Meet the 2018 STRYKE Percussion 2 Staff

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Mike Lao has been an educator in South Florida for almost 10 years. He has taught for Flanagan High School (2008-2010), Hialeah Gardens High School (2011-2013), Velocity Indoor Percussion (2014), Coral Reef High School (2014-2015), FIU Indoor (2015-2017) where he served as an Assistant Director. Mike currently serves as one of the Battery Coordinators at West Broward High School (2016 - current) . His marching experience includes The Boston Crusaders (2008-2011), STRYKE Percussion PIW (2012), and aged-out with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps(2012). Mike returned to The Cavaliers soon after aging out as part of the visual staff for the 2013 season. Mike has earned a degree in Business Management and is currently pursuing a degree in Music Business, and Music Production. Mike will serve as the Battery Coordinator for STRYKE Percussion 2 in 2018.

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Justin Samuels started his DCI career in 2004 with the Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps. He later joined The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2006, and aged out in 2010. Justin’s previous experience includes working as a Designer/Visual Coordinator of the Falcon Sound Percussion (2014-2015), visual staff for Infinity PIW (2017) and Designer/Drill Writer for Flanagan Winds (2016-2017.) Currently, Justin works as a Choreographer for the Park Vista High School Marching Band, Visual Caption Head/Designer for the Stoneman Douglas High School Marching Band, and the Visual Caption Head for the Flanagan High School Marching Band- while also evaluating competitive groups as a judge for the FMBC Circuit. Justin has been involved with STRYKE since 2014. He worked as a member of the Visual Team for STRYKE Percussion PIW (2014-2015), STRYKE Wynds (2015-2017) and STRYKE Percussion 2 (2016-2017). For 2018, Justin will continue his role as the Visual Coordinator and member of the Design Team for STRYKE Percussion 2. While also serving as a member of the visual team at STRYKE Wynds.

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Bethany Rush is a percussionist and music educator from North Texas. She recently moved to West Palm Beach after graduating in May 2017 from the University of North Texas with a degree in Music Education. There she studied under the guidance of Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, Paul Rennick, and more. While in school, she was the timpanist for the school's orchestras, a marimba player for the marching band, and she also taught the front ensemble of a local high school band. Bethany marched with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps for 5 seasons (2012-2016). There she was the timpanist, pit section leader and drum captain. This will be Bethany's first season with STRYKE Percussion 2 as a front ensemble technician.

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 Alexander Gonzalez is a Vic Firth educator. Alexander’s interest in percussion began when he first took part in the Newsome High School indoor program in 2007. From there, he switched from mainly being a trumpet player to percussion. Alexander then performed in the front ensemble for Newsome until he graduated. His senior year, he marched with the Independent Open Class group Brahma from USF, placing 7th in finals. After graduating from high school, Alex returned to Brahma for the 2011 season and marched in Tampa Bay Thunder, a DCA Open class group, for its inaugural year in DCA and where he served as section leader for the front ensemble for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. In 2013, Alex went on to perform with Infinity Percussion in WGI World class, where the group went on to receive the Fan Favorite award for World class. That summer he marched with The Cadets, that year’s recipients for the Fred Sanford Award for high percussion performance. He also performed again with Infinity Percussion for the 2015 season. Outside of the marching activity, Alex has also performed with the HCC Percussion Ensemble, the SPC Percussion Ensemble, and with the Tampa Bay Symphony. He has taught many groups including H.B. Plant High School, Gaither High School, Wiregrass Ranch High School, Heat Wave of Florida Drum and Bugle Corps, Seminole High School, Ancient City Ensemble and Largo High School. Alexander will be serving as a front ensemble technician with STRYKE Percussion 2.

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Dennis Jones Jr, also known as “Andee" is an Orlando native and has taken up music as a passion from a very young age. He started his marching career after graduating high school from Timber Creek in 2012. Starting with Infinity Percussion in 2014 and marching STRYKE Percussion in 2016 and 2017, he has taken instruction from a wide range of World Class individuals. Andee entered into the instructional side of the marching activity early. At the high school level, he has been giving back to the Timber Creek program, now in his sixth year with the program. He is also taken on the position of Percussion Director at East River High School, now in his second season. In addition to this, Andee is continuing to pursue music in his career and enjoying helping others strive to reach their potential in the marching activity. Andee will serve as a snare technician for STRYKE Percussion 2 in 2018.

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Beethoven Arnett started his WGI career as a part of the World Class group, North Coast Academy for 2 years (2014-2015). Beethoven soon after joined STRYKE Percussion World in 2016 and aged out that same year. In 2017, Beethoven returned to the #STRYKEFAM as a member of STRYKE WYNDS and snare technician for STRYKE percussion 2. He says “It was like hopping right back on the saddle! It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had”. Beethoven looks forward to returning as a snare technician of STRYKE Percussion 2.

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Randall Pierrot has spent the past 3 seasons as a member of the STRYKE PIW tenor line, where he served as section leader for the 2017 “KING”  season. Randall’s previous marching experience includes marching with Velocity Indoor Percussion, Carolina Crown, and has been an educator in Miami Dade and Broward County for the past 4 years. Currently, Randall is on staff with the Cypress Bay Sound of Thunder marching band and is pursuing a Master’s degree in epidemiology at the University of Miami. Randall will be joining STRYKE Percussion 2 for the first time as a quad technician for the 2018 season.

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Joey Coletto currently resides in Palm Beach County and has been a member of the STRYKE PIW tenorline for 5 years (2012-2017), aging out with the WGI Fan Favorite show “KING”. Joey has 3 years of Drum Corps experience as a member of Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corp for 2 years and 1 year with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. Joey has been teaching since 2011 and is currently pursuing a degree in graphic design, engineering, and music composition. Joey joins the STRYKE Percussion 2 staff as a quad technician for the 2018 season.

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Jeremiah Morel, who also goes by “Jay” is currently the battery coordinator at Hialeah Gardens High School where he has taught since 2014. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, he started drumming during his tenure at Miami Senior High School. He would go on to march with several indoor percussion units including AQUARIUS Percussion (2012), Velocity FIU (2014), and STRYKE Percussion PIW (2015-2017) as well as a season of Drum Corps with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (2015). Jay joins the STRYKE 2 Percussion staff as a bass technician.

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Sara Wood has been a member of the marching arts community since 2011. Her marching career includes Teal Sound (2011-2012) playing baritone, REEF Independent (2014- 2015), and STRYKE Percussion (2016-2017), playing cymbals at both groups. Sara is a recent age out with STRYKE in 2017. She has taught cymbals at Cypress Bay High School and she will be teaching at both STRYKE Percussion and STRYKE 2. Sara currently resides in Orlando, Florida.

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Derek Mcrea is from Hialeah, FL, where he graduated from Hialeah High School in 2012. While in Hialeah, Derek participated in high school marching band, honor bands, and all-state. He currently resides in Miami, FL where he is in his senior year pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems at Florida International University. Throughout his time as a performer, Derek marched mellophone for the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps. (2013, 2015-2016). Derek has taken several roles in South Florida, where he has been an educator, consultant, drill designer, and choreographer for many marching ensembles in the South Florida area for 7 years. He currently is a Visual Coordinator at Hialeah High School (2012-2017) and a visual technician at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (2015-2017). Derek is excited to join the STRYKE Percussion 2 staff as a visual technician for the 2018 season!