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School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Percussion Studio

Kurt Gartner, D.A.
Professor of Music
School of Music, Theatre and Dance
130 McCain Auditorium
Manhattan, KS 66506

785-532-6899 fax

Alumni News

Jeff Hewitt is currently teaching band & percussion at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO. He is also a founding member of the Kansas City Percussion Group and the Vice President of the Kansas Percussive Arts Society. In 2016, Dr. Hewitt served as the tour administrator, performer, and clinician of the World Percussion Group during their two-month university tour across the U.S., culminating with a showcase performance at PASIC. Jeff earned a D.M.A. from the University of Arizona, a M.M. from the University of Missouri, and a B.M.E. from Kansas State University.

Johannah Dietrich (B.M.E., 2013) has been teaching percussion at Heritage HS in Littleton, CO. Recently, her winter percussion group placed 3rd at the Highlands Ranch competition. Also, she is teaching the winter percussion group at Dakota Ridge HS and is teaching 4th-6th grade band. She's playing 6 pan bass for the Rocky Mountain Steel Drum Band and continues to play bass drum for the Bronco's Stampede Drumline.

Jack Donovan (M.M., 2017) is pursuing the D.M.A. degree from the University of Minnesota (Fernando Meza, Director of Percussion Studies). Jack received his B.M. from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Percussion Performance under Dr. Jeff Crowell. He was the Graduate Teaching Assistant in Percussion at K-State from 2015-2017, and has numerous performance credits including drum corps and international chamber music appearances.

Kirstyn Norris (B.M., 2017) has been accepted into the graduate program at the University of Illinois, where she will begin her M.M. studies with William Moersch and Ricardo Flores. Among other honors, Norris was a winner of the KSU Honors Recital Competition and recipient of a research grant from the K-State Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry.

Brett Butler (B.M.E., 2017) is currently the Assistant Band Director at Louisburg High School in Kansas. Brett will be focusing his work with the drumline, jazz band, and other concert bands in Louisburg, KS. Currently Brett is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and a member Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.). Brett enjoys composing music, running, and playing baseball in his free time.

Craig Archer received his Bachelor's in Music Education from K-State in the spring of 2014. He is currently the Beginning Band Director at Fort Riley Middle School. Craig is also assisting with drumline, percussion ensemble, and the wind ensembles at Junction City High School. He is a member of the worship team at University Christian Church in Manhattan and also performs regularly in various jazz, rock and folk bands in the Manhattan area.

Drew Szczesny (B.A. 2014) had a position at Starlight Theatre of Kansas City as the Production Management Intern. The duties included in this position were assisting in coordinating and managing national tours, Starlight productions, and concerts. Along with KSU alumni Dr. Jeff Hewitt, Brett Eichman, and Ethan Wagoner, he is a founding member of the Kansas City Percussion Collective.

Dave Roth is a freelance percussionist in New York City. Active on the Broadway scene, Dave played A Christmas Story at Madison Square Garden last holiday season. Dave also has a wealth of experience as a chamber musician, clinician, and teacher, and is an official Ambassador of the Alzheimer's Association.

Bryce Craig earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Kansas State University and and Master of Music degree in Music Composition from Central Michigan University. Currently, he is a composer, music editor, and audio specialist for C. Alan Publications.

M.M. recipient Greg Coffey continues to perform, produce, and teach in Nashville, TN. In addition to his recording and live playing there, he has been on the road, including two weeks in China with country artist Jason Clutter.

Ryan R. Laney holds a B.M.E. from The University of Northern Colorado and a M.M. from Kansas State University. He writes music designed to be interesting for both the casual listener and the true musician, offering compositions with high audience and performance appeal. Ryan's compositional output is primarily focused on percussion solo and ensemble literature with a growing number of works for wind instruments. Many of his compositions and arrangements can be heard performed around the world in countries including Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Japan, China, South Korea, Belgium, Russia, and across the USA. Ryan is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, The National Association for Music Education, a Percussion Music Online Official Composer, and is currently Director of Bands at Broomfield High School in Broomfield, Colorado.

Chris Exum is the Assistant Band Director/Percussion Instructor at Washburn Rural High school. At Washburn Rural, Chris assists with the marching band, concert band and directs the WRHS Jazz Combo and oversees all things percussion. In addition to his musical duties, Chris is also a part of the REACH program which assists incoming freshman make the transition into high school by working with them in the areas of time management, organization, test taking strategies and education and career planning. Chris Exum is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, K.M.E.A., C.M.E.N.C. and a member Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.).

Emory Dease joined the faculty of Seaman High School in Topeka, KS in the fall of 2011. He completed his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Central College, and more recently, his Masters of Music Performance from Kansas State University. While at Kansas State, Emory served as the percussion graduate assistant and drumline instructor. He has formerly held the position of Percussion Director at Blue Valley North HS and Newton HS (IA).

Brad Regier has served as the band director at the American International School of Egypt. From 2009-2011 he was the band director at Chase County. Brad is originally from Haysville, KS and received his B.M.E. at K-State and Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma. Currently, he is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri. In his spare time, Brad enjoys running, traveling, and KC area sports.

Dr. David Whitman teaches and performs in the San Diego area, including his appointment at San Diego State University.

Send your updates and images to Kurt Gartner