Design Team and Consultants
Front Ensemble Coordinator
Andy Filipiak is an active percussion educator, arranger, clinician, and adjudicator. He has had the opportunities to perform, teach, and give clinics in both Europe and Asia. He is currently the front ensemble arranger for multiple high schools in the U.S. as well as Monarch Independent; a PIW group based out of Houston, TX. Andy has had the privilege of teaching at the Boston Crusaders (2012-2019) as well as Monarch Independent (2016 - Present) as the Front Ensemble Coordinator for both groups. Andyʼs performing career includes The Glassmen (2008-2009), Matrix (2009-2011), The Cavaliers (2010-2011), and Rhythm X (2012). Andy helped the Cavaliers win the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award in 2011 and also performed at PASIC with Rhythm X in 2011. Andy currently resides in Tomball, TX where he is a percussion specialist in the Tomball ISD. He has a private lesson studio of over 30 students and serves as a percussion specialist with the Marching Band as well as the Scholastic Concert World Indoor Percussion Ensemble (2019 PSCW 4th Place). Andy is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion and Zildjian Cymbals.
Benjamin Pyles is currently the Director of Athletic Percussion at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, Ben majored in music education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Lamar University, with a primary focus in Percussion. His most intensive studies came under the direction of Chris Hestin, Mike Macintosh, Travis Fife, and Michael Kingan. Ben has several years of World Class performing, design, and instructional experience, including the Glassmen from Toledo, OH; Bluecoats from Canton, OH; The Crossmen from San Antonio, TX; Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta, GA; Colts from Dubuque, IA; and Monarch Independent from Houston, TX. Ben currently serves as the Percussion Caption Head and Designer for the Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps from Sacramento, CA. Ben is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Inc. and Pearl and Adams Percussion.
Front Ensemble Arranger
Bryan is the owner of Visaudio Designs, a company specializing in design for the pageantry arts. He has designed for a number of ensembles in the United States, East Asia, and Europe, and his arrangements and compositions have helped ensembles earn numerous gold medals in their local circuits as well as 13 WGI Percussion medals and many more finalists. Some of his more notable current and past clients are Monarch Independent, Burleson Centennial HS, Clear Brook HS, Pioneer Indoor, and ED White HS. Most recently, he was the front ensemble arranger and electronics designer for The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, and was a marching member of Spirit of Atlanta, Southwind, and The Cavaliers. Bryan is also the voice and instructor behind Virtual Drumline Demystified, a tutorial series for the Virtual Drumline sound library from Tapspace Publications. While not working on music, Bryan also dabbles in graphic design, photography, enjoys spending time outdoors, and has an affinity for all things on the leading edge of technology. He proudly endorses Pearl/Adams musical instruments, Innovative Percussion, and Remo Drumheads, and currently resides in Carrollton, Georgia with his wife Emily and their pack of dogs and cats.
Kent Lineberry lives in Grain Valley, MO, and loves spending time with his amazing wife Becky, their blended family, and their Sheepadoodle, Scout. Kent is a teacher in the Independence School District. In the past, he has served as an assistant band director (director of percussion) for Blue Springs High School, Brittany Hill Middle School, and Paul Kinder Middle School, in the Blue Springs School District. He also previously served as an assistant band director (director of percussion) at Rockwood Summit High School and Rockwood South Middle School. He is an artist for Pearl Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets. Kent served as one of the lead staff members and instructors for Gateway Indoor Percussion from 2005 through 2011. He also served on the percussion staff of the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps from 2000-2005, 2007, 2017-2019, and on the percussion staff of The Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps in 2010. He served the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps as a percussion program consultant in 2015. These organizations are very special to his heart. Kent has also been involved with many other successful high school percussion programs, including Jefferson City High School, OʼFallon Township High School (where he served as assistant marching band director), and Parkway South High School. He has served as a clinician and consultant for the 37th Kingswood Drum & Bugle Corps from Bristol, England. He has been a percussion and visual adjudicator throughout the Midwest for almost two decades, and writes drill and staging for marching bands and indoor drumlines. Kent has also been fortunate enough to teach clinics on percussion in the Midwest and in Europe. He served on the Percussion Advisory Board for WGI in 2009. Kent served as the Vice President (2012 - 2014) and as President (2014 - 2016) of the Missouri Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.
