Spirit of Atlanta names 2016 Percussion Team

The final pieces of the Educational and Instructional teams for Spirit of Alanta’s 2016 season are now in place, as Director Chris Moore has named the staff that will lead the percussion section for the corps’s 40th Anniversary year.

John M. Cypert – Percussion Supervisor & Arranger

John CypertJohn M. Cypert currently serves as a music specialist at Duncan Creek Elementary School in Hoschton, Georgia where he teaches General Music to children in grades K-5 and co-directs the Duncan Creek Cardinal Choir, a 2013 guest performance ensemble at the Georgia Music Educators annual in-service conference.  John is also in his seventeenth season as the percussion coordinator and arranger for the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band.  John has served as the music arranger and ensemble director for Pariah Percussion Theatre from Jasper, Georgia, a competitive independent percussion ensemble in the Winter Guard International arena.  While in this position, Pariah earned the WGI Percussion Independent Open Class silver medal in 2003, was a World Class finalist in 2004, and was crowned the Open Class World Champion in 2009.  In 2005 and 2006, John served in the same capacity for Odyssey Percussion Theatre from Suwanee, Georgia, who placed sixth and seventh respectively in the WGI Percussion Independent World Class.  In 2000, John served as the percussion caption head and arranger for the DCI finalist, Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from Newark, Delaware.  In 2009, the Valdosta Middle School percussion ensemble commissioned and premiered John’s original work, Perpetuality, at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Convention in Chicago, Illinois.  Prior to this in 2008, the Lanier Middle School percussion ensemble from Suwanee, Georgia performed his commissioned arrangement of Voices of Spring by Johann Strauss, Jr. at the same venue.  John remains active as a composer, arranger, adjudicator, and clinician throughout the United States.

John earned a Bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from The University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Arkansas.  As a graduate assistant for the percussion and band programs at the University of Arkansas, John instructed and arranged for the marching percussion ensemble while also teaching applied percussion and the percussion methods course required by all undergraduate music education majors.  John recently earned his Educational Leadership certificate from the University of Georgia and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Music Education at the same institution.

John’s professional experiences include performances with the Augusta Symphony, Augusta Opera, Gainesville Symphony, Macon Symphony and the Northwest Arkansas Symphony.  He was a member of the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps from 1991-1993 where he performed as a snare drummer.  He remains active in the Southeast in all realms of percussion performance endorses the products of Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums, and Remo exclusively.

John resides in Nicholson, Georgia with his wife, Chesley, and their two children, Mason and Madeline.

Jonathan Duke – Percussion Caption Head

Jonathan DukeA native of Carrollton, Georgia, Jonathan is currently percussion specialist for the Spartanburg County School District Six. Under his direction, the indoor percussion ensemble at Dorman High School has seen competitive success at numerous local, regional, and national events. Notable examples including making the WGI World Championships finals five time, and winning the CIPA Open Class Championships every year since 2006. 2013 was the year that saw Jonathan’s latest ensemble launch when Civitas Independent from Rock Hill, South Carolina took 4th place at the WGI World Championships.

Before moving to South Carolina, Jonathan lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was founder and director of 3-time WGI medalist Velocity Percussion Ensemble, and taught Dalton high School, Soddy-Daisy high School, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s marching percussion ensembles. Jonathan has also taught and written for numerous other ensembles – including Spirit Of Atlanta drum and bugle corps, Magic Of Orlando drum and bugle corps, Scenic City drum and bugle corps, West Georgia College, as well as numerous Georgia, Tennessee, North, and South Carolina high school bands. A former marching member of Spirit, Jonathan is proud to have performed on bass drum and snare drum from 1992-1995, before joining the percussion staff in 1996. Jonathan currently resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Tonya Mashburn – Lead Front Ensemble Tech

Tonya MashburnTonya Mashburn is a writer, designer, and educator. She is currently the Percussion Director and Assistant Director of Bands at Lambert High School in Suwanee, Ga. In addition to Lambert High School, she works with many other percussion programs in the North Georgia area. As a performer, Tonya was a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004 and 2006, Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps from 2001-2003, and Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps in 2000. She was also a member of the 2005 UNT PASIC Drumline. Tonya is a graduate of Forsyth Central High School and earned her Bachelors in Music from the University of North Texas under Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, Ed Soph, and Paul Rennick. Tonya is proud to be endorsed by Innovative Percussion.


