Skyliners Names Tom Siegfried Percussion Caption Head

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skyliners_100x100The Skyliners Drum & Bugle Corps is proud to announce the Percussion Staff for the 2015 season.

With Percussion Arranger Eric Boylan returning to the Skyliners for a second year to arrange and design their 2015 percussion show, the Skyliners promise another entertaining and crowd pleasing show! The Skyliners are excited to welcome Thomas Siegfried as Percussion Caption Head, a position he has held previously with the Skyliners. Dr. AJ Merlino joins the Skyliners as Front Ensemble Technician/Coordinator. Patsy Vankirk, Mike Nederhood, Brendan Carter, and Cecily Siegfried are Skyliner Percussion Technicians.

Thomas Siegfried is pleased to be back as the 2015 Percussion Caption Head for the Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corps. Thomas, a graduate of the Buffalo School of Performing Arts with percussion as his major has worked with Robbie Robison, Dan Delong, Rob Patterson, Billy Kaufman, John Reilly, Chris Feist and a host of others.

Thomas has been involved in the Drum Corps activity for well over 25 years and has marched with the Reading Buccaneer, the Westshoremen, the Lehigh Valley Chieftians, the Buccaneer Alumni Corps, the Emmaus Sentinels, and the Reilly Raiders.

He has served as Caption head and Percussion Arranger for the New York Skyliners, the Westshoremen, the Lehigh Valley Chieftain, the Emmaus Sentinels, the Buccaneer Alumni Corps, Wilson Central and Southern Junior High Schools, Muhlenburg High School and Kutztown High School. Thomas presently is the Assistant band director and percussion arranger for the Kutztown Senior High School. In addition, Thomas has done work for the undergraduate music program at Kutztown University and most recently has been involved with the graduate program at Indiana University. In 2008 he was given the honor of being inducted into the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

Helping to get the Skyliners back on the field in 2014 was a deep heartfelt accomplishment and a very proud moment in his Drum Corps career. Thomas is looking forward to a positive year filled with many more accomplishments for the Skyliner organization.

Mike Nederhood, Tenor Technician, grew up in Olympia, WA, and has lived and taught in both Seattle, WA, and eastern Pennsylvania. Mike has been playing all areas of percussion for 25 years. He has been teaching, arranging, and composing for 15. Mike moved to Pennsylvania to be in the heart of the drum corps activity, and he had the privilege of winning three world championships with the Reading Buccaneers, where he marched tenors and played in the pit. Mike is very excited to be in his second year as tenor technician with The Skyliners. During his first year with Sky, he was the DCA tenor individual champion. Mike credits much of his success to the fantastic instruction he has received, especially from his private instructors, Dan Adams, David Reeves, Frank Kumor and Will Rapp.

Mike has been a member of the University of Washington marching band, the Seahawk’s Blue Thunder drum line, and the Seattle Sounder’s Soundwave band; he has performed at Lincoln Center, Benaroya Hall, Super Bowl XL, the Rose Bowl, and on a tour of China.

Some highlights of his teaching career include winning two championships as director of the Whitehall indoor percussion ensemble, a silver medal finish as tenor tech with the North Penn Marching Knights, a gold medal finish as a percussion instructor with the Warwick marching band, and winning the Puget Sound Festival of Bands as pit tech with the Kamiak Show Band. Mike currently works with Lake-Lehman high school and the Wilkes University Marching Colonels.

Mike holds an AA degree from Seattle Central Community College and a BA in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington. He also attended Kutztown University in music performance.

Dr. A.J. Merlino received his DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) Degree from UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) in 2014. He received his MM (Master of Music) Degree at UNLV in 2012, and his BA (Bachelor of Arts in Music) in 2010 at Kutztown University. A.J. is the author of The Percussionist Bodybuilder: Optimizing Performance Through Exercise and Nutrition. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society; National Academy of Sports Medicine; and Performing Arts Medicine Association College Music Society.

A.J. Merlino’s intense and versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist for the past decade. His playing has taken him around the world including Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. He has also collaborated with famed percussionists Michito Sanchez, Pepe Jimenez, Christian Tamburr, Bernie
Dresel, and Kurt Rasmussen. Merlino has worked as music director, composer and performer for many projects held at The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas as well as the production show Resurrecting Sin City, which premiered in Las Vegas and traveled to Adelaide, Australia in 2012. As a clinician, he has presented to numerous colleges, high schools, festivals and has worked for the International House of Blues with Kurt Rasmussen.

