Michelle Lewis is very passionate about music education, empowering students to create, and strengthening community through Community Drum Circles. She has recently accepted a teaching position with Bloom Elementary School where she teaches Music and the Performing Arts. In the fall of 2018, Michelle began her appointment on the Music Education Faculty at Indiana University Southeast teaching elementary music methods and percussion methods. In addition to these responsibilities, Michelle is the Founder and CEO of DrumSmart LLC where she maintains an active private percussion studio in which her students have achieved many honors, facilitates community drum circles, provides percussion workshops, and teaches percussion ensemble.
Michelle is excited to be starting her PhD at the University of Kentucky where she will be focusing her research on Project-Based Learning in Music. Michelle received her Bachelor of Music Education from Morehead State University, a Masters in Percussion Performance from Rutgers University, a Rank I in Orff-Schulwerk from the University of Kentucky, and an administration certificate from the University of Louisville. She has studied percussion extensively with Frank Oddis, She-E Wu, and Dennis DeLucia.
Ms. Lewis is a Freelance Percussionist and Teaching Artist who travels across the United States and Canada to further her mission that drumming heals the mind and the heart. She has performed with a variety of ensembles including, but not limited to the The Athena Brass Band, Fountain City Brass Band, CenterStage, Rutgers Wind Ensemble (Mark Custom Recordings), Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminar, Percussive Arts Society International Indoor Drumline Champions of Morehead State University, Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, Victoria Symphony in Victoria, Texas and toured with a Texas Country-Rock Band in the Dallas and Houston area. In 1996, she place 2nd in the Percussive Arts Society International Marimba Competition. She currently performs with the Voices of Kentuckiana, The Brass Band of Louisville, After 5 Rock Band and is a snare drummer with the Louisville Pipe Band.
Ms. Lewis is published in the GIA Publication, “Orff Schulwerk-Reflections and Directions” for her implementation of Orff in Band. Michelle has written articles for the KMEA Bluegrass Music News and is a pioneer of creativity in the performing ensemble classroom using Orff inspired methods. She is currently creating elementary education materials that incorporate drumming and academics that will be published in 2019. In addition to these publications, Michelle loves to help others find their voice whether it be through facilitating drum circles, presenting at state music conferences, or teaching students to create original music.
She is a member of the Kentucky Music Educator's Association, National Association for Music Education, Kentucky Orff-Schulwerk Association, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, The Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, Percussive Arts Society, and the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild.
In addition to these memberships, Ms. Lewis serves on the Executive Advisory Board for Composers and Schools in Concert, is a volunteer outreach member for the Jazz Education Network, is an education endorser for Salyers Percussion in Sugarland, Texas, was awarded the 2017 Kentucky Music Educator's Citation for Service Award , Spring 2018 Spotlight Award from the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement and the Fall 2018 Music Educator Innovative Award from the Give A Note Foundation.
Cole Gregory is from Louisville, Kentucky, where he is a Sophomore Music Education/Performance double major at the University of Louisville. He is a 2016 graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School where he received the distinguished John Phillips Sousa Award. He is a 2016 winner of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, and performed live on NPR’s From the Top National radio broadcast in February of 2016. Cole is a four-time KY All State Band member spanning Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band and All State Percussion Ensemble on various instruments. A 2015 graduate of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts in percussion, Cole, regularly serves in the GSA community at speaking events and helps with audition processes. He performs regularly with several ensembles at the University of Louisville including: The Cardinal Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Combos, Steel Pan Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble. Cole has a versatility in many different genres including: Jazz, Gospel, Hip-Hop / Rap, R&B, Latin, Funk, Rock, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, and Classical genres. In addition, he has participated in numerous festivals, competitions, and masterclasses throughout the state of Kentucky including: All-State, Various KMEA events, Various performances nationwide, Honor Band of America, Honor Jazz Band of America, Kentucky PAS Collegiate Snare Competition (Placed 2nd and 3rd overall out of 20), Music For All Percussion Festival (twice), Black Swamp 2016 1st place National Percussion Ensemble Competition with YPAS, masterclasses and performances with Professor Michael Burritt, Dr. Julie Hill, Professor Jim Campbell, Dr. Chad Floyd and clinics with David Maslanka and John Mackey. Cole is available to teach lessons to a wide age range of students from K-12. Cole currently is working beside Tim Buell, a Vic Firth Educator, Clinician, and Drummer based out of Nashville who does Drum Set Transcriptions for Vic Firth, Drumeo, and many other huge drum networks on Youtube. Cole works at DuPont Manual High School as an assistant Percussion Tech year-round for the Crimson Sound Marching Band. He is offering lessons on all percussion instruments including: Drum Set (all genres), Vibraphone (both jazz and classical), Marimba (2 mallet, 4 mallet), Timpani, Snare Drum, Marching Percussion, Xylophone, Bells, Accessory Concert Technique (Triangle, Tambourine, Bass Drum, Crash Cymbals), Steel Pan, and Latin Percussion.
