Kimberly Thompson | Helen de la Rosa | Becca Webster | Anika Nilles l Didi Negron | Senri Kawaguchi | Camille Bigeault | Veronica Bellino | Cherisse Osei | Hannah Ford Welton | Jess Bowen | Jordan West | Delphine Langhoff | Terri Lyne Carrington | Emmanuelle Caplette | Nia Lovelis l Emily Dolan-Davies | Sarah Tomek l Yissy Garcia l Elie Bertrand l Chastity Ashley l Lorna Blundell l Hayley Brownell l Dani Markham l Stephanie Snyder l Lindsey Ward l Elie Bertrand l Chastity Ashley l Carrie Biolo l Magdelys Savigne l Mona Tavakoli l Amy Knoles l Julie Davila l Julie Hill
Special Guest Judges: Kenny Aronoff l Dennis Chambers l Josh Freese l Robert “Sput” Searight l Jim Bailey
Industry Judges: Prudence Elliott (Yamaha) l Stacey Montgomery-Clark & Katie Bursey (Sabian) l Craigie Zildjian & Sarah Hagen (Zildjian) l Elizabeth Lang & Terri Tlatelpa (DW/LP) l Jules Follett (The Sessions)
Preliminary Judges — Presented by The Percussive Arts Society (PAS) • The D’Addario Education Collective • The Sabian Education Network (SEN) • Vic Firth PDT — Alex Sanguinetti l Santo Florelli l Zig Wajler l Meg Samples l Stefano Ashbridge l Kevin Lehman l Jake Bergeron l Kelli Rae Tubbs l Liz Ficalora l Sam Aliano l Kerry Kennard l Andy Thurston l Ignazio Di Fresco l Scott Patterson l Cameron Fleury l Ricardo Ramirez l Maximilliam Andersson l David Natal l Eric Hughes l Mark Powers l Jen Hoeft l Jim Mola l Monette Marino l Kenzie Viventi l Matt Johnson l Larry Rodbell
Kimberly Thompson, 2017 Hit Like A Girl Celebrity Spokesperson
Born in Los Angeles, CA; raised in St. Louis, Missouri., Kimberly Thompson is a three-time GRAMMY® winner and noted drummer whose success extends from performing worldwide with top pop icons as Beyonce’ Knowles to playing with jazz icons such as fusion guitarist Mike Stern with whom she has recorded and toured on and off for the past decade. She is a television composer writing theme music for NBC, as well as an actress, and was the hosting house drummer for television show “Late Night w/Seth Meyers’” first season. Kim is also the spokesperson for the 2017 Hit Like a Girl Contest
Kimberly is the President of a female-founded record label, producing six records and 200 films, on label ©KTMUSICPRODUCTIONS, a Harlem, New York-based production company committed to film, history, live performances, education, compositions, & lyrical songwriting. Her recent jazz release, Treasures Abound (A Tribute to the Jazz Greats) shows off her dynamic drumming in a jazz quartet setting. It features arrangements of timeless jazz pieces and Walt Disney musical selections originally recorded by giants such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans, & Thelonious Monk; and showcases modern classical etudes and some originals written and performed with her quartet.
Kimberly is an alumnus from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music earning her Bachelor of Music Arts in Jazz Composition & Education. She earned a distinguished alumni award from the school in 2016. Kimberly’s goal is to share her gifts and music through fine arts and activism, bettering the music industry and aiding communities by creating stable futures for the next generation of musicians. She plays Gretsch drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vater sticks, and Evans heads.
Helen de la Rosa is a 24-year-old Dominican drummer with a passion for music and teaching. After graduating from the National Conservatory of Music of Santo Domingo, She earned a presidential scholarship to Berklee College of Music where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Performance and a minor in Music Production and Engineering in 2016.
While at Berklee Helen received the Terri Lyne C. award for two years in a row, went on tour with world-renowned saxophone player, Donny McCaslin (May 2016), and in 2016 won the Hit Like A Girl drum contest Over 18 division. She has played with world-renowned bassist Victor Wooten, worked with famous musical duo Wendy & Lisa (Prince) and with GRAMMY® award winning producer Javier Limón, with Antonio Serrano and played for Hillary Clinton. Helen also has worked as a drummer and engineer for the group Amalur with whom she went on tour in Central America in May 2015.
Helen is a driven young girl who loves music and who is decided to encourage and inspire others. One of her main goals in music is to break with the paradigms and limitations often imposed to women in music industry.