A.J.’s Professional Employment resume includes being Instructor of Percussion Studies, Kutztown University, 2013-Present; Yocum Institute for Arts Education, Percussion Instructor, 2014-Present; Reading Music Foundation Instructor, Percussion Instructor, 2014-Present; Mexican Marimba Ensemble Director, New York Youth Musicians, 2014-Present; Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corp, Front Ensemble Instructor/Coordinator, 2014-Present; ESF Camps, Lead Instructor of Performing Arts, 2014; Front Ensemble Instructor, Kutztown University Marching Unit, 2014; Chamber Music Instructor, Kutztown University Chamber Festival, 2014; Percussion Graduate Assistant, UNLV, 2010-2013; Studio Manager, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA, 2007-2010; and Conference Associate, Mostly Marimba Corporation, Neptune NJ, 2007-2010.

AJ’s Endorsements include: Yamaha Percussion, Innovative Percussion, Paiste, Remo, DrumTacs, and Meinl Percussion. His Select Performance Experience, just since 2008, includes percussion and instructional performances from Cirque du Soleil’s One Night for One Drop, Percussionist, at Bellagio Las Vegas, 2013 to Percussion Festival, Percussionist and Instructor, Cordoba in Argentina, 2012. While the entire list is too long to include here, AJ Merlino’s Press Kit can be viewed at

Patsy Vankirk, Snare Drum Technician, has been teaching percussion for 30 years. She began teaching at Shikellamy High School upon graduation from there. Other high schools she has worked with while living in Pennsylvania were Southwestern and Bloomsburg high schools. She also marched with the Reading Buccaneers from 1998 through 2000. She then moved to Rochester, NY and began performing and instructing with Empire Statesmen from 2002-2010.

Patsy is currently in charge of the battery at Victor High School, Victor, NY. During her time there, the marching band has won 7 New York championships. She is also involved in the Victor Indoor Percussion Ensemble (VIPE) , who are a 4-time State Champion. In 2010, “VIPE” were a Scholastic A finalist at WGI championships in Dayton, Ohio.

Brendan Carter, Bass Drum Technician, has been teaching percussion at local high schools since 2008. He began teaching at Lake-Lehman High School under the direction of former band director Greg Riley. While at Lake-Lehman Brendan also began working with the indoor percussion ensemble. During his time at Lake-Lehman the percussion consistently placed in the top 10 in TOB and in 2009 Lake-Lehman won the TIA Scholastic Middle School Percussion Championship. Since then Brendan has worked with Wyoming Area High School from 2009 to present, Pittston Area High School 2010-present, as well as Dallas High School 2013-present. In 2010 Brendan became a Vic Firth educator.
At Wyoming Area, Brendan directs the Indoor Percussion ensemble which has won the 2012 Scholastic Novice Percussion and the 2012 Scholastic Middle School Stationary Percussion Championships in TIA. While at Pittston Area, the percussion has consistently achieved the high percussion award in the Independence Open conference at Cavalcade Championships. Brendan is currently the marching band director at Pittston Area High School.

Cecily Siegfried is returning to the Skyliners as Cymbal Technician. Cecily Siegfried brings to the Skylines years of experience in performing and teaching bands and drum corps. She will be lending her talents once again to our cymbal line. Cecily has been a performance and musical educator for numerous Drum Corps and countless bands and indoor units including the Westshoremen, Buccaneers, Chieftains, Governor Mifflin, Parkland, Cumberland Valley, Blue Mountain, Whitehall and Northern Lebanon to name a few.

As a 5 time DCA world champion and former member of Up with People, she brings the work ethic, knowledge and experience to encourage members to strive to exceed their own expectations. She was a member of the Macy’s All Star Drum Corps in 1991, 1992 and 1994, and was inducted as an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2005, Cecily became the first inductee of the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

Keep up-to-date with us via our website, and the Skyliners Drum & Bugle Corps Facebook page at . For more information, please contact Adam Burdett at info [at] MarchSky [dot] org.

Posted by on Friday, January 30th, 2015. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.