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Erik Holmes, Percussion: Classics, rock, ‘straight ahead’ jazz are his beat

Erik Holmes, Kettle Moraine Symphony percussionist

For percussionist Eric Holmes , there’s nothing like the rush of performing live, whether it’s rolling a crescendo on the cymbal with the Kettle Moraine Symphony or anchoring rhythm for a rock ‘n’ roll band.

A freelance percussionist, Holmes has a diverse performing career, appearing with rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, music theater and concert ensembles. He plays drum set for Milwaukee rocker Nate Moralez and plays vibraphone for The Marital Discords, with wife Rachel on electric piano. The husband-wife duo plays mostly original “straight ahead” jazz tunes composed by Rachel, who is band director at Kewaskum Middle School.

Erik Holmes also shares his passion for percussion as a clinician and a percussion teacher at The White House of Music. He’s written and arranged music for jazz band, percussion ensemble and pop ensembles, including drum line arrangements played by high schools around the state.

Holmes earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin River Falls, majoring in history and music. He’s been performing with the Kettle Moraine Symphony since 2011.

When did you start playing? I was playing percussion in the school band at 11 years old. I started playing drum set a few years later.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love the excitement and rush of performing live. Connecting with the audience on a deep and subconscious level is a wonderful experience. It's truly addicting and makes me wake up every day wanting to play more.

What’s on your iPod? James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Oscar Peterson, Gary Burton, Art Pepper, and thousands more.

What advice would you give to young musicians? Listen to music. Go to concerts to see great musicians playing live. Hearing and seeing amazing performances will keep you inspired and striving to improve!

Erik Holmes recently finished recording a CD for Nate Moralez called Ol’ Style Skratch. You can check it out on iTunes.