jake!

April '04

David Butler participated in the Arizona All-State Honor Orchestra.

Fourth grader Gibb Mandish won first place in the Southern Arizona Regional Science Fair. His project compared the buoyancy of different materials used to make boats. I am lucky to have such a genius for a student.

Fall/Winter 2003-2004

March '04

Tim Steehler recently attended his first paid rehearsal at the Sahuaro Christian Church, on the east side. Gordon Peters, former principal percussionist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, used to tell us that as soon as you get paid to play music, you're a professional. Tim, you're now a pro.

Joey Crandall has also been rehearsing on drum set to play his first performance at his church on the northwest side of Tucson. He's learned a lot preparing for this gig, and I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

February '04

Chris Waters auditioned for the University of Arizona percussion program and was told that he has been accepted as a music minor. He's planning to attend drumline workshops throughout the spring to prepare for his first year in the U of A marching band next fall. Congratulations, Chris!

Bobby Russell also auditioned for the U of A as a music major. While he hasn't yet been officially accepted as a music major, his audition went well, and the buzz is that he'll likely be a welcome addition to next year's class of freshman percussionists. Great work, Bobby!

David Butler, Alex McCourt, Bobby Russell, and Colin Jones-Weinert participated in the Southern Arizona regional band and orchestra festival in Sierra Vista.

Tim Mulkerin won the Kristin Smith Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to one Orange Grove Middle School student per semester. The scholarship entitles him to 12 free weekly lessons with me this spring.

January '04

David Evenchik won 3rd place out of 400 tested in the Southern Arizona Decca Marketing Competition.

Joey Crandall has taken 3rd place in his weight class the the Arizona State Wrestling Championship.

David Butler has heard that he has won the Presidential Scholarship at the University of Portland. This gets him 50% off the full tuition rate for his undergraduate study as a music major and pre-med student.

December '03

Michelle Alden performed her first drum set gig in December at the Catalina Foothills Church. She is excited to find more opportunities to perform now that she’s gotten a taste of it!

A few of my students performed solos on the first half of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Youth Percussion Ensemble Concert. Congratulations to Nick Larson, Jake Bantlin, Tim Rachbach, Gibb Mandish, Patrick Harris, Brian Foreman, and Matthew Pique on a job well done!

November '03

Cameron Louie played Daddy Warbucks in the Utterback Middle School production of Annie in mid-November.

October '03

On October 18, Abbott Segel made it to the Tucson Symphony Youth Concerto Competition finals in his age category playing the first movement of the Creston Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra. In the finals, Abbott took 3rd place out of approximately 15 entrants and 5 finalists. Congratulations, Abbott!

Tim Steehler’s band Forgotten Melody was chosen out of 21 local bands as one of 6 finalists for the John Lennon Tour bus competition.

Late-breaking news: In December, Forgotten Melody WON the John Lennon Tour Bus competition. Congratulations to Tim and his whole band!

September '03

Nick Larson performed with his new rock band at Guitars Etc's band showcase this month.

Patrick Harris, 4th grader at Manzanita Elementary School, and Steven Ernsky, 7th grader at Orange Grove Middle School, have been selected as two of four percussionists in the Catalina Foothills Middle School Honor Band for 2003-2004.

Summer 2003

Many of my students participated in the 2003 Tucson Institute of Percussion Camp in early June. The final concert was a big hit with the audience. Nice work, everyone!

David Butler and Bobby Russell performed a duo recital on June 21. This was the first time I've had high school students put on a recital independent of the rest of my studio. David and Bobby worked very hard preparing for all aspects of the recital, played well, and learned a lot. We're looking forward to your senior recital, gentlemen!

Anna Yoshino is in Belgium working at an archaeology project at a historical castle site.

Nick Larson’s basketball team won 1st place in June in a national basketball tournament held in San Diego.

Cameron Louie has become a junior docent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. You may see him working there on Saturdays this fall!

Ben Reed has been writing and recording some very scary heavy metal music this summer. His double bass drumming has become quite monstrous. By the way, Ben is the fastest high school-aged runner in the state, running the mile in 4:17.

Tim Steehler received a $200 scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music Los Angeles Summer Program in early August. His band Forgotten Melody won Battle of the Bands at Skrappy’s on June 19.

