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.
Judging Drum Set & Multi-Percussion
Mike Coers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Music Merchandising from Western Illinois University, and a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Illinois State University. Mr. Coers has taught and arranged for groups at all levels, including the Illinois State University Marching Band, the University of Nevada Las Vegas drumline, the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps, the 1994 Winter Guard International (WGI) Sport of the Arts Scholastic Marching Percussion champion Lincoln-Way High School, Foothill, Nevada, High School Marching Band, and served as writer, arranger and instructor for the Marian Catholic High School Band program.
His groups have appeared in nationally televised events including the 54th Presidential Inaugural Parade for George W. Bush, college football promos for the Sports Channel, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Citrus and Holiday Bowl Parades and Festivals, and numerous times at Disney resorts. Mike is active as an artist and clinician, has served on the WGI Percussion Advisory Board, currently serves on the Vic Firth/Zildjian Education Team, and is past adjudicator for the Indiana Percussion Association, Southern Nevada Indoor Percussion Association and Rocky Mountain Percussion Association.
His percussion ensemble works “Into the Wind” and “Swimmin’ In It” are published by Drop6 Media and Rowloff Productions. Mike has recorded in Nashville, Las Vegas and Chicago, worked with the Ray Charles band, members of the David Allen Coe band, and currently performs with the Prairie Winds Ensemble and Rest in Peach, which debuts in summer 2019.
Judging Snare Drum
Kevin Donka is the 2013 Drum Corps Associates Individual Rudimental Snare Drumming World Champion. He has received many awards, including numerous local, state and national championship titles. He has performed with many drum and bugle corps including the Fox Valley Raiders, Blue Stars, Cavalier Classics, Pacific Alliance, CADRE, and the Blue Stars All-Star Alumni corps. He was also the Percussion Caption Head and center snare for the 2014 Blue Stars 50th Anniversary Corps.
Kevin began giving private drum lessons when he was in fifth grade, and over the years has played with, instructed and written for marching bands and drum corps, including individual and group instruction with members of West Aurora High School, Jacobs High School, Crystal Lake South High School, Prairie Ridge High School, Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Georgia Tech University, University of Iowa, Blue Devils, Cavaliers, Blue Stars, Madison Scouts, Phantom Regiment, Guardsmen, Geneseo Knights, Pioneer, Legacy, Shadow and the Imperials. He has helped students and drumlines in Columbia, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia, and has provided private rudimental drum instruction to a member of the famous Blue Man Group. Some of Kevin’s students have gone on to achieve significant notoriety in the music field and have even been featured in “Modern Drummer” magazine. In 2014, Kevin was named an Honorary Lifetime Member of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers, and he is on the Advisory Board for the United States Association of Rudimental Drummers.
Dr. Donka is a featured artist and part of the prestigious Dynasty Drums, D’Addario (Promark & Evans) and Drumslinger Percussion educational teams. He has been invited to give clinics and judge solo contests throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and South America. His Instagram & Facebook pages are @DonkaDrums.
Dr. Kevin Donka is available for private instruction in person or via the Internet and can be reached through Facebook Messenger, by phone at (847) 708-9182 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.