XRP 2019 Staff


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ENSEMBLE DIRECTOR

Luke Sesker

Luke Sesker is an Iowa native and Alumni of Iowa State University (Class of ’13) and received his degree in Kinesiology – Health & Human Performance. In February of 2017 Luke graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic. He currently works as a Structural Chiropractor at Restoration Chiropractic in West Des Moines, IA.

He enjoys teaching music in his free time and serves as the Coordinator for the Iowa State University Drumline. His marching experience includes four seasons with Iowa State, serving as snare section leader for three of those seasons. He marched two seasons with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, and two seasons with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, aging out as drumline captain in 2012. His WGI experience includes four seasons with Gateway Indoor Percussion from St. Louis, Missouri – aging out as the snare section leader for the 2013 season.


Design Team

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FRONT ENSEMBLE ARRANGER

Adam Kallal

Originally from St. Louis, MO, Adam Kallal is entering his third year as Percussion Co-Caption head for the Valley High School Marchmasters from West Des Moines. With the Marchmasters Adam teaches, arranges, designs, and composes the music for the front ensemble and oversees electronic sound design and implementation. He also helps coordinate Valley’s middle and high school winter percussion program, and has consulted at several Des Moines area high schools and Iowa State percussion clinics.

Adam has an extensive background in marching percussion, with four years of world class WGI marching experience with Gateway Percussion and three years with the Iowa State Drumline, ending his time with Iowa State as section leader. He is also a member of the Iowa State Percussion Ensemble and Wind Ensemble. Adam is an active member of Iowa State’s chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Band Fraternity. He is currently pursuing a minor in biology and a bachelor in music education from Iowa State where he studies under Dr. Jonathan Sharp.

BATTERY ARRANGER

Andrew Wisner

Andrew Wisner is a percussion educator currently residing in Des Moines, Iowa where he is Co-Caption head of Percussion at Valley High School including the fall and winter programs. In addition to working with the Valley Marchmasters, Andrew is a marching battery technician for the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band, Cyclone Sound (WGI WIO), and has consulted with several Midwestern Scholastic marching ensembles. He also offers private lessons at Uptempo Music in Beaverdale, Iowa and is a local freelance musician.

As a marching member, Andrew has competed in a multitude of percussive mediums on snare drum including DCI Open and World Class with the Colt Cadets and Colts (’12,’13), respectively, and WGI World Class with Dojo Percussion (’13) and Gateway Indoor (’14-’16). Other marching experiences includes Statesmen Alliance Indoor, St. Louis Rams ‘The Herd’ Drumline, and the ISUCF’V’MB.

Andrew is proud to be arranging the battery percussion for Crossroads in the 2019 season.

VISUAL DESIGNER
DRILL WRITER

Tyler Brooks

Tyler Brooks is an up and coming designer in the pageantry arts, and an active percussion instructor in the Chicagoland area. He currently is in his fifth year on staff with the Kaneland High School Marching Knights from Maple Park, Illinois. There, he is responsible for writing the drill and music program for the Band’s field show each fall, a position he has been in since 2014. In 2013, he was a visual instructor. He is also currently the Marching Percussion Director at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois. He is also a visual consultant for schools in the area.

Tyler’s marching experience includes 5 years as a member of Green Thunder Percussion (now Cavaliers Indoor Percussion) from 2011-14 and 2016. There, he played quads and bass drum. From 2012-2016, he was a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, where he played 1 year of euphonium, 3 years of tuba, and bass drum for his age-out year.

Tyler is incredibly excited to be joining Crossroads 2019 for his second season as a visual designer!


Educational Team

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SNARE TECHNICIAN

Melinda Leoce

Melinda Leoce is the Instructor of Percussion and Director of Athletic Bands at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. She earned her Master’s in Percussion Performance and World Music from The Florida State University (2013), and her Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Central Florida (2010). She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Melinda has performed with many of the premier marching organizations in the country including Carolina Crown (snare, 2005-06); Magic of Orlando (snare, 2004); the University of Central Florida Marching Knights (snare, 2003-04); and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagle Regiment (bass and snare, 1999-2003). As a teacher, she enjoys directing and arranging for the Graceland University Marching Yellowjackets and Golden Jackets Colorguard. Prior to her position at Graceland, she worked with many groups including Martinsville Indoor Percussion (2016-17), the Indiana State University Marching Sycamores Drumline (2013-16); and multiple high schools throughout the Southeast United States.

Melinda’s musical areas of expertise include the marching arts, contemporary percussion ensemble, steel pan, Brazilian percussion, music theory/aural skills, and arranging. When she is not at work, Melinda loves spending time with her dog, taking ski trips, cooking, and hosting game nights. She is thrilled to join the Educational Team at Crossroads this year!

SNARE TECHNICIAN

Jesse Backes

Jesse Backes is very excited to join the incredible team at Crossroads Percussion!