At the NAU summer band camp, three of my students performed in the same jazz band together: Tim Gelety (vibe), Ben Karon (piano), and Seth Vietti (drums). At the student talent show, Seth’s piano/vocal performance of his song “Dark Bathroom” was one of the highlights of the camp.

Steven Ernsky has a big swim meet today, July 23. He’s shooting for a major overall goal in various events. Good luck, Steven!

Mark Gallegos performed with the Desert Cadillacs at Tucson’s 4th of July celebration at the TCC. He will be attending the KOSA percussion camp again this year.

Two of my students are attending the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan this summer. Abbott Segel is there for his third year as a music major. Jody Joyner is attending the art program. I look forward to hearing about their experiences!

Spring 2003

Abbott Segel has been accepted to the Interlochen Arts Camp for the third year in a row. He will perform in the high school band program as well as the jazz band program. Congratulations, Abbott!

David Butler, Bobby Russell, and Alex McCourt participated in the Southern Arizona Regional Band and Orchestra Festival.

Andrew Collberg performs on drums or guitar in various bands. Plus, he's been engineering recordings for a number of bands.

TJ Steehler performs regularly with his band Unchained Melody.

Carol Evans recently released a bossa nova CD with adult student Kyle Vietti covering drums and percussion. Nice colors, Kyle!

For 2002-2003, freshman Ty Bloom was assigned to the cymbal line and concert band at Catalina Foothills High School. In mid-December, he began lessons with a major hunger to be on the snare line and upgrade to symphonic band for the 2003-04 school year. Within just a few WEEKS, Ty worked incredibly hard, auditioned in February, and got exactly what he wanted. What a story. Nice job, Ty!

Fall 2002

Based on their auditions, David Butler, Abbott Segel, Alex McCourt, Colin Jones-Weinert, and Bobby Russell will perform with the Philharmonia Orchestra of Tucson during this school year.

Based on their auditions, Timothy Gelety and Seth Vietti are both playing in the Tucson Jazz Society's Jazzwerx program. Tim plays drums with one group. Seth plays piano in two groups and drums in a third.

Glen Broom is performing on drum set with various church groups as well as the Catalina Foothills High School Steel Band.

Adult student Mark Gallegos continues performing numerous gigs with his 60's/70's band The Desert Cadillacs. On New Years Eve, 1999, they backed the Coasters and the Drifters at Ventana Canyon Resort. Over the years, he and the band have played as opening acts for The Beach Boys, America, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Rascals, and Lovin' Spoonful.

Summer 2002

Abbott Segel is participating in his second year at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. This year, he is performing with the top orchestra for his age group. Congratulations, Abbott!

Fall 2001

In November, Colin Jones-Weinert won second place in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition. Read about Colin's experience and practice routine.

On October 27, Cory Boone, Tim Gelety, the Vietti's, and Colin Jones-Weinert all assisted with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra percussion petting zoo, demonstrating snare drum playing techniques to dozens of kids and their parents. Thanks for volunteering, guys!

In September, David Butler won a position in the percussion section of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra again this year.

Glen Broom, Sean Benjamin, and Madeline Richerson are just finishing their first year in the Catalina Foothills High School marching drumline. Glen is on the bass drum line, Sean on tenors, and Madeline in the pit.

Also, four of my students are playing with their high school jazz bands/combos: Glen Broom at Catalina Foothills High, Michael Travers at Mountain View, Troy Mead at CDO, and Zeeshan Parvez at Flowing Wells High. Keep up the good work, guys!

TJ Steehler is in his 2nd year as percussionist with the Emily Gray Junior High Wind Ensemble.

Lastly, Anna Yoshino, freshman at the U of A, is still working hard with her punk band The Morons around Tucson. They've opened for some major punk acts such as Strung Out, The Impossibles, and Against All Authority. They'll be opening for Guttermouth on Saturday, December 8, at Scrappy's, time TBA.

Summer 2001

Mark Gallegos, owner of Arizona Party Rentals, participated in the KOSA percussion camp this summer and gave it VERY high marks. See KOSA's website at Mark continues to perform all around Tucson with the Desert Cadillacs.

Brian J. Harris Method
Brian J. Harris Method | 4210 North Saranac Drive, Tucson, AZ  85718
Phone: (520) 878-0363 | Fax: (520) 844-8166 | Email:

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