Meet the 2018 Percussion Instructional Team

Chris K. Alumni, Members, News, Staff

The Madison Scouts are pleased to announce the Percussion Instructional Team for the 2018 season, including:

James Sparling, Percussion Director

Mark Hunter, Battery Caption Head
Jack Borland, Cymbal Instructor and Battery Visual
Christopher Carlin, Cymbal Instructor
Aaron Farris, Bass Instructor
TJ Goss, Tenor Instructor
Ben Heidrich, Snare Instructor
Matthew Howell, Snare Instructor
Josh Nelson, Bass Instructor
Matt Poulos, Cymbal Consultant

Sean Womack, Front Ensemble Caption Head
Justin Lee, Front Ensemble Instructor
Meagan Nelson, Front Ensemble Instructor
Shelby Shelton, Front Ensemble Instructor
Konstantine Vlasis, Front Ensemble Instructor
Grace Welter, Front Ensemble Instructor


Mark Hunter, Battery Caption Head

Mark is an accomplished percussionists, composer, and educator that excels in the marching arts.  A native of Chicago, he began his percussion education under Bret Kuhn.  As a student of James Campbell at The University of Kentucky, Mark performed in a number of the university’s ensembles, including the percussion ensemble that won the prestigious Percussive Arts Society Collegiate Percussion Ensemble Contest two times during Mark’s tenure.  While at Kentucky, Mark was also fortunate to privately study with a number of well-respected guest artists and clinicians, including Anders Åstrand, Nancy Zeltsman, Mark Ford, William Moersch, and Michael Spiro.  Outside of his college studies, he marched snare with The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps (1997-2000), during which time the group was awarded two high percussion awards and a World Championship.  Upon graduation from the University of Kentucky with an MFA in 2004, Mark won an audition with the Tony and Emmy Award-winning show, Blast!, and toured Japan as the show’s marimba soloist.

Mark has previously worked with a number of Drum and Bugle Corps including The Mandarins, The Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta, and the Colts.  Mark is the SAPA Vice President for Music where he has also served as the Percussion Vice President and the Percussion Member at Large.  He has also been a staff member of Music City Mystique since 2012.

Mark resides in Atlanta, GA where, in addition to arranging for many other groups across the Southeast, his writing has been published in the Blue Book, a Tapspace Publication.

Jack Borland, Cymbals Instructor and Battery Visual

Jack has been continuously teaching and building cymbal programs for over a decade.  First teaching with the Crossmen (08-10) as a cymbal and battery visual technician, he then spent three season with Spirit of Atlanta (12-14) where under his direction the SOA cymbal line won three consecutive I&E titles.  He also worked as a choreographer for the corps proper while at Spirit, helping produce bodywork for the show in addition to teaching movement principles and fundamentals.

Jack also work in the indoor space, joining the staff at Music City Mystique in 2010 as a cymbal technician and body choreographer.  He has consulted for various other groups including RhythmX, Centerville High School, Western Carolina University, University of Virginia, and Southwest Missouri State University.  He is also in demand as a visual adjudicator for the various indoor percussion circuits.  He is looking forward to being back with the Scouts!

Christopher Carlin, Cymbals Instructor

Christopher is a graduate from Felix Varela Senior High School out of Miami, Florida. He began marching Cymbals in WGI his senior year with the Independent A Group FIU Indoor Percussion (formally known as Velocity Indoor Percussion), where he marched 2013 – 2015. He instantly fell in love with this unique medium for performing, and began auditioning for world class Drum Corps. He marched Spirit of Atlanta in 2015, and aged out with the Madison Scouts in 2016. Christopher also marched World Class WGI with the ensemble Rhythm X in 2016, and aged out with them in 2017.

Christopher began teaching in 2014 at Coral Reef Senior High School, where he taught Cymbals and Battery Visual for three years. He also taught cymbals at the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2017. The Colt Cadets are and Open Class Drum Corps out of Dubuque, Iowa.

Aaron Farris, Bass Drum Instructor

A native of Richmond, Ky Aaron has been a part of the Marching Arts for ten years. He spent three years with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, and 2 with Rhythm X. Aaron is currently going into his 7th year as the Percussion Caption Head at Garrard County High School in Lancaster Kentucky. He has also spent three years as a battery technician (focusing on bass drums) with the Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps. Currently, Aaron is the Ensemble Coordinator for Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble.

When Aaron is not spending time with the Marching Arts, he is teaching lessons in his percussion studio.  Or, playing music semi-professionally around the Kentucky Tri-State area. Aaron is excited for the 2018 season with The Madison Scouts.