Since graduating from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s music education program, Jesse has been a freelance teacher, designer, and clinician for groups around the Midwest. He has been a member of the percussion team at The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps since 2017 and is stepping into the role of battery coordinator for the 2019 season; he has also been the percussion specialist and battery arranger at Marian Catholic High School since 2013.

Jesse previously served on the Phantom Regiment percussion staff as a snare drum technician, battery visual instructor, and associate percussion caption head from 2014-16. In the indoor percussion world, he spent a decade with Green Thunder Percussion and Cavaliers Indoor percussion as a performer (2007-09) and as the battery coordinator (2012-18). Jesse was the percussion director and arranger for Lake Central High School’s fall and winter groups (2017-18), the percussion director and marching percussion arranger at Batavia High School (2013-18), and worked with Northern Illinois University as a marching band instructor (2013-17). As a clinician, Jesse has had the pleasure of working with many fine programs including Ben Davis High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Munster High School, Bloomington High School, and many others. He also adjudicates for the Illinois Music Educators Association.

As a performer, Jesse was a snare drummer with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2011-13. In 2011, he was a part of The Cavaliers Fred Sanford Award-winning percussion section. He spent his final season with The Cavaliers in the roles of section leader and drum sergeant and finished his performing career with the corps as part of their clinic at PASIC in 2013. He also performed as a member of Gateway Indoor Percussion (2011), Colts Drum Corps (2010), and was a part of nearly every ensemble the University of Illinois offered from the Steel Band and percussion ensembles to the Symphony Orchestra and Opera. Jesse has also performed at the Midwest clinic and internationally in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Jesse is proud to endorse Innovative Percussion.

TENOR TECHNICIAN

Brian Reilly

Brian Reilly is originally from Naperville, Illinois and currently lives in Johnston, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in Economics in 2013. Brian's drum corps career began in 2007 with the Madison Scouts tenor line, and ended in 2011 with the Santa Clara Vanguard tenor line. In 2009, he served as the tenor section leader for the Madison Scouts. During his years of drum corps, he was fortunate enough to be instructed by individuals such as Paul Rennick, Roger Carter, Casey Brohard, Ryan Anderson, Paul Weber, Scott Simon, Mike Hodges, and many more.

From 2013 - 2015, Brian was fortunate enough to be a tenor instructor for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, a percussion section with John Mapes, Ian Grom, and Eric Shriver at the helm. In the summer of 2012, he was the tenor tech for the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets. Brian is currently a battery instructor with the Dowling Catholic High School Vanguard out of West Des Moines.

Brian has also instructed for numerous schools in the Midwest, including Kennedy High School – Cedar Rapids, Naperville Central High School, Victor J Andrew High School, and Concord Community High School.

Outside of the marching percussion realm, Brian works in Category Management with a large CPG company. He is beyond excited to continue being part of the Crossroads Percussion staff in 2019!

TENOR TECHNICIAN

Andrew Brogan

Andrew Brogan was born and raised in Blue Springs, MO. Currently, he is attending Truman State University in Kirksville, MO working towards his B.S. in Computer Science.

During his DCI and WGI marching career, Andrew played tenors for Gateway Percussion (2014 – 2016), Madison Scouts (2014), and The Cavaliers (2015). He was fortunate to be educated by many notable instructors, including: Michael McIntosh, Eric Ridenour, Derek Boughey, Brian Graham, Drake Melson, and Justin Lewis to name a few. Andrew worked with Blue Springs High School as a tenor drum and battery technician from 2012 to 2014, and currently works with Blue Springs South High School as a battery technician. He was also the battery arranger and battery technician for Truman State University from 2015 to 2016.

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BASS TECHNICIAN

Nond Sil

Nond Sil is currently a student and educator in the Kansas City area. Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, he is currently working towards his degree in Liberal Arts while teaching several prominent schools in the area.

Before Nond stepped into an educator role, he marched bass drum in several notable ensembles, including The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps (2013), The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps (2015, 2016), Gateway Indoor (2014-2016), and Cavaliers Indoor Percussion (2017). Since his age-out, Nond has worked with several local high schools while pursuing his degree. He is currently an instructor at Blue Springs South High School, and also Lee’s Summit High School.

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CYMBAL TECHNICIAN

Michaela Halvorson

Michaela Halvorson is an alumni of Iowa State University (class of '14). There she received her Bachelor of Science degree in History. At Iowa State, Michaela marched four seasons with the ISUCF'V'MB (2010-2013), serving as the cymbal section leader her last season. At Iowa State, Michaela also performed with Cyclone Sound WGI WIO class ensemble in 2013. Michaela spent three seasons marching competitively in WGI open class, world class and independent A class. Her experience began with the(402) Percussion (2011); followed by DOJO Percussion (2013); and aged-out with Railmen Indoor Percussion (2014) serving as the cymbal captain. After aging out, Michaela continued to march with Railmen Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps (2015-2017) competing in WGI's Winter Winds and DCI's SoundSport competitions.