Marcus is an active educator, arranger, and sound designer in Austin, TX. Before his time in Texas, Marcus worked in the Kansas City area for several years. Marcus has served as the Drumline Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Central Missouri, as well as a percussion instructor and clinician at several schools throughout the midwest. Marcus has a B.M. in Percussion Performance from the University of Central Missouri, as well as an M.A.T. in Education. Marcus was a member of the Phantom Regiment Front Ensemble (2011, 2012) and became the section leader in 2012. He received the Zildjian player of the year award in 2011 and was also nominated for the Mark Glasscoe member of the year award. Marcus is the Front Ensemble Coordinator at Carolina Crown (2015 - 2019) and has served on the percussion staff for the Sacramento Mandarins (2014 – 2016), Gateway Percussion (2015 – 2017), and Monarch Independent (2017 - present). Marcus is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion and Zildjian Cymbals.
Murray Gusseck is considered an innovator in the world of marching percussion. He marched as a tenor player in the Santa Clara Vanguard from 1988–1992 and went on to instruct the group for many years afterward in a variety of capacities. In the eighteen years he was a part of the SCV organization, he received many accolades as a player, teacher, and composer. Known for a unique compositional style and a propensity for achieving a smooth, drumset-oriented approach to the marching percussion genre, he also helped start a trend of drum line “parking lot” shows in the early 90s by writing showcase etudes for the battery ensemble to play during their pre-show warm-up routines. In 1998, Gusseck teamed up with Jim Casella to co-found Tapspace Publications, a percussion sheet music publisher. With humble beginnings, the company went from being a marching percussion side project based on the marching compositions of its two founders to a real force in the world of percussion music. Gusseck proudly endorses Remo drumheads, Brooks Drums, and is a signature artist for Vic Firth. He has presented clinics across America as well as in Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where he comanages Tapspace and plays drums in Portland-based bands such as Fresh Track, Mars Retrieval Unit, and Life During Wartime.
Andrew Barlow is currently a doctoral student at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and serves as Percussion Faculty at Davidson College and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Andrew pursued a double Masters degree in Percussion Performance and Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also holds Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Percussion Performance from Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, North Carolina. His involvement with the marching percussion activity spans over a decade. He has served as Percussion Faculty for The Cadets, The Cadets 2, The Reading Buccaneers, Spirit of Atlanta, The Academy, The Colts, The Connecticut Hurricanes, Spirit of America Percussion Ensemble, Monarch Independent Percussion and United Percussion Indoor Percussion Ensemble. His marching career includes performing with The Cadets, Carolina Crown, and The Magic of Orlando. He was also a member of the renowned percussion ensemble Music City Mystique. Before living in Greensboro, Andrew served as a freelance percussionist, drummer, and educator in New York, NY. Broadway touring credits include roles as a Percussionist and the Percussion Manager for the Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway show Blast!. Off-Broadway credits include The Golem of Havana and Billy, Goat, Gruff The Musical. Andrew has performed and recorded with Madonna, Kevin Antunes, American Idol's Kimberley Locke, and legendary drum set artist Swiss Chris. During his career, Andrew has studied percussion with Thom Hannum, Dr. Brian Tinkel, Dr. Eric Willie, Yousif Sheronick, Rolando Morales-Matos, Colin McNutt, Tom Aungst, Ian Hale, Wes Powers, and Tony Del Rivero. Andrew is a member of The Percussive Arts Society and an artist for Zildjian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Inc. and Pearl/Adams Corporation. Andrew currently resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife Melissa and their son Aiden.