TJ Goss, Tenor Instructor

TJ’s DCI marching career began in 2011 with the Crossmen, followed by a season each with the Blue Knights and the Blue Stars. TJ spent his last two seasons as a member of the Bluecoats. In WGI, he spent time with several groups including Rhythm X, Pulse Percussion, NorthCoast Academy and Imperial Percussion Theater. TJ’s teaching career includes many schools in the central Texas area. Currently he is a percussion specialist in the Leander ISD cluster in Austin. He serves as the battery caption head at Rouse High School. TJ is also a private lessons instructor at Rouse High School and Wiley Middle School. In 2017 he joined the Monarch Independent Percussion battery staff and is now in his second year with the group. Previously, TJ worked on staff with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps percussion section and last summer he began his time with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. TJ is looking forward to his second season working with the Scouts!

Ben Heidrich, Snare Instructor

Ben Heidrich is active performer and educator of marching percussion. He started taking music lessons at the age of 5, and began pursuing percussion when he was 9 years old. Ben’s DCI performance career began in 2014 with Carolina Crown. He then performed in the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps in 2015 and aged out in 2016 with a DCI championship and being awarded visual performer of the year. His indoor experience includes Palmetto Percussion where he served as battery section leader in 2015, and performing with Music City Mystique in 2016. Ben has been taught by instructors including Thom Hannum, Tom Gasparrini, Joe Woody, Roger Carter, Mark Hunter, Ben Lupton and others.

Ben currently resides in Boone, North Carolina where he attends Appalachian State University pursing a degree in Music Industry Studies, with a general business minor. He teaches in the marching band programs at Wilkes Central High School and Avery County High School.

Matthew Howell, Snare Instructor

Matthew Howell, a native of Memphis, TN, has been an active percussionist since 1997. His performance credentials include membership within World Class organizations in both WGI and DCI including Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps and Gateway Indoor. Matthew also performed in the University of Memphis PASIC Marching ensembles in 2004 and 2006.

Matthew has worked with multiple World Class organizations including Gateway Indoor, Tyler Junior College Indoor,  Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, Palmetto Percussion, and most recently served as the Battery Coordinator at Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps.

Matt is currently the Percussion Director for North Shore Senior High School in Houston, TX. He is an active percussion arranger and visual designer/drill for multiple marching bands and indoor percussion ensembles all over the country and in China.

Josh Nelson, Bass Drum Instructor

Josh Nelson has been involved in drum corps for 20 years. He resides in Nashville, TN with his wife Meagan, and their Doberman Obi. Josh holds a Music Education degree from East Tennessee State University where he studied under Dr. Rande Sanderbeck. Josh marched in the Crossmen, Bluecoats and Blue Knights.

For the last 13 years, he has been the Executive Director of Music City Mystique (Nashville, TN) and is currently Percussion director for Stewarts Creek HS.  Josh is excited to get back to work with the 2018 Madison Scouts.

Matt Poulos, Cymbal Consultant

Matt is from Kettering, Ohio and has been involved in the marching arts since 2004. He began playing cymbals in 2005 and quickly grew a strong passion for the instrument. In 2009, Matt was fortunate enough to receive a spot with Rhythm X and continued to be a part of the ensemble until he aged out in 2013. During his time with the ensemble, Matt became a two-time world champion (’09 and ’13), a silver medalist in 2010, and was also the cymbal line section leader from 2011-2013.

In 2010, Matt began his teaching career at Kettering Fairmont High School. He was the cymbal tech there from 2010-2014. Throughout those years, he also provided his cymbal knowledge to other various high schools in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas. In 2014, Matt joined the staff at Rhythm X as a cymbal technician.  During the same year, he relocated to Canton, Michigan and began teaching the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park marching band and indoor drumline.  In 2015, Matt helped bring back the independent world percussion ensemble, Redline.  He is currently entering his third year on staff as the cymbal tech with that organization.  After serving as the head of the Madison Scouts cymbal program for 3 seasons, Matt is excited to continue to build the Madison Scouts cymbal program in this new venture.


Sean Womack, Front Ensemble Caption Head

Sean Womack is an independent percussion educator, writer, and arranger based in Birmingham, Alabama. Currently he is serving as adjunct professsor of percussion at Jacksonville State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the co-founder and former partner of DoubleStop Percussion L.L.C., a percussion education company in Birmingham. Mr. Womack received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Georgia. He is a former staff member of Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps where he served in technian and caption head roles. In addition, he has also served as front ensemble arranger for Music City Drum and Bugle Crops as well as Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps.

Mr. Womack also serves as a member of the Percussive Arts Society Marching Percussion Committee. He holds membership in the Percussive Arts Society, the National Association for Music Education, and the Alabama Music Educators Association and is endorsed by Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums, Adams Musical Instruments, and Remo Drumheads.

