Notable 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.

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, DMA, 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