Rebecca Webster I started off playing when my Nana decided she wanted to learn to play the drums in her 60s. Later, when she stopped playing (rotator cuff injury), she gave me her kit. I was 9 and I’ve been playing ever since.
I am part of the School of Rock in Fairfield, have gone on 3 School of Rock All Star tours and played some great venues all around the country. I also play in my high school jazz ensemble, and we compete regularly. Over the last few years I’ve been studying with Adrian Tramontano, a great drummer in the fusion band Kung Fu. I have played with musicians such as Michael League,(Snarky Puppy), Oteil Burbridge, Butch Trucks, Luther Dickinson, and have sat in with Kung Fu.
I was First Runner Up in the 2015 Hit Like a Girl Contest and was awarded Champion of the 2016 Hit Like a Girl Contest. I am currently working on building up my Youtube channel and recording content.
Anika Nilles is a drummer and songwriter based in Germany. Her first EP, called Alter Ego, was written, recorded and released in 2014.
Anika’s music can be classified as a mixture of Pop/Rock/ Fusion, but the most important element in her music is always the groove. Her use of the drum set as an expressive instrument rather than just a rhythm keeper allows for some extravagant playing without stealing the focus away from the music.
Anika’s playing style is distinguished by her strong groove, technical finesse, and her unique sound. This was well received with her world tour in 2015 as she travelled to various countries to share her music, which included performances at both PASIC and the London Drum Show in 2015.
In 2016 she busied herself, among other things, with authoring publications for various esteemed drumming journals in the UK, USA and Germany, as well as producing her debut album Pikalar, scheduled for release early in 2017.”
Anika plays Mapex drums, Meinl cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Evans drumheads.
Didi Negron is powerful and versatile drummer who performs with the Cirque du Soleil worldwide touring show Amaluna. She enjoys having an influence on the lives of other drummers and has been a four-time judge of the Hit Like A Girl Contest, In 2015 Didi served as spokesperson for Hit Like A Girl. In addition to her touring work, Didi is a noted drum clinicians.
Didi got her first drum set for Christmas at the age of three. Ever since she sat at that white-pearl kit, no one has been able to get her off the drums. She honed her skills studying under jazz drummer John B from California Drum Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and with Terri Lynne Carrington, Dave DiCenso, and jazz legend Ralph Peterson.
Didi has a versatile creative, style of playing with the ability to fit a variety of styles from rock and jazz to Latin, gospel and reggae. Her self-motivated personality and dedication to music, along with what other musicians describe as a phenomenal ear, have made her in demand. Didi is endorsed by Vater Drum Sticks, Sabian Cymbals, Latin Percussion, Kickport, Gretsch Drums, Cympad and Roland.
Senri Kawaguchi was a child prodigy in Japan, starting on drums at the age of five and then studying under the famous drum guru Mr. Kozo Suganuma when she was eight years old. She began winning contests and appearing on Japanese TV in 2007. At the age of 12 she started performing with the fusion band Fragile and released a DVD Horoscope. At that time she also posted her first YouTube performances.
In 2013 while still in high school Senri released her first album A La Mode which received positive reviews in Japan. In 2014 she formed a new unit Kiyo*Sen with organist Kiyomi Otaka. Their release Chocolate Booster, also garnered raves. Senri plays Yamaha drums, Evans heads, and Zildjian cymbals and sticks.
Camille Bigeault is a 25-year old French drumming sensation from Toulouse, France. Born to musician parents, she started playing drums at 13 and composition, guitar and singing at 15. Later, she studied drums in the conservatory with a great teacher that teaches students many kind of styles: Jazz, fusion, rock, metal, double pedal, drum ‘n’ bass, different time signatures, and various drum techniques. She earned a drums prize at the school and a jazz musicology degree, all while playing with multiple bands, including Xxelles, a female jazz-fusion band, La theorie des cordes, a progressive jazz-rock band, and later with a Genesis tribute band, Genesya. Later, after she posed some of her polyrhythmic-based drumming videos on various social networks she was tapped to play in a rock opera “Le rouge et le noir” and then moved in Paris.
Veronica Bellino has been a busy drummer for the past decade playing with some of the biggest names in music. She gained fame working with guitarist Jeff Beck, who discovered her on YouTube. A double-threat drummer and composer, Veronica has written and recorded with Beck, DMC, and many others. She performed in the Game’s “Red Nation” video, has worked in LL Cool j’s signed band 13, and toured with Carmine Appice and his SLAMM group, a dynamic, explosive physical show described as “Stomp On Steroids.” SLAMM was seen on ESPN by millions, in a music video that was shot for NASCAR. The Slammers were featured wailing on tires, tool boxes, air wrenches, and the hood of a race car! SLAMM member, Zoilo Ruiz, also recruited Veronica to perform with his dance and percussion troupe called the “Street Beats Group.” Veronica performs at corporate events with Ruiz, along with others, delivering the excitement and energy of Off-Broadway hits such as “Blast” and “Blue Man Group.”
