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Thom Hannum, Percussion Director/Arranger

Thom Hannum is entering his sixth year as Director of Percussion for the Crown Drum Corps. He will share the duties of arranging for and directing the Crown percussion program with Percussion Caption Supervisor Travis Peterman and Front Ensemble Supervisor/Arranger Jim Ancona.

Thom Hannum has long been regarded as one of the nation’s foremost percussion arrangers, instructors, and clinicians having presented numerous seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Thom teaches at the University of Massachusetts where he serves as the Associate Director of the Minuteman Marching Band, and the Director of the Marimba Band and Marimba Ensemble program. In 2009 Mr. Hannum was recognized by the university, receiving the prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award. He is a product consultant and clinician for the Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company and Vic Firth Sticks & Mallets where he has developed several Signature Series drumsticks and keyboard mallets. Thom is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society where he serves on the Marching Percussion Committee. 

Thom Hannum is also known for his work with the DCI World Champion The Cadets and Star of Indiana, and is a member of the design team for the Tony and Emmy Award Winning show Blast! In the summer of 2001, Mr. Hannum was selected for induction into the DCI Hall of Fame, and in 2008 he was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame. Mr. Hannum is also a member of The Cadets and the Crossmen Hall of Fame.

Travis Peterman, Percussion Caption Supervisor

Born and raised in Newark, Delaware, Travis began his performing career with the All-State Junior and Senior Bands. Quickly finding a passion for the marching arts, he went on to perform with the Reading Buccaneers, United Percussion, Blue Stars, and Rhythm X. 

He began his drum corps teaching career with the Cadets2 as the snare technician and battery choreographer, remaining with the corps for three years. Travis previously held the position of the director, program coordinator, and battery arranger for Cadets Winter Percussion during it’s three year tenure. Currently, Travis is the caption supervisor at Carolina Crown and the director for the George Mason University Indoor Drumline, where he also is the program coordinator and battery arranger. In DCA, he is the battery arranger and director of percussion for the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps. Travis has been involved with the current WGI group Imperial Dynasty in various roles since 2004, currently as the battery arranger. He is also an accomplished adjudicator with circuits such as SCPA and USBands. 

Travis has studied under many accomplished instructors, including Tom Aungst, Tim Jackson, Jim Ancona, Joel Hilbert, Tim Fairbanks, Darick Kelly, Rich Hammond, and Chris Feist. Outside of the percussion world, Travis holds an A.A. in Criminal Justice from Delaware Tech, a B.S. in Behavioral Science from Wilmington University, and an M.Ed. in School Counseling (also from WilmU).  

Jim Ancona, Front Ensemble Supervisor/Arranger

Jim Ancona has over 25 years’ experience teaching and arranging for world class drum and bugle corps. Most recently he served as a percussion consultant for The Cadets (2010-2015), as the percussion caption head for The Cavaliers (2006-2009), and as the front ensemble instructor for Santa Clara Vanguard (2000-2004). He served as a percussion consultant for Carolina Crown in 2005. Jim has earned many distinctions in DCI, including Fred Sanford trophies with three different corps (Star of Indiana, Santa Clara Vanguard, and The Cadets) as well as World Championships with The Cavaliers and The Cadets.

Jim is very excited to get an opportunity to work with Thom Hannum and Tom Aungst. Thom Hannum and Jim have worked together on many projects over the years including Brass Theater, Blast, Star of Indiana, Boston Crusaders, The Crossmen, and most recently, The Madison Scouts (2010, 2011). Jim marched in the front ensemble of the Cadets in 1989 and 1990 during Tom Aungst’s first two years as caption head. 

Jim Ancona is starting his 21st year as a faculty member at the University of Delaware. As an Assistant Professor of Music he serves as the Assistant Director of the Blue Hen Marching Band, Director of the Basketball Pep Band and Co-Director of the Symphonic Band. James received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Master's Degree in Performance from Indiana University where he was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate.

Jim has several works published by Tapspace Publications, including the popular texts, Up Front: A Complete Resource for Today’s Pit Ensemble and Up Front Etudes. He is a Signature Artist for Innovative Percussion, Inc and an endorser and clinician for Pearl Drums and Adams Percussion, Remo, Inc., and Avedis Zildjian Company.

Sean McElroy, Ensemble Coordinator

Sean McElroy grew up in southwest Denver, Colorado in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, a time where the state was a dominant force in the progression of the marching percussion activity. Through his involvement with Bear Creek High School, Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, and Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, Sean was exposed to a multiple of percussion greats such as Ralph Hardimon, Mike Nevin, Dave Marvin and other incredible educators. Being exposed to such a strong and healthy percussion community in CO, he cultivated a deep passion for percussion and visual arts by pursuing a busy teaching career as soon as his time as performer in the activity was concluded. 

