Triple Crown
Indoor Percussion

Instructional Staff

2020 Instructional Staff


Battery Technicians


Aaron Farris - Caption Head

Aaron Farris is a native of Richmond, Kentucky currently a resident of Nashville Tennessee, graduated from The University of Kentucky with B.A. In Human Communications Studies. Aaron is entering is in his third year as Ensemble and Battery Coordinator for Triple Crown Independent Ensemble (Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble). He’s been an active performer and educator in the marching arts for the past decade. This is his first summer as a Battery Instructor with the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps. His third as a Battery Instructor at The University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps. Aaron has also instructed many groups nationwide including the Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps, Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps, Garrard County High School, and Tates Creek High School. Aaron started his independent marching career as a bass drummer with Tates Creek Independent Ensemble (2010). He then continued his marching career with the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, (2011, 2012, 2013) and Rhythm X Inc. (2012, 2013, WGI 1st Place). While attending college he performed in numerous music ensembles at The University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University. Post-graduation The Growl (The Official Drumline of Cincinnati Bengals) and MCM Productions. Aaron is excited to get the 2020 season going!

Mark C.jpeg

Mark Casey - Consultant

Mark Casey has received international recognition as a performer, teacher, composer, and adjudicator within the percussion activity. He has worked with the World Champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, the World Champion Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, the Yamato Drum and Bugle Corps, the University of Kentucky, the University of Miami (FL), the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Miami of Ohio University, the McGavock High School Marching Band, and the Lafayette High School Marching Band. Mark is currently on the instructional team with Triple Crown Indoor Ensemble as well as Madison Central High School Band. Mark has judged for Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Indiana state-sanctioned shows as well as SCGC and PAS. Mark endorses Innovative Percussion and Evans.


Chad Fink

Chad was born and raised in Huntington, WV. He attended Marshall University majoring in psychology and print journalism. He has been involved with the marching arts as a performer, teacher, and arranger for the past 18 years. As a performer, Chad marched with the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps before focusing on teaching. He has taught at various high schools throughout West Virginia and Ohio in the past decade. Chad has taught with Cap City Percussion for the past four seasons. He recently stepped in as percussion coordinator for Marshall University’s Marching Thunder. He just wrapped up a four year stint with Hurricane High School in Hurricane, WV where the group was undefeated in percussion the past two seasons. Chad continues to be active in the area as a consultant for local high schools and giving lessons. He is excited to contribute and be a part of a growing program and team in Triple Crown this coming season.


Gabe Fry

Gabe has had a love for drumming his whole life. From drum set lessons in the 5th grade all the way through high school band where he served as drum captain his senior year. He took his passion for the arts to college with him and at The University of Alabama he majored in Music Education. Through sharpening his craft as a student and performer, he played in front of hundreds of thousands of people as part of The Million Dollar Band. Gabe would also go on to play with Music City Drum Corps in the summer of 2011 as well as Chattanooga Independent in the winter of 2013. After ageing out, Gabe has taught at a number of different schools and organizations throughout the south. He resides in Nashville, working as an integral part of the McGavock high school music program and is excited to be returning with TC indoor for a second year in the 2020 season. ROLL TIDE!


Cyr Wilson

Cyr Wilson is a young music educator in the state of Kentucky. He studied music education at the University of the Cumberlands. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Legends Drum and Bugle Corps where he was the battery section leader and center snare. Cyr spent his entire indoor percussion career with Legacy Indoor Percussion: 2016-2018 season. In addition to serving as the assistant percussion director at Ballard High School, and Eastern High School in Louisville, Ky. Cyr also serves as the Founder and CEO of SPEED Performing Arts, A company built on marching percussion arrangement, and education. He spent last winter as a snare tech with Triple Crown Indoor Percussion. In addition to his marching career, Cyr has recorded on numerous albums nationwide. 


Sarah Chole

Sarah’s passion for the marching arts began when she earned the title of drum major at Central Crossing High School. She advanced her love for marching by performing as a founding member with Capital City Percussion for two years. After graduating, she continued her marching career for the next four seasons with ConneXus, while teaching for Westerville Indoor Percussion Ensemble in Westerville, Ohio. Sarah ended her WGI-performance career when she aged out with INOV8 in 2018. Sarah continues her time with the marching arts as Cymbal Technician for Triple Crown for the second year and returning to Carlisle High School as a visual/cymbal technician. She also performs with the Cleveland Browns NFL Drumline and instructs the cymbal line at Cincinnati Tradition Drum and Bugle Corps. Sarah is currently getting her AA in Welding/Fabrication in Columbus, Ohio.


Austin Wheatley

Austin attended school for Psychology and Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville, and currently works at Childplace, a residential treatment home for foster and/or troubled youth, as a full-time Residential Youth Worker. Austin works as a music educator in the tri-state area as well, working with high schools such as North Harrison High School, Williamstown High School, Floyd Central High School, and others as a battery tech. He played snare drum in the University of Louisville's marching band, and began his independent marching career with Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble's 2014 production, "Throwback," playing bass drum. He continued marching and performing with Tates Creek again in 2015, and Legacy Indoor Percussion for the 2016-2017 seasons. Additionally, he is a proud alumnus of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, after marching the summer of 2016 in the bass line. After joining Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble's staff in 2018 as an alumnus, and Tates Creek's transition into Triple Crown's inaugural year, Austin is very eager to help push the ceiling for this season.


