Percussion Palooza Judges
Mr. Michael Boo
Judging Melodic Percussion (Mallets & Timpani)
Michael Boo has been a performing percussionist for more than 50 years. He has been involved in drum and bugle corps activity since 1975, when he played mallets in The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps for three seasons and was later commissioned to compose an original opener for the Cavaliers’ 35th anniversary.
Prior to aging out of drum corps in 1977, he received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and became a band director. He then earned a Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, majoring in music composition and theory.
Since then, he has written several published arrangements and compositions for percussion soloists and ensembles, in addition to original works for concert band. He also arranges for handbells and British brass bands. He has judged marching band contests around the country and currently serves as a judge for solo-ensemble events in Indiana.
Mr. Boo is the Staff Writer for Drum Corps International, writing articles every week for DCI.org and traveling during the summer to blog for DCI and interview corps staff and marching members. Each year he also writes up the Bands of America Grand National Championships for Music for All/BOA’s magazine and liner notes. He also wrote for WGI for most of the organization’s four decades of existence, covering winter guard, indoor marching percussion and WGI Winds events.
He is extensively involved with music programs at Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana and regularly arranges and composes works for various VU bands, and is also the Composer in Residence for the Windiana Concert Band, an organization for which he has created over 60 works. In 2016 that association took him to Honolulu for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and New Year's 2018-19 he’ll be touring Italy with Windiana as the band plays several of his works.
His association with the Confucius Institute of Valparaiso University has taken him to China nine times, and his dozens of arrangements and compositions based on Chinese folk songs, pop songs and original works has led to him writing for Chinese music events held in Chicago’s Symphony Center and Millennium Park, events attended by several thousand music lovers. In addition, he has given speeches at multiple public relations events in Indiana and Chicago for the Chinese press corps, Confucius Institute directors from several states, and the Consular General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago. He’ll be returning to China this coming June to teach several days of master's classes.
Mr. Boo has received multiple ASCAP Plus awards from American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for his “contributions to American music” and is an endorser of Mike Balter Mallets.
Mr. Eric Thompson
Judging Drum Set
Eric Thompson is a versatile drum-set artist and marching percussion educator, composer, arranger and consultant. By the age of 7 he performed on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and played with legendary drummer Buddy Rich on "Dick Clark's Live Wednesday," along with being featured in Ebony Jr. and US magazines.
Mr. Thompson’s rudimental career began in Cedar Rapids. He marched with the Emerald Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, and later, two years (1989 & 1991) with the Star of Indiana Drum & Bugle Corps. He performed in, instructed and wrote for the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band and the All-American College Band at Disneyland, and is a graduate of The New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Jazz Studies.
As an instructor, consultant, clinician and arranger, Mr. Thompson has served on the Colts and Blue Stars percussion teams, consulted with high school lines throughout the Midwest and East Coast, and served as a clinician with Coastal Carolina University, University of Northern Iowa, University of Alabama and University of Iowa in both marching percussion and jazz drum-set. Mr. Thompson was Corps Director for Coastal Surge Drum & Bugle Corps in Myrtle Beach, SC, from 2014-2015.
Presently, Mr. Thompson is Director for The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success in Cedar Rapids, and is an active percussion and jazz educator/adjudicator. He has joined the administration team of Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps from Austin, Texas, as Director of Staff Development and as an education and percussion consultant, and is a percussion instructor for Dojo Indoor from Bellevue, Nebraska.
Mr. Thompson founded Thompson's Drum Pad, which provides the opportunity to achieve distinction in the specialized areas of marching percussion and drum set. He is an artist/performer with SABIAN cymbals and endorses Vic Firth sticks as a member of their education team and marching percussion specialist.
Mr. Gordon Warren
Judging Snare Drum
Mr. Gordon Warren is a retired music educator and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Illinois State University and an Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. He began his teaching career at Rock Falls High School in January of 1971 as the Assistant Band Director and Percussion Instructor under Mr. Richard C. Davis, and was also the Choral Director.
Mr. Warren thrived as the Assistant Marching Band Director. Mr. Davis imbued the Marching Rockets with the Blue Stars drum corps style, and Mr. Warren appreciated, respected and expected this in his teaching of the Marching Rockets. Furthermore, his drum lines featured more personnel and instrumentation than most marching bands, and they were the envy of many competitors. Two members of his percussion section marched in DCI finals: Tim Como (1974, Racine Kilties - 6th), and Ramiro Martinez (1975, Phantom Regiment - 10th). Ramiro Martinez succeeded Mr. Warren as Percussion Instructor at Rock Falls High School. The Davis and Warren era is considered by many the "Platinum Years" of The Rock Falls Marching Rockets: 1974 - Illini Marching Band Festival Governors' Trophy Champions; 1976 - Marching Bands of America Grand National Finalist. Mr. Warren also taught Music Theory, Music Appreciation, and directed the Jazz Ensemble at Rock Falls High School.
Mr. Warren later taught at Newton High School (Newton, Iowa); Jackson High School (Massillon, Ohio); and Bloomington High School (Bloomington, Illinois). He worked with many competitive high school drum lines and marching bands in Illinois and Iowa during his career: Rock Falls (Illinois); Dakota Marching Indians (Dakota, Illinois); Irving Crown Imperials (Dundee, Illinois); Newton (Iowa); Oskaloosa (Iowa), making them the dominant drum line in the state of Iowa; Brown County (Iowa); Webster City (Iowa), and Bloomington (Illinois).
Mr. Warren also was an adjunct faculty member for two colleges. He taught percussion lessons at William Penn College (now University) in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and percussion lessons and the percussion ensemble at Mt. Union College (now University of Mt. Union) in Alliance, Ohio.
Mr. Warren’s son, Mark, would grow up to march in the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps snare drum line for two years. Mr. Warren currently resides in Bloomington, Illinois.