She got her start working with Favored Nations artist Rob Balducci from 2004 to 2007 and toured with many artists during that period. In the past year she toured with RSO featuring guitarists, Orianthi and Richie Sambora, and performed with Halo Circus, and Elements, her own theatrical percussion show with drummer Nick Mason. With numerous gig commitments, corporate performances, and recording sessions, Veronica Bellino’s career can be safely assessed as on the move. Unanimous support from peers, press, and companies alike continues to propel her career to the next level. Veronica endorses Yamaha drums, Vic Firth sticks, Evans Drumheads, and Soultone cymbals.
Cherisse Osei got her first drums—a pink Mickey Mouse kit—at age 5, and has been playing in bands since she was 12 years old. She got her start recording with The Faders from 2004-2006. Then she played and toured with platinum pop sensation Mika from 2006-2012. With Mika, Cherisse appeared on major American TV shows including Good Morning America, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman and The Ellen DeGeneres Show and played countless festivals. She has performed at drum clinics with Billy Ward and currently is writing with ex-Fader band mate Molly McQueen. One of her biggest career accomplishments was performing her recording of a specially commissioned piece at the closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games before an audience of 1.5 billion TV viewers.
In 2012 Charisse began working with UK singer and actor Paloma Faith, best known for her retro and artistic style. In 2013 she juggled gigs, also embarking on a UK tour with Bryan Ferry, playing theaters across the county including London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 2014 she toured the US and other countries with Ferry, and recorded on his latest album, Avonmore and in the past year she has been working with Simple Minds. Cherisse endorses Tama, Zildjian, Vic Firth, Protection Racket, Yamah, Porter & Davies, LP, Remo, and Tuner Fish.
Driven by her lifelong passion for rock and extensive studies in jazz, Hannah Ford Welton has a fascinating history, including her role as the rhythmic backbone of Prince’s 3rdEyeGirl, the legendary artist’s explosive four-piece rock band that also featured Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis and Danish bassist Ida Nielsen. Prince performed with the band until his tragic passing in 2016.
Formerly the drummer and vocalist of the Chicago-based rock trio The Hannah Ford Band, the Milwaukee-based crossover Christian band, Bellevue Suite, and her one-woman inspirational Peace Love & Drums multimedia show, Welton’s versatile performance history covers all styles of music, from pop and rock to jazz. She was a child prodigy who launched her professional career at age twelve by joining a blues band with her trumpet-playing father in the Windy City. Among her many awards she is the only female to win the Louis Bellson Heritage Days Drum Competition (2006).
Born in Louisville, Kentucky Welton took up drums at age 7. Through her school years she studied with some of the world’s greatest drummers and teachers, including Diane Downs (Louisville Leopards), Louie Bellson, Ruben Alvarez, Jerry Steinholtz, Ndugu Chancler, Peter Erskine, Stanton Moore, Danny Seraphine, Johnny Rabb, and multiple GRAMMY® award winner Paul Wertico. Hannah endorses Zildjian, Gretsch, Vater, and Evans products.
Jess Bowen is the drummer for the band Summer Set, formed in Arizona in 2006 with brothers John and Stephen Gomez. Summer Set has three well-received albums under their belt plus successful stints on the Warped, AP, and Dirty Work tours, and has had songs featured on shows such as “Dancing With The Stars.” Touring behind their latest album Legendary the band recently has been doing acoustic storytelling sets in addition to their usual high-energy show. Jess grew up in a drum-playing family learning from her dad and an older brother, both of whom played in local bands. She cites as major influences drummers such as Sheila E, Dave Weckl, and Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind). Jess plays SJC drums, Sabian cymbals, Vater sticks, and Remo heads.