Aundray Edwards received his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Houston. Aundray has been a percussion specialist/technician for several high school marching programs in Houston and the surrounding areas, includingÂ Cypress Creek High School (winning PAS call for tapes) as well as Cy-Fair High School. Currently, Aundray resides in Lake Jackson, TX where he is the Assistant Director of Percussion at Brazoswood High School and all feeder programs including Brazoswood High School, Clute Intermediate, and Rasco Middle School in Brazosport ISD. Aundray has extensive percussion performance experience ranging from DCI to the Collegiate world. While attending UH he was a part of all the performing ensembles, including the wind ensemble and symphony orchestra, which both were invited to perform at the Midwest Band clinic in Chicago, Illinois, as well as the Texas Music Educator Association clinic. His further percussion performance experience includes the Moores School Percussion Ensemble winning PAS call for tapes and marching snare drum with the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps. Aundray currently serves as one of the bass drum technicians for Monarch Independent since 2016. Aundray has also served as the bass drum technician for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps as well as the Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps.
Benjamin, known by most as “Benjy,” originally hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana where he works as a high school biology and chemistry teacher. Benjy graduated from Indiana University with a bachelorʼs degree in biology as well as a masterʼs degree in secondary education. In his time in college, Benjy performed with the Indiana University Drumline for five years, and proudly works with the group once again as the IU Drumlineʼs current assistant director. In his marching career, Benjy is proud to have performed with the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, Legacy Indoor, and Rhythm X. Since aging out, Benjy has worked as a bass technician with high schools across the Cincinnati and Indianapolis areas, most recently teaching Center Grove High School, Legacy, Legacy Open, Veritas, and the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps. Benjy is proud is to be endorsed by Innovative Percussion, and is incredibly excited to be starting his journey with the Mandarins.
Brandon comes from a world of percussion in the Sacramento, San Jose California area. From a student of Vanden HS and the CSU Sacramento percussion studio, to a performer with the Sacramento Freelancers indoor percussion, Mandarins and Santa Clara Vanguard, and Blue Devils Entertainment groups. His teaching career has evolved since then with influential directors and staff from Del Oro HS, Saratoga HS, Live Oak HS, Amador Valley HS, Team Percussion USA and many others from the Bay Area. Most recently, learning from his third season on percussion staff with the Blue Knights. Currently residing in San Leandro, he works with local middle and high school band programs as well as independent groups for indoor and outdoor percussion.
Carlos Botello is is currently the percussion specialist at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, TX. Botelloʼs DCI marching career began with Lone Star Drum and Bugle Corps 95-97 and Pioneer Drum Corps in 1999, finishing up with Blue Knights World Indoor in 2000. Botello has studied with percussion instructors Mickey Hartzog, John Wooton, Allan Murray, Brian Stevens, Doug Rosener, and Curtis Pierre. Botello holds a B.A. in Music Education from New Mexico Highlands University. He has instructed and arranged for many groups including Lake Wood High School Winter Drumline in 2000, Manzano High School Marching Band & Winter Drumline in 2003-2004, 2005 Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps (Percussion Staff), 2006-2011 Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps(Percussion Staff); 2012-2017 Battery Coordinator and Electronic Sound Designer for Blue Devils B Drum Corps, 2019 Colts Drum and Bugle Corps Percussion Staff. Aside from teaching Botello arranges percussion for various High Schools and has 8 books under the Left Hand Path Drumbook series. He is endorsed by ProMark drum sticks and Evans Drum Heads.
Elliott is a percussion instructor and graphic designer hailing from Covina, CA. His marching experience includes two years with Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012, Elan Percussion in 2015, POW Percussion in 2016, and Pulse Percussion in 2017. As an instructor, Elliott has been involved with several ensembles throughout the Southern California area since 2015. He currently teaches at Ayala High School, Etiwanda High School, and Sunny Hills High School. He's also spent some time on staff with Pacific Crest in 2017-2018 and with POW Percussion in 2018. He proudly uses Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets. Elliott's design studio, Penrose Creative, has serviced multiple drum corps, independent indoor percussion ensembles, live bands, and various high school and collegiate level programs across the nation, providing a wide range of work including, but not limited to: merchandising, show props and floor design, social media content, and customized rehearsal and performance apparel. 2020 will mark Elliott's second year on staff with the Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps.
