Military Branch: United States Navy
Military Band: United States Navy Band
NEC gave me the tools and confidence to excel in auditions and get better at performing for your peers, and translate those skills into the real world.
Why did you choose NEC?
I grew up in Boston and wanted to stay close to home. NEC allowed me to do that!
What are some of your favorite memories from your time at NEC?
- Going to all the BSO concerts
- Continuously improving with mock auditions
- John Heiss's Ives, Schoenberg, Stravinsky classes
- Playing snare drum in Bolero for the first time
- Playing Dream Theater tunes at my grad recital
Share a story about one of your favorite faculty or studio instructor.
John Heiss's Ives, Schoenberg, Stravinsky class was my favorite. Mr. Heiss made listening to every musical excerpt intriguing as he acted out what was happening, and wrote out the chord progressions on the board as they went by.
What have you been up to since graduating from NEC? What projects have you been working on?
I spent 21 years in the US Navy Band in Washington, D.C. while freelancing with orchestras and performing with my four bands. I have recorded 14 albums, one Blu-ray, and have a YouTube channel with a variety of percussion/drum/band videos. I also wrote a book during the pandemic titled, The Rite of Spring - A Percussionist's Guide. I also produced drum courses that are available on my website along with free PDFs, one titled 13 Strategies in Becoming a Successful Musician.
How have your NEC experiences shaped your artistic approach?
Even though I started to learn about what being a performer was like during my undergraduate studies, it was not until NEC that I learned how to put what I learned into action. Being prepared and on time, performing for your peers, playing new music, and getting good at auditions have stayed with me to this day.
Do you have any advice for young musicians/current NEC students?
- Never stop learning
- Take any gig you can get -you never know what it might lead to - even if it doesn't pay much
- Always play to the best of your ability - you never know who is listening!
Share any other stories about what has inspired you at NEC and beyond.
I can truly say that if I didn't have the experience I had at NEC, I would never have been able to win a job with a world class organization. NEC gave me the tools and confidence to excel in auditions and get better at performing for your peers, and translate those skills into the real world.
Learn more about Chris:
Current Job Title & Employer: US Navy Band (just retired!)
Graduation Year: 1999
Degree: Master’s of Music
Major: Percussion Performance