John Willmarth

John Willmarth's Biography

John Willmarth is Director of Steel Bands at Summerville High School. As one of the largest high school groups of its kind, the program boasts 6 bands with over 120 students participating each year. In addition, Willmarth serves as a consultant for various percussion sections in Dorchester School District Two, including percussion sections at Summerville and Ashley Ridge High Schools. He is also a faculty member for GATEWAY, a Dorchester School District Two program that nurtures gifted and talented elementary and middle school students in the arts. Willmarth has previously served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Kentucky, percussion instructor at Centre College and Director of Percussion at McKinney High School in McKinney, TX and Lafayette High School in Lexington, KY. As a percussion consultant and clinician, he has worked with high school programs across the country as well as for Bands of America, Yamaha Corporation of America and the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts.

An active performer, Willmarth serves as the drummer for the Word and Table Contemporary Worship Service at Bethany United Methodist Church and performs regularly with the Charleston Wind Symphony. He previously held the drum set chair in the Dimartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra, University of Kentucky Faculty Jazztet and the Raleigh Dailey Trio. In addition, Willmarth has been a regular percussionist with the Paragon Music Theater Company and performed with The Lexington Brass Band and Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a former member of The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps, where he was won three Drum Corps International High Percussion trophies and two DCI World Championship titles.

An active composer, Willmarth's compositions have been performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) and The Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference. In 2006, he received 2nd place honors in the Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest for his solo timpani piece "Bushido: The Way of the Warrior." An experienced arranger, Willmarth has written marching percussion books for numerous high schools and for the University of Kentucky, University of Iowa and Charleston Southern University. His percussion compositions and arrangements are published by Innovative Percussion, Row-Loff Productions and Tapspace Publications. As an author, he has contributed articles to Percussive Notes and Bluegrass Music News.

Willmarth earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Kentucky under the tutelage of James Campbell and a master's degree in percussion performance from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Dan Moore, James Dreier and John Rapson. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and the National Society of Steel Band Educators and an artist with Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads and Yamaha Corporation of America.

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