Jordan West is a drummer, vocalist, and songwriter based in Los Angeles, CA. She works as a freelancer and studio musician in addition to being a Product Specialist for Roland Drums and Percussion (and a former Hit Like A Girl contestant). On drums, her roots lie in jazz and R&B, but West is comfortable in all genres, from ragtime to progressive rock and everything in between. Her list of favorite drummers includes Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, Elvin Jones, Mark Guiliana, and Chris Dave. As a songwriter and vocalist, she is driven by emotion, drawing influence from a wide array of musical interests – she listens to everything from Cher to System of a Down to Amy Winehouse to Herbie Hancock. Her original music has been featured on WBKE, WCRD, WBOI, 98.9 The Bear, and Indy In Tune radio stations, among others. She recently won a songwriting contest sponsored by Avid and Sweetwater Sound. In her own group, West utilizes her passions for songwriting, drumming, and singing simultaneously. She is also currently serving as the group’s manager and booking agent. The band’s newest, self-titled album can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
Delphine Langhoff is a drummer and singer from Strasbourg, France known for her sensitivity on the kit and compositional abilities. She is adept in a wide variety of styles performing classical, and new music, jazz, pop, and dance styles. She has performed or recorded with artists such as Antoine Elias, and her current project a two-percussionist group called Pause Kino. Their songs feature delicate melodies and tight grooves in a style that mixes electro, pop, and afrobeat, performed on various drums, percussion, and electronic instruments. Their first album will be out on Bloody Mary Music and Records in the fall of 2017.
Terri Lyne Carrington is a three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning jazz drummer, as well as a composer, singer, bandleader, producer, and professor at Berklee College of Music. In her career she has performed with many of the greatest names in the history of jazz, including Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, and others. For ten years, she was Herbie Hancock’s drummer, touring with his acoustic and electric bands.
Carrington was a child prodigy, who began learning drums at age seven, debuted at the Wichita Jazz Festival with trumpeter Clark Terry three years later, and was granted a scholarship to Berklee at the age of 11. In her teens she performed numerous drum clinics across the US.
At the age of 18 she moved to New York and began working with jazz great Pharoah Sanders, Lester Bowie, Cassandra Wilson and other notables. By the late ’80s she headed to Los Angeles, working as the drummer on The Arsenio Hall Show and VIBE.
In recent years she has led her own groups, featuring all-star musicians and many of the best singers in the world. She won her first GRAMMY in 2011 for The Mosaic Project, which featured singers such as Dianne Reeves, Nona Hendryx, and others. That was followed by Money Jungle, in 2013 featuring songs of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, which won for best Jazz Instrumental album. She was the first female to win a GRAMMY in that category. Terri Lyne plays Yamaha drums, and Zildjian cymbals and sticks.
Emmanuelle Caplette made her debut at age nine joining a local drum and bugle corps in her native Quebec. Ever since, drums have been her life. She won many awards as a young drummer and studied percussion at Drummondville College with Camil Bélisle, later studying at the University of Montreal.
She has performed on numerous TV shows and toured with several different French-Canadian artists in Quebec. She also appeared at major events such as the Cape Breton Drum Festival, The Winnipeg DrumTalk Festival, Drum Ladies Fest in Italy, TamTam Festival And The Bag Show In France.
In 2013 Emmanuelle joined ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers in his band Circa Zero, and since then has toured as musical director with Stephane Rousseau. In 2016 Emmanuelle announced a new venture in online lessons. Emmanuelle endorses Sonor drums, Evans heads, Vic Firth sticks, Sabian cymbals, Roland mixers, and Sennheiser microphones.
Nineteen-year old Nia Lovelis is already a veteran of a more than a decade of playing and touring with a rock band). She and her sister Rena were original members of the Cherri Bomb in 2008, when both were in middle school. In 2015, after a change of personnel the group changed its name to Hey Violet and was signed to Hi or Hey Records, a Columbia offshoot of the band 5 Seconds of Summer. They later opened for the group on its European and North American tours. Nia has played some of the most prestigious festivals around the world including Reading, Leeds, T In The Park, Rock en Seine, Oxegen, Sonisphere, Summerfest, Bamboozle and Warped Tour. She has opened for some of her favorite bands including The Smashing Pumpkins, The Foo Fighters, Bush, Staind, Buck Cherry and Filter and was a host with her sister on Revolt.tv. . She says she is inspired by John Bonham, Cindy Blackman, Josh Freese and Sheila E, among others.
Emily Dolan-Davies is an accomplished drummer who has recorded on numerous albums and toured extensively worldwide. Her professional career began in 2008 playing with The Hours, signed to IsGood Records, and she spent two years touring around the world. Highlights of those 2 years include playing with Bono of U2, recording an album with The Hours (See The Light), produced by Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails) collaborating with Damien Hirst on the artwork and shooting a video with Tony Kaye.
In 2010 she joined Bryan Ferry to be part of his corporate band and also recorded on his album Olympia which was released October 2010 on Virgin Records. That was followed by tours with Tricky, XFactor artist Janet Devlin, jazz artist Emilia Mitiku, Becky Hill, Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, and The Darkness. Most recently she has been working on her one woman drumming spectacular Feathers and Cogs: an alternative theatrical show, which premiered in London, in December 2015 and toured in 2016. Emily plays Yamaha and Zildjian.
With the rumbling authority of a John Bonham and the razor precision of a Keith Carlock, Sarah Tomek has become one of the most in demand drummers today. Currently playing for Steven Tyler, and the fast rising Americana band Loving Mary, Sarah Tomek commands a front row seat in the new class of top tier musicians.
Born and raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Sarah found herself behind the kit at an early age. Her father, Joe Tomek, a formidable drummer in the New York 70’s rock scene, inspired and shaped her natural talents. By her early teens, she was a club staple at world famous venues throughout NYC and NJ. By the time she was 20, she began making her name as a session player. Her ability to play a multitude of genres with effortless pocket and feel made her the easy choice for many producers, recording for Maggie Rose, Glen Burtnik, Gedeon Luke, Lance Larson and Jon Bon Jovi.
Sarah has been featured in Modern Drummer magazine and currently uses Ludwig drums, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Kelly Shu drum mounts
Yissy García: drummer and composer, belongs to the forefront of the new generation of Cuban jazz musicians. Her music shows a mixture of modernism and tradition, captivating both her audience and the critics, who can’t resist the groove of her drum playing. She has shared the stage with some of the greatest of all times, such as Omara Portuondo, Dave Matthews, Roy Hargrove, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Jane Bunnett and Joshua Bell. Since 2012 she leads YISSY & Bandancha, a quintet that follows the routes of Latin jazz, funk, electronics and Cuban music, and that recently released their debut album “Última noticia” and their first DVD “Descarga con Bandancha”. She is one of the stars of the acclaimed group Maqueque, comprised of six Cuban women and Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett. The group has earned rave reviews in performances across North America .
Elie Bertrand grew up in Montreal, Quebec and thanks to musician parents began playing drums at age. She studied flute, drums and theory in elementary school and junior high and joined her first band at 14, playing classic rock covers.
In high school she participated in every possible musical activity and also began her professional career, joining cover bands and a percussion troupe called Insolita. With that group she had an opportunity to play large events and international festivals.
In 2007 Elie moved to Toronto to join Scarlet Sin, a dynamic hard rock band that toured festivals in the US and were very well-reviewed. They shared stages with Motley Crue, Cryptopsy, Kittie, The Trews, Vixen, and others. The band broke up in 2009 and since then Elie has been playing and recording independently for a variety of projects.
Elie plays Roland, Sabian, Evans, Pearl, Regal Tip, and Poc equipment.
Chastity Ashley is a Los-Angeles born percussionist who has performed on stages around the world. She began performing, acting, and playing music at the age of 8. At ten she was crowned Miss Junior America, winning the talent competition by playing on her first drum set.
Later Chastity attended Musicians Institute in Hollywood where she studied under artists such as Ray Luzier of KORN. She also played with multiple bands. Her work with Seminal Bliss landed her music in a Disney movie. As the vocalist and percussionist for another band, OUTLET (later Beauty And The Breakdown) she won “Rock Artist of the Year” in the Los Angeles Music awards, also opening for a Motley Crue and Aerosmith tour.
In 2011-2012 she joined Duran Duran as percussionist and back-up vocalist and toured widely, playing Coachella, and the SWU Festival in Brazil where she performed for more than 100,000 people. In addition Chastity has worked with Mark Ronson, Ana Matronic, Tom zmorello, Alice In Chains, Ben Harper, Filter,and others. Chasisty has also appeared in major magazines and was awarded a Drummie! In 2015 by DRUM! magazine
Lorna Blundell first sat behind a drum kit in her local music shop at the age of 13, instantly falling in love, and she has been addicted to playing ever since. Keeping busy as the powerhouse behind her band The Hyena Kill, she also fills her time gigging, recording, doing sessions and teaching.
Lorna plays Natal drums, Zildjian cymbals, and Vater drumsticks.
Hayley Brownell is a 23 year old musician/drummer based in the Los Angeles area. At a very young age Hayley began playing in a youth percussion group, We Got The Beat, in the city of Fresno. Through this group she was able to meet and play alongside Pete Escovedo at the NAMM show, study with Jerry Steinholtz for many years and play at various Day of Percussion events up and down California.
