Rochester Crusaders Announce Additions To Percussion Staff

| |

Crusaders director, Michael Linton has been faced with the task of searching for two qualified arrangers over the past few weeks after the sudden loss of Rick Rogers. Rick was the Percussion Arranger, member, friend, and drum corps dad. He was the man with a smile! Orion Wilkerson (Percussion Caption Head) states that, “this season is dedicated to Rick Rogers, period.”

After taking some time to recover from our loss, Linton moved quickly weighing the options for what would be the best for the Corps. This is where he found two very qualified individuals. Brian King and Gifford Howarth.

BRIAN KING started his drum corps career in 1978 as a member of the Fairport Firebirds. He was asked to join the Empire Statesmen in 1983 after completing his obligations to the Firebirds that year by Vince Bruni who was working with Firebirds. Brian marched 1983 and 1984 with Statesmen and in 1985 headed back to the junior corps circuit with The Northmen. He was one of ten snares that year!! Brian went back to The Statesmen in 1986, where he met and worked with Tim Stodd, and continued there until 1997. He was asked to join the percussion staff in 1988 and remained on staff for the rest of his time with Statesmen. He was part of a DCA Championship corps in 1991, 1994 and 1997 as well as won High Percussion Awards in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1997. Brian elected not to march in 1998 but return to The Statesmen in 1999 as his final year on the field. Recently he was an integral part of arranging and producing the 25th Anniversary Statesmen Alumni Show in Rochester this past summer. He is now very excited to be working with The Rochester Crusaders and has had the opportunity to arrange some of their percussion music for this season.

All during his tenure with The Statesmen and thereafter, Brian has been associated with some of the best marching percussion programs in the NYS Field Band Circuit such as Webster, Medina, Hilton and Eastridge. Brian has also written percussion music for these bands, and was part of a BOA Championship with Webster in the early 1990s.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and also holds a Certificate in Educational Leadership from The University of Rochester. He is currently employed as a band director at Greece Athena Middle School in Greece, NY. He is married with two children, Amara and Michael. His wife of 15 years, Jennifer, was in the Empire Statesmen Color Guard for 10 years. Brian also keeps busy by playing baritone saxophone in a Rochester-based funk band called The Half Ton Horns, where 5 other members are drum corps alumni. The life-long friends he has made in drum corps are second to none.

Dr. GIFFORD HOWARTH has presented clinics and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. He has presented at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, dozens of MENC All-State Conferences, several PAS Day of Percussion events, and at different Universities throughout the world. The focus for most of his sessions are geared around percussion education. He is known as a mallet percussion specialist with a method book published through Tap Space Publications (, a series of signature marimba mallets through the Vic Firth Company ( and several solo mallet arrangements.

Gifford recently received his DMA degree from Michigan State University, in East Lansing, MI. His Bachelors degree is from Ithaca College, his Masters is from Kent State University, and as a percussionists he had the privilege to study with Gordon Stout, Ted Rounds, and Bill Molenof.

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Bloomsburg University located in Bloomsburg, PA. He is also an Instructor of Percusssion at Penn State University in State College, PA. His previous teaching duties included teaching at Michigan State University and Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. Gifford is active in the marching percussion genre through drum corps, indoor percussion, and marching bands throughout the US. He has been on staff for the Cadets, the Syracuse Brigadiers, Capital Regiment, and the Rochester Patriots. Gifford was a member of the Rochester Crusaders during a period of time in the 1980’s He is a WGI national percussion adjudicator along with several state-wide marching band and indoor percussion circuits.

Gifford is a National Yamaha Performing Artist, a Signature Artist for the Vic Firth Company, and a clinician for the Zildjian Cymbal Company and Evans Drumheads.

Press is encouraged to contact David Hobart for further information. 917 528 9340.

Posted by on Saturday, February 14th, 2009. Filed under DCA News.