How did you discover your passion for percussion performance?

My father, the only other musician in my family, was a singer, songwriter and keyboardist. However, my father never had the financial means to pursue an education in music.

It was not until a month after my father passed away, when I was 10, that I discovered my passion for music.  I began private percussion lessons with Brian J. Harris in Tucson, Arizona, with the initial grandiose dream of becoming a famous rock drummer.

But, everyone always asks about the spark that first caused the fire.  Lately, I have found more significance in reminding myself of why I am continuing to pursue music in the present moment.  I am not the same drummer that first learned “Caterpillar Tiger” on my snare drum practice pad 13 years ago. 

Today, for example, I continue to perform because the pursuit of music constantly challenges me and inspires me.  I continue to perform because it connects me to the memory of my father as I fulfill this dream for the both of us. I continue to perform because I cannot fathom a life without music.  Having personally experienced the transformative and healing effects of music, I believe my social responsibility, as a musician, is to use music to inspire, empower and positively affect others.  

How do you think your undergraduate studies at  The University of Arizona College of Fine Arts will help in what you want to do next?

To be honest, as a native of Tucson, I never expected to stay in Arizona for my undergraduate career.  However, looking back now, I have no doubt that I made the right decision.  I am fortunate that The University of Arizona provided me with the opportunities to perform as a musician around the world, from guest timpanist with the Moscow Symphony in Russia to a marimba soloist in British Columbia.  The members of the Tucson community helped support my career with their genuine love and appreciation of the arts.  

The University of Arizona afforded me the unique flexibility to shape my own education and pave my own path, while the faculty worked one-on-one with me to develop my technical foundation and my “brand” as a musician.  

I begin my graduate studies next semester at The University of Georgia, on a full assistantship.  I take this next step in my education with the confidence that my lasting network back at The U of A has equipped me with a solid foundation on which to continue to grow as a musician and to eventually achieve my dream career of performing with a major symphony orchestra.