Joshua Montgomery is a percussion technician and instructor for schools and organizations in the metro-Atlanta area and the Southeast. Currently Josh is a percussion instructor and the Battery Coordinator for Mill Creek High School and Percussion Specialist for Osbourne Middle School in Gwinnett County, as well as Percussion Coordinator for Otwell Middle School in Forsyth County. Joshua has been on staff with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps (2018-2019), the Boston Crusaders (2016) and Spirit of Atlanta (2014, 2015, and 2017) in the summers as a quad technician. He has spent the winters with Palmetto Percussion as a quad technician and Battery Co-Caption Head (2015 and 2016 respectively), and Equinox Percussion as the Battery Coordinator (2017-2020). Joshua was a part of Atlanta Questʼs 2010, Spirit of Atlantaʼs 2011-2013, and Music City Mystiqueʼs 2013-2014 productions. He was also a part of the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band from 2009-2012. Most recently, Joshua has joined Jack A. Bell (previously Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra 1967-1999) as his Marching Percussion Affiliate in his private studio in Flowery Branch, Ga. He has continued to grow his private lessons studio over the years to more than 20 students yearly.
Kali Ridal is originally from the Detroit-Metro area where she first discovered her passion for drumming at a very young age. Attending South Lyon High School in South Lyon, Michigan, Kali began her marching career when she marched snare drum for both the fall and winter programs from 2004 - 2007. In 2005, she obtained a WGI Silver medal with South Lyon Percussion and from there went on to extend her marching resume for the next eight years. Her WGI indoor experience includes marching snare drum for Redline Percussion Independent World (2008 - 2011) and Gateway Indoor Percussion Independent World (2012 - 2013). Her drum corps experience includes Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps in 2010 and Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012, where she was the first female center snare and co-section leader for the corps. Throughout her teaching career, Kali has instructed over 10 high school programs throughout the states of Michigan, Missouri, and Colorado as well as two seasons with the Golden Buffalo Marching Band with the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her time in Denver also includes one season with Altitude Percussion and two seasons with Rise Percussion, an Independent Percussion ensemble which took 2nd Place at WGI World Championships in 2017. She has had the opportunity to be an instructor for Girls March, a leadership and music training camp for young female musicians in 2018 and just completed her third summer as a Drumline Technician for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps out of Dubuque, Iowa. In 2017, she had the incredible opportunity of becoming a member of a performance drumline with the Grammy-nominated electronic duo ODESZA. Over 2 1/2 years later, thousands of miles traveled and over 10 different countries visited, the ODESZA drumline has created a name for themselves by taking marching percussion to a whole new level in front of thousands of electronic music fans on stage. Kali is very excited to join the team with The Mandarins for the 2020 season!
Nic Rundell is a percussion composer, educator and designer based in San Marcos, Texas. Currently, he is involved with Dripping Springs High School as the Battery Caption Head. Nic began his marching career at Cy-Woods High School before going on to perform with Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps (2016), Madison Scouts (2017), Blue Knights (2018-2019), and Monarch Independent Percussion (2017-2019). As an educator, he has had the pleasure of instructing for high school programs across Texas including Cy-Fair High School, Cy-Woods High School, Pearland High School, and Ross S. Sterling High School. He is an active designer in the indoor percussion pageantry as well as a composer for solo percussion literature.