Spring of 2015, Hayley received her degree in music at California State University Northridge on drum set. Moving on from college, Hayley has played SXSW 2016, several tours on the West Coast/Midwest, collaborated with and became a judge for the Hit Like A Girl Contest and most recently became the host for Drum Channel’s newest show, “The Beat.” Hayley currently drums and sings for singer-songwriter Leah Capelle, LA-Based band, ExSage and for her own group, Ruby-Throated.
Dani Markham was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where she began playing percussion at the age of 8 in the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists (now known as the Louisville Leopard Percussionists,) under the direction of Diane Downs. Dani excelled in music during these elementary years and began studying privately at the age of 9. While in the Leopards, Dani performed at PASIC several consecutive years and also took 2nd place in the PAS International Marimba competition in 2003.
In 2000, Dani was featured alongside hip-hop phenomenon Jay-Z’s current drummer, Tony Royster, Jr., by the Percussive Marketing Council in their campaign to showcase young drum phenoms. In 2005 she received a full scholarship to the University of Miami where she studied percussion and pursued her interest in Brazilian, Latin, and jazz styles. Her recent collaborations include indie-rock band, Tune-Yards, and Grammy nominee, Childish Gambino. She has appeared on Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jools Holland, and has been featured in Modern Drummer and Tom Tom Magazine.
Stephanie Snyder is a drummer, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of award-winning rock duo Deer Park Avenue with her sister Sarah. She has studied with GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer Gregg Bissonette and premier instructors in California, New York, Switzerland, and Germany.
Deer Park Avenue was the winner of the Hard Rock Rising (Washington, D.C.) battle of the bands. Strong advocates of music education, Stephanie and Sarah are also music teachers and have spoken and performed at schools across California and Switzerland. They are voting members of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).
Deer Park Avenue’s debut self-titled album was released June 2016 on iTunes and Amazon.
Stephanie plays Dixon Drums, TRX Cymbals, Audix Microphones, KickPort.
Lindsey Raye Ward is a Los Angeles- based drummer originally residing in Prescott, Arizona. She started playing drums at the age of 9, and has pursued music as her passion ever since. Lindsay is well-known for her YouTube channel where her drum cover of Sia’s hit “Chandelier” has reached more than two million views. She has also performed with artists such as Ryan White, Oh, Be Clever, and Mint. She proudly endorses Truth Custom Drums, Vater Drum Sticks, and TRX Cymbals.
As the percussionist for the legendary Wayne Newton (Mr. Las Vegas), Carrie Biolo performs on timpani, mallets, congas, bongos and accessories, providing a charismatic rhythmic backdrop to Newton’s classic Vegas style show. She routinely performs in many venues and casinos including the recent inaugural concert for the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
A world-class percussionist who brings highly experimental sound, rhythm and movement into her work, Biolo has toured extensively throughout the United States, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Austria, Spain and Italy. She has recorded over 25 CD’s on various labels including Delmark, HatART and Rhino. Her music compositions can be heard on Ira Glass’ This American Life, and Chicago and Boston Public Radio. She has collaborated with many musicians including Guillermo Gregorio, Gerhard Stäbler, Rob Mazurek, Pauline Oliveros, and Michael Pisaro.
Carrie is the founder and artistic director of the Percussive Attack Camp, maintains a private percussion studio, directs the Marquette Senior High Drumline and teaches World Music at Northern Michigan University.
Percussionist Magdelys Savigne is one-half of the dynamic rhythm section of Maqueque, with drummer Yissy Garcia. The all-woman group is led by Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett who has long recorded with Cuban musicians. She brought the all-female group together to play a unique brand of music that mixes traditional folkloric music, improvisational jazz, and pop, utilizing the group’s ferocious instrumental and vocal talents. Magdelys is a talented singer as well who has studied orchestral music in the US and Cuba.
Magdelys studied in the US
Mona Tavakoli is a Los Angeles-based drummer, singer and performer who believes in making music that unites, elevates and connects.
While Mona is equally comfortable performing as a drummer and a percussionist, she is especially known for adapting the cajón to unexpected genres such as rock and pop. She began playing the Peruvian percussion instrument as a college student taking a flamenco dance class. She’s since designed a signature instrument called The MT Box.
Mona started playing drums at age 11 and blossomed into a tenor drum star in her High School marching band. She began her professional musical career in 1999, when she helped form Raining Jane, an all-female rock band, as a student at UCLA.
