Once I graduated MHS in 2003, I started studying percussion performance at Western Michigan University. Over my five years at Western Michigan, I performed in the University Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, and I was Drum Major of the Bronco Marching Band for three years. In addition to the university ensembles, I performed regularly with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
I performed for musicals at local high schools and at the University, in addition to spending three seasons at The Mason Street Warehouse Theatre in Saugatuck, MI as the second keyboardist. I found time to enjoy non-music related activities as well. I served as an Orientation Student Leader during the summer of 2004 and also moonlighted as Buster Bronco (Western Michigan University's mascot.)
I finished my education in 2008 with a B.M. in Percussion Performance and began working for Holland America Cruise Lines that fall as a percussionist. I backed up guest entertainers and production shows in the show band, and I also performed in the lounge party band. After a couple of years, I moved to playing second keyboard in the band, and was eventually promoted to the pianist band leader/music director position. In January of 2012, I started working on Seabourn Cruise Lines as the pianist band leader/music director. I performed on the 2012 4-month long World Cruise, and I'm currently serving in the same capacity on the 2013 World Cruise. I've been able to extensively explore six continents (still haven't made it to Antarctica,) and about 63 countries. I have memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. I've been fortunate enough to perform with artists ranging from 9-time Grammy Award Winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval to Tony Award Nominee (and former member of the musical group "The Fifth Dimension") Michel Bell…and pretty much everyone in-between.
My experiences on ships have been amazing and rewarding both personally and musically. After all of the traveling, suitcase packing, buffet eating, and rocky nights, I've decided to start a new chapter of my life. During the summer of 2013, I plan on moving to New York City to begin a little more of a stable life on land. I would never rule out working on a ship again, but I need to spend some time rebuilding my land legs. I always look forward to visiting my parents in Manistee, and I always make sure to stop in and visit all of the familiar and smiling faces at MHS. Even after traveling all around the world to different countries and continents, there truly is no place like home.