In his own words...
There I was in the cafeteria with the rest of my noisy fourth grade peers for an assembly. The assembly covered many topics but the one that ended up being the most important was their offer to let us take music classes during the year if we were interested. Ironically it didn’t really strike me at first; having grown up playing baseball for 11 years you could imagine that I wasn’t programmed to lean towards music. Fortunately my parents convinced me to try it out so I filled out the information card and when I got to the “choose an instrument” section I wrote down saxophone… after thinking about it a little more, though, I crossed that out and wrote in drums! Little did I know that this would be the starting point of my love for music and to all the doors that would open up during my music experience.
I was very fortunate to be able to attend Ustach Middle School which not only has an awesome concert band program but also a solid winter percussion program too. All the way through the seventh grade my focus was on concert band until my teacher, Chuck Holtan, sat me down and told me about how much fun marching percussion was – I listened to his advice and checked it out. I found my interest frequently directed towards the older kids playing snare so when eighth grade came around the snare was my first choice. When I made it I was really pleased but when we got into the season I would soon realize that I wanted to make the snare my craft and that I loved every aspect of marching percussion.
After my time at Ustach Middle School I continued my studies at Beyer High School. After watching the Beyer winter percussion program from the year before, I was really eager to put on a snare and try my luck with the "big boys." Both the thrill of playing and performing as well as my staff really helped keep me engaged in the activity. I feel lucky to have worked with Brandon Price, Nate Bourg, Oliver Bullock, Dave Flores, Tom Gierke, and Shekhar Khedekar while performing with the Beyer percussion program. Their passion for music definitely shined through me and the experiences they worked hard to get us were amazing. Going all up and down the state of California and flying out to Ohio for WGI Championships really opened up my eyes to all of the other competitors out there and to the different music being played all over the U.S. (and world) -- I just couldn’t get enough of it.
When I graduated from Beyer I went to perform with the Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Percussion ensemble during its first two years of existence (2010 and 2011). Winning the Gold in independent open our second time in Dayton, Ohio was a completely amazing experience. Again I felt lucky to work with some great staff, and some of the same people I worked with at Beyer which included Nate Bourg, Casey Brohard, Dave Flores, Rudy Garcia, Tom Gierke, Shekhar Khedekar, and Matt Ring.
Overlapping my time at SCVWP, I also was part of the Bulldog Marching band at Fresno State and was section leader for the 2011-2012season.
My main goal as a teacher/writer is to give my students a reason to continue with music as my instructors did for me. Music really does save my life everyday and if I can make that happen for anybody else then I know that my job has been done right. Music touches nearly everyone in the world so let's work together and keep the music going for everyone and make a difference!
Comments from D'Rumpus
Jesse has a very fresh (and refreshing) outlook on music and life. It's clear that when he writes that he is interested in writing cool/entertaining/fun music and at the same time he takes great care in creating something that will benefit and help others. This caring approach is something we sincerely respect and we think you'll find his musical pieces very helpful in furthering your or your ensemble's percussive abilities.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- Fresno State Marching Band 2012 Best Percussionist (P)
- Beyer High School (P) (E) (M)
- Davis High School (P) (E) (M)
- Vanguard Winter Percussion (P)
- Fresno State Marching Band(P)