Gary Rockwell, Percussionist
Gary Rockwell has played percussion instruments since 5th Grade in school in Upstate NY. He began lessons studying with students of Warren Benson of Ithaca College. His earliest teachers include Robin Engelman, then a student at Ithaca College, now of Nexus fame and Gene Attleson in Cortland, NY. Gary then studied with John Alling another IC grad and drum corp drummer with the Geneva Appleknockers Drum Corps of Geneva, NY, and Doug Bascom snare drummer with the Appleknockers. While in high school he played in the Syracuse Bridgadiers Drum and Bugle Corps under legendary rudimental drummer, Bobby Thompson.
Gary auditoned and was accepted to the School of Music at Ithaca College in 1965. He had the opportunity to study with Terry Hulick, Paul Price, Robin Engelman (again) and timpanist of the Chamber Syphony of Philadelphis-Jack Moore. While a student at IC, Gary performed with the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia ensembles. The Concert Band premiered " Music for Prague 1969" by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Karel Husa and he worked closely with Mr. Husa and the percussion section. Gary performed under Karel Husa, Kenneth Snapp, Walter Beeler, Greg Smith, Thomas Mikalak, Steve Brown, and Ed Gobrecht. He attained the positions of principal percussionist in the concert band and orchestra and was the orchestra manager and soloist as well in his senior year. His drum set experience was expanded performing with Que Pasa under leader Steve Brown and he worked with Joe Bouchard who became the bass player for the Blue Oyster Cult after college. A most memorable gig was playing at a mafia party in Binghamton, NY.
Career decision time arrived in 1969 , graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (Percussion), he was accepted both at Temple University for a master's degree and the The U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own in Washington, D.C. In the summer of 1969 he studied with Charles Owen, Principal Percussionist of the Philadelphina Orchestra and Jack Moore at the Temple University Ambler Festival, performing in percussion ensembles, chamber music and the student orchestra. Gary decided to accept the position in the Army Band and to study at Catholic University of America while in the service. Gary filled the opening created by the retirement after 30 some years of Vince Battista, a student of Gus Moeller. Initial study with Vince, an absolute master of the Moeller method, provided the understanding and benefits of this unique system of drumming. to be continued