The Members of Marimba Sol de Chiapas
John Currey, Director of Marimba Sol de Chiapas, was an original Union Station cast member of Sticks of Thunder and holds a master's degree in percussion performance from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he has taught for sixteen years for the Conservatory's Community Music & Dance Academy. A freelance performer and teacher, John is Percussionist for the Kansas City Brassworks, and for Broken String guitar and percussion trio. He has played percussion and timpani for the Kansas City Ballet Orchestra, and has performed extra timpani and percussion with the Kansas City Symphony. Numerous performance credits include appearances with the Czech National Orchestra, newEar contemporary chamber ensemble, nationally-touring productions of Broadway's Evita and Ragtime, the Chico Symphony, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and American Ballet Theatre. He has played percussion at the Sunflower Music Festival, and served two years as Principal Timpanist for the Western Slope Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado, where he toured with the Kansas City Brass. The Founder and Artistic Director of the Multi-cultural percussion ensemble Echoes of Africa, John's hand drumming has been featured with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, the Westport Ballet, in Master Classes by dance greats David Parsons, Leni Wylliams, Denise Jefferson, and others, and, has earned him a commission to co-write music for the Wylliams/Henry Dance Company. He is Percussionist for the Flamenco dance and music ensemble: Flamenco de los Barrios. A member of the Tri-Percussion group and Music Director and an arranger for the former Marimba Yajalón, he has appeared with the Caribbean Steel pan band, and, has toured throughout the United States, Mexico, and Western Europe. Teaching credits include Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, Calvary Bible College, Pittsburg State University, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UMKC. John presented at and arranged percussion for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians’ 2001 Biennial Conference, and his marimba and djembe resources are published by MUSICA JOROCU. Mr. Currey is a Modern Dance Accompanist at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, and is a Residential Real Estate Market Specialist with Coldwell Banker Advantage.
James Schank received a bachelor's degree from Missouri Western State College in 1986, a master's degree in percussion performance from Drake University in 1988, and a master's degree in conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music in 1996. An experienced veteran of the Mexican marimba, James was a member of Marimba Yajalón from 1993 to 2004 and continues as a member of Marimba Sol de Chiapas. He is a member of the St. Joseph Symphony, and has performed with the Des Moines Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Longmont Colorado Symphony, Chico Symphony, and the Czech National Orchestra. James previously taught percussion at Simpson College and Drake University, both in Iowa, and at the Kansas City, Kansas Community College. Mr. Schank is an active teacher/performer in the Kansas City area, and is a Financial Advisor with Waddell and Reed.
Sam Wisman, the son of a merchant and a classical violinist, is a versatile drummer/percussionist in Kansas City's thriving creative music scene. Originally from Topeka Kansas, he graduated Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance. In addition to founding his own Lennie Tristano tribute band Crosscurrent, Sam is a member of the Westport Art Ensemble, Owen/Cox Dance Group, The People's Liberation Big Band, the Shay Estes Quartet, HoraceScope, the Kerry Strayer Septet & Big Band, the Kevin Cerovich Quartet and the Roger Wilder Quartet. Sam has performed with the Kansas City Symphony, Topeka Symphony, St. Joseph Symphony, Northland Symphony, Kansas City Puccini Fest, Krystle Warren, Bobby Watson, Terrell Stafford, Rob Scheps, the Brad Cox Ensemble, the New Jazz Order, and the Boulevard Big Band. Mr. Wisman has worked as a percussionist in musical theater throughout the Midwest including the Kansas City Repertory Theater, Musical Theater Heritage, Coterie Theater, Topeka Civic Theater, and Colombian Theater. Sam has been involved in premieres by Harry Connick Jr., Stephen Schwartz, Henry Krieger & Bill Russell, and Ahrens & Flaherty. Mr. Wisman teaches drums and percussion at the UMKC Community Music and Dance Academy, and is Instructor of Drumset at Missouri Southern State University.
Laura Lee Crandall is a freelance percussionist performing in a wide variety of styles in the Kansas City area, including orchestral percussion, hand drums, jazz and rock drum set, and solo vibraphone. Laura Lee loves the variety and artistic freedom she has in being a performing percussionist. She has performed with groups such as The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, Yachad, Northland Symphony, St. Joseph Symphony, Fountain City Brass, 312th Army Band, and has accompanied dance classes for the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s AileyCamp summer dance program, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and Johnson County Community College. Laura Lee started subbing with Marimba Sol de Chiapas in 2007, joining the group full time in 2011. Ms. Crandall is a graduate of the UMKC Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in percussion performance, studying with Dr. James Snell and Doug Auwarter.
John Currey, James Schank, Laura Lee Crandall, & Sam Wisman
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