meraki percussion staff

creative team

Robert Lowery

Executive Director

Robert has a long history of being involved with music programs over the years. Some of his past percussion instruction ensembles are Western Albemarle High School (Crozet, VA), Western Branch High School (Chesapeake, VA), Lakeland High School (Suffolk, VA), Tallwood High School (Virginia Beach, VA), Cox High School (Virginia Beach, VA) and Princess Anne High School (Virginia Beach, VA). Robert also did some judging for several marching band circuits and music festivals in Virginia. Robert was also a member of Southern Nights Drum & Bugle Corps that was based in Virginia Beach, VA. After moving to California, he took on the Percussion Instructor for Gahr High School (Cerritos, CA). Later he started an independent drumline for young teenagers in the LA Area. This then transformed into the Mystikal Youth Arts Organization (2004 – 2009). Robert also have experience in visual design as part of his duties with the various high school ensembles and worked closely with his mentor Kevin Mitchell arranging marching percussion music for the various high school programs in Virginia Beach, VA.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology with a focus on Technical Operations from Old Dominion University and numerous certifications. He is also a member of National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA) and Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity as one of the Charter Members for the Upsilon Beta Chapter. Robert’s professional career is currently doing contractor development and bonding program for Public Agencies in Downtown Los Angeles. He currently lives in Long Beach, CA where he enjoys international traveling, off-roading, camping and hiking. He loves his family, the Washington Redskins, New York Yankees and Boston Celtics.

Steven estudillo

creative director

Steven Estudillo was born and raised in Southern California. He is a graduate of La Mirada High School, and studied at California State University, Fullerton. As a performer, Steven was a member of Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps and later performed with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, aging out in 2008.

Steven has been a Visual Designer, Educator, Creative Director, and Adjudicator since 2006. His designs have been represented by ensembles within Bands of America, Winter Guard International, and Drum Corps International circuits. Upon aging out in 2008, Steven began his work as an instructor and designer within the drum corps activity. He worked with Pacific Crest as a visual instructor in 2009, then later served as the Visual Designer from 2010 – 2012. After a two year hiatus from the ensemble, he returned as the Visual Designer and Creative Director from 2015 – 2021. Steven is currently on the Visual & Design Team for Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps as the Visual Designer.

Simultaneously, Steven was a visual instructor for The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2009-2015, serving as the Visual Caption Head starting in 2011. During the winter seasons, Steven has been serving as a Visual Designer and instructor for Pulse Percussion and Chino Hills High School since 2012, and designs for several other award winning indoor percussion ensembles throughout the country.In addition to his work in the United States, Steven has had the opportunity to branch out internationally and work with performing ensembles in South America, providing consultation and clinics to further spread the marching arts in different regions.

Steven Currently resides in Ontario, CA. with his loving wife Lexie, and his three children, Emily, Ezekiel and Elle.

Jimmy Nguyen

Front Ensemble Composer/Arranger

Jimmy began his marching career with the RCC Marching Tigers (2014) and went on to become amember of RCC Indoor Percussion (2016-2018). He also toured with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps (2015) and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps(2016-2017). During his time as a member of these ensembles, he has earned both WGI and DCI world championships. Jimmy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology(with a focus in Education) from UC Riverside and a Master of Science in Higher Education from CSU Fullerton. 

Jimmy also teaches percussion at La Quinta HS, RCC Indoor Percussion, and the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. He has had the pleasure of working with many distinguished programs such as Ayala HS, San Marino HS, Fountain Valley HS, Chino HS, Vessel Indoor, and the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and proudly endorses Innovative Percussion and Zildjian Cymbals. 

Jimmy resides in Southern California, where he works as an arranger, sound designer, and clinician for band programs across the country.

Zakk Hollander

Battery Composer/Arranger

Zakk started marching at Mission Viejo High School under the tutelage of Mike Jackson, Jared Andrews, Jeremy Somers, and Fernando Miller. After graduating, he went on to perform with The Academy (2012 – 2013), RCC Fall (2012 – 2013), Orange County Independent (2013), Pulse (2014), Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2014), RCC (2015), and aged out with The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (2015) and RCC (2016). Zakk’s teaching experiences includes Orange County Independent, Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, Dark Sky Percussion, Laguna Beach High School, Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo High School, Laguna Hills High School, Diamond Bar High School, El Dorado High School, Fountain Valley High School, Etiwanda High School, and Diamond Bar High School.

Zakk graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications in 2020, and has been practicing childhood ABA Therapy in Southern California for two years as a Registered Behavior Technician. When not working his professional career, he is a freelance battery arranger for different ensembles such as Sac State Indoor Percussion Ensemble (Sacramento, California).

Zakk is a proud member of the Vic Firth & Zildjian Educational Team and the Rudimental Mindset Educational Team.