Most recently, Mona and Raining Jane co-wrote and recorded YES! (Atlantic Records) with Jason Mraz. Mona and Mraz have been collaborating for nearly a decade, touring worldwide and performing together as a duo on programs such as The Today Show, The David Letterman Show, Ellen, Dancing with the Stars, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. As the Duo Decibel System, Mona (percussion) and Mraz (guitar/vocals) have performed in Antarctica in support of climate change awareness.
Mona is co-founder and co-director of the Rock n’ Roll Camp For Girls Los Angeles, and promotes music education by hosting rhythm workshops at elementary schools, summer camps and colleges around the country. She has been featured in DRUM!, Tom Tom Magazine and is the recipient of the 2016 She Rocks awards “Inspire Award” for her work with the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls.
Mona is endorsed by DW Drums and Hardware, Gibralter Hardware, Latin Percussion, Roland, Sabian Cymbals, Sennheiser Microphones, Toca Percussion and Vater Percussion.
Amy Knoles is the current Head of Percussion at California Institute of the Arts. Her music has been described as being of: “frightening beauty, fascinating, complex” by National Public Radio and described as “Los Angeles’ new music Luminary, infinitely variable, infinitely fascinating” by the Los Angeles Times.
Amy is an artist who stretches the limits of expression in music with a practiced technique, which effortlessly glides from ancient exotic instruments to state-of-the-art electronic percussion controllers, and interactive computer music and video technologies performing the newest music “the old fashioned way-with interpretive passion supported by controlled technique…”[L.A. Times].
She was the 1996 ASCAP Foundation “Composer-in-Residence at the Music Center of Los Angeles”, a recipient of the 2006 Meet the composer “Commissioning Music USA” award to create Sacred Cow with Butoh dancer Michael Sakamoto for premiere on the NOW Festival at REDCAT, the American Composers Forum Subito Grant (2005, 2007 & 2009), the Durfee ARC (2001 & 2003), the Lester Horton Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Original Music for Dance”, the “UNESCO International Prize for the Performing Arts-2000”, the 1999-2000 “Individual Artist Fellowship Award” from C.O.L.A., to create her Multimedia piece 2 x 10 x 10 x 10 + 1 and a 2002 “Composer in Residence” Grant from the American Composers Forum.
Amy began experimenting with interactive computer music in 1979 while performing and recording the multimedia pieces of the “Grandfather of Techno”-Morton Subotnick. She is currently touring with a solo live electronic 4.1 Looping interpretation of the music of Julius Eastman: Julius Eastman FOUND! Performed on the MalletKat with Ableton and the Keith McMillen 12Step; as well as her latest work 9:8:7:5:4:3:1 which is performed on the Ableton Push and Quneo controllers.
Amy has headlined festivals around the world and worked with orchestras and artists from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to Frank Zappa and composers such as John Cage and Elliot Carter. She has recorded more than 30 CD’s of new music for labels including Echograph, Sony Classics, Nonesuch, C.R.I., Barking Pumpkin, Voyager CD-ROM, New Albion, New World, Innova, Vergo, O.O. Discs, C.B.S., R.C.A., Relativity, and Crystal Records.
Julie Davila is a member of the chamber percussion ensemble the CAIXA TRIO. In addition to her membership in the CAIXA TRIO, she has served as the chair of the Percussive Arts Society Marching Percussion Committee and is the founder and executive director of Percussion XS, a dynamic new honors percussion group featuring middle and high school students.
Prior to Julie launching Percussion XS, she was the percussion specialist at several high schools in Nashville, Tennessee. Many of her groups have medaled in all divisions of the WGI activity and in 1996 the John Overton High School Indoor Drum Line, under her direction, won a National Championship. Julie has recently joined the nationally recognized adjudication team for WGI.
As a member of the CAIXA TRIO and as an active clinician specializing in contemporary and marching percussion, she has performed in Seoul, South Korea, Paris, France, Puerto Rico and extensively throughout the United States. Julie received her degree from the University of North Texas. She has published numerous marching and concert percussion features through Row-Loff Productions and Drop6 Media. She is the author of the “Modern Multi-Tenor Techniques and Solos” and “Impressions on Wood” published by Row-Loff, and is a co-author of “Aptitude”, an innovative solo snare book published by Drop 6 Media. Julie is an endorser and clinician for the Pearl Corporation, Innovative Percussion, the Avedis Zildjian Company, Grover Pro Percussion, and Evans Drum Heads.
