Music Specialist, Liberty Magnet Elementary
Percussion Director, Vero Beach High School
Co-founder/Director; Treasure Coast Percussion Camp
Mr. Putzke is a native of Michigan but calls Vero Beach "home" since 1981. He is a 1990 graduate of Vero Beach High School. Mr. Putzke received his bachelor of science in music education from the University of South Florida.
While pursuing his degree, he taught private lessons and gave numerous clinics for several Florida schools including Vero Beach jr./sr. high school, River Ridge HS, Venice Beach HS, and Plant HS.
In January of 2000, Brandon and his family returned to Vero Beach where he joined the teaching staff of Indian River County. He is currently the music specialist at Liberty Magnet Elementary and the percussion director for Vero Beach High School.
His elementary and high school ensembles have continually received superior ratings at contests. Liberty's Eagle Orff Ensemble and chorus are two-time grand champions at the Music USA Festival in Orlando, have made two appearances at the Kennedy Space Center and has performed at Epcot and Universal Studios City Walk. The Liberty chorus has performed at the capitol building in Tallahassee in 2009 and 2011. The Vero Beach Percussion Ensemble has earned superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association district solo and ensemble for the past 8 years and performs for hundreds each year at the Evening of Percussion Concert at the VBHS Performing Arts Center. He has also composed and arranged music for the VBHS percussion section and has been published in the national subscription of Music Express Magazine and Music K-8.
Mr. Putzke has recorded several cd's with his elementary and high school groups and with professional talents from all over the state. He has performed with a number of orchestras, bands, choirs and solo acts, and performs regularly with local band, Old Barber Bridge, as well as several theatrical productions at area theatres and churches including Riverside Theatre, the VB Theater Guild, and Theatre- Go- Round Dinner Theatre.
Mr. Putzke is a current member of the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA), Percussive Arts Society (PAS), the co-founder/director of the Treasure Coast Percussion Camp (TCPC) and has received his National Board Certification. He is a proud endorsee of Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets and Remo, Inc.
Mr. Putzke was the 2010 Teacher of the Year for Liberty Magnet and a top 5 finalist for Indian River County. He enjoys teaching music to students from kindergarten through college.
Assistant Professor of Percussion, University of Utah
Co-founder/Director, Treasure Coast Percussion Camp
Michael Sammons currently serves as the Assitant Professor of Percussion Studies at the University of Utah. He is a founding member of Zumbumba, an active percussion trio specializing in music from around the world. Most recently, Zumbumba presented anoriginal composition, Foforo Twene, for timpani and African percussion as part of the 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Convention's "Focus Day" in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Sammons has performed with orchestras in Arizona, Florida, and Alabama. He appeared as a guest soloist for the Music Educator’s National Convention, Southern Division Conference in January of 2005and in 2004, served as a guest performer for the Crested Butte Summer MusicFestival in Crested Butte, Colorado.
As an educator and clinician, Mr. Sammons served as a Lecturer in music and sabbatical replacement at Clemson University in 2007-2008. He currently serves as the co-founder (2005) and director of the Treasure Coast Percussion Campheld in Vero Beach, Florida. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and is a contributing author to PercussiveNotes. He has been an adjudicator for the Arizona Chapter of the PercussiveArts Society and Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association marchingband festivals. In 2006, Mr. Sammons presented a ession entitled "New Music for Steel Band" at PASIC in Austin, Texas with the University of Arizona and UT Austin Steel Bands and released the thirdCD by the UA Steel Band, “Panstraction”.
Mr. Sammons served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Director of the UA Steel Band Program from 2003-2007. He received the 2007 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award for the College of Fine Arts, University of Arizona. Mr. Sammons earned his Master’s of Music degree in Percussion from the University of Arizona in 2005, and a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education and Performer’s Certificate from the University of Florida in 2002. His travels abroad includeTrinidad and Ghana, researching the traditional music and dance of thesecultures.
Michael Sammons is a proud endorsee of Vic Firth, Remo, and Sabian.
