Raiders Announce 2018 Percussion Staff

We're extremely pleased to introduce our percussion staff for the 2018 season:

Anthony Matthews - Battery Arranger/Caption Head
Damien Escarpeta - Assistant Caption Head
Glenn Dawson - Front Ensemble Arranger
Jason Crafts - Percussion Consultant/Tenor Tech
James Hagan - Front Ensemble Supervisor
Richard Kelly - Front Ensemble Instructor
Abbey Polash - Front Ensemble Instructor
Ryan McCoy - Front Ensemble Instructor/Sound Engineer
Bob Lane - Front Ensemble Instructor
Darrick Kelly - Snare Tech
Steve Nixon - Bass/Visual Tech
Beth Murphy - Tenor Tech
Kirby Marino - Tenor Tech
Alex Hartley - Cymbal Tech
Mike Sasson - Cymbal Tech

Anthony Matthews - Battery Arranger/Caption Head

Anthony Matthews is thrilled to join and lead the Raiders Percussion staff as Arranger and Caption Head for their 2018 Drum Corps International (DCI) season. Anthony, also known as “Mudfoot”, began his career in the marching arts in 1990, playing marching snare for the Middle Township High School Marching Band.

During high school, and after graduation, he went on to march with the Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps for 2 seasons, playing marching snare under the leadership of Chet Teitsworth, Christopher (CJ) Johnson and Bill “Woody” Woodward. He studied Jazz Performance at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia Pa., and completed an intensive, full-time program at The Collective, NYC (The Drummers Collective), receiving his Diploma in “All Phases of Percussion”.

Anthony began his teaching and writing career during high school, as a percussion instructor at Millville High School in Millville NJ. From that point on, he has been Caption Head of, and written field percussion scores (battery percussion) for, every school he has taught, including Millville, Middle Township, Pitman, Arch Bishop Ryan, Bensalem, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Buena; and has run Indoor percussion programs at Middle Township & Bensalem High Schools. Anthony also currently serves as a Percussion Adjudicator for The National Judges Association

Damien Escarpeta - Assistant Caption Head

Damien is beyond excited to be returning for his 8th season with the Raiders and his 2nd season as the Battery Supervisor. He initially received his musical education at Stevenson High School. In 1988, he began marching with C.M.C.C Warriors Drum & Bugle Corps on
trumpet/Soprano. The next year, he marched snare drum for the New York City Lancers. From 1990-1991, he marched Cymbals and Snare for Dutch Boy in Kitchener, Ontario; they became DCI Finalists. In 1992, he was back at the New York City Lancers as Section Leader of the Snare Drum Line. From 1993-1995, he marched Jersey Surf, and was also the Section Leader for their Snare Line. He returned to marching in 2007, marching snare drum with Bushwackers Drum & Bugle Corps.

Damien began his instructional career in 1994 as Percussion Caption Head at Edgewood High School. He went on to teach at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Drum & Bugle Corps, Middle Township High School, Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps, Hamilton High School, Cadets of New York Drum & Bugle Corps, Passaic High School, Bushwackers Drum & Bugle Corps, East Coast Indoor Percussion (which he established & was also their first director), Marist College and, currently, the Raiders; winning many percussion awards, trophies & Championship titles along the way.

Glenn Dawson - Front Ensemble Arranger

Glenn is honored to assume the position of front ensemble arranger for the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2015, Glenn received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Rowan University. His
Drum Corps International experience comprises performing with both the 2013 Spirit of Atlanta (under Erik Kosman, Steve Rodgers, and Omar Carmenates) and the 2014 Bluecoats (under Brad Palmer, Ryan
Kilgore, Craig Loeffler, Erik Kosman, and Tom Rarick). He has also composed and taught for several competitive bands in the southern New Jersey area.

Jason Crafts - Percussion Consultant/Tenor Tech

Jason Crafts has been involved in the marching arts for nearly 28 years as a percussion performer,educator, adjudicator, and arranger . He started his love of battery percussion as a 4 year member of the Middle Township High School Marching Band (tenors/snare drum). Middle Township is a 15-time T.O.B. Atlantic Coast Championship winning band (current record). Jason continued with his passion by becoming a highly successful instructor for various high school percussion units throughout the years, most notably Middle Township High School ,  and is currently the Percussion Caption Head for Cherokee High School (Marlton, NJ 2008-2012/2017-present). Beginning in 2014, Crafts became a Percussion Adjudicator for The National Judges Association, one of the largest judging associations for Performing Arts in the United States. He has provided percussion adjudication for several championship events.