Dr. Julie Hill, Director of Percussion Studies and Chair, Department of Music at the University of Tennessee-Martin and Immediate Past-President of the Percussive Arts Society, has received worldwide recognition as a performer and scholar. Hill has presented workshops, concerts, and lectures extensively throughout the United States on Brazilian Music and the topic of music and social transformation for black women and at-risk children in Northeastern Brazil. As a member of the award winning Caixa Trio and X4 quartet, Julie has performed in Peru, Poland, Mexico, Brazil, France, Puerto Rico, South Korea, across the United States, as well as the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions (PASIC). Hill is also principal percussionist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.
Hill is the co-author of an audition method book entitled “All Inclusive Etudes” (Row-Loff Productions) and a collection of solos/duets entitled “Music for Multi Percussion: A World View” (Alfred Publications) and has numerous percussion ensemble publications with Innovative Percussion and Row-Loff Productions. Her scholarly research has been published in Percussive Notes and the Garland World Music Encyclopedias.
Julie Hill is an Artist and Educator for Zildjian Cymbals, and a Performing Artist for Yamaha Corporation of America. She is an artist and endorsee for Innovative Percussion, REMO, and Grover Pro Percussion.
Guest Judge Kenny Aronoff may be the world’s most in-demand drummer, having worked on stages or in studios with nearly every heavyweight in the rock world from Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to Lady GaGa, Bruno Mars, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Elton John, Garth Brooks, James Taylor Chris Cornell, Keith Urban, Willie Nelson, Avirl Lavigne, Michelle Branch, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill and hundreds of others.
Kenny joined his first band at age 10 after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Later he played in junior and high school bands and studied with members of the Boston Symphony, including the late Vic Firth. He went on to the University of Massachusetts and Indiana University. Spurning a career in timpani for drum set Kenny joined the John Mellencamp band in 1980 and became the signature snare sound behind the hits of the band’s most productive period.
From 1993 to 1997 he went back to academia teaching at Indiana University. The Kenny Aronoff Percussion Scholarship awarded annually to a percussion student at IU.
Baltimore-born Dennis Chambers is among the most respected and influential drummers in the world. For three decades he has anchored some of the greatest bands in jazz, funk, and rock, recording and performing with with John Scofield, George Duke,Brecker Brothers, Santana, Parliament/Funkadelic, John McLaughlin, Niacin, Mike Stern, CAB, Greg Howe, and many others. Despite a lack of formal training, Chambers has become well known among drummers for his technique, speed and his ability to play improvisationally or groove harder than anyone. He demonstrates enormous power in his playing particularly with his fast hands and triplets on the bass drum.
Dennis began drumming at the age of four years, and was gigging in Baltimore-area nightclubs by the age of six. He was recruited in 1981 by the Sugar Hill Label to be their “house drummer.” Dennis plays on many Sugar Hill releases. In 1978 (at 18 years old) he joined Parliament/Funkadelic, and stayed with them until 1985. In 1986 he moved on to the John Scofield band, creating a string of memorable recordings. Since then he has played with most of the major figures in jazz fusion music.
Josh Freese was born in 1972 in Florida but the family moved to Orange County, where he grew up. As the son of musician parents Josh began playing drums at age 8 Beginning drums at age 8 Josh was playing in bands by age 15, eventually working with the Vandals and Dweezil Zappa. He has become well-known to drummers worldwide for this early work, for later groups he joined such as A Perfect Circle and Devo, and for his contributions as an in-demand session artist who has contributed to literally hundreds of recordings.
His studio work includes credits with artists as diverse as Sting, Springsteen, Wolfmother, Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson, the Offspring, Nelly Furtado, Glen Campbell, Social Distortion, Slash, Katy Perry, Filter, Weezer, Miley Cyrus, Enrique Iglesias, Avril Lavigne, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Indigo Girls, Anastiasia, Pete Yorn, and, well… you get the idea.
Jim Bailey has served as Caption Head and percussion instructor for the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2002 to 2005. As an instructor and former marching member with the corps, Jim has assisted in earning three of the six world championship titles held by the corps. As an author and composer, Jim’s work has been featured by Row-Loff publications and his educational resources have been authored for Innovative Percussion, the Indiana Percussion Association, and Yamaha Corporation of America.
Jim has delivered clinics and performances across the US, Japan, and Europe. He has also been a featured clinician for the Indiana Percussion Association, Bands of America, and the Yamaha Corporation of America, Drum Corps International, and the Percussive Arts Society, as well as several high schools and universities.
Jim earned his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Indianapolis and is currently serving as the Educational Relations Manager for D’Addario where he oversees educational initiatives for D’Addario’s seven family brands.