Fred Emory Smith
Music Designer

Fred was trained at Berklee College of Music ‘08, where he received the Doug Timm Award for Outstanding Musicianship in Film Scoring.

Fred’s drum corps experience included performing with the Arizona Academy in 2001, Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets in 2002, and the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2003-2005 as a snare drummer.

Fred currently arranges the percussion and sound design for The Academy and Vessel drum corps, and synth design for the Blue Devils. He also arranged percussion and sound design for The Vanguard Cadets from ’13 to ’22 where they won 5 Open Class Championships. He has extensive experience composing and arranging for various high school marching bands, indoor drumlines, and wind ensembles.

Outside of the marching arts, Fred is an award-winning composer working in various media genres. Fred’s work includes Transformers 3, Need for Speed: The Run, Disney’s Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and CW’s Supergirl.

Another big accomplishment was to work as a music arranger for the 87th Academy Awards and more recently, he won Best Film Music at the 2019 Burbank Film Festival for his feature film, Rock ‘n’ Roll Eddie.

His current projects include working on a Netflix animated series (Go! Go! Cory Carson), a new action feature film (Bad Blood).

Fred resides in Huntington Beach, CA with his wife and 3 children.

Fred Emory Smith

Music Designer

Jim Ragsdale
Percussion Supervisor

Jim Ragsdale began his DCI marching career at The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, where he was a member of the snare section in 1997 and 1998. In 1999 and 2000, he was a member of The Santa Clara Vanguard snare section, serving as section leader in 2000. Jim’s DCI instructional career includes The Santa Clara Vanguard (2001-2005, 2009-2010) and The Cavaliers (2006-2008). From 2005 – 2015 he was a Texas high school band/percussion director at Winston Churchill HS, Alamo Heights HS, and Douglas MacArthur HS in San Antonio. Currently, he works as a real estate consultant in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.

In his free time, Jim enjoys spending time with his wife, Kelly, their two children, Avery and Kaylynn, and their two schnauzers, Charlie and Layla. Additionally, he enjoys being outdoors, exercising, golfing, reading, and watching college and professional football.

Jim is excited about the opportunity to serve The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, and to continue to learn. He hopes to provide a great educational experience that the students will appreciate, remember, and enjoy.

Jim Ragsdale

Percussion Supervisor

Jeff Crowell
Front Ensemble Supervisor

Dr. Jeffery Crowell is an Emmy Award winning percussionist and Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he teaches applied percussion and percussion techniques, conducts the UW-Eau Claire Percussion Ensembles, instructs the Blugold Marching Band Drumline, and leads Jazz Ensemble III, part of the outstanding UW-Eau Claire award-winning jazz area.  Before joining the faculty at UW-Eau Claire, Dr. Crowell taught on the faculties of several colleges, including Purdue University.

Dr. Crowell received his DMA in percussion performance (classical/contemporary) with minor fields in jazz performance and electro-acoustic media from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He is active throughout the United States as a performer, clinician, adjudicator, and educator with performances internationally and nationally including South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

A versatile artist and a champion of diverse music of many genres, Dr. Crowell’s performance and recording credits include such artists as Bobby Shew, Louie Bellson, David Samuels, Henry Mancini, Joan Rivers, Lou Harrison, Kent Nagano, David Garibaldi, Buddy Baker, Glen Velez, and John Bergamo. He has performed at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series, presented and performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention several times, and is in the motion picture “The Majestic” starring Jim Carrey.  Dr. Crowell has over 32 years of experience in the marching arts, having taught numerous award winning high school programs, marched with the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, and has taught on the staffs of other groups including the Tournament of Roses Marching Honor Band.  He has also been a consultant for the Open Class Drum and Bugle Corps River City Rhythm.  He is currently the Front Ensemble Supervisor for the World Class Drum and Bugle Corps The Academy from Tempe, AZ.

He has been active member of the Percussive Arts Society, having served on many PAS Committees including the University Pedagogy Committee, Education Committee, and the Technology Committee.  Dr. Crowell has also served as a member of the Wisconsin PAS Chapter Advisory Committee in addition to having been the Wisconsin Chapter President for several years.

Dr. Crowell is also active in the publishing realm. He has an arrangement, Nanafushi for percussion trio, published through Tapspace Publications, LLC and has had many articles in School Band and Orchestra magazine and Percussive Notes, the journal of the Percussive Arts Society.  The most recent issues has his newest contribution.

Dr. Crowell is a performing artist/clinician for Tama/Bergerault Concert and Marching Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets, Tycoon World Percussion, and REMO Drumheads.  He is also an Ensemble Artist and Educator Network member for Black Swamp Percussion.

Jeff Crowell

Front Ensemble Supervisor

Cole Williams
Percussion Caption Head

Cole Williams is a composer, arranger, and educator from Guthrie, Oklahoma. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Oklahoma State University, and a Master of Music in Music Performance from the University of Arkansas.  Currently, Cole is the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  In this capacity, he works with the Sound of the Golden Hurricane Marching Band, directs the TU Percussion Ensemble, teaches private lessons, and instructs a Percussion Methods class for Music Education majors.