Brandon Cruz has been involved in a variety of musical settings. As a classical percussionist, he has performed with the New World Symphony, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Miami Master Chorale, Miami Wind Symphony, Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, and in 2011 he was the timpanist for the Fundacion Sinfonica Orchestra in Santo Domingo for their biannual National Festival of the Arts. He was also timpanist and Latin percussionist for the World Champion Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps in 1995 and1997. As a jazz musician, Brandon has performed with several groups including the big bands of Sam Lussier and Barry Mann, the FIU Jazz Lab Band, and NEC Jazz Orchestra. He has shared the stage with Peter Cetera, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Bob Moses, and Dave Lieberman among many others.
In addition to a wide spectrum of performance experiences, Mr. Cruz has always been actively involved as a writer, arranger, and educator. He has written percussion music and arranged for several Miami-area high schools. Over the past 18 years he has directed several Miami-based percussion programs and has regularly performed clinics, set up workshops, and consulted area schools throughout. Since 2008 Mr. Cruz has also been an adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association.
In 2010, Mr. Cruz joined the faculty of his alma mater, Florida International University, as Director of Marching Percussion. In 2012, with the cooperation of FIU, Mr. Cruz created Velocity Indoor Percussion. The group in an independent A-class organization based on campus whhich competes at events sponsored by SFWGA and WGI. In addition to these activities, the focus for Mr. Cruz currently is as Founder/Director of the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts. The SFCPA is the most comprehensive resource for durms and percussion in South Florida.
Mr. Cruz received is Bachelor's Degree in Classical Performance from Florida International University in April 2000. He earned his Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music in May 2003. He is currently endorsed by Vic Firth, Remo, Zildjian, Grover, Dynasty, Humes & Berg, and Mapex
David Heroux is a professioal music educator specializing in percussion. He studied at the University of Notre Dame and performed with the marching band, jazz bands, orchestra, and any other ensembles that might have needed a drummer. He received his degree in performance in may of 2009, and in December of 2008 he accepted the role of percussion director for Goshen Community Schools (Goshen, IN.), a highly-accomplished band program that competes at the highest levels of WGI, IPA, and Issma. David achieved a great deal of success at Goshen while also teaching drumlines, percussion ensembles, and private lessons for other Northern Indiana schools.
In December of 2011, David sought a change and relocated to the warm air and beaches of Vero Beach, FL. He currently serves as a front ensemble technician for Stryke Ensemble, runs technique classes for Mr. Sean Srigley at Storm Grove Middle School, a clinician for Sebastian River High School and teaches private lessons.
Mr. Laflam was born and raised in Okeechobee, Florida. Mr. LaFlam graduated from Okeechobee High School in 2001. He then earned his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. While at Florida Southern, Mr. LaFlam was an active participant in the symphonic band, wind ensemble, orchestra and percussion ensemble. He was also a member for Florida Southern baseball team for four years.