After many years of teaching and designing for high schools and independent groups around the Denver area, Sean became the visual designer for the Blue Knight’s Percussion Ensemble.  Sean served in this role along with show coordinator for the seasons of 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013.  The ensemble was awarded 3rd place at the WGI National Championship in 2007, and won the Fan Favorite award in 2011 with the memorable show entitled Physical Graffiti.

In 2004, following his age out season of drum corps with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, Sean was invited to teach the bass drum section of the Cadets for the 2004 season.  Sean would remain the bass tech with the Cadets through the summer of 2010.  In 2011, Sean joined the battery staff at Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, serving as the bass tech for 2 seasons.  In 2013, Sean joined the percussion staff at Carolina Crown, a position he has held since.  In total, Sean has 14 consecutive seasons of experience teaching DCI percussion.

In 2008, Sean moved to Canton, Michigan to become the percussion director at the highly acclaimed Plymouth Canton High School.  He would work there for a 6 years during which the percussion would make an appearance in WGI World Class final in 2009 and Open Class Finals in 2013. In 2014, Sean moved to Fort Mill, SC where he was the percussion director at Nation Ford High School from 2014 to 2016.  

Sean is now the visual designer at George Mason University Indoor Drum Line, along being the drill writier for multiple WGI percussion groups throughout the areas of Colorado, Michigan, and South Carolina. He is an active visual judge in the indoor drum line activity and spends his free time traveling, riding his bike, and snowboarding in current hometown of Silverthorne, CO.  

Dan Schack, Battery Manager

Hailing from Connecticut, Dan has been involved in the marching arts since the age of fourteen. An active designer and educator for competitive music ensembles all over the country, Dan specializes in battery percussion, movement, and choreography. He currently serves as the Artistic Director for Connexus Percussion, the Artistic Designer for George Mason University,and the Battery Co-Manager/Choreographer for Carolina Crown.

Outside of his musical endeavors, Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Connecticut. He is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Wright State University, pursuing a Master’s degree in English Literature with a certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Andrew Rubano, Quad Designer

Andrew grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Jackson Memorial High School where he joined the marching band his junior year playing quads. Following high school he continued to pursue performing in the marching arts. In 2008 he joined the Reading Buccaneers for two seasons, winning high percussion both years. He aged out with the 2011 DCI World Champions The Cadets after two seasons as a member of the quadline.

Since aging out, Andrew earned his Bachelor's Degree from Rutgers University in 2012, majoring in Music Performance and Education. That same year he took part in the inaugural season of Cadets 2 as the battery coordinator and managing the percussion section. He also served as the Visual Caption Head in the 2014 inaugural season of Cadets Winter Percussion, winning the WGI Open World Championships. His experiences allowed him to contribute to design nuances, choreography and writing exposed musical segments. He continued working with CWP and Cadets 2 through the 2015/2016 seasons while arranging marching percussion scores for New Jersey schools and producing music for modern dance. 

Recently, Andrew completed his Masters Degree in Music Performance from the University of Delaware where he served as the Graduate Assistant of Athletic Bands. His studies focused on orchestral, world percussion and composition. Currently, Andrew teaches Elementary Band in Brick, NJ while also serving as the arranger for the Rutgers University Drumline. This will be his third season with Carolina Crown. 

Frank Cummings, Snare Tech

Frank was born and raised in southern New Jersey, just thirty miles outside of Philadelphia. It was in the fourth grade when he discovered his love for drumming. In 2003, Frank was introduced to the marching arts, joining the Penns Grove High School marching band.

Frank began marching drum corps in 2008 with the Reading Buccaneers, winning two DCA titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Frank  lived out his dream, joining the snare line at Carolina Crown. He continued marching Crown through 2012, eventually aging out with the Bluecoats in 2013. Along with his passion for drum corps, Frank has extensive WGI experience, marching with United Percussion in 2011 and Rhythm X in 2012, 2013 and 2014, aging out as the ensemble section leader.

After moving to Ohio, Frank has had the privilege of working with many great programs in the Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati areas. He is currently the battery caption head for the BOA finalist William Mason High School marching band and serves as a battery technician for the Lebanon band program. In 2015, Frank joined Rhythm X as a snare technician, where he continues to teach. Frank was the snare technician for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2015 and 2016. 

Frank looks forward to continuing his educational role as a snare technician with Carolina Crown as well as George Mason University.

Mike Windish, Snare Tech

Mike Windish began his marching career spending four years with the University of Delaware Marching Band, graduating in 2006. During that time he also performed with the Reading Buccaneers and Aftermath Percussion. For the past 10 years, Mike has worked as a premier percussive educator in the Mid-Atlantic region. He has lent his knowledge to groups such as the Penn State University Indoor Drumline, Field of View Indoor Drumline, the University of Delaware, Carolina Crown, and various high schools in the area. This will be Mike’s first year on staff with George Mason University. Outside of the activity, Mike lives in Delaware and works as a real estate agent.

