July 2 in Bedford, Pa

IMG_0028It was Hot Summer Night in Bedford with Queen City Funk and Soul. A big crowd was on hand to hear some great soul music by one of the region’s best bands.

I’ve played percussion with QCFS for over 10 years and it’s always a great time when we get together.

Our next performance in on August 6 at the Garrett County Fair near Deep Creek Maryland.

Composing Music: Full of Echoes Part 2

This is a portion of the music I made in 2012 for the Murphy Smith Dance Collective. It was my first attempt at using Garage Band to blend the sound of birds I recorded outside my window with some real percussion instruments and software instruments from the program. The work I did with this dance company started as an eight minute composition in three segments, which was used at a showcase for new choreographers. It led to my creating over an hours worth of music and sounds for an entire show staged in 2013 called “See What I Hear.”

Since that time, the demands of earning a living as a percussionist have kept me from composing; however, some comments from a dancer following I class I played for a few days ago gave me a little inspiration. He asked: “do you have a CD of your music?”

So I’m going through some old things and thinking of how I can put something together that would be useful for a dance teacher who doesn’t have the luxury of using an accompanist.

Wish me luck.



Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd has inspired me on countless occasions. He makes me want to sit down behind the drums.

The parts he created for songs like “Late in the Evening” and “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” have become classics in the history of great drum set parts. His solos on songs like “Aja” by Steely Dan and “Not Ethiopia” by Steps are studies in how to play musical drum solos. And his ability to “play for the song”  show how he can make the simplest parts sound completely interesting.

As soon as I figure out how to up load videos on to my site I’ll put them up. Meanwhile his work is easy to find on Youtube.


First Drumset

A New Beat Every Week

So I have this idea: post a video of me playing a beat every week for a year. I would find an interesting location and video myself playing something that sounds interesting, using some type of percussion instrument. I just hope that I can figure how to upload a video to this blog.

This is going to be a fun experiment. 1. It will get to start posting stuff on this blog/site. 2. It’ll make make me think of cool places where I can shoot these little vignettes. 3. It will be a great summer project. 4. And it will push to be a little more creative.

So until beat number 1 goes out – which should be in the next 3-5 days – make a beat, make it sweet and don’t repeat.


Moving my teaching studio from the South Side to Etna

I’ve plan to move my teaching studio from the South Side to Etna, PA, which is just outside Pittsburgh. It’s much closer to where many of my students live. And it’s near the high school and middle school where I’m teaching the percussion.
The move should take place by either the end of the year or the start of 2015.
I’ll post photo of my new space.
Meanwhile, here’s a picture of my current location.TeachingStudio

Fall and Change

Friday night high school football games and crisp, chilly mornings are reminders that fall is almost here. I really like the transitional seasons – spring and fall – because change is so obvious. It’s also a great reminder that everything is moving through some kind of transition. Some are gradual and others occur in an instant.
One example of change in my life:
I would have never thought that I would be directing the percussion section of a high school marching band again. I’ve been with Hampton High School Marching Band since this past JuneI’m really enjoying the opportunity. It’s filled with challenges and successes.
Here’s a link to this a vide past Friday’s performance. Although there’s lot’s of crowd noise in the video and our drumlins is missing the lowest bass drummer, things moving along. As long we keep improving, we should have a great show by October.

Spring Cleaning

It was in the 80s today in Pittsburgh. This has been the first weekend where we’ve had spring-like weather for two days in a row. This provided us with great motivation to open the windows and do some spring cleaning. I vacuumed, swept and dusted for at least three hours.

Lot’s of performing opportunities coming up in the next few weeks. I have two dates with Batamba: opening for Mathew Tembo at Howler’s on April 24 and playing at the newly re-located Ava Lounge on May 3. I’ll also be playing with the Uptown Rhythm and Brass on the Northside at the Rochester Inn on April 25. And I have a gig with the Queen City Funk and Soul Band in Frostburg, MD on May 3.

So grateful for all the work.