THE MOREHEAD STATE UNIVERSITY
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. His original works are published through Row-Loff Productions , Bachovich Music Publications , and Tap Space Publications.
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, Innovative Percussion, and Zildjian. He is on the educator network for Black Swamp Percussion and is on the Heath & Wellness Committee for the Percussive Arts Society.