Notable Percussion Alumni

The NIU Percussion Studio has a long history of great students who have gone on to do great things after graduation. Here are just a few notable examples, and if you are an alum we’d love to hear about what you’re up to.

Name Position
Krissy Bergmark, class of 2010 Percussion instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College
Andrew Bliss, class of 2004
  • Director of percussion studies at University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • Founder Nief-Norf New Music Festival
James Campbell, B.M. 1976, M.M. 1978
  • Director of percussion studies at University of Kentucky
  • PAS and DCI Hall of Fame
Shawn Davis, class of 2004
  • Cyber security expert
  • Drummer
Brandon Estes, class of 2006
  • Founder/director Chicago Bears Drumline
  • Assistant director of bands at Naperville Central High School
Eric Ganci, class of 2002
  • Criminal state/federal attorney
  • Percussionist
Kirk Gay, class of 1991
  • Percussionist/timpanist at Walt Disney World Company
  • Instructor/coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, University of Central Florida
Dean Gronemeier, D.M.A., class of 1985 Associate dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
Tom Hipskind, class of 1994
  • Freelance musician
  • Professional drummer, Hamilton - The Musical
Angela Kepley, class of 2007
  • President of the Illinois Percussive Arts Society
  • Instructor at Moraine Valley Community College
  • Owner, Kepley Studios
Gary Kvistad, class of 1977
  • Blackearth Percussion Group
  • Owner/founder Woodstock Wind Chimes
Kerry O’Brien, class of 2006
  • Lecturer in music history at University of Washington
  • Musicology and percussion faculty at Cornish College of the Arts
  • Former lecturer at Yale University
Tim Rush, class of 2012 Director of Wisconsin Youth Symphony Steel Pan Ensembles
Patrick Schleker, class of 2004 Timpanist - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Raychel Taylor, class of 2017
  • Founder, Girls March Summer Music Camp
  • Percussion instructional team at The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps
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