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About Freedom

Freedom Percussion is a WGI independent open performing arts group based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Freedom aims to provide youth activities that enhance personal growth and development through excellence in education, entertainment, and competition. Those who perform with Freedom get the opportunity to excel musically, grow mentally, and create lasting relationships with their peers.

Recent News


Mike Davis

Michael Davis (also known in the pageantry arts circles as Mike D) absolutely adores his position as director of Freedom Percussion. Michael is entering his 28th year in the percussive arts. His groups have won numerous awards for marching band and indoor percussion. Michael is also a music judge for Drum Corps International (DCI) and has judged marching band contests and Indoor percussion contests all over the United States.

Michael is very grateful for the Freedom Percussion teaching staff that volunteers it's countless time and efforts to teach kids that come through Freedom Percussion every season. Michael also loves all of the parents that volunteer their time to cook, drive trucks, help with uniforms, fundraise and countless other things to make sure that the Freedom Percussion train keeps on rolling season after season.

Michael would also like to thank his wife Luisa for being kind and patient soul and, being very supportive of the activity he loves so much.

We also couldn't do this activity without our sponsors. Innovative Percussion, REMO, Mapex and Majestic, Meinl and Bisco Music.

Michael Is very excited to see what the future brings for Freedom Percussion this year. And to all future members of Freedom Percussion, family is what is most important to us. We hope you have the chance to join our family while learning how to become a better performer, musician and person.

Here's to Freedom Percussion!
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Herschell Clark
Music Caption Head

For over twenty years, Herschell has been involved in the marching activity as a performer, educator, adjudicator, and fan. His competitive career began with the 3-time WGI PSA finalist Francis Howell North, under the Direction of Mike Davis and Mark Thomas. He then attended Southeast Missouri State University, where he was percussion section leader for all but his first year as a member of the Golden Eagles Marching band. After graduating with a degree in computer information systems, he began consulting and teaching several ensembles in the St. Louis area. He’s currently the percussion director at Marquette High School.

Herschell has been on staff with Freedom Percussion since its inaugural 2009-10 season. In that time, he’s served as a visual designer/caption, front ensemble technician, and as of 2015, ensemble caption. In 2014, he assumed the role of front ensemble arranger and music coordinator. Herschell is a member of the Innovative Percussion educational team, and proudly endorses their products.

Herschell is excited to return for his eighth year with Freedom Percussion
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Nathaniel Hoyle
Visual Caption Head

Nathaniel is a born and raised St. Louis native. He began his marching career at Windsor High School in 2003, went on to march at Lindenwood University and study Music Business, and was a founding member of both Intrepid Percussion in 2007 as well as Freedom Percussion in 2010 until aging out in 2011.

Nathaniel is currently a freelance drill writer and the marketing director and percussion advisor at Bisco Music. He hopes to assist in the ever-continuing strengthening of the percussion activity in St. Louis and is thrilled to be back with his Freedom Family for his 3rd year as the Visual Caption Head.
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Kristin Collins
Cymbal Technician

Kristin Collins was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She began her marching career at Francis Howell Central on clarinet, and was drum major her senior year. She then moved on to University of Missouri, where she was handed her first pair of cymbals as a junior. After two years in the Marching Mizzou drumline, she was a member of Gateway Indoor's cymbal line in 2011 and 2012.

Kristin has taught many forms of music for several years, including marching band, drum major camps, and three years with Freedom Percussion, and is stoked to begin her fourth year with the Freedom Percussion cymbal line.
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Chris Cablish
Battery Caption Head

Chris has lived in Fenton, Missouri his entire life. After his parents gave him a guitar for his 9th birthday his interest was sparked and he quickly developed a life long passion for music and the arts that follows him to this day. Upon his entry into high school Chris joined the concert band, marching band, and winter percussion programs at Rockwood Summit High School. By the time he was a senior he played a leadership role in these ensembles and was honored to reach significant competitive success alongside his classmates.

After high school Chris spent a semester on the snare line at the Missouri State University Pride Band, but decided to settle back in St. Louis where he discovered his Freedom Family. He was a member of Freedom Percussion for three consecutive years before aging out in 2015 and was pleased to join the instructional staff for the 2016 season. Chris has also been a snare teacher and performer in the St. Louis Caledonian Pipe Band for 8 years. He is truly humbled by the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at Freedom, and cannot wait to get to work this fall as Battery Caption Head.
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Lori Winschel
visual designer | choreographer

Lori was born in St Louis, MO. She is a graduate of Windsor HS and Missouri State University. Her music education degree led her to teach music for 6 years, earning Teacher of the Year in Jacksonville, Florida just prior to returning to the St Louis area in 2009. She has performed with the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps ('01), Pride of Missouri State Winter Guard ('99-'02) and Northeast Independent World Winter Guard ('06-'08).

Lori has been on staff with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps ('07) and served as color guard caption head for Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps ('08-'09). Lori was also one of the designers that started Avidity Independent Winter Guard in St. Louis, MO ('11-'13). She has also taught many local high school color guards and assisted visual programs in the states of Missouri, Illinois and Florida.

This will be Lori's fourth year with Freedom Percussion as a visual consultant and movement choreographer.
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Shaun Johnson
Bass Technician

Shaun is excited to be joining the Freedom Family for the season! He has been involved with the marching arts for more than 14 years. First as a performer with Francis Howell HS (St.Charles, MO), Gateway Indoor and Missouri State University (performer/junior staff).
Most recently he served as the percussion coordinator for Washington HS (Washington, MO).
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Terry Sanders
Program Coordinator

Terry Sanders received his degrees in Music Education and Computer and Information Science from Troy State University. He studied percussion under Dr. Samuel Frederick, while marching with the “Sound of the South” Trojan Band. Terry studied clarinet with Dr. John M. Long in the Troy State Reading Band. He also studied percussion privately with Sergeant Carl Griggs of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.
Terry was the Percussion Caption Head and arranger for the Florida Wave Drum and Bugle Corps from 1980 - 81. Mr. Sanders is currently the Director of Percussion at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida. Under his direction, the EHS Field Season Percussion unit has won over 40 High Drum Caption awards and has received no less than a superior rating at any Band Contest since 1982.
Mr. Sanders started and has directed the acclaimed Diamonds Indoor Percussion Ensemble to WGI Regional Championships as well as WGI World Championship finalist and since 1997.
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Chris Cooper
Tenor Technician

Chris Cooper currently serves as the Director of Percussion of the Alton School District in Alton, IL;Percussion Specialist at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Il.; Percussion Coordinator of the Hillsboro School District in Hillsboro, MO; and Percussion Specialist at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Mo. Within the scholastic program of each school, he contributes to beginning/intermediate/advance percussion classes through drum set development and jazz improvisations. He also co-coordinates the concert percussion ensembles, WGI ensembles, and Afro-Cuban/World percussion ensembles.
Chris's drum corps performance experience marching spans six successful years. From 1995 to 1998, he marched with the Quiet Storm Drum and Bugle Corps. In 1999 he marched with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps before he aged out in the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps in 2000. These ensembles allowed him the great privilege of studying under great percussion arrangers and instructors, including Thom Hannum, Colin McNutt, Brian Tinkel, and Dan Delong. After a season of age-out withdrawal, Dan Delong added Mr. Cooper to the percussion instructional team for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
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Emme Harms
Movement Technician

Emme began her marching career at age 14 when she joined her high school marching band, which is now known as Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps. She went on to march mellophone at Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for three years (’13 – ’15) and also served as the mellophone section leader in 2015. Emme was happy to accept a brass staff position at Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016 and will join them again for the 2017 season. Her passion for the marching arts has grown immensely the past 9 years and she is excited to continue growing in the activity with Freedom Percussion as part of the visual team. Emme currently holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and will be completing her Master of Social Work degree in 2018 from Washington University in St. Louis.
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Brandon Huff
Visual Technician

Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Brandon has been in he marching arts activity for the last 8 years. He first joined the activity with the Francis Howell High School Marching Band/Winter Drumline (09-12) in various leadership roles. Brandon then went on to get his associates degree from St. Charles Community College in Music/Business. Directly after graduating high school Brandon spent three summers marching with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps (13-15) and finally aging out with the 2016 World Champion Bluecoats; all on contra.

Brandon has had the pleasure of educating/designing for several high school marching programs in the St. Louis area for the past three years including Washington High School's Winter percussion Visual Coordinator (15-16), Fox High School's Visual Technician (15-16), Timberland High School's Visual Caption Head (16-present), and he is currently the Visual Coordinator for the Belleville East High School Marching band.

This will be Brandon's first year on the instructional staff with Freedom Percussion, and is beyond excited, and humbled for this opportunity. "I am honored to be a new member of this incredible family, and I prepared for the task at hand to help guide this ensemble to the next level"
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Conor Mathenia
Front Ensemble Technician

Conor Mathenia grew up in the St. Louis metro east area and graduated from Granite City High School in the class of 2013. During his time at GCHS he was selected to perform in the Illinois Music Education Association district honor band festival four times and state honor band festival one time. He was involved with the front ensemble as a member of the Granite City Marching Warriors and served as section leader for two years.
Conor went on to become a member of Freedom Percussion from 2012-2015 where he served three years as front ensemble section leader. He later went on to become a member of RCC Indoor Percussion Front Ensemble from 2016-2017. While in California, he taught several percussion programs including Esperanza High School and involvement with Chino Hills High School. Through all the years participating in WGI, he also spent four years as a member of The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps in the front ensemble. (2013-2015)
“I am very excited to come teach and give back to the program that gave me so much!” -Conor He is extremely happy to be back in the St. Louis area and is ready to return to his roots with Freedom Percussion!
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Katie Busby
Front Ensemble Technician

Katie is currently studying Music Education at the University of Missouri Saint Louis. Although orchestral percussion is her main area of study, she has also studied piano and West African percussion. She has performed at a variety of events including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Mid Missouri Percussion Arts Trophy, the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, and has helped facilitate many percussion clinics in the Saint Louis area. She has served as the front ensemble technician at a variety of high schools in the Saint Louis area, most recently Francis Howell North and Parkway North. Katie has spent the past 5 years dedicated to Freedom as a performing member of the front ensemble as a mallet percussionist and she acted as section leader for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. She is delighted to be able to continue to help Freedom grow and thrive as part of the educational team.
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Mike Cernicek
Battery Technician

Mike Cernicek has lived in Missouri his entire life and has had a passion of drumming for the last 14 years. Starting his music career as a hobby at the age of 8 on a drumset. Mike continued his love for music at Francis Howell North. In 2013, he joined Freedom Percussion. After marching for five consecutive seasons on snare, bass drum, and then snare again, he aged out in 2017 with Freedom.

Mike has continued to give back to the marching community while teaching and writing music for various high schools including Orchard Farm HS, Fort Zumwalt South HS, Francis Howell HS and is returning to Wentzville Holt HS once again as battery technician for the 2017-2018 season. He is very excited to extend his knowledge and help strengthen the St. Louis area in percussive arts.
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Nate Krofft
Sound Designer

Nate is a St. Louis native who began his marching career at Marquette High School where he participated in marching band and winter drumline. Nate marched an additional two seasons with Freedom Percussion before aging out in 2016.

Nate has practiced sound design as a hobby for the past 11 years and has been involved in the sound design of several St. Louis area marching bands as well as both the design and execution of the Freedom show since 2015.
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