Michael Tant, Quad Tech

Michael has been involved in marching percussion for the past 10 years in Ohio as well as North Carolina.  Michael has marched world class ensembles such as Carolina Crown and Rhythm X, and began teaching Rhythm X after his age out in 2015.  Other world class groups Michael has taught include The Crossmen, and Oregon Crusaders.  In 2017 Michael traveled abroad to teach with European X, a percussion ensemble residing in Hilversum, NL.  Michael currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Brendan Murphy, Quad Tech

Brendan Murphy began his drumming career with the McLean High School Marching Band in McLean, VA. He then went on to attend the University of Delaware where he studied civil engineering and played in the marching band. During that time he performed for the Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps as well as United Percussion.

Brendan began his teaching career as a quad technician for Cab Calloway High School. He then taught at Upper Darby High School where he played a role in Upper Darby’s gold-medal finish with PSO, which earned them a promotion to World Class in 2014, where they placed tenth. Brendan then continued teaching quads at Cadets Winter Percussion as well as Cadets2. There he also worked as the battery and hornline choreographer including a 1st place DCA World Championship in 2016 as well as winning the caption of High Percussion. He has been the program coordinator for the  WGI PIO group Imperial Dynasty since 2017.  He is a percussion and visual adjudicator for USBands and is also currently the Visual Caption Supervisor for the Bushwackers. Brendan joined the percussion staff at Carolina Crown in 2017 and is excited to return for the 2018 season. 

Murphy has studied under and worked with many accomplished instructors including Jim Ancona, Jeff Bickford, Zach Schlicher, Johnny Trujillo, Chris Feist, Rich Hammond, Dave Dumont, Travis Peterman, Thom Hannum, Bob Cizmarik, and Mike Nevin. He currently lives in Delaware and works as an Engineering Teacher at MOT High School.

Aaron Alcine, Bass Tech

Aaron Alcine is a marching arts technician from the northern New Jersey area. Specializing in bass drum, Aaron has taught at various high schools including Elizabeth High School, Watchung Hills Regional High School, and John P. Stevens High School. Most recently, Aaron serves as the Battery Arranger for Elizabeth High School and Bass Technician at John P. Stevens High School. Along with teaching, Aaron has spent a lot of time immersed in the marching arts. Beginning his performing career in 2013, Aaron began marching with the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps. The time spent at the Bushwackers led him to gain the skills needed to progress and march Carolina Crown in 2016. Aaron has also spent numerous years marching indoor percussion. His indoor experience includes Field of View Indoor Percussion, Cadets Winter Percussion, and United Percussion. Aside from teaching, Aaron is currently attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Having aged out in 2017, Aaron is excited to return to Carolina Crown as an instructor for the 2018 season.

Zach Opdenaker, Battery Tech

Zach Opdenaker is a former performing member of Carolina Crown, having marched snare in both 2015 and 2016, most recently aging out as the battery section leader. He currently resides in Newark, Delaware where he attends the University of Delaware and is pursuing a major in Health and Physical Education, also drumming with the Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band in his time there. Zach’s other marching experience includes Cadets2 2014, and Cadets Winter Percussion 2014-2016. Zach is excited to work with such an accomplished team and is ecstatic to continue to be able to be involved in the Crown organization.

Marcus Neudigate, Front Ensemble Coordinator

Marcus is a recent addition to the Cedar Park High School staff and has been an active performer and educator in the Kansas City, MO area for several years.  He recently served as the Drumline Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Central Missouri.  In addition to his work at UCM, Marcus has worked with many groups in the Midwest as an arranger, educator, and electronic designer.

Marcus has a B.M. in Percussion Performance from the University of Central Missouri, as well as an M.A.T. in Education.  Marcus was a member of the Phantom Regiment Front Ensemble (2011, 2012) and became the section leader in 2012.  He received the Zildjian player of the year award in 2011 and was also nominated for the Mark Glasscoe member of the year award.  Marcus served on the percussion staff for the Sacramento Mandarins (2014 – 2016), Gateway Percussion (2015 – 2017), Carolina Crown (2015 - present), and is currently on staff at Monarch Independent.  Marcus is a proud Innovative Percussion educator. 

Alex Kluttz, Front Ensemble Tech

Alex Kluttz is a percussionist and educator in the Washington D.C. area. He is currently the band director at Key Middle School in Springfield, VA. He has taught percussion at multiple high schools in the Washington, D.C. metro area including Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA and Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA. Alex is a North Carolina native and prior to moving to Virginia he taught percussion at several high schools in the greater Greensboro area including Northwest Guilford, Eastern Randolph and Central Davidson High Schools. While under his instruction, the groups were highly successful competitively. 

