Cheri Redgrave, Percussionist
My love for percussion started at 4 years old – frequently pulling all the pots and pans out from storage and using the appropriate wooden spoons as beaters. Piano lessons were supposed to have been the cure to all that banging but that only lasted until 8th grade when there was an epiphany. Literally.
I was reading in my bedroom when a thought hit my head like a lightning strike. I immediately called to my mother - “Mom, I want to play the drums.” Her response? “Talk to your father when he gets home.”
Since I had missed beginner band, the school music teacher was concerned I would not fit in with the other students. After assuring her that I had studied piano, I was soon on my way to a lifelong love affair with percussion.
In high school, I learned the lesson: “Join the band and see the world.” One summer, my school sent a 40-piece band to tour Great Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. We played 40 concerts in 35 days. Germany was still divided at that time, so when the band traveled by train to East Germany … it was a cultural experience not to be forgotten.
With that experience behind me, my percussion passion was cemented. A few years later, I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. One of the highlights of that period was writing percussion scorings for Mason Williams’ “Concert for Bluegrass Band and Orchestra” project.
Los Angeles was the next stop. It was an exciting musical adventure. There, I studied with Mitch Peters (Principal Percussion & Timpani, Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Kenny Watson (first call recording artist for the film industry). Continuing my education at U.S.C., I completed my Master of Music in Percussion Performance.
During that time, I had some incredible performing opportunities including being one of the Fanfare Timpanists for the 1984 Olympics, and performing for Pope John Paul II during his Los Angeles visit in 1987.
Beyond that, I married Dick Shearer, famous high note jazz trombonist and former member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Because of this association, I was able to work with some of the great players from that band, including Mike Vax, Roy Reynolds, Jerry McKenzie, and Maynard Ferguson.
Tiring of the L.A. haze, Dick and I moved back to Oregon, where Dick spent his final days on our 40 acre ranch. After his passing, I became involved with community musical theater by directing and conducting over a dozen productions. I also became an active volunteer with the local band program. I traveled to Canada with the middle school band three times, and made four trips to Japan with the high school band as a featured soloist. It was though these experiences that I really began to understand the need to teach what has now become Movement for Percussion.
Today, I continue to be an active musician, writer, and composer. I perform with the local orchestra, opera company, and several concert bands. Time at home is spent with my husband Chris and our two bouncing boxers. Additionally, I enjoy mentoring speakers, and believe that everyone should become a Toastmaster.
About the Video Performers
Many wonderful percussionists have assisted this project by performing the etudes for YouTube. Age and experience range from middle and high school to college, private instructors, and seasoned seniors.
Often, we assume that all new students are youthful beginners. This is not necessarily true. Today, there are new opportunities for retired musicians looking for concert groups. For example, the New Horizons International Music Association encourages those over 50 to perform in their bands. Percussionists in these groups may have forgotten their basic training, or in some cases may never have been exposed to it.
These etudes are meant for students of all ages. We encourage you to put your versions of our etude videos out on YouTube. Then, let us know and perhaps we will feature your performances on our site.