Jd Mezger

This is JD's first year teaching cymbals at Triple Crown, he is also teaching at Central Crossing High School and Kent State University as a visual and cymbal technician. JD fell in love with the marching arts in Omaha, Nebraska with his first years in Dojo Percussion in '15 and '16. He then joined Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps in '16 and '17. After Pioneer, he decided to continue chasing his dream of playing cymbals by moving to Columbus, Ohio and marching Cap City Percussion '18. The two seasons to follow he marched the '18 Colts Cymbal Line and finished his marching career with the '19 Rhythm X Plateline. Through the diversity of his experiences marching drum corps and indoor ensembles, he has a deeper understanding of how to pass down the knowledge of intricate east coast cymbal playing. JD is incredibly excited to teach this upcoming season and to help continue the growth of the cymbal community as a whole. 


Lamar Casey

From Cincinnati, Ohio, Lamar Casey has been educating students in the marching arts for over half a decade. He started his marching career at ConneXus Independent in 2014 on snare drum, where he would then go and march another 2 seasons with. After that, he would then go on to march 2 seasons with Matrix Performing Arts. The instruction he has received at both of these ensembles is some of the best in the world, and he makes sure that he utilizes this information to better himself and his students. Lamar has spent time educating students at Northmont High School, Reading High School, West Clermont High School, and Carlisle High School, where he is currently the percussion director. On top of educating students in the marching arts, he also is pursuing a degree in communications from the University of Cincinnati. Lamar is very excited for his second year with Triple Crown!


Malik Martin

Malik Martin is an Indiana native who got his start in the marching arts at Lawrence Central HS. After graduating in 2014 he went on to teach several groups around Indiana including Angola HS, Pike HS, Perry Meridian HS, Franklin Community HS, and Zionsville HS. His marching career started with Legacy Indoor where he marched for two seasons (2015 & 2016). From there he went on to march Pioneer DBC (2015), Matrix World (2017 & 2018), and Phantom Regiment (2017 & 2018) where he was given the position of center snare and battery section leader for the 2018 season. Outside of DCI and WGI, Malik performed with the Indiana Pacers High Octane Drumline for 6 seasons and is currently in his second season with the Indianapolis Colts Drumline. After getting his start teaching independent drumline for the 2019 season, he is pumped to get things rolling for this upcoming season and continue pushing the performers to the highest level!


Front Ensemble Technicians


Shelby Shelton - Caption Head

A native of Texas, Shelby Shelton is an active performer, instructor, arranger, and consultant living in Nashville, TN. She is currently serving as Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Cumberland University and working with the percussion section at Father Ryan High School. This is her first summer teaching front ensemble with the Cavaliers and her third summer with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Shelby has instructed many groups nationwide including the Sacramento Mandarins, Music City Drum & Bugle Corps, Legacy indoor, Blue Springs High School, Audio Theatre, and Modulation Z. Shelby received a Masters of Music degree in percussion performance and a post-baccalaureate degree in music education from Middle Tennessee State University. She attended Lindenwood University in St.Charles, MO for her undergraduate studies where she double majored in percussion performance and English Literature. Shelby is passionate about performing and started her marching experience with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (2010) going on to perform with the Blue Stars (2012) and Phantom Regiment (2013). In 2012 she began playing with Gateway Indoor and aged out as section leader in 2014. She proudly endorses Innovative Percussion. 


Wayne Gibson

Wayne Gibson is a native of Calvert County, Maryland.  He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.  From 2008 until 2015 he worked in various roles in the Chemistry and Engineering departments at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, MD. He currently lives in Naperville, IL and works as a technical chemistry consultant for the global nuclear industry as well as other power industries. Wayne’s previous marching arts performance experience includes playing in the front ensembles for the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps (02-03) and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps (06-08).  For the 2009 WGI season, he was the center marimbist for the PIW world champion indoor drum line, Rhythm X. Wayne has taught front ensembles at various outdoor and indoor marching arts organizations including the George Mason University Indoor Drumline, the Reading Buccaneers, and Cadets Winter Percussion.


