Percussion Staff Bios

Rob Thatcher, Battery Arranger


Returning for his fourth season on his current tour of duty as the Surf’s percussion arranger is ROB THATCHER. Rob started his drum corps career in 1993 with DCAs Bushwackers as a quad player, with the good fortune to learn from some of the best quad players “in the business.” Coupled with exposure to fantastic percussion arranging by Robbie Robinson and Mark Thurston, Rob was inspired to start arranging for percussion ensembles of his own.

Rob was a performing member of the Bushwackers Drum Corps from 1993-1995, and again from 2005-2008, and a performing member of the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps in 1996. From 1999-2001, he held the position of Percussion Caption Head and Arranger for the New York Skyliners. Rob also worked with the Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps as a technician in 2002, assuming the lead role as Percussion Caption Head in 2003. Most recently, Rob served as the Percussion Supervisor for the Bushwackers, and currently continues as Batterie Percussion Arranger.

He returned to the Jersey Surf in 2013 as Battery Percussion Arranger, and is again ready to “share the percussive love” with the team again in 2016.

New Jersey’s Old Bridge High School is Rob’s “other home team,” where he has been writing with Surf front ensemble arranger Colin Bell for the last 9 years. The program has grown substantially over this time period, and has achieved many successes in USBands, TIA, MAPS, and WGI. Rob has also written for a number of high school and college programs throughout the region.

Colin Bell, Front Ensemble Arranger


Also returning for his third season is front ensemble arranger COLIN BELL. Colin is a composer, musician, and educator from Old Bridge, NJ. He has his BA in Music Education from Kean University where he studied percussion performance under the tutelage of NJ/NY area percussionist James Musto III. During his time at Kean, Colin was a snare drummer with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps from 2001-2003.

Colin is an active educator in New Jersey as an elementary school instrumental music teacher in Old Bridge, private percussion teacher, and front ensemble arranger/instructor for Old Bridge High School. Along with battery arranger Rob Thatcher, the two have had success regionally with Old Bridge’s marching band. The Old Bridge indoor percussion program has experienced success as a new comer to the national scene. They have been active in the MAPS, USBands and WGI indoor circuits and are going on their 5th year of attending WGI World Championships.

As a musician, Colin records and tours nationally with reggae band Echo Movement. He performs numerous musicals as a pit percussionist and drum set player. As a Scottish snare drummer, he performs with other Scottish musicians for numerous events; most notably opening for Rod Stewart for several years in New Jersey and New York City.

Chris Lawlor, Percussion Director

Chris Lawlor

CHRISTOPHER LAWLOR hails from East Bridgewater, MA and was a member of the percussion section of the East Coast Jazz Drum & Bugle Corps from 2002 through 2005. Chris also performed in The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps from 2006 until aging out in 2009. He spent the 2005 WGI season in the quad line of the Boston University Winter Percussion Ensemble and performed with RhythmX in 2009 and 2010.

Chris has taught DCI for several summers, including the Troopers battery in 2010, the Blue Stars in 2011 and 2012, and The Cadets quad line in the 2013. He has taught in multiple Massachusetts high schools including Mansfield, Norwood, Everett and Wakefield. Chris has also worked with the Avon Indiana High School Percussion Group. Chris is currently in his third year arranging/teaching the The Boston University Drumline and his second as Percussion Caption Head at Jersey Surf.

Alex Santa, Snare Instructor


ALEX SANTA is excited to return to the Jersey Surf percussion education team for his third year. Alex is currently a percussion instructor at Neshaminy High School in Neshaminy, PA and he is studying music education at West Chester University in West Chester, PA.

In 2013, Alex was a member of the Matrix Independent Marching Percussion Ensemble of Akron, OH and prior to that in 2011 he was a member of the Hawthorne Caballeros. Alex attended high school in Quakertown, PA.

Joe McSweeney, Snare Instructor

Joe McSweeney

A native of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, JOE MCSWEENEY was a performing member of the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps from 2002 to 2005 and The Cadets Drum and Bugle in 2006 and 2007. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Middlesex County Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps.

In 2008, Joe was the snare technician for the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps and has taught marching percussion at North Middlesex Regional High School (MA), Salem High School (NH), and Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (MA).

Joe studied economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and currently works at Digital Federal Credit Union.

Bryan Kendrick, Cymbal Instructor

Bryan Kendrick

BRYAN KENDRICK began his musical career playing Bb clarinet and bass clarinet before picking up percussion in his hometown of Winter Park, Florida. Soon after graduating high school, Bryan joined Infinity Percussion, where he marched for four years between the cymbal lines and the visual ensemble. Between indoor, Bryan spent two summers on the drum corps field, serving on the 2014 Spirit of Atlanta Cymbal Line and 2015 Madison Scouts Cymbal Line.