Taha Ahmed received his Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he resides in the Houston area where he works with Cy-Fair High School and Clear Brook High School. He is also an active instructor, consultant, arranger, designer, and rudimental private lesson teacher at numerous other high schools in the area. When Taha is not teaching, he is working as a Licensed Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and applying to further programs in the medical field. Taha has multiple years of experience beyond the scholastic level. His drum corps experience includes being a snare drummer at Bluecoats 2012, Academy 2011, Santa Clara Vanguard 2010, and the Troopers in 2009 and 2008. Taha was a snare tech at The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps from 2016 through 2019. Prior to that, he was the snare tech at The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps for their 2015 season. During his drum corps career, Taha was privileged to learn from instructors such as Mike Jackson, Murray Gusseck, Ralph Hardimon, Glen Crosby, Roger Carter, Eric Shriver, Matt Ramey, Jim Ragsdale, Brian Stevens, Rick Barclay, Derrick Fields, and Kevin Welborn. In the indoor scene, Taha has also experienced multiple seasons of success as an instructor. He was the Battery Coordinator and Movement Specialist for the 2014 WGI Independent A Gold Medalist, Lone Star Independent. Taha has been working with Monarch Independent since itʼs inaugural season in 2015. Monarch Independent was the Texas Color Guard Circuit Independent Open Gold Medalist and WGI Independent Open Finalist in both 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Monarch made its World Class debut and since then has been the Texas Color Guard Circuit Independent World Champion, as well as WGI Championships PIW Finalist. Taha was also the battery specialist for the 2016 PSO Bronze Medalist, Cy-Fair High school and 2019 PSO Silver Medalist, Clear Brook High School. Taha proudly endorses Pearl / Adams, Vic Firth, and Zildjian.
Front Ensemble Technician
Caitlin Jones is an active performer and educator currently residing in Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Jones was a member of the Boston Crusaders Front Ensemble in 2012 and 2013 and is excited to be working as a front ensemble staff member for the Sacramento Mandarins 2020 season. Dr. Jones currently performs with the Aiken Symphony Orchestra and has performed with Augusta Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, and Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra in their recent seasons. In 2018, Caitlin was the marimba soloist for the American premiere of Roumen Boyadjieff, Jr.ʼs “Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra” with the Cleveland Orchestra of Tennessee. She was noted as an “Emerging Leader” by the Percussive Arts Society in 2016 and is proud to be a member of the Percussive Arts Society Health and Wellness Committee. Dr. Jones received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Florida, Master of Music from Lee University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of South Carolina.
Front Ensemble Technician
Chandler Long is a band director, clinician, and technician in Houston, Texas, and has had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of programs across the state. He is currently a member of the front ensemble instructional staff at Monarch Independent, a world-class indoor percussion ensemble based in Houston. Chandler has had the privilege of performing with Monarch for two consecutive seasons (2017-2018) and has performed with various collegiate groups at conventions all over the country including PASIC, TMEA, TBA and ABA. Chandler is Sam Houston State Universityʼs 4th annual concerto competition grand champion. Chandler currently resides in Rosenberg, Texas, where he is an assistant band director for Lamar Consolidated High School as well as a percussion specialist for the Lamar Consolidated ISD. Chandler is honored to serve The Mandarins as a member of the instructional staff for the front ensemble for the 2020 season.
Front Ensemble Technician
Ivan Trac is a freelance percussionist and private lesson teacher based in the Austin area. He currently teaches private lessons at multiple schools in the Leander ISD. In addition, this will be his third year working with the front ensemble at Vista Ridge High School, the 2018 Texas UIL 6A State Champion. Since moving to Austin in the summer of 2017, Ivan has performed with a variety of ensembles and community groups including Density 512, Cedar Park Winds, and Central Texas Master Singers. Ivan earned his B.M. from the University of Florida in 2013 and his M.M. from Lee University in 2016. During his time at the University of Florida, Ivan won the concerto competition in the fall of 2012 with Eric Ewazenʼs Concerto for Marimba and Strings. Ivan also spent two summers (2011 and 2012) playing marimba with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps and served as co-section leader in 2012. His past teachers include Dr. Andy Harnsberger, Dr. Kenneth Broadway, Dr. Ellis Hampton, and Brandon Cruz.