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Percussion Faculty

Dr. Tracy Wiggins

Dr. Wiggins

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Tracy Wiggins is assistant director of bands and coordinator of the percussion program at The University of North Alabama.  He has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the HARTT School, University of Hartford. Dr. Wiggins holds a Masters Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Oklahoma State University.

He has performed with The Huntsville Symphony, The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, Florence Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Philharmonic and as principal percussionist for the Santa Fe Symphony; marching percussion with the Freelancers and Black Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as instructing the DCI Division III World Championship finalist Delta Brigade and the Northern Aurora Drum and Bugle Corps, and DCA Finalist Carolina Gold; and solo appearances at universities throughout the United States and Jordan. He has presented clinics at The Midwest Clinic, The Percussive Arts Society International Convention, The National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy and at numerous State Days of Percussion and Music Conferences. He is also an active adjudicator for marching percussion throughout the southeast.

His teachers have included Johnny Almendra, Tricia Bovenschen, Wayne Bovenschen, Michael Bump, Joe Galeota, Ralph Hardimon, Gregg Koyle, Alexander Lepak, Christopher Shultis, Ben Toth, Glen Velez and Nancy Zeltsman. Tracy has also performed on masterclasses for Evelyn Glennie, Nebojsa Zivkovic and Robert Van Sice.  Dr. Wiggins has premiered works by composers David Macbride, Thomas DeLio, Daniel Davis, Adam Groh and others.

 He is an artist/endorser for Yamaha Percussion, Black Swamp Percussion, Innovative Percussion. Remo Drum Heads and Percussion, Beetle Percussion and Sabian Cymbals. 

 

Mr. AJ Covey

Lauren Teel

Phoenix, Arizona native AJ Covey is a young percussionist, educator, and collaborator who is passionate about sharing a wide array of musical traditions with people around the world. He holds master’s degrees in Percussion Performance and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas.

As a Graduate Fellow at the University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies, AJ spent a month at the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in Mysore, India where he studied Carnatic percussion with Vidwan H.L. Shivashankar Swamy, and another month in Bali, Indonesia exploring indigenous art forms and traditional Gamelan performance. He coalesced these ethnographic experiences into a lecture, “Perspectives on teaching and learning 'world' music: Addressing the radical shift in cultural context when teaching foreign musical traditions in the Western conservatory."

 

AJ has worked in collaboration with dancers, composers, choreographers, and multimedia artists on a variety of large-scale productions. "Phulkari" (2018 - Kiran Bhumber, director) sought to express the many manifestations of South Asian cultural memory in the West through dance, music, and interactive projections. "Give" (2017 - Carlos Funn, director), a production fusing modern and African dance that celebrated rage, remembrance, & healing in marginalized communities, featured AJ as musical director and drumset player.

As a classical musician, AJ participated in the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa in 2015, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic ("Off the Grid" chamber music series in Ann Arbor, 2017), the International Contemporary Ensemble ("Resonant Bodies Festival" in Chicago, 2018), Yarn | Wire (University of Michigan M-Prize Residency), and various premiere ensembles at the University of Michigan including the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, the UM Percussion Ensemble, and the Chamber Jazz Ensembles. He performed as timpanist for two US Tours with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013 and 2014, winning the Fred Sanford Award for high percussion in 2014.

AJ served as Percussion Director at Krum Middle School in Krum, TX during the 2014-2015 school year and held a private studio of nearly 50 students during his time in Texas. He has served as a front ensemble instructor for Argyle High School (2014 Texas 4A State Champions), Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, and the UNT Green Brigade Marching Band, where he also served as an arranger and audio engineer.

AJ attributes his fulfilling life as an artist to his supportive family, as well as his many mentors and teachers over the years, including Jared O'Leary, Chris Reidy, Christopher Deane, Paul & Sandi Rennick, Mark Ford, Dave Hall, Jose Aponte, Poovalur Sriji, Ed Smith, Jonathan Ovalle, Joseph Gramley, and Michael Gould.

Mr. Thomas Hurst

Rich Redmond

Nashville based percussionist/educator/clinician/promoter Tom Hurst has supported artists across the spectrum of popular music for 25 years whether behind the drum kit, or playing ethnic percussion.

The Backstreet Boys, Gary Allan, Wang Chung, Chuck Wicks, Tiffany, Joe Nichols, Sister Hazel, Tracy Lawrence, Peter Noon of Herman’s Hermits, and James Otto are but a sampling of the diverse range of national/international artists that have utilized Tom’s performance services for touring and/or recording.

Additionally Tom has served as a Disney staff musician performing in numerous ensembles throughout his two decades plus career with the company. He’s also served various theatre organizations doing Broadway style pit work for regional theaters, and cruise lines such as American Hawaii (now defunct) out of Honolulu, HI.

On the educational front Tom is a University of Florida graduate with a Bachelors of Arts in Music specializing in Ethnomusicology as well as a Masters in Music Education with an emphasis in Jazz Studies. Tom has taught at every level of music education (grade school program ensemble direction, private lessons, drum and bugle corps and indoor drumlines, college master classes and clinics) and is an adjudicator with over ten years experience serving the Florida Band Masters association assessing solo and ensemble and marching percussion as well as jazz bands at both the district and state levels.