A diverse arranger noted for his musicality and professionalism, Cole has written for distinguished groups across the country.  Working with top wind arrangers in the activity, his work has been featured by winning ensembles in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

As a performer, Cole has had the privilege of playing in several respected ensembles at Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas. He has performed at the Oklahoma Music Educator’s Association Winter Convention, the College Orchestra Director’s Association Convention, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Collegiate Band Directors National Association Convention, and the Japan Band Clinic. Professionally, Cole has performed as a member of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Fayetteville. In addition to his activity in the concert percussion realm, Cole is also an avid marching percussion enthusiast, and spent two summers with The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps (2012-2013) as a quad player.

Cole is a sought after educator in the marching percussion realm. He is the Executive Director of Resistance Indoor Percussion and the Battery Coordinator for Collinsville High School. In addition to these roles, Cole has served as a Percussion Instructor for several high schools, including Alma High School, Guthrie High School, Stillwater High School, and Yukon High School. He has also served as the Caption Head of the Oklahoma State University Winter Drumline, a group designed to help high school and college students polish their rudimental skills. From 2014-2016, Cole spent three seasons as the Assistant Percussion Caption Head/Tenor Technician for the Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps. Most recently, Cole was the instructor for the University of Arkansas Razorback Drumline.

Cole Williams is a Vic Firth Educator, Pearl/Adams Regional Educational Artist, Zildjian Education Artist, a Remo Education Artist, and a member of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS).

Cole Williams

Percussion Caption Head

Taylor Poole
Battery Coordinator

Taylor Poole is a graduate from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA) earning her Master’s degree in Orchestral Percussion Performance under the guidance of Dr. Stuart Gerber and Charles Settle.  Beginning her undergraduate career at the University of South Carolina with Dr. Scott Herring, she ultimately finished her degree at Georgia State University in Music Management with an emphasis in Marketing.  

She currently serves as Battery Caption Head at Civitas Independent, helping guide the ensemble to a second place finish in Independent Open Class at WGI for their 2022 season with the organization winning the music caption overall.

As a performer, she was an active member of the marching percussion world, performing in both Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International.  Taylor was a member of the tenor lines of both Spirit of Atlanta (2011-2013) and Gateway Indoor (2013-2014) under the instruction of Chris Hestin, Ben Pyles, and Michael McIntosh respectively.  She is an active educator working in the Southeast US with various programs, most recently working with TL Hanna High School (Anderson, SC), Kell High School (Marietta, GA), and Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps (Daphne, AL).

Excited for the upcoming season, she is looking forward to returning to The Academy for a second season this summer!

Taylor Poole

Battery Coordinator

Matt Egeler
Front Ensemble Coordinator

Matthew Egeler is a percussionist, educator,  and composer from Detroit, Michigan. He discovered his passion for the marching arts in highschool, and soon went on to participate in WGI with Farmington United Percussion (2010) and Eastside Fury (2011-2014). Matthew also performed in the front ensemble with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (2012 & 2014) receiving a DCI bronze medal.

He is an active marching educator in Southeast Michigan, working with multiple high schools and WGI ensembles including Milford High School (2011-2020), Hazel Park High School (2014 & 2015), Southgate High School (2022-present), and Novi High School (2021-present) where he was a part of winning the Outstanding Percussion Award in MCBA in 2022.

In WGI, Matthew has taught several ensembles, including  Ferndale Independent Percussion, (2014-2017), Dakota High School (2014-2015), Eclipse Percussion (2018), and was a founding member of Divergent Performing Arts, as the Front Ensemble Caption Head (2019-2020). He has also worked with Southgate Winter Percussion (2022 – 2023), and is the Co-Director and Arranger for Novi Winter Percussion (2021-present).

In his spare time, Matthew can be found improving his arranging and composing skills, and hopes to one day become a full time composer for film and game music.

Matt Egeler

Front Ensemble Coordinator

Aaron Tucker
Audio Coordinator

Aaron Tucker is a percussion educator, designer, and audio specialist living in Plano, Texas. He studied Percussion with an emphasis in Jazz Performance at East Carolina University. He has had the honor of learning from some world class educators, including Jonathon Wacker, Bill Bachman, Tom Hurst, John Campese, Kevin Shah, Wayne Viar, and Will Goodyear. He has performed all over the country with ensembles ranging from drum corps, to early jazz bands, and has had the opportunity to perform in Lincoln Center, and record for Sesame Street.

Throughout his career, Aaron has worked in various capacities with percussion ensembles such as Palmetto Percussion, and drum corps such as Spirit of Atlanta , Blue Knights, Madison Scouts, and the Academy. In 2018, Aaron helped to guide Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps to a DCA class A world championship and high percussion award. He is also the founder and former director of Alchemy Independent Percussion Ensemble. Aaron maintains a studio of private percussion students, and consults and designs for music programs all over the country. He has had the pleasure of working with BOA Grand National semi-finalists, DCI finalists, and WGI World Championship Finalists.

When he isn’t teaching or writing, Aaron performs with a variety of musicians as a freelance drummer. He resides in Plano, Texas with his wife, Ellen and his furry companions, Niko and Ollie.

Aaron is proud to endorse Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Ludwig drums and Musser mallet equipment.

Aaron Tucker

Audio Caption Head

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