Dr. Brian S. Graiser, Adjunct Instructor of Percussion and Marching Percussion Director, Sam Houston State University

Dr. Brian S. Graiser is a contemporary percussionist, composer, and teacher, and currently serves as the Adjunct Instructor of Percussion and Marching Percussion Director at Sam Houston State University, where he teaches applied lessons and Percussion Methods and directs the SHSU University Percussion Ensemble and Bearkat Marching Band Drumline. His musical exploits are highly diverse, although he takes pride in being at the forefront of advocacy for extended-range vibraphone as a performer, composer, and researcher.

Originally from Marietta, Georgia, his performances have taken him up and down the U.S., Canada, Australia, Panama, France, Italy, and China. Recent performances of note include touring with the REFLECT harp+percussion duo, the world premiere of his Concerto No. 1 (“Lulu”) for Four-Octave Vibraphone, and the world premiere of his ​From Nothing, Everything for solo vibraphone at the Festival Alfredo Saint Malo in Panama City, Panama. He has commissioned new works by several composers including Stuart Saunders Smith, Halim El-Dabh, John Serry, and Christien LeDroit, and has performed with groups such as the Cincinnati Chamber Opera, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Percussion Ensemble, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, and many others. Recently, Dr. Graiser has been a featured soloist with groups such as the Cincinnati Pops, the Cincinnati Collaborative Ringing Project, and the PAS-Panama Summer Percussion Ensemble.

Dr. Graiser is one half of the REFLECT harp+percussion duo along with his wife Alaina, and is also a member of the Arasmas Percussion Group and the CCM Contemporary Chamber Quartet.

He is no less active as a composer. He has written works for the PAS-Panama Summer Percussion Ensemble, the TorQ Percussion Quartet, the Toronto Youth Wind Ensemble, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Percussion Ensemble, the University of Georgia Percussion Ensemble and Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble, and a number of artists across the U.S. and Canada. Brian currently serves on the Composition Committee for the Percussive Arts Society.

As a clinician, Dr. Graiser has presented on a wide range of topics such as Vibraphone History and Repertoire, Introduction to American Drumline, Composing for Harp and/or Percussion, the Percussion Works of Franco Donatoni, and more. Recently, he presented clinics and masterclasses at the Universidad de Panama/Instituto Nacional de Musica, the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Tennessee.

Prior to his appointment at SHSU, Dr. Graiser served as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Cincinnati, where he directed the Cincinnati Youth Percussion Collective, taught applied lessons through the College-Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, and coached the percussion section of the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble (whom he accompanied on their Summer 2016 Australia Tour). Other teaching experiences include earlier Graduate Teaching Assistantships at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, teaching the general music classes at the Leaves of Learning K-12 school in Cincinnati, and serving as the classroom teacher and program director of the Oconee County High School (GA) percussion program from 2005-2008.

Dr. Graiser earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance at CCM, having studied with Allen Otte, Jim Culley, and Rusty Burge. He holds his MM degree in performance from the University of Toronto and his BMus degrees in composition and performance from the University of Georgia, having studied with Russell Hartenberger, Beverley Johnston, John Rudolph, Tony McCutchen, Arvin Scott, Leonard Ball, and Adrian Childs. He has also received significant additional compositional training from Michael Colgrass, Stuart Saunders Smith, and Christos Hatzis.

He is an artist-endorser of Dream Cymbals and Gongs, and is also the proud owner of a DeMorrow 4-octave vibraphone. His compositions are available through Keyboard Percussion Publications, Alfonce Productions, and self-publication (distributed through Frontier Percussion).

Joe Hobbs, Director of Percussion, Vandegrift High School, Austin, Texas

Joe Hobbs is in his fourth year as the Director of Percussion at Vandegrift High School. Mr. Hobbs was previously the director of percussion at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas. Under his direction, the Newman Smith drumline was recognized as one of DFW’s strongest drumlines after winning both the Plano Drumline Contest and the Lone Star Drumline Contest. Before his work at Newman Smith High School, Mr. Hobbs held the same position at Harpeth High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Under his direction, Harpeth was a Scholastic Open finalist at WGI Championships in 2009 and 2010, placing 4th in 2010. Harpeth also won the Indianapolis (2009) and Nashville Regionals (2009, 2010) as well as the SCGC championships (2009).

Mr. Hobbs currently serves as the percussion caption head for The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Rosemont, IL. Before joining The Cavaliers, Mr. Hobbs served on the percussion staff for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Rockford, IL and The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps from Atlanta, GA, where he was the battery caption head. He held this title from 2008-2010. Mr. Hobbs was also involved with Music City Mystique as a battery instructor from 2009-2011. He was a member of Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from 2001-2003. During his time at Southwind he was named the 2003 DCI I&E Snare drum champion. From 2004-2006, Mr. Hobbs was a member of the Cavaliers snare line. During his time with the Cavaliers, he won 2 DCI world championships, 2006 DCI I&E mixed ensemble championship, “Cavalier of the year” and the “Zildjian award” in 2006. He received his Music Education degree from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Other teaching experience includes: George Rogers Clark High School, Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, Murray State University, Austin Peay State University, Mt. Juliet High School, Marshall County High School, and Murray High School.

Mr. Hobbs is endorsed by Pearl Drums, Innovative Percussion, and Evans Drumheads.

Jordan Stern, Lecturer at the Texas State University School of Music 

Jordan Stern is a lecturer on the music education faculty of the Texas State University school of music. His responsibilities include teaching methods courses, teaching a course on arranging for concert band, instructing the Bobcat Marching Band drumline, and supervising student teachers.

In addition to his duties at Texas State, Mr. Stern is an active arranger for both marching and concert bands. His design clients have included the bands of Claudia Taylor Johnson HS, Ronald Reagan HS, Cedar Park HS, Winston Churchill HS, Azle HS, Plano HS, Mustang HS (OK), Tottenville HS (NY), Brennan HS, Bryant HS (AR), Clear Lake HS, Foster HS, CC Winn HS, and the two-time WGI Independent Open Finalist 5 Points Percussion.

Since 2005, Mr. Stern has enjoyed working with many private students at the middle school and high school levels. In this time, 13 of his students have successfully auditioned for placement in the TMEA All-State bands, with his students earning first-chair honors in the state in 2014, 2015 and 2016. His students have also won the Percussive Arts Society High School Individual Marimba Competition four times, with another student placing as first runner-up.

He previously worked as an Associate Band Director at Claudia Taylor Johnson and William Brennan High Schools. During his tenure at Johnson, the marching band distinguished itself with such honors as 1st place at the Bands of America San Antonio Super Regional, 3rd place at the U.I.L. 6A State Marching Contest, and was a recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Shield. As a concert band director, his ensembles at Brennan and Johnson consistently received first division ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading contest. Mr. Stern also previously served as the front ensemble coordinator for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and Winston Churchill High School.

He received Bachelors degrees from Texas State University in percussion performance and music studies with teacher certification, as well as a Master’s degree in music education, and is currently completing course work toward a doctoral degree in music education at Boston University. His percussion teachers have included Genaro Gonzalez, Tony Edwards, Matt Strauss, and Thomas Burritt. Mr. Stern has also studied Clarinet with Stephen Girko and conducting with Caroline Beatty. He has performed as a member of the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, and spent several summers at orchestral festivals, including the Round Top Festival Institute and the Texas Music Festival. He has also performed with the Texas Mozart Festival Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra. Jordan currently performs regularly with Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame Member band Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition.