Blake Tyson has a multifaceted career and is known as a teacher, performer and composer. Since 2001 he has been a member of the faculty of the University of Central Arkansas. His international performances have taken him to Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. He has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Northwest Percussion Festival, the Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar, and at numerous Days of Percussion throughout the United States. He has also performed as a percussionist with many orchestras throughout the United States and is currently principal percussionist with the Conway Symphony Orchestra. He received the DMA degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. While there he was also awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate. He holds a MM from Kent State University and a BM from the University of Alabama.
Blake Tyson has composed many works for percussion, including Vertical River, Anubis, A cricket sand and set the sun, A Ceiling full of Stars, and Cloud Forest. His teachers include John Beck, Michael Burritt, Larry Mathis, and Peggy Benkeser. He has also studied derabucca with Halim El-Dabh and has devoted intensive study to El-Dabh's unique notational system for the instrument. He has his own series of marimba mallets with Pro-Mark, and is a clinician and concert artist for Dynasty Percussion and the Zildjian Company.
Percussionist with the New World Symphony,
Miami Beach Florida
Jay is currently a percussionist in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. He holds a Bachelors of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich. Jay also received a Masters Degree from DePaul University under the tutelage of Marc Damoulakis and Eric Millstein. Jay has performed as an extra with The Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, and the Erie Philharmonic.
Jay grew up in Marietta, Ga where he attended Pope High School and studied with Paula Williams. Other teachers include Mark Yancich, Charles Settle, Tom Sherwood, Tim Adams, and Conrad Alexander.
Assistant Director, North Gwinnett Middle School; Percussion Director, North Gwinnett High School
Mr. McRae began teaching in 1999. He attended the University of Georgia for his Bachelors degree in music education, and he earned his Masters degree in Educational Leadership form Walden University. Mr. McRae began his teaching career in Houston, TX. Since that time, Mr. McRae has taught at Collins Hill High School, North Gwinnett High School, Lanier Middle School and North Gwinnett Middle School. Mr. McRae has been and active percussion educator throughout his teaching career. Prior to teaching in public schools, he was both a member and instructor of the nationally recognized Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps. He has also been a clinician, arranger and adjudicator for percussion programs in Georgia, Texas, and California. Mr. McRae has been the recipient of the NBA Citation of Excellence, and he has also been active in commissioning new music for percussion ensembles. Bands and percussion ensemble under Mr. McRae's instruction have consistently earned superior ratings at contests and festivals, and he is also an Educational Artist for Innovative Percussion.
Assistant Music Director,
High Meadows School
Mr. Wright earned his Bachelor’s in Music Education in 2008 from Georgia State University. A euphonium player by trade, Mr. Wright held the principal euphonium chair from 2006-2008 at GSU. Prior to coming to Georgia State, Mr. Wright spent two years studying music education at Columbus State University.
Mr. Wright has served as the Visual Caption Head at Pope High School in Marietta, GA since 2007. He is currently the visual coordinator for Pope’s indoor drumline. Prior to coming to Pope, Mr. Wright was a member of the nationally recognized and DCI finalist Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps.
Mr. Wright is currently in his third year teaching elementary music and band at High Meadows School in Roswell, GA
Ms Williams, Co-Founder and Director of the Atlanta Percussion Group, has been the Percussion Director at Alan C. Pope High School since 2002 and Music Director at High Meadows School since 2005. Ms Williams is also Artist in Residence at Emory University and acting Percussion Director of the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony.
Paula Williams has a degree in percussion performance and music education from Georgia State University. Ms Williams has been fortunate enough to study percussion and timpani with Jack Bell, Mark Yancich, and Cloyd Duff. She has performed with regional orchestras and is an extra with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. As an arranging and composition student of Robert W. Smith's she generated several publications for Warner Brothers Music.
Ms Williams has taught band and percussion the the Atlanta area and the Southeast for almost twenty years. She spent fifteen years in the drum corps activity, first as a member then as an educator. She has ten years of experience in the WGI indoor percussion activity, culminating in 2006 with Pope's bronze medal placement in the Scholastic Open Class at World Championships. Her private students consistently rank as principal players in district and all-state bands, and several have gone on to study percussion at major conservatories.