Tom is the co-founder/owner, and financial manager of Infinity Percussion, Infinity Open and Infinity A. Three independent youth arts competitive percussion performance ensembles with over 130 members combined annually. In addition he serves as the Vice President of Infinity’s parent organization, Pageantry Arts Concepts, a 501-c3 non-profit which encompasses several additional independent percussion ensembles from across the state of Florida.

Throughout his career Tom has additionally undertaken multiple non-performance music business related endeavors:

  • Producing popular/rock music shows under the auspice of the Loud Jamz and Nashville Drummers Jam events while also representing jazz and world instrumental artists booking shows under his Tom Hurst Presents Loud Jamz promotions/booking entity.
  • Contracting Backing Bands for Nashville Based Artists via his Tom Hurst’s Superior Sideperson entity.
  • Partnering with Backline Pro of Charlotte, NC, and Total Backline Services of Biloxi to provide instrument rental services in the southeastern U.S. for numerous international touring entities.
  • Serving as a Music Manufacturer’s product specialist supporting the Ron Tunk’s Sales South Eastern Sale Representative team servicing a diverse array of instrument, audio, DJ, and lighting interests in the large chain music retailers of the southeast.

In short, Tom Hurst is a life long musician, and music advocate with extensive experience that still ascribes to the belief that one must be a perpetual student always willing to try new ventures and never stop learning/improving.

Mr. Tyler Tolles

Tyler Tolles

http://www.tylertolles.com/

Tyler Tolles is an active percussion performer and educator, originally based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. While attending high school in Monterey, Ca., Tyler performed nd toured with the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All Star Band throughout Japan and California. They performed in a number of prestigious festivals such as the Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival. The SF Bay Area also provided him the opportunity to perform and tour in the front ensemble for the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets (’05, ’06, ’08) and the Santa Clara Vanguard (’10).

Tyler holds both a MM-Percussion Performance and Jazz Studies at The Florida State University (FSU). As a teaching assistant for both, he worked with applied lesson students, conducted student ensembles, and taught classes like percussion methods and jazz history. He performed with the FSU University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble 1 and Percussion Ensemble. Outside of FSU, Tyler performs with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra (acting Principal), Tallahassee Ballet, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast Orchestra.

As a jazz musician, Tyler has performed in Tallahassee with a number of professional ensembles and artists including. The Capital City Jazz Orchestra, Carlos Odria Trio, Fingers Sticks & Mallets Jazz Group, Six Seis Latin Jazz Group, and the Leon Anderson Sextet. As a jazz educator, he teaches private lessons and conducts the ensembles at The Florida State University Schools.

Tyler received his BM-Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas (UNT) where he participated in various ensembles such as the Percussion Ensemble, 2 o’clock Steel Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Latin Jazz Ensemble. As an educator, he worked as a percussion instructor and private lesson teacher for various institutions including Sanger High School, Krum High School, and Southwest Guilford High School. As a performer, he has worked with various orchestras throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth area including the Richardson, Flower Mound, and Irving Symphony Orchestras.

Over the years, Tyler has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 Drum Corps International Open Class Championship title and the 2013 UNT College of Music Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Percussion Award. He was also a finalist in the 2011 Kerope Zildjian Scholarship Competition and winner of the 2013 Downbeat Magazine Award for Best Latin Group with the UNT Latin Jazz Ensemble and their album Late Night Mambo. He is and active member of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) as well as the PAS University Committee.

Tyler’s primary teachers include: Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Robert Schietroma, Ed Smith, Leon Anderson, Nick Finzer, and Dr. John Parks IV.

Mr. Mark Katsaounis

Mark Katsaounis

https://www.rhythmkats.com/

Genre-bending Percussionist/Composer Mark Katsaounis fuses his background in classical, chamber, world, and popular music to move effortlessly between many of New York City’s unique and exotic musical scenes. His performance credits include Percussion Group/Cincinnati, Ethos Percussion Group, The Glen Velez Ensemble, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Limbs Percussion Duo, Sheba Ensemble, Indian Dancer/Storyteller Rajika Puri, and Rhythm Vocalist Lori Cotler. Mark was the featured solo percussionist for McCarter Theatre’s production of Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Emily Mann. Additional theater credits include the Broadway production of Tuck Everlasting and puppeteer Basil Twist’s Off Broadway production, Sisters’ Follies. Mark has been heard on live television and radio broadcasts in the U.S and Mexico. As a composer, Mark has written for dance and independent film and was commissioned to create a work for the Dance Department at Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in New York City. He is on the faculty at Hunter College (CUNY) and Concordia Conservatory and is a modern dance accompanist for dance classes at Marymount Manhattan College, The Ailey School, The Neighborhood Playhouse, and American Ballet Theatre.  

Hear UNA Percussion Faculty on Podcasts: 
Tracy Wiggins on Marching Roundtable
Tracy Wiggins on @Percussion
Tracy Wiggins on Pete's Percussion Podcast
Lauren Teel on Marching Roundtable
Lauren Teel on Pete's Percussion Podcast