To contact Cole for lessons please leave a voice message or text message to
502-494-7110 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanner Leonardo currently studies under Dr. Greg Byrne at the University of Louisville. His studies seek a degree in Music Performance with a focus in percussion, graduating in the Spring of 2018. Previously, Leonardo has served as Section Principal in the University of Louisville Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra. Other performing ensembles he has achieved include the Commonwealth Brass Band, Louisville Philharmonia, Orchestra Enigmatic, Music City Drum & Bugle Corps, Walden Theater Opera Co., and the Kentucky Intercollegiate Band. He has performed within ensembles at both the World Association of Symphonic Bands & Ensembles Conference in San Jose, California and the Sandy Feldstein Percussion Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana. Leonardo also currently serves as the Head Percussion Instructor at North Oldham High School in Goshen, Kentucky and Grayson County High School in Leitchfield, Kentucky, having individual students place in All District and All State Ensembles. With this, multiple groups under his direction have received distinguished and first-place accolades within different events. Leonardo also is an Educational Endorser of Salyers Percussion, which will support his efforts to conduct the KMEA District 5 All-District Percussion Ensemble.
CHARLES AMEWUDAH originally from GHANA, is a professional certificate and first degree holder in education from the University of Education in Winneba, Kumasi-Ghana. He was a leader and instructor of Borborbor music of a student group between 2011-2012 at the University of Education in Winneba.
Charles was a member of a blessed cultural troupe in Accra Ghana and has also been part of a church choir playing drums and teaching songs since 1995. In addition to these teaching and performing experiences, he is a regular participant of the Louisville Community Drum Circle at DrumSmart.
Brittany Franks has lived in Louisville all of her life. She is one of the original members of the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists when it was formed in 1993. While in the Leopards, Brittany had the honor of performing at the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort, the Kentucky and Indiana Music Educator's Association Conferences, the Atlanta Band and Orchestra Convention, and the Percussive Art's Society International Convention in Orlando, Florida.
After her time with the Leopards, Brittany continued to hone her percussion skills performing in ensembles at the Youth Performing Arts School and Bellarmine University. During her high school years, Brittany was a member of all-county and all-state bands and performed with the YPAS Percussion Ensemble at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference.
Beginning in 2004, Brittany served as assistant director for the Louisville Leopard Percussionists until 2017. In the fall of 2009, she helped create the experienced group, Leopard Lite. Since its inception, Leopard Lite has doubled in size and is comprised of children from approximately 20 different elementary schools in the Louisville-Metro area.
Since leaving the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, Brittany has started performing again. She can be seen playing percussion and drum-set in musicals in the Kentuckiana area. She is excited to be joining the DrumSmart LLC family and begin this new chapter of her life.
Nate Dobas is a drummer of many interests and tastes. By day he educates the young minds as a choir/general music teacher at the middle school level. By night, he runs Dobas Music Studios. This is an academy of private teaching studio, specializing in drums, recording and video production.
Whether it’s with a jazz combo, a theatre pit, and funk band or a rock band, Nate has played with countless regional acts opening for such bands as Dick Dale, The Breakfast, and John Fogerty to name a few. Nate also holds drum chairs for Leila and smooth jazz artist Funkee Boy (both Billboard artists). Nate also plays with Unchained and Halen…2 of the premier Van Halen Tribute bands in the northeast. Nate was 1 of 2 finalists from CT for the 2006 Drum Off. He also placed 3rd at the New Hampshire Drum Festival in 2015.
Forever a student of the instrument, Nate has studied with Dom Famularo, John Riley, Fran Merante and currently studies with Gary Chaffee. “All these experiences have given me a sound that is ever evolving”.
In addition to these performance experiences, Nate is also involved in the world of live sound mixing. He has won “Best Sound Design” at Broadway world.com 3 years in a row for his work with Pantochino Productions.