Prior to teaching at Okeechobee High School, he was the Director of Bands at Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland. While at LGHS, Mr. LaFlam developed a jazz band and percussion ensemble. Mr. LaFlam is currently in his fifth year of teaching at Okeechobee HS where he directs the Brahman marching band, concert band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, jazz band, percussion ensemble, indoor guard ensemble, pep band, musical orchestra and teaches the AP music theory class. Ensembles under Mr. LaFlam have consistently earned superior ratings at the district and state music performance assessments. The Okeechobee HS "Brahman" band has been the staple of "excellence" in Okeechobee County. The band has a growing reputation for pushing the musical limits each year. As the largest student organization on campus, the band takes great pride in what they do. Whether it is playing for the football games or competitions, the marching band strives for the highest honor they can receive. The OHS band has won numerous awards in its schools history. They have performed in multiple competitions and festivals in and out of the state of Florida. The band is the highest example of the school motto: "excellence through pride" (perseverance, respect, integrity, dependability, ethics)
Mr. LaFlam holds active memberships in the Music Educator's National Conference, the Florida Music Educator's Association, the Florida Bandmaster's Association, the Florida Educator's Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
Mr. LaFlam is married to his wonderful wife, Courtney. They have two amazing children, Cadence and
Chris Bowen graduated from Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Performing Arts in Lakeland, Florida in 2002. He received his Bachelor of Music degree with concentration in percussion performance and music composition in 2006 at Florida Southern College, under Todd Betz, Bill Bruski and Dave Coash. While at FSC, he was part of the wind ensemble, symphony, symphonic band, jazz ensemble, steel drum band, marimba ensemble, percussion ensemble and jazz combo. Chris then earned his M.M. in percussion performance under Bob McCormick in 2008 while at the University of South Florida. During his time at USF, Chris was principal player of the symphony and an active performer with the McCormick Percussion Group and Marimba Ensemble. He can be heard on several recordings, including, Music for Flute and Percussion. While pursuing his undergraduate and graduate degrees, Chris was the principal percussionist with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and the Hollingsworth Winds in Lakeland. He was also regular player with the Florida Orchestra in Tampa and the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Ft. Myers.
Mr. Bowen has also been a part of over 50 musical theatre productions, playing drum set. This list includes: Cinderella, My Fair Lady, Pirates of Penzance, Nunsense, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mame, Fiddler on the Roof and many more. He has been a part of the Florida tours of both Menopause: The Musical and Working (directed by Stephen Schwartz). Chris has also been percussionist of several Florida opera tours, such as, Die Fladermaus, The Elixir of Love, La Boheme, Don Giovanni and Tosca.
Chris is currently the Director of Bands at Osceola Middle School and Assistant Director of Okeechobee High School in Okeechobee, FL. While helping build a program at the middle school level from 10 -140 students in his four years, Mr. Bowen also has been the arranger of the OHS Brahman Marching Band and coach for the front ensemble for the last three years as well, helping them earn superior ratings.
Mr. Bowen is still an active performer with orchestras ranging from coast to coast in Florida, as well as, several theatre companies around the state. In his free time, Chris loves to find new music and write music and screen plays. He resides in Okeechobee with his beautiful wife Jenny and his amazing
Dan Johnson is an active educator, performer, and arranger in the Central Florida area. he holds an MM in jazz studies and a Masters Certificate in percussion performance from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and a BA in music from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. In addition to co-owning and operating a private teaching studio that serves over 75 percussionists in Brevard county, Dan is also the Professor of Percussion at Rollins College (percussion ensemble, private lessons) and Seminole State College in Seminole County (percussion ensemble, private lessons, music theory, history of rock music). He is also on staff as an instructor and arranger at several area high schools, including Viera HS, Eau Gallie HS, and Melbourne HS. He spent a combined total of ten years performing at Disney World - both as a collegiate musician and professionally with the Village Beatniks in Animal Kingdom. Dan currently freelances as a performer, clinician, and adjudicator all across Florida.
Bobby Blum is an active percussion educator, performer, composer and clinician throughout Florida. Bobby is originally from Orlando, FL but now lives in Melbourne, FL with his wife Gevonne and daughter, Riley. He is a graduate of Lake Mary High School and Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. While at Rollins he earned his B.A. in Music Performance and studied with Beth Gottlieb. Bobby has been the Director of Percussion at Eau Gallie High School since 1998 and also serves as the facilities manager for the Eau Gallie HS Performing Arts Theatre. Bobby is a sought after clinician and adjudicator and has judged students at both the district and state level for Solo and Ensemble and marching band contests. He has presented percussion seminars for local band directors and for the Florida Bandmasters Summer Convention.
Under his direction, Eau Gallie percussion students have earned numerous awards. As an educator and arranger, he has worked with many middle and high school music programs throughout the state. His private students consistently perform in county and state honor bands, solo and ensemble festivals, drum and bugle corps, local and state percussion festivals and summer music camps. Many of his students have gone on to major in music at the univesity level, and several of his former students are now percussion instructors across Florida.