This will be his 3rdseason of arranging for the battery.

Zakk currently lives in Mission Viejo, CA.

consultants

Donovan Alanes

battery Consultant

Donovan has worked as an instructor and designer in the activity for several years under the tutelage of instructors such as Mike Jackson, Jared Andrews, and Roger Carter. Donovan is also proud to be a member of the Vic Firth educational team.

Donovan has performed with several world class ensembles including RCC, POW Percussion, Blue Knights DBC, and Broken City Percussion. His last two years as section leader of Broken City resulted in their first SCPA gold medal (2017), as well as their first WGI bronze (2016) and silver (2017) medals. 

Outside of the activity, he is pursuing a Bachelor's of Science at Cal State Fullerton in Child Development with plans to work with children with special needs and their families. 

tia Barrera

Front Ensemble Consultant

Tia performed with Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013, Orange County Independent in 2014 and Dark Sky Percussion (2015 – 2017). Some of Tia’s teaching experiences includes La Quinta High School, San Marino High School, Arcadia High School, Nogales High School and Patriot High School.  

After aging out of the activity, she was one of the Front Ensemble Instructor and Manager for Dark Sky Percussion from (2018 - 2020). Outside of teaching Tia works in tech and gaming.

Tia currently lives in Fullerton, CA.

Educational

Zakk Hollander

Ensemble Manager/Staff Coordinator

Zakk started marching at Mission Viejo High School under the tutelage of Mike Jackson, Jared Andrews, Jeremy Somers, and Fernando Miller. After graduating, he went on to perform with The Academy (2012 – 2013), RCC Fall (2012 – 2013), Orange County Independent (2013), Pulse (2014), Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2014), RCC (2015), and aged out with The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (2015) and RCC (2016). Zakk’s teaching experiences includes Orange County Independent, Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, Dark Sky Percussion, Laguna Beach High School, Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo High School, Laguna Hills High School, Diamond Bar High School, El Dorado High School, Fountain Valley High School, Etiwanda High School, and Diamond Bar High School.

Zakk graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications in 2020, and has been practicing childhood ABA Therapy in Southern California for two years as a Registered Behavior Technician. When not working his professional career, he is a freelance battery arranger for different ensembles such as Sac State Indoor Percussion Ensemble (Sacramento, California).

Zakk is a proud member of the Vic Firth & Zildjian Educational Team and the Rudimental Mindset Educational Team.

This will be his 2nd season as the Staff Coordinator and Ensemble Manager.

Zakk currently lives in Mission Viejo, CA.

Mario Godinho

Snare instructor

Mario is a world-class snare drummer and educator from Riverside, California. His marching career began performing as a middle schooler with Ramona High School (2013-2018) until graduating. During and after high school, his independent ensemble experience includes Watchmen (2016-2018), Watchmen Indoor (2018), RCC Marching Tigers (2018-2019), POW Percussion (2019), and RCC (2020).

His experience as an educator includes providing instruction at Orange Vista High School, Redlands East Valley High School, Fontana High School, and Jurupa Middle School.

Mario is excited to be returning for a 2nd season

jared Baltazar

Snare instructor

Jared’s passion for percussion led him to perform in several of California’s elite drum and bugles corps and percussion ensembles such as Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (2015 &2016), Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps (2017, 2018 & 2019), POW Percussion (2017), Broken City (2018, 2019, 2020 & 2022).

His desire to educate young percussionists led to several programs in Northern and Southern California including Saratoga High School (2016-2018), Rowland High School (2019 - Present) and Upland High School (2019 - Present).

Jared currently resides in Corona, CA.

Andres "Andy" Pena

tenors instructor

Andy graduated from Eastlake High School. After high school, Andy continued his percussion experience as a cast member for Odyssey (2018), Dark Sky Percussion (2019 – 2021), RCC Fall (2019 and 2021), and RCC Indoor (2022). Some of Andy’s teaching experience in the performing arts arena includes Pacifica High School and currently with Carlsbad High School.

Andy is very excited to be teaching with Meraki this season!

Andy currently resides in Chula Vista, CA.

jack may

Tenors Instructor

Jack is a world class performer and educator from Diamond Bar, California. He started his marching career at Diamond Bar High School. Some of his performance career can be credited to Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps and Dark Sky Percussion Corps before aging out of the activity.

Jack is excited to be applying his past performance experiences to his educational skills and being a member of Meraki’s Staff.

Lorenzo Everett

Battery supervisor/bass instructor

Lorenzo is a percussion educator and performer from Ontario, CA. He began his marching education at Chino High School under the instruction of Mike Jackson from 2010 – 2014. He then went on to compete at the highest level of the marching activity in both DCI and WGI for over 5 years, performing with a number of award winning ensembles such as Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps and Pulse Percussion.

