About the Session

Percussion is for Every Body: Expanding Diversity Through Drumming

In this session, our expert panelists will discuss their experiences as minorities in the percussion community and ways that we can create a more inclusive environment for all percussionists.

Each of these panelists holds a wealth of experience and ideas to make the percussion community more inclusive. They have personally experienced and understand the intricacies of the isolating language, behavior, and microaggressions from peers and supervisors.

The panel will discuss their experiences to get where they are now, and ways to be inclusive and create welcoming environments to celebrate the diversity within in the percussion community. Students and professionals alike will benefit from this conversation about how we can all create a healthier, more welcoming environment for all percussionists.

Panelists will include Jaime Esposito, Josh Jones, Raychel Taylor, Jillian Baxter, Ralph Hicks, and Carlos Camacho.

Diversity Alliance Panel

Jaime Esposito


Jaime Esposito is a percussion performer and educator based in Dallas, Texas. In 2018, Jaime co-founded Spectrum Ensemble, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting talented LGBTQA+ composers and performers. The ensemble commissions and performs new music by Queer composers, raises funds for LGBTQA+ causes, and advocates for marginalized members of the music community.

As a performer, Esposito was an artist with the International Lyric Academy in Italy during the summer of 2018. Additionally, in the summer of 2015, they were invited to the United Kingdom to perform with the prestigious Britten-Pears Festival Orchestra. Domestically, Jaime has been an artist with the World Percussion Group and Heartland Marimba collective, where they performed concerts and offered coaching sessions to students across the country. Esposito frequently plays with the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Texarkana Symphony, Allen Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, and Dallas Chamber Winds.

Dr. Jillian Baxter

Dr. Jillian Baxter serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Albany State University where she teaches Applied Percussion, Percussion Methods, Music Theory, and Music Appreciation. She has also served in similar capacities as an Instructor at Young Harris College, Spelman College, and South Carolina State University. Dr. Baxter received her Bachelor of Music degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Master of Music from Belmont University, and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia.

Dr. Baxter has played on national and international convention stages and has had the honor to adjudicate, present master-classes, and provide individual instruction in South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. While being a winner in the International Percussive Arts Society International Convention (P.A.S.I.C.) Individual Keyboard Competition and a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, she is also the Co-founder of the Amari Percussion Duo with performance partner Darrell Thompson. In the spring of 2010, the Amari Percussion Duo premiered Raymond Helble’s Duo Concertante for Vibraphone and Marimba (2009), Raymond D. Ridley’s FyrStar (2009) for Vibraphone and Marimba with nine single reed instruments and percussion, Hunter Stricklin’s The Approach to Springer Mountain (2010), and the Arizona premier of Gérard Grisey Stéle with Simone Mancuso conducting.

Dr. Baxter is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, College Music Society, National Associations for Music for Music Education, and the Georgia Music Educators Conference.

She currently resides in Albany, GA and continues performing on the piano, her first instrument, and percussion.

Dr. Carlos Camacho

Dr. Carlos Camacho is professor of percussion and director of the School of Voice and Instrumental Studies at the University of Panama. Previously, he taught at the Ohio Wesleyan University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music preparatory department. Camacho maintains a schedule as solo, chamber, and orchestral performer and is in demand as a guest artist on music festivals at an international level.​

As an advocate for new music, Camacho has been responsible for many commission projects by international and Panamanian composers. As a composer himself, Camacho’s works are regularly performed and has won first prizes on the Fisher Tull Composition Award at Sam Houston State University (2011) and the Roque Cordero National Composition Contest (2018 and 2019). 

Dr. Camacho holds an undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University, a masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctoral degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His music is published by Cayambis Music Press and has recorded under Centaur Records and Ablaze Records.

Camacho is president of the Panama Chapter of PAS, member of the Black Swamp Percussion educators network and is a proud artist for Mike Balter Mallets and Dream Cymbals and Gongs. For more information, please visit www.carloscamachomusic.com 

Ralph Hicks

Ralph Hicks (b. 1976) is Founder and Executive Director of Let Them Drum, a 501(c)(3) non profit group drumming corporation, Owner of​ drumwith.us online percussion education, and a REALTOR® with The Jack Allen Group at Allen Interests, Inc. With 19 years of public education experience, Mr. Hicks has educational materials and compositions available worldwide through Tapspace Publications, and regularly presents clinics and workshops across the country. In 2012, Mr. Hicks was Mitchell Intermediate’s Teacher of the Year and named Conroe ISD Outstanding Teacher in the Arts by The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council. Mr. Hicks currently resides in Magnolia, TX with his wife and two children. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Percussive Arts Society Board of Advisors, Education Committee, and Diversity Alliance, is an Innovative Percussion Education Artist, and a Remo Recreational Music Partner.

Josh Jones, Principal Percussion of Calgary Philharmonic

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Josh Jones began his studies in percussion with the Percussion Scholarship Program under the direction of Chicago Symphony member Patricia Dash, and Lyric Opera member Douglas Waddell. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music from DePaul School of Music, under the guidance of Lyric Opera members Eric Millstein and Michael Green, and Cleveland Orchestra member Marc Damoulakis. Before his appointment to the CPO, Jones was the orchestra fellow of both the Detroit and Pittsburgh symphonies as well as a guest percussionist with the Chautauqua and Chicago symphonies.

Jones has been featured at Carnegie Hall, on radio and television, and has had two short documentaries made about his musical development and experience. He has authored a percussion method book series, “Spatial Studies for Hitting Things”, and writes musical and philosophical blogs on hiswebsite, ​drummojo.com.​Jones enjoys giving back to the community as well as mentoring young musicians and traveling.

Josh Jones endorses Zildjian, Black Swamp, Freer Percussion, Marimba One

Raychel Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Girls March

Raychel Taylor is an ardent educator, performer, and arts entrepreneur in northern Illinois. Motivated by her passion to provide young female percussionists with direct access to female mentorship, Raychel founded “Girls March,” an organization that advocates for women in the marching arts. Her vision is realized through music and leadership seminars with some of the most influential women in the activity. She teaches percussion lessons, is a front ensemble and drumline instructor for a variety of high schools west of Chicago, and has been a clinician for events such as MalletLab and Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Days of Percussion. Raychel performs regularly as a member of berimbau sextetProjeto Arcomusical.

Though she is a native Californian, Raychel earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Theory from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University. Her drum corps experience includes Sacramento Mandarins (2008-2009), Phantom Regiment (2010), which earned the Fred Sanford Award for High Percussion that year, and the Santa Clara Vanguard (2011).

Raychel has taught the percussion ensembles for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and served in an administrative role for the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2019, Raychel worked as Percussion Manager for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, a Weill Music Institute program.

Raychel serves on the PAS Diversity Alliance and proudly endorses Innovative Percussion and Remo products.

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