Phillip Morgan – Front Ensemble

Phillip MorganPhillip Morgan is a Georgia native where he writes, designs, and teaches for many area high schools. He is currently working for notable high school percussion programs such as Lambert High School and Forsyth Central High School. As a performer, Phillip was a member of Music City Mystique from 2006-2009, Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2008, and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps from 2002-2005. Phillip was on the front ensemble educational team for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012, and Music City Mystique from 2010-2012. Phillip is excited to join the Spirit of Atlanta educational team for the 2016 season.



Tony Lemonds – Front Ensemble

Tony LemondsTony Lemonds has been involved with the activity since 2006 and grew up in Spring Hill, TN. Tony has marched three years of drum corps and four years of WGI at the world class level. He marched with the Blue Stars 2009-2010. He also marched Phantom Regiment in 2012. In his WGI career, he has marched with Music City Mystique 2011-2014. Tony has also been teaching and designing for numerous groups since 2010 such as Independence, North Forsyth, South Forsyth, and Lambert High School. This will be his first year on staff at Spirit of Atlanta as a front ensemble technician.  Currently Tony is teaching and arranging at South Forsyth High School, Lambert High School, and consulting and sound designing at North Forsyth High School.

Outside of the marching activity Tony enjoys bowling, fishing, sushi, movies, hot sauces, cooking, and writing original compositions. He currently resides in Cumming, GA as an active instructor and designer while finishing his Music Education degree at the University of North Georgia.

Taylor Thompson – Front Ensemble

Taylor ThompsonTaylor Thompson is a Georgia native that has been involved in the independent marching activity since 2010. After marching for local PIA groups such as WGRP and Frequency Inc., Taylor left Georgia and auditioned to be a part of The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps (2014) and Music City Mystique (2013-2015).  Now aged-out from the activity, Taylor resides in Georgia where he is continuing his degree at The University of West Georgia. He spends his time teaching at local high schools, writing as the music journalist for his university’s newspaper, and playing tennis.



Austin Rideout – Front Ensemble

Austin RideoutAustin Rideout is currently finishing his music education degree at the University of North Georgia. He has maintained a couple of positions teaching high school front ensembles north of Atlanta throughout his college career.  He began his marching career in 2012, when he marched with Spirit of Atlanta as a vibraphone and synth player. Afterwards, he auditioned and marched Music City Mystique in 2013 as a Vibraphone player. He continued on to march marimba with Spirit of Atlanta in 2013, and vibraphone for Music City Mystique in 2014 and 2015.



Robert Adams – Snare Drum

Robert AdamsRobert Adams is the percussion coordinator and arranger at Pell City High School in Pell City, Alabama as well as the Percussion Caption Head for the Southern Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.  Robert is also currently an instructor for the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners Drumline.

Robert attended Jacksonville State University from 2003-2008 and graduated with a BS in Theoretical Mathematics. He was a member of the JSU snare line for all five years as an undergraduate and served as percussion captain from 2005-2007.   Robert was a snare drummer with the Spirit Drum & Bugle Corps in 2004, 2005, and 2007.  Robert currently teaches mathematics at Pell City High School and is working on his Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education at Jacksonville State University.


Victor Perez – Snare Drum

Victor PerezVictor Perez is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he attended Dorman High School. He performed in all instrumental ensembles at Dorman from 2005-2009 and was a part of two WGI World Championships finalist groups.  Victor went on to attend Western Carolina University to pursue his degree in Music Education. He was a part of the percussion studio under Mario Gaetano and was a member of the prestigious “Pride Of the Mountains” marching band from 2009-2014 under David Starnes, Matt Henley, and Jon Henson. In 2013, he had the privilege to serve as the percussion section leader.  Victor had many opportunities in his marching career outside of school including marching snare drum for Palmetto Percussion in 2011 and 2012 as well as touring the country as a member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps out of Denver, CO in 2012.

