I first studied music at the University of Missouri at Columbia with Frank Krager. I then transferred to the St. Louis Conservatory of Music to study with John Kasica (percussion) and Rick Holmes (timpani), both of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Later, I studied percussion with Tom Stubbs (percussion), also of the SLSO. While at the Conservatory, I won an audition with the Springfield (Il.) Symphony Orchestra, playing percussion and timpani and eventually becoming the acting Principal Percussionist before leaving the orchestra. I have been a freelance musician in St. Louis for over 30 years, and teaching percussion lessons over 35 years.
In 1995, I was invited to compete in the first Leigh Howard Stevens International Marimba Competition, where judges Gordon Stout and Vida Chenoweth complimented me on my “excellent” playing, and attendee Buster Bailey, of the New York Philharmonic, laid his hand on my shoulder and said, “You played great!” I have cherished that comment since I admired Buster so much.
In 2001 and 2003, I travelled to the University of Delaware to study xylophone ragtime music with Bob Becker at the Ragtime Institute named for him. I have also studied vibraphone with David Friedman at the University of Delaware’s Jazz Vibes Workshop.