His pageantry experience began with DCI in 2008 when he joined Carolina Crown and completed five tours with them, aging out in 2012. Upon aging out, he taught the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps for two years. In the summer of 2014 he coordinated the front ensemble for the Scouts. He is entering his fourth year on the front ensemble staff of Carolina Crown. 

Alex is also and active teacher and consultant in WGI. He is currently the front ensemble coordinator for George Mason University Indoor Drumline. Prior to working at GMU, he coordinated the front ensemble at United Percussion in Camden, NJ. 

Alex completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studied percussion with Dr. Kristopher Keeton. He has also studied with John R. Beck and Peter Zlotnick.  At UNCG he received a Bachelors of Music in Music Education and Music Performance.He was awarded with the Hester Undergraduate Music Scholarship and is an Eagle Scout. While in his undergraduate studies, Alex performed with the UNCG Wind Ensemble at the College Band Directors National Association convention in 2013.

Annie Chernow, Front Ensemble Tech

Annie Rae Chernow is an active educator and performer currently living in the DFW area. Annie received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Delaware and a Master's Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has studied with many esteemed percussionists including Harvey Price, Jim Ancona, Orlando Cotto, Iain Moyer, Tim Broscious and Gene Koshinski.

Annie is an active performer, having performed with numerous organizations including The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Quey Percussion Duo,  the University of Delaware Wind Ensemble, and the University of Minnesota Duluth Graduate Percussion Group. Outside of the classical percussion world, Annie was a member of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons, as well as the Cadets Winter Percussion in their inaugural 2014 season. During her time as a member, the 2013 percussion section was awarded the prestigious Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion section, and CWP was awarded the gold medal in WGI Open Class. Annie was also named Cadet of the Year in 2014.

In addition to her performance career, Annie has taught percussion sections throughout the country including Unionville High school in Pennsylvania, Grand Rapids High School in Minnesota, as well as both Wakeland High School and Centennial high school in Texas. 

Annie is currently the Percussion Director for Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas where she works with the marching band, percussion ensembles, and middle school percussionists. Annie is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion and is very excited to begin her third season teaching the front ensemble at Carolina Crown!

Amanda Loeffler, Front Ensemble Tech

Amanda Loeffler is a part-time percussion educator and fulltime digital marketing specialist in St. Louis. She has been a front ensemble instructor for numerous high schools throughout the Midwest and South including George W. Mason, Bellbrook and Rockwood Summit High School. 

She started her drum corps career with Memphis Sound from 2004 to 2005, and continued with Carolina Crown from 2006 to 2008. After aging-out of drum corps, she taught Memphis Sound (2009), Forte (2010), and served on the Admin Team at Carolina Crown in 2011. From 2012 to 2016, Amanda taught the front ensemble at the Madison Scouts. 

Her WGI marching experience includes Gateway Indoor (2006-2008) and Rhythm X (2010). As a teacher, she has worked with Gateway Indoor as a Front Ensemble Tech (2011-2012), Front Ensemble Coordinator (2013 to 2015) and Assistant Director (2016).

Amanda is excited to be back for her 2nd season teaching the front ensemble at Carolina Crown.

Amanda is proud to be sponsored by Innovative Percussion.

Brendan Walter, Front Ensemble Tech

Brendan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan where he studied with Dan Maslanka and Mark Stone.

As a member, Brendan marched Eastside Fury (2009-2011) and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (2011, 2013, 2014).  During his time at The Cadets, the corps won The DCI world championships and the percussion section won the Fred Sanford award for the best percussion section. 

Brendan has taught at numerous schools across the state of Michigan, including Plymouth Canton Educational Park, Troy Athens High School, Ferndale High School, and Southgate Anderson High School. He has also taught at independent groups such as Ferndale Independent Percussion, North Coast Academy, and Redline Percussion.  

Brendan is currently the band and choir director at Southgate Anderson High School in Southgate, Michigan. This is his second year at the helm of the Titan Band, and this will his second season with Carolina Crown!

Alex Hastings, Front Ensemble Tech

Alex Hastings is an educator, adjudicator, and clinician in the Kansas City and Central Missouri  area. He is currently the principal percussionist in the University of Central Missouri's wind ensemble, where he is finishing a Bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance. 

Alex has performed with the Madison Scouts ('14), The Cavaliers (15-16'), and Gateway percussion (14-16'). He has been on the percussion staff at Blue Springs high school for the past four years and is on staff at Gateway Percussion for the upcoming season. 

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Carolina Crown, Inc. is a 501(c)3 approved charity by the Internal Revenue Service. Our mission is "Developing Lifelong Excellence in young people". We achieve this through performance opportunities and a commitment to education in the performing arts with core values of Integrity, Commitment, Respect and Excellence.

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