Michaela enjoyed her first season with Crossroads Percussion serving on the Educational Team as the Cymbal Technician. Michaela also serves as the current Iowa State Cymbal Technician.  Michaela is very excited to see what this next year brings for Crossroads Percussion and the Midwest marching arts!

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FRONT ENSEMBLE TECHNICIAN

Cassie McLaughlin

Cassie McLaughlin grew up in the Chicagoland area, where she first discovered her passion for percussion and the marching arts. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Industry Studies and a Music Minor in Classical Percussion Performance from Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

She has taught the front ensembles of various Illinois and Tennessee marching bands, including Clarksville High School, Plainfield North High School, and Plainfield East High School. She also spent a summer working with the incoming 6th grade percussion students at Traughber Middle School. Her performance experience includes Classical Percussion Ensemble and World Percussion Ensemble at Belmont University (2015 - 2018), Music City Mystique (2015), Colts Drum & Bugle Corps (2013), and Pioneer Indoor Percussion (2010, 2011, & 2013).

When Cassie isn’t performing or teaching percussion, she loves to travel, write, and practice yoga. She has a percussion travel writing website that is a work-in-progress. To find out more, visit peninthepocket.com. Cassie is excited to share her passion and creativity with the XRP Front Ensemble!

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FRONT ENSEMBLE TECHNICIAN

Joshua Link

Joshua Link is a composer, educator, designer, sound technician and percussionist. This is his first year assisting the front ensemble at Crossroads Percussion.

A native of the St. Louis, MO area, Joshua played in the frontline for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps in 2009, 2010, and 2012, serving as subsection leader the last two years. He also performed in Gateway Indoor Percussion's front ensemble from 2010 to 2013, serving as center marimba and section leader the last two years.  During this time, he learned and synthesized percussive styles from such nationally-renowned educators as Roger Carter, Brad Meyer, Jeff Lee, Thom Hannum, James Sparling, Michael McIntosh, as well as countless other brilliant educators. He has also been involved with St. Louis's PIA Gold Medalist group Modulation Z since 2017, and continues to serve as their Front Ensemble Coordinator and Audio Coordinator.

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FRONT ENSEMBLE TECHNICIAN

Patrick Cunningham

Patrick Cunningham is a Composer, Performer, and Educator from Des Moines, Iowa. Patrick received his degrees in Composition and Theory and Percussion Performance from the University of Northern Iowa in 2018.

As a marching performer, Patrick played marimba with the 2017 Phantom Regiment. Patrick has been the head of the Percussion Department at Waterloo-West High School for the past four years. In addition to teaching both the Front Ensemble and Battery, Patrick also writes and arranges for the ensemble. Outside of the activity, he has performed with very diverse groups ranging from large orchestras to jazz trios. Some of these groups include, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony-Orchestra, Wartburg Symphony-Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony-Orchestra, The Heartland Marimba Quartet, The Alex Pershounin trio, FBTQuintet, and The Coppersmoke Trials.

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VISUAL TECHNICIAN

Corey Hatfield

Corey Hatfield was raised in Evansville, Indiana before moving to Iowa. While marching DCI, he was a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps and spent the summer of 2017 with the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps of Concord, California.

He currently attends Iowa State University and is pursuing a degree in music performance. He spends much of his time performing in the university’s large ensembles and various chamber groups, most notably a brass quintet featuring the top players at ISU. Additionally, he teaches private tuba lessons in the Ames area. Corey’s pageantry teaching experience includes groups such as Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps, Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps, Ames High School Marching Band, and the Valley High School March Masters. Outside of music, Corey enjoys drinking good coffee, petting dogs, and rock climbing.

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VISUAL TECHNICIAN

Kellie Simerly

Kellie Simerly is from Omaha, Nebraska where she works as a rehab aid at Athletico Physical Therapy and Nebraska Medicine. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018, where she earned her Exercise Science degree. During her time at Kansas, Kellie was a member of the Marching Jayhawks, serving as a rank leader (2015-2016, 2016-2017) and section leader (2017-2018). Kellie joined the Crossroads Percussion organization as a visual technician during their inaugural season in 2018.

Kellie got exposed to the marching arts when she was only four years old, when she watched Drum Corps International with her father. In 2015, Kellie spent her first of four years with the Phantom Regiment on euphonium, where she aged out in 2018. Kellie served as the movement captain and euphonium section leader during the 2018 season. Upon returning to Omaha, Kellie began working with the Millard West Marching band on visual staff, where they received Best Visual in the State of Nebraska for the 2018 season.

Kellie has been in the performing arts for nearly 18 years. She started off with recreational dancing at the age of 5, and began competitive dancing at the age of 8 and continued until she was 17. She is well-versed with dance and movement from her extensive dance and marching experiences. In Kellie’s free time, she enjoys working out, cooking, and watching Netflix with her dog. She cannot wait to begin her second year on staff with Crossroads Percussion in 2019!