Perc Up featured percussion clinician Jesse Willis is an Assistant Professor of Music and the Director of Percussion Studies at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. He earned a B.M.E. and a B.M. from Texas Tech University, a M.M. in percussion performance from Indiana University, and he is currently pursuing his D.M.A. at Texas Tech. At CCU, Jesse directs and coordinates all percussion activities. He is the director of the Coastal Percussion Ensemble, Steel Pan Ensemble, Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, and Afro-Cuban Percussion Ensemble. Jesse is also the percussion arranger and caption head of the CCU Spirit of the