James Hagan - Front Ensemble Supervisor

Mr. Hagan brings almost 20 years of drum corps playing experience, and 22 years of marching band, drum corps, and indoor percussion teaching experience to The Raiders. He has been a member of several nationally known performance ensembles, including the Harrisburg Westshoremen, the Reading Buccaneers, the Bushwackers, the Empire Statesmen, and the Hawthorne Caballeros. He has been a member of two DCA World Champion drum and bugle corps and five DCA High Percussion winning
ensembles. In 2005 while also the Timpanist for the corps he was the Front Ensemble Coordinator for the Hawthorne Caballeros. He was the Front Ensemble Coordinator for Windsor Regiment Drum and Bugle corps in their inaugural campaign in 2011, and served as the Staff Coordinator, Front Ensemble Coordinator, and Logistics Coordinator for the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps during the 2012 campaign.

In 2014 he was a percussion consultant for the Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2015 he served as the Front Ensemble Coordinator for the Sunrisers and in 2017 he assumed the duties of Front Ensemble Coordinator with the Connecticut Hurricanes and still maintains a working relationship with that corps. In 2016 he served as a Front Ensemble Technician for the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps. Some of the award winning high school and independent ensembles that he has worked with as Front Ensemble Coordinator include Shikallemy HS, Lower Dauphin HS, Franklin HS (Baltimore, MD), Haverford HS, Aftermath Percussion, Chesapeake Indoor Percussion, and Liberty HS (Eldersburg, MD, where he currently serves as Front Ensemble Coordinator). He served as Percussion Caption Head for the 2007
Hatboro-Horsham marching band. He is currently a resident of Reisterstown, MD and is pursuing a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Clarion University.

Richard Kelly - Front Ensemble Instructor

RJ is a graduate of the University of Delaware where he majored in Computer Science. While there, he was a 4 year member of the University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hen Marching Band in the front ensemble from 2009-2012, learning under Jim Ancona, Mike Zellers and Andrew Veit. He also marched with Imperial Dynasty Percussion from 2010-2013 in the front ensemble. From 2012-2014, he played marimba with the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum & Bugle Corps, where he learned under Marc Garside and Rob Ferguson.

For the last 5 years, RJ has been teaching and writing for various programs in Delaware. He was the percussion director at William Penn HS (2013-2014), a front ensemble tech for Cab Calloway School of the Arts (2016), and the current front ensemble caption head for Middletown HS (2014-present); helping all of these groups to numerous accolades and also several promotions to higher classes. Since 2017, he also has been on the front ensemble staff for Imperial Dynasty Percussion.

Abbey Polash - Front Ensemble Instructor

Abbey Polash resides in Windber, PA where she first became involved in the marching arts in 2008 as a front ensemble member. She has continued her love of music by being a Percussion Instructor for various high schools in her area, and currently works with the Windber Area Performance Ensemble’s Front Ensemble. She has aided the group in achieving various awards, along with a second place finish at Championships.

 Abbey recently graduated from Seton Hill University with a degree in Music Therapy, and a focus on Percussion.  Outside of being a percussion instructor, Abbey is working to build her own Music Therapy Practice, reading, and helping others.  She is always excited to help people learn, and express themselves through the music that they perform.  Abbey looks forward to the opportunities, and the growth the season will bring with it.

Ryan McCoy - Front Ensemble Instructor/ Sound Engineer

Ryan started his marching band career as an alto saxophone player in his freshman year at Cumberland Regional High School. Has done three years of indoor drum line in high school, two years in the front ensemble and one on marching cymbals. After high school, he started marching with United Percussion on Synth from 2013 to 2017. Further, her was a member of the Fusion Core organization in 2017 as a Vibe Player. Ryan has started his first year of teaching front ensemble at East Coast Percussion. He's excited to also be a member of the Raiders instructional staff. 

Bob Lane - Front Ensemble Instructor

Bob Lane received his Bachelors of Music in Percussion from Seton Hill University in 2007. While at Seton Hill University, he studied under Tom Milchick and RJ Heid. He was a member of Jazz Ensemble, Westmoreland Symphonic Winds, and Percussion Ensemble. After graduation, he became the Band Director for the Shade – Central City School District from 2008-2014. He served as the districts high school band director, marching band director, drama advisor, and chorus director. During this time he served as percussion instructor for the following ensemble; East Allegheny High School Band, Penn Trafford High School Band, Steel City Ambassadors Drum and Bugle Corps, Greater Johnstown Area Indoor Percussion, Synergetic Percussion Ensemble, and Windber Area School District Marching Band. Currently, Robert is the band director at Windber Area School District where he oversees percussion ensemble, marching band, indoor winds, pep band, middle school concert band, high school concert band, and various indoor programs. He is an active member of PASIC and PMEA. Robert has also served as guest conductor for various PMEA and Somerset County festivals in Pennsylvania. His awards include multiple Region 11 TOB best percussion awards , two times bronze medalist at the Atlantic Coast Championships with Windber and Shade-Central City , and several top 10 finishes with both the Shade and Windber Area Bands.  He currently resides in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 