Never losing his passion for music and the marching arts and after aging out of the activity, Lorenzo continued to remain involved as an educator. He has worked with a number of high school and independent percussion programs since 2015. Most recently serving as the bass tech for Vessel Drum and Bugle Corps, and is currently the Battery Caption Head at Cypress High School, Glendora High School, and Azusa High School.

Lorenzo continues to find opportunities to perform live music, gigging as a member of multiple local bands as well as both the LA Chargers and LA Kings drumlines. He is very excited to be returning to Meraki for his 3rd season.

Lorenzo currently lives in Ontario, CA

Logan Gamboa

Bass instructor

Logan is a bass drum educator in the marching percussion arena in the Southern California Area. Some of Logan’s performance experience includes DCI’s Finalist Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps in 2018 and Dark Sky 2019-2020.

Logan’s teaching experience includes La Habra High School and Orange High School.

Logan currently lives in Fullerton, California.

jordan alfaro

cymbal Instructor

Jordan began his marching career at Townsend Junior High School at the age of 12. He began playing cymbals in earnest at Chino Hills High School, where he graduated in 2015. He continued marching with Pulse Percussion in 2016, POW Percussion in 2017, and finishing out his time marching with the Sacramento Mandarins for their 2017 season.  

After concluding his time marching, Jordan completed his transition into the education side of the activity. His teaching experience includes Etiwanda High School, Townsend Junior High School, Corona High School, Westminster High School, Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps, Instinct Percussion, as well as clinic work around the Southern California area.  

Jordan is currently a voice actor, podcaster, and audiobook narrator based out of Corona, CA. In his limited free time, Jordan enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons, writing, and watching all things Marvel.

amber Larroque

cymbal Instructor

Amber performed with Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps on trumpet in 2015 and 2016. She then continued on to march The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from 2017 to 2019. During this time she also played cymbals for Bakersfield College Indoor in 2018 and 2019, and Pow Percussion in 2020 and 2022.

During this time Amber also taught 3 years at Independence High School (Bakersfield, CA) overseeing cymbal techniques, visual techniques and choreography as well as show design for Independence High Schools fall and winter programs. Since aging out she contributed to Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps’ visual program for the 2022 season.

Amber is excited to be joining Meraki’s Instructional Staff for the 2023 Season.

Angel Abonza-RUIZ

Front Ensemble manager

Angel has been an instructor for the past several years and has worked at groups such as Colony High School (2014-2019), Vessel Drum &Bugle Corps (2019), Dark Sky Percussion (2020), and Diamond Bar High School (2016-2019).He is currently a front ensemble instructor for Etiwanda High school, Patriot High school, and Canyon Springs High School.

Angel started as a percussionist while in his sophomore year at Colony High School. After graduating in 2013, he continued to pursue his career in the marching arts. He has performed with the Riverside City College Marching Tigers (2013-2015), Gold Drum and Bugle Corps (2014), the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps (2015), and Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps (2016). Angel was also involved with the indoor percussion circuits, where he performed with Dark Sky Percussion from 2014 through his age-out year in 2018.

Angel currently resides in Ontario, CA.

conrad Alumia

front ensemble instructor


Conrad’s dynamic performance experiences includes Dark Sky Percussion - Marimba (2015), Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps - Marimba (2016), Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps - Marimba (2017), and RCC Indoor Percussion - Mallets (2016 - 2018). His teaching experience in the performing arts arena includes Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps (2018-2019), Dark Sky Percussion (2019-2020), and Gold Indoor Percussion (2022). Some of his scholastic teaching experience includes Los Alamitos High School (2017-2019), Torrance High School (2018), Notre Dame High School (2018 - Present), and San Marino High School (2019 - 2020).

Conrad received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 2017 and received a Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A.) Degree from Cal State Long Beach in 2019. After receiving these degrees, Conrad is currently work as Policy Analyst in Higher Education.

Conrad Loves to travel and is an avid theme park/rollercoaster enthusiast while living in Sherman Oaks, CA.

emily Garcia

Front Ensemble Instructor

Emily is an active percussion educator in Southern California. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from California State University, Long Beach and has performed with marching ensembles such as Orange County Independent, Broken City, RCC, Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, and Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.  

This is Emily’s 1st season with Meraki and she is looking forward to being an positive impact on the ensemble.

Tyler Miller

front ensemble instructor

Tyler performed with Mandarin Drum and Bugle Corps in 2014. He also performed for five seasons with Dark Sky Percussion (2015 – 2019). While performing with Dark Sky Percussion, he was the vibe section leader in 2018 and Front Ensemble Section leader in 2019.

With his outstanding playing and educational experiences, Tyler held the Front Ensemble Caption Head positions for Don Lugo High School (2019 – Present) and Claremont High School (2018 – 2019). Tyler was the Pit Tech for Nogales High School (2018 – 2019).

This will be Tyler’s1st season teaching with Meraki’s world-class Instructional Staff.

Tyler currently lives in Chino, CA.

Eddie Ortega

Front Ensemble instructor

Eddie was born and raised in Southern California. He started as a percussionist during his time at Verdugo Hills High School. After high school, he attended Pasadena City College and then California State University, Northridge. During his time in school, he performed with many various ensembles, some of which he had the privilege of being principal percussion/section leader. He has also been awarded the Outstanding Percussionist Award, as well as other awards, from both PCC and CSUN. Outside of his collegiate endeavors, he has performed in DCI and SCPA/WGI. He graduated from California State University, Northridge with his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Industry Studies.

As a music educator, Eddie has done clinic work and taught various ensembles throughout Southern California including Pasadena City College Marching Band/Tournament of Roses Honor Band/Winter Drumline, Verdugo Hills High School, Blair High School, Rosemont Middle School, Crescenta Valley High School, Moorpark High School, and Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps.

He is currently the Front Ensemble Caption Head at Moorpark High School and the Front Ensemble Manager at Crescenta Valley High School.

Nicolas Montell

sound engineer

Nic performing experiences includes Royal Oak Middle School – Flute (2009), Charter Oak High School Flute, Electric Bass(2013), RCC Marching Tigers - Electric Bass (2014 – 2015). RCC Indoor Percussion (2015 and 2018), Blue Devils International Corps (2015), Odyssey Indoor Percussion - Bass Drum (2017). Some of his collegiate performances are with Cal Poly Pomona Wind Ensemble – Flute, Cal Poly Pomona Philharmonic Orchestra – Flute, CPP MIDI Ensemble - Electric Bass, CPP Percussion Ensemble –Percussion, Rose Parade Swing Band - String Bass (2016) and numerous rock, hip-hop ,funk, reggae, jazz bands across the LA Area (2016 – Present).

Nic’s scholastic teaching experience includes El Rancho High School (2016 – 2017), Bonita High School (2017 – 2018), La Puente High School (2018 – Present), Glendora High School (Present) and Azusa High School (Present). He will be returning to Meraki Percussion for his 3rdseason.

When Nic is not teaching and performing, he is a handpan maker at Oasis Sound Sculpture and he currently lives in Glendora, CA.

mitchell Hautea

choreographer

Mitchell began his journey into the marching arts early in life and quickly developed a passion for color guard. As part of the James Logan Color Guard, Mitchell grew as a performer. During his time there,he performed in ensembles that earned countless medals for the fall marching band and were a member of the undefeated WGI world-class color guard. After high school, Mitchell spent five years performing in the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps Color Guard, earning three DCI championships and four Zingali Awards. At the Blue Devils, Mitchell excelled as an individual and received the following awards: Rookie of The Year, Rifle of The Year, Performer of The Year, The Directors Award, and serving as color guard captain his age-out year.  After his time as a performer ended.

Mitchell quickly developed a passion for teaching and choreography. He returned to his alma mater at James Logan as an instructor and helped the group earn (5) WGI World Class medals, including (3) silver and (1) gold medals. Additionally, Mitchell began to branch out and teach and write for many other groups in California includes Jesse Bethel High School, Downey High School, Fountain Valley High School, Saratoga High School, and spent several summers both the Blue Devils and Blue Devils B.

Mitchell lives in Southern California to follow his passion for fashion and furthering his education in business. Now taking his creative side and furthering his teaching career, he is currently working with Palm Desert High School.

harrison Toma

Visual manager

Bio Coming Soon

TBA

Visual Instructor

Bio Coming Soon

TBA

Visual instructor

Bio Coming Soon

MEDIA TEAM

Kevin dajay

social Media Manager/Content Creator

Kevin is a SoCal native who has been a part of the percussion scene since 2019, starting with Catalyst Percussion’s inaugural year. After graduating from Mayfair High School, he was a member of Vessel Drum & Bugle Corps and Dark Sky Percussion.  

Kevin has done graphical work for multiple schools and marching programs, as well as social media managing for Catalyst Percussion and currently as a social media assistant for the Student Academy of Musical Leaders (SAML). This will be his first year working with Meraki as their Social Media Manager. 

On the side, he is working towards being a Lighting Designer and loves his dogs, Boba and Chicharron.

Ashley Chan

Photographer

Ashley is a freelance photographer based in Azusa, CA. She was a member of Meraki for the 2020 season and has also performed with Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps as well as Gold Indoor Percussion. Ashley keeps connected with the marching world through her passion for photography and capturing unforgettable moments.

This is Ashley's first year with Meraki Media.

Robin Truong

Photographer

Bio Coming Soon