meet the

THE MOREHEAD STATE UNIVERSITY 

FACULTY

Ben Cantrell has been an educator, performer, adjudicator, and clinician for nearly 20 years.  He has performed with numerous ensembles across the country, as well as in multi-city tours in Europe and Asia.  Some of his more notable performances have been for the VA/DC Day of Percussion, North Carolina Day of Percussion, and the Jazz Educator Network Conference.  Recently, he has performed with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina, the Johnson City Orchesta in Tennessee, the Sacred Winds ensemble of Pikeville, KY, and Barter Theatre of Abingdon, VA.

In August of 2020, Ben accepted a Visiting Assistant Professor position at Morehead State University. There, he teaches private applied lessons for BME, BM, BA students along the Jazz and Commercial Music majors. He directs the percussion ensemble, marching percussion sections, and the steel band.

Ben received a DMA in Percussion Performance from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro with Dr. Eric Willie, a Master of Arts in Music from Radford University under Dr. Rob Sanderl, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Morehead State University under Dr. Brian Mason.

Ben is proud to be an educational artist for Mapex Drums, Majestic Concert Percussion, and Innovative Percussion Sticks & Mallets.  He is on the educator networks for Black Swamp Percussion & Evans Drumheads, and is on the Health & Wellness Committee for the Percussive Arts Society.

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Dr. Brian S. Mason, Professor of Percussion, coordinates the percussion studies program at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. In addition to his teaching responsibilities he directs the percussion ensembles, MSU Steel, and the award-winning marching percussion ensemble, featured on VicFirth.com's web-based instructional video series Marching Percussion 101. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Board of Advisors, Immediate Past President of the PAS KY Chapter, Associate Principal Percussion with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Percussion for the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra , and appears as a guest artist with high school and university percussion ensembles across the US. Brian is also the recipient of the KMEA College/University Teacher of the Year Award, the MSU Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boyle County High School.

A highly respected innovator of the contemporary marching percussion ensemble, Brian's career in the Drum Corps International activity spanned more than two decades, claiming two World Championships and three High Percussion titles, along with many other awards and honors during his tenure with the Cavaliers (1987-1996), Yamato (1997-1999), Phantom Regiment (1998-2002), and the Santa Clara Vanguard (2006-2010). He also serves as a member of the Winter Guard International Percussion Judge team, one of the most respected and highly regarded rosters of adjudicators in the marching arts. In high demand as a clinician, performer, arranger, composer, and adjudicator, Brian has appeared throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and his compositions have been performed around the world.

Brian received his DMA and BM as a student of James B. Campbell at the University of Kentucky and his MM at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a student of Dr. Dean Gronemeier. Brian has published articles in Percussive Notes, has been interviewed in Modern Drummer and Band and Orchestra Magazine, and co-authored the 2000 Modern Drummer Readers Poll's "No. 1 Drum Set Method Book," The Commandments of R&B Drumming (Warner Brothers). Brian is a performing artist for Mapex Drums , and Majestic Percussion , Vic Firth sticks and mallets , Zildjian cymbals , Evans drumheads ,  Black Swamp Percussion , and Etymotic Hearing Protection , and his original works are published through Row-Loff Productions , Bachovich Music Publications , and Tap Space Publications

Dr. Joshua D. Smith is the owner of Ox and Lamb Percussion Publications (oxandlambmusic.com) and a freelance percussionist based in Lexington, Kentucky. Smith earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music Performance degree from James Madison University, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Kentucky.

 

As a performer, Joshua D. Smith maintains a healthy schedule that includes intimate venues for solo recital performances and orchestral halls for symphonic engagements. Through various performing entities, Smith has participated in a number of USA and World Premieres, including performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and at Carnegie Hall. As a recording percussionist, Smith has contributed to CD and DVD recordings through the GIA/Windworks label. In the role of an orchestral percussionist, Dr. Smith regularly performs some of the finest literature in orchestral repertoire, encompassing works from Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to those of Bernstein and Stravinsky.

 

Dr. Smith is an accomplished author, composer, arranger, and clinician, and also enjoys a teaching career that includes both university and public school experience. Dr. Smith is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist and is also affiliated with the Percussive Arts Society, Black Swamp Percussion, D’addario & Company, Innovative Percussion, The College Music Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Kappa Psi (honorary,) Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (honorary,) TRI-M MUSIC National Honor Society, and a four-time honoree of WHO’S WHO Among America’s Teachers.

 

When not making music or teaching, Josh enjoys taking kickboxing classes, working as an amateur beekeeper, and spending quality time with his wife and two children. The Smith family is currently working towards their family goal of hiking the highest point (highest point above sea level) in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Since beginning this project in 2013, they have reached the summit in seventeen states.

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