Bryan has taught at his alma mater Winter Park High School and currently teaches private lessons and clinics locally. Bryan is excited to get back out on the field with the Jersey Surf Cymbal Line this season!

Rich Klimowicz, Front Ensemble Director


RICH KLIMOWICZ graduated with his Bachelors in Music Performance from Millersville University. While at Millersville as an undergraduate he helped to found the Portal Percussion Trio currently based out of Lancaster City, PA. While currently living in Lancaster he is very active as a full time percussionist and independent music educator. He has worked with numerous high school marching programs since 2006 all over the Philadelphia area and served as the Coatesville Area school District Caption Head from 2009-2013. His drum corp. career began with the Reading Buccaneers in 2006 and went on to age out as a member of the Cadets front ensemble in 2010. In 2012 he joined the percussion staff for the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps. and very excited to be returning for a fifth year.

He is returning for his third season now as a member of the United Percussion instructional staff going into the 2015 WGI season and is on his sixth year as a staff member/writer for the Millersville University Marching Band. Additionally, Rich is employed as a part of the Music Faculty for Linden Hall: Girls College Prep School in Lititz PA, he maintains private studio lessons and assists with their instrumental programs. He maintains a professional performance schedule throughout the year and actively works within schools and his local community as a performer and educator through some of his partnerships including S.W.A.N. and Music for Everyone.

Rich is a Vic Firth Artist and he proudly serves as a member of the Vic Firth Education Team.

Matthew Johnson, Front Ensemble Instructor

From Alpha, NJ, MATTHEW JOHNSON is a marching percussion educator/arranger in the Lehigh Valley Area. Starting his marching arts career at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, NJ, Matt went on to march in the Front Ensemble at Jersey Surf from 2012 to 2015 where he aged out. In addition to marching DCI, Matt also marched at PIA groups Starcross Percussion in 2013 and Aftermath Percussion in 2014. As a marching arts educator, Matt also taught at Phillipsburg High School from 2012 to 2016 as the front ensemble instructor and currently at Palisades High School in Kintnersville, PA since 2013 as the percussion caption head/arranger. This is Matt’s first year on staff at the Jersey Surf.

Additionally, Matt has an A.F.A in Music from Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, NJ and has been a part of the Vic Firth Education Team since 2013.

Lindsey Hartfelder, Front Ensemble Instructor

LINDSEY HARTFELDER is an active percussion performer, arranger, and educator in the Amherst, MA area, and she received degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Entrepreneurship from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Lindsey started her marching career with the Connecticut Hurricanes in 2012, and performed with The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps front ensemble during the 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons. She also performed with the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band percussion section from 2012 to 2015 under the instruction of Thom Hannum, and was an assistant front ensemble instructor in the 2016 season. During the 2016 summer she served as an intern with Vic Firth Company, and in the past year she has performed in So Percussion’s A Gun Show, the Boston premiere of Inuksuit by John Luther Adams, and in Dr. Iain Moyer and Jason Ihnat’s PASIC 2016 clinic on front ensemble arranging and instructing. She recently received a research grant from the Commonwealth Honors College for her research on modern percussion performance practice.

Lindsey is excited to be pursuing her Master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Delaware this upcoming fall, where she will be the marching percussion teaching assistant for the marching band, and she is thrilled to be teaching the Jersey Surf front ensemble for the 2017 season.

Matthew Grina, Front Ensemble Instructor

Matt G

MATTHEW GRINA is a percussionist and music educator from Mansfield, Massachusetts. A 2015 graduate of Berklee College of Music, he completed his undergraduate degree in Music Education and now teaches and performs in the Boston area. Matt’s participation in the marching arts began in high school as a member of his indoor percussion ensemble, which was awarded the silver medal in the Scholastic Concert World Class at WGI World Championships. Since then, Matt has participated in multiple marching, concert, and jazz ensembles at the collegiate level, and has directed the Front Ensemble at Wakefield High School since 2012. Matt is thrilled to be spending his first year as an instructor at the Jersey Surf.

Luke Helker, Sound Engineer

Luke Helker

LUKE HELKER is a recent graduate of Millersville University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Music with a concentration in Industry & Technology studies. Luke performs frequently around Lancaster County as a freelance percussionist.

As a sound engineer, Luke got experience recording and producing a wide variety of different types of ensembles while working as a student employee of the Ware and Winter Visual and Performing Arts Centers in Lancaster County. He also engineered the front ensemble recordings to Janina Gavankar’s drum corps arrangement to EDM hit, “Don’t Look Down.”

Luke is currently the front ensemble instructor and sound engineer at Penn Manor High School and is also the founder of the Penn Manor Percussion Ensemble; an ensemble that focuses on classical and contemporary percussion music.
Luke is very excited to be joining the Jersey Surf this year as the sound engineer and assistant front ensemble instructor.