Justin Lee, Front Ensemble Instructor

Justin Lee, a resident of La Vergne, Tennessee, currently serves as an active percussionist, music educator, and composer in the greater Middle Tennessee area and beyond. He is currently the Director of Percussion at Page High School in Franklin, Tennessee. Having earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Justin is very passionate about music and music education. Justin has performed as a soloist and as a member of many ensembles in numerous locations across the US and Brazil for concerts, clinics, weddings, dedications, competitions, and more. Justin is also an active member of the professional organizations PAS and NAfME.

Justin is also earnestly involved in the marching activity, having performed with Spirit of Atlanta (2010) and Phantom Regiment (2011-2014). Justin also performed with 8-time WGI World Champions and PASIC clinicians Music City Mystique (2011-2016), acting as a section leader his last 4 years. He now serves as part of the front ensemble instructional staff with the ensemble. In addition, Justin has served in various instructional and design roles for indoor and outdoor percussion ensembles, including his experience writing and arranging music for the lot performances of numerous world class and collegiate ensembles.

Pivotal figures in his education include Dr. Julie Hill, Matt Jordan, Dr. Jonathan Vest, Carlos Johnson, Meagan Nelson, Craig Loeffler, Bret Kuhn, Angelo Outlaw, Andrew Lynge, Dr. John Oelrich, Sean Womack, Dr. Daniel Heagney, Erik Johnson, Dr. Daniel Piccolo, and more.

Meagan Nelson, Front Ensemble Instructor

Meagan Nelson is currently serving her 8th year as director of bands at Spring Hill Middle School in Spring Hill Tennessee. She severed as a front ensemble technician for the world championship group Music City Mystique from 2006-2011, Front Ensemble Caption Head 2011-2015, and Front Ensemble Coordinator from 20016-Present. She helped teach the Phantom Regiment Front Ensemble from 2011-2014 and this is her second year working with the Madison Scouts.

She was born and raised in Lakewood Colorado and currently lives in Old Hickory Tennessee with her husband Josh Nelson, her two dogs Obie Wan the Dobie and Princess Pork Chop, and her 22 year old turtle Slowpoke.

Shelby Shelton, Front Ensemble Instructor

A native of Central Texas, Shelby Shelton has been an active performer, instructor,  arranger, and consultant since 2008. Shelby is currently an adjunct percussion professor at Middle Tennessee State University and assistant director of bands at Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN. In the past, she has worked with many groups across the United States including: the Madison Scouts, the Sacramento Mandarins, Music City Drum Corps, Legacy Indoor Percussion, Blue Springs High School, and Clarksville Audio Theatre.

Shelby began her marching career with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (2010) and went on to perform with the Blue Stars (2012) and Phantom Regiment (2013). In 2012 she began performing with Gateway Indoor, and aged out as section leader in 2014.

Shelby received a Master of Music degree in percussion performance and a post baccalaureate degree in music education from Middle Tennessee State University. Shelby attended Lindenwood University in St.Charles,MO for her undergraduate studies, where she double majored in both percussion performance and English Literature. She has studied with many phenomenal educators including Meagan Nelson, Matt Jordan, Lalo Davila, Neil Larrivee, Michael Mcintosh, Tom Aungst, Jeffrey Barudin, Nathan Ratliff, and many others.

Konstantine Vlasis, Front Ensemble Instructor

Konstantine Vlasis holds a B. Mus. in percussion performance from Tennessee Technological University, and a M.M. in ethnomusicology from the University of Tennessee. His research interests include place and identity studies, ecomusicology, music geography, globalization, and Icelandic culture. Over the past three years, Konstantine has periodically traveled to Iceland to conduct research on a traditional form of Icelandic singing called rímur, and has presented his findings at institutions across the Southeast, and internationally at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

In addition to his work as a scholar, Konstantine remains an active musician and composer. Some of his accomplishments as a percussionist include study of riqq, Balinese gamelan ensemble, solo performances with the Nashville Philharmonic, repeated performances at the International Percussive Arts Society, and serving as timpanist for the 2012 Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. Konstantine continues to perform percussion literature, tours with the folk-rock group, Caney Creek Company, and is excited to pursue future opportunities with the Madison Scouts.

Grace Welter, Front Ensemble Instructor

Grace Welter is an Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Director at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas. This is her fourth year as a Madison Scouts front ensemble staff member. Grace was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Carolina Crown front ensemble.  She also instructed the front ensembles at Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps from 2012-2014 and four-time WGI medalist Spirit Winter Percussion from 2012-2016.

Grace earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the tutelage of Thom Hannum and Ian Hale, and a Master of Education degree from Fitchburg State University.