Victor has continuously stayed relevant and involved in all percussion activities including concert percussion, WGI, as well as marching band.   Victor served on the battery staff for Civitas Independent out of Rockhill, SC in 2013 before receiving the battery caption head position in 2014.  From 2010-2014, Victor continued to give back to his Alma mater, Dorman High School, filling in whatever role he was needed, learning and working with the great Jonathan Duke.  During Victor’s years of percussion he has studied and learned from some of the best including Ralph Hardimon, Jonathan Duke, David Starnes, Mario Gaetano, Matt Henley, Jon Henson, Joe Fant, Joel Gardner, and Bob Buckner.

Victor took over as the Assistant Band Director/ Director of Percussion at Dutchtown High School in Hampton, GA in 2014 where he oversees all percussion studies/activities for the cluster.  In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife Tabitha, watching Steeler football and fishing.

Jackson Howell – Snare Drum

Jackson HowellJackson began playing snare drum in high school at the age of 14.  He joined Palmetto Percussion in 2007, the ensemble’s inaugural season.  He went on to march five more seasons with ensemble in 2008-2009 and 2011-2013 where he learned from AJ Pace, Colin Brown, Kenny Kominic, Joel Gardner, Ryan Johnson, Erik Crook, Cale Gustafson, Luis Rivera, Matt Raynor, Matthew Howell, Dusty DelMoro, Alex Mowery.  He then had the opportunity to age out with WGI World Class Bronze Medalist, Rhythm X in 2014.  His instructors at Rhythm X included Tim Fairbanks, Tim Jackson, Josh Brickey, Ted Leith, Tom Gasparrini, Andrew Markworth, Ryan Lamb, Jared Kortz, and Adam Norris.

Jackson was a performing member with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps in 2012 and 2013 where he played snare drum.  Additionally, he served as the percussion section leader in 2013.  His drum corps experiences have included instruction from Colin McNutt, Chris Hestin, Chris Garay, Kevin Thorburn, Ben Pyles, Jack Borland, Chelsea Levine, Omar Carmenates, and Tim Wood.

Eric Brown – Lead Battery Tech; Quads

Eric BrownEric Brown is the Associate Director of Percussion at Lambert High School in Suwannee, GA.  Eric received his undergraduate degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Georgia where he studied under Dr. Thomas McCutchen and John Cypert.  He went on to study with Dr. Julia Gaines at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he received his masters degree in Percussion Performance.

As a performer, Eric was a member of Pariah Indoor, Odyssey Percussion Theatre, and Colts Drum and Bugle Corps.  As an educator, he has worked with several programs including the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps, Gateway Indoor, and Forsyth Central High School. In addition to working with Lambert High School, Eric is currently the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Young Harris College in Young Harris, GA.  Eric is proudly endorsed by Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets and Remo Drumheads.

Matt Ponce – Quads

Matt PonceMatt has been an active performer in the Marching Arts since 2007. His performance career includes Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, The Blue Devils, Pulse Percussion, RCC Indoor, and The Blue Devils International Corps.  Matt has experience writing drill, music, and being an instructor for numerous groups including high schools across the Southern California region, the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, and most recently Dark Sky Percussion. He serves as the Co-Caption head for Rancho Verde High School.

Matt currently attends Cal State Long Beach and is pursuing a degree in Music Education.


Josh Howell – Quads

Josh HowellJosh is currently in his fourth year as a Computer Information Systems major at Jacksonville State University where he has performed as a bass drummer and quad drummer for the university’s award winning Marching Southerners.  He currently serves as the quad section leader for this season’s marching percussion ensemble.  Josh was also a member of the WGI Percussion Independent A gold medalist, Brookwood Independent.  Josh has taught percussion at a variety of high schools in Georgia and Alabama.



Will Campbell – Bass Drums

Will CampbellWill Campbell is the Assistant Band Director and Percussion Specialist at Woodland High School in Stockbridge, Georgia.  He is an alumni of Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps as a member (1999 to 2003) and as instructional staff (2004 to 2009).  Mr. Campbell earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Jacksonville State University in 2005 and is an Innovative Percussion endorsed educator.  After college he began his teaching career at Oxford High School in Oxford, Alabama.  Over the past 10 years he has worked with many high schools throughout Georgia and Alabama including several Forsyth County Schools, Jacksonville City Schools, and Muscle Shoals City Schools.  Will has also worked with several independent groups in addition to Spirit, most notably Odyssey Percussion Theatre, Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, and Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps.  Will is happily married to Courtney Campbell and they live in Decatur, Georgia with their cats, Poster and Clark, and dog, Conga.  When Will is not teaching, he enjoys cooking.