Darrick Kelly - Snare Tech

A New York City native, Darick Kelly is a music educator in the New York City Department of Education. He has taught and arranged for numerous marching bands and indoor percussion units in the NYC metro area, including Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington, NY, Port Chester High School in Port Chester, NY, Passaic High School in Passaic, NJ and has given numerous clinics including the PAS Stony Brook University Day of Percussion, PAS Connecticut Day of Percussion, and the NYC Next Wave Percussion Clinic, alongside Blue Devils Percussion Director Scott Johnson.

Darick served as the snare technician for the WGI PIW United Percussion in 2009 and 2010, and was battery coordinator and percussion caption head for The Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Mr. Kelly has also arranged musical works for the New York Knicks, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, NFL sponsored United Way, and designer Tory Burch. He has also collaborated with one of Europe's premier electronic music DJs, Thomas Gold, whose set was performed in NYC and LA. Most recently, he collaborated with Capitol Records Artist Little Daylight on their album, "Hello Memory".

 He began his marching career in 1997 and completed the final 2 years of his drum corps career in the snare line with The Blue Devils in 2004 and 2005. Outside of the marching activity, Darick received his BM in percussion performance from SUNY Purchase College and in 2008, he received his MA in music education from New York University, where he performed with the NYU Symphony Orchestra, and the NYU Percussion Ensemble and has performed some of the world’s greatest concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in NYC with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. In 2007, he performed the New York Premier of Luigi Morleo's "Nessun Popolo Oppresso 10."

Steve Nixon - Bass/Visual Tech

Steve began his marching career in the Norristown High School Percussion Ensemble, after graduating
he went on to perform with United Percussion from 2010-2012. In 2011 he had the privilege of
performing with Carolina Crown where he aged out of dci. Steve has also performed with the Reading
Buccaneers (2010/2013), Imperial dynasty(2013) and taught a number of high schools through the years.

Beth Murphy - Tenor Tech

Bethany Murphy grew up in the South Jersey area. Started playing drumset at 10 years old. She was a member of the Cherokee high school drumline throughout high school, and played tenors. Beth is an Alum of the Raiders, marching in the summers of 07 and 08, playing tenors. Additionally, she played drumset for United indoor line in 2010. Once out of high school, she's taught private percussion lessons and is also drumline tech for both Cherokee
high school and Methacton high school. Currently, Beth is a sound engineer and pursuing a career in live performance drumming for an alternative pop band.

Kirby Marino - Tenor Tech

Kirby Marino is a percussion educator, adjudicator, and arranger in the New Jersey area. He started his marching career at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg New Jersey. He then went on to march with
the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps from 2012-2013 and Fusion "Core" in 2015. In 2016, Kirby aged out with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. He also has marched WGI with United Percussion from 2014-2017.

Kirby has taught and arranged for numerous high schools in the New Jersey area but is currently the battery coordinator and arranger for Phillipsburg High School. He also was the quad tech at the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps this past season and will be teaching there again this summer. He also is the quad tech at East Coast Percussion. He is very excited to join the Raiders staff for this upcoming season!

Alex Hartley - Cymbal Tech

Alex is in his second year on staff with Raiders. He is currently living in Denver, Colorado and instructing Rise Percussion Cymbal Line. Alex has previously marched with groups with a history in the North East U.S. such as Penn State Indoor, the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps, United Percussion, and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. He is excited to become the Cymbal Coordinator for Raiders in his second season teaching and wants to help the group reach new heights

Mike Sasson - Cymbal Tech

Mike Sasson is no stranger to the Raiders organization, having marched with the cymbal section in the 2015.season. In addition. Mike was a member of East Coast Percussion's inaugural year (2015) as a marimba player. He has also been a member of the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band (2014-2017) serving as section leader his final 2 years, United Percussion (2016-2018) serving as section leader his final year, and the Oregon Crusaders (2017). An active instructor and arranger in the New Jersey and Delaware area, he has worked with schools including Pennsauken High School, William Penn High School, and Ramapo High School. His previous instrcutors include: James P. Ancona, Brian Schell, Rachel Boatwright, Stephanie Sofield, and DJ Carty. Mike is currently completing his bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Delaware.