Sgt. First Class Rone Sparrow

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Rone Sparrow is a multi-faceted musician with credentials as a classical percussionist and drum set artist. He has performed in Europe, Asia, Australia, and throughout the United States. His career includes engagements with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Sundance Summer Theater, The Drifters, Garland/Las Colinas Symphony, Walt Disney Corporation, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and performances at the Montreux and North Sea international jazz festivals.

He earned a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from The University of North Texas. While at UNT, he taught in the percussion department, performed with the UNT Wind Symphony, played in the UNT jazz department in both big band and small group settings, and was a member of the Percussive Arts Society World-Champion UNT Drumline.

Teachers:

Primary –

Ron Brough (BYU)

Christopher Deane (UNT)

Ed Soph (UNT)

Paul Rennick (UNT)

Mark Ford (UNT)

“Also studied with” –

Mike Werner (Met Orchestra)

John Riley (Vanguard Jazz Orch)

George Brown (UT Symphony)

Jay Lawrence (BYU)

Influences:

My first major influence was my parents. Neither one of them is a musician. However, my father always had music in the house and my mother “encouraged” me to take piano lessons. As I grew up, their support continued with the addition of drumset and percussion lessons, attending music camps and festivals, and band rehearsals in the formal living room of our family home.

When did you join the Army?

In June 2002. I was in the middle of my DMA at UNT. I was married with two kids and working full-time. I had never considered a Military Band job until one of my fellow percussion DMA candidates won a job in The US Army Band, Pershing’s Own. His description of the job, the musicians, and the benefits seriously “peaked my interest”. The rest is history…

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Current Projects:

I am planning a chamber group tour to Utah in March. We will be playing in and around Salt Lake City. Our schedule includes a recital at Temple Square, a Music and the Spoken Word broadcast with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and performing the National Anthem to open a Utah Jazz NBA game.

What are you working on?

I always search for time to maintain my fundamental skills on snare drum and keyboard percussion. When I have time for “recreational” practice, I like to work on playing jazz vibes and applying traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms on drumset.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when…

I’m not sure I ever didn’t want to be a musician. It seemed like all I did and I don’t think I ever really considered anything else.

An Army performance highlight:

I’m blessed to work in an outstanding percussion section. We have had the opportunity to present clinics at Percussive Arts Society International Convention (Nov 2010) and The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic (Dec 2011). Those were great experiences. We also have a lot of fun on our steel band gigs. Performing the U.S. National Anthem will always will be an honor.

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