Daniel Allen – Bass Drums

Daniel AllenRaised in Carrollton, Georgia, Daniel is currently a student at Jacksonville State University where he studies Music Education. While at Jacksonville State, he has marched with the Marching Southerners since 2012 where he played Cymbals, then moved to be section leader of the bass line from 2013-2015. As well as marching with the Southerners he has been in the Symphonic Band, as a principal player, The Wind Ensemble, The Steel Drum Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Latin Ensemble. Daniel has taught at Cleburne County HS (AL), Temple HS (GA), New Manchester HS (GA), Carrollton HS (GA), and East Coweta HS (GA).

Daniel started his independent marching career with Atlanta Quest. He marched from 2013-2015 where he aged out as section leader of the Bassline. That summer he marched in the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps bassline and received the Crossmen percussion Rookie of the Year award. After marching with the Crossmen, Daniel marched with the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps during the summers of 2014 and 2015, ageing out as section leader of the bassline. While marching, Daniel has had the privilege of studying under some of the Percussion community’s foremost experts such as Josh Robichaux, Clint Gillespie, Dr.Thomas Mccutchen, Tim Greene, Joe Hobbs, Eric Ridenour, Alan Sears, Lee Bedis and Michael Mcintosh.

Daniel is very excited to join the Spirit of Atlanta Educational Staff, and become a member of the Spirit family.

Eddie Capps – Field Cymbals

Eddie CappsReturning for his 12th year with the Corps is Eddie Capps.

Eddie has marched Cymbals at Spirit of Atlanta D&B Corps 1991, 1992, and 1993 then  Eddie taught at Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps in 1994(until inactive), 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. He then returned to Spirit for 2002, 2003, and 2004 (winning Back-to-Back DCI cymbal ensemble championships for the 2003 and 2004 seasons). He then taught at Magic of Orlando for the 2005 DCI Season. He returned to Spirit in 2008 to assist in the reintroduction of the cymbal line after its absence for three seasons. His high school teaching experience includes Choctawhatchee High School 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. His Open Class Experience includes teaching at Odyssey Percussion Theatre in 2005 and 2008 along with Music City Mystique in 2006 (WGI Champions).

Eddie taught cymbals at Georgia Tech and performed with the cymbal line for the NFL Atlanta Falcons drumline in 2008. Eddie moved to Germany and taught with Jubal Drum Corps in the Netherlands in 2012. He just returned home last year and worked with the cymbal line for inaugural season of CVI.  Eddie is also the Author of Cymbal Technique 101, a Zildjian sponsored and endorsed Cymbal Book/DVD Tutorial that is being sold worldwide.

P.J. Wagner – Field Cymbals

PJ WagnerPJ lives in Rome,GA and is a graduate of Pepperell High school. He has performed with Atlanta CV (2010), Shorter Percussion and Shorter University (2011-2013), Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps (2012 & 2014), Frequency Inc. (2012), Double Stop Indoor Percussion (2013), Palmetto Percussion (2014), and was a charter member of CV Indoor (2015) where he performed under the instruction of Eddie Capps. PJ has worked with several band programs across Northwest Georgia and was the cymbal instructor at Alliance Drum and Bugle Corps this past season (2015) helping to lead them to winning Best Percussion in their class at DCA Finals.



Kellen Matthews – Field Cymbals

Kellen MatthewsKellen is from Montgomery Alabama where he attended high school at Alabama Christian Academy class of 2006. Upon graduation he attended Jacksonville State University from 2006-2011. Kellen has served as Jacksonville State cymbal tech from 2010 to the present. Aside from JSU Kellen has also been cymabal tech for Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps (2011, 2012) Frequency (2011,2012) Carrollton High School (2011-2014) Double Stop Indoor Percussion (2013) Chattanooga Independent (2014, 2015) and Atlanta Quest (2014-Present).