Andrew Sickmeier

Andrew Sickmeier studied at Ithaca College, earning his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and Music Theory and a Masters of Music in Percussion Performance from the same institute. Andrew went on to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He has had the privilege of working with numerous noted percussionists, including: Gordon Stout, Thomas Burritt, Conrad Alexander,Tony Edwards, Timothy K. Adams Jr., Michael Burritt, Charles Ross, and Gregory Evans. Andrew has performed in concerts across the world, touring with ensembles in Ireland,Germany, and Austria. In 2015, he placed 2nd overall at the Australia International Marimba Competition held in Melbourne, Australia. In 2016, he performed the world premiere of Gordon Stout’s marimba concerto “Look Forward with Your Feet” at a PASIC Showcase Performance with the University of Texas Percussion Ensemble. He has served as Principle Percussionist with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (NY), Section Percussionist with the Carmel Symphony (IN), and has substituted with both the Austin Symphony Orchestra (TX) and Lexington Philharmonic (KY). Recordings of his playing can be found on iTunes; most notably on The OXtet and the award-winning album, This is My House. Andrew has also recently appeared on PBS while performing for the 2015 Texas Medal of Arts Award Show. As an educator, Andrew has served as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, Ithaca College, and Brevard Summer Music Academy. He has worked with numerous award-winning organizations including Center Grove (IN), Franklin Central (IN), Vista Ridge (TX), Triple Crown Percussion (KY), and Cincinnati Tradition (OH). Andrew is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


Evan Sasowsky

Evan Sasowsky is a front ensemble fanatic, having begun his career as a marching mallet player at the University of Cincinnati, in the Bearcat Marching Bands, under then Assistant (now Associate) Director Nick Angelis. His experience there quickly inspired him to seek independent marching activities, landing him on a marimba at the Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble (PIA/PIO) in the 2014 WGI season. This first season would prove to be the impetus that drew him to continue a passion for the marching arts, particularly in the realm of indoor pageantry (WGI). With encouragement from Mr. Angelis at UC, Evan followed his first season of indoor with a season at Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble (PIW), where he was the center marimba player and section leader of the front ensemble in the 2015 season. For his final two seasons as a performer in WGI, Evan chose to march at Rhythm X (PIW), where he played marimba for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, marching for his age-out DCI season in 2016 at the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio, TX. Evan currently lives in Cincinnati, OH, where he is a front ensemble and percussion instructor at Conner High School, Walnut Hills High School, Sycamore High School, and Elder High School. In his free time he likes to play and stream video games, go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with his girlfriend, Barb, quote The Office, and play board games with his friends. This is Evan’s third season teaching at Triple Crown and he is excited to be working with his fellow instructors and the returning and new members for this year!

James Bessire

James Bessire is an active front ensemble instructor who currently resides in the Middle Tennessee area. James currently spends his time pursuing his undergraduate degree in Music Business at Middle Tennessee State University, working at Fedex, and teaching at various high schools in the area. During his time as a performer, James performed Audio Theater 2014-2015, the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps 2016, Madison Scouts 2017, and Music City Mystique 2016-2018. James has taught at Audio Theater and Music City Drum Corps, and is excited for his first year on staff with Triple Crown!


Visual Technicians


Kendra Wendeln - Caption Head

Kendra Wendeln has a long-standing love of the marching arts and has been designing shows, writing drill and teaching visual technique since 2001. She earned a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Miami University in 2004, performed as a graduate member of the Eastern Kentucky University percussion ensembles from 2005 through 2008, and was a 2013 graduate of Florida State University with a Masters degree in Music Education. She is blessed with 9 years of experience as a band director. Now out of the classroom, Kendra writes marching band drill for multiple bands from Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Texas. She has worked with many indoor marching ensembles including Lebanon High School, EKU, Leon High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble (FFCC SAA Gold Medalist 2015), Legacy Indoor Percussion, Miamisburg Winds, and Triple Crown Indoor Percussion. Currently, Kendra is the director of the Miamisburg Winds Ensemble, and she serves as the Visual Caption Head for the Miamisburg High School Marching Band, the Walnut Hills High School Marching Band, and the Cincinnati Tradition Drum and Bugle Corps. Kendra is a member of the W.G.I. Winds Steering Committee and the W.G.I. Winds Advisory Board, as well as the Mid East Performance Association (MEPA) circuit as a board member and Winds representative. She currently lives in Cincinnati, OH. Kendra is excited to continue her career with Triple Crown Indoor for the 2020 season!


Connor Maher

Connor Maher is from Muncie, Indiana and recently relocated to Columbus, Ohio. Connor’s love for her high school marching program helped her realize what a big impact performance arts would make on her future. She quickly decided to pursue her marching career straight out of high school. Connor started teaching within the past year, and currently is teaching at Central Crossing High School. She looks forward to expanding her teaching experience and her love for the activity this season with Triple Crown. Connor’s career as a world class performer started at Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps ‘16-‘17 and she aged out of DCI with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in ‘18. She was a WGI visual soloist in Cap City ‘18 and went on to age out with the Rhythm X visual ensemble in ‘19.

A.J. Helfen

A.J. Helfen studied at Bowling Green and Wright State University, receiving a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Computer Science respectively. He is a native of Batavia, OH and currently resides in Centerville, OH. AJ has always been very active in the marching arts, participating in the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps from 2006-2009 and on staff with the Miamisburg High School marching band since 2013. AJ has also been involved with the Miamisburg Winds program since its inception in 2016. In his spare time AJ likes to play video games with his friends and spend time with his wife and their two cats. AJ is excited to be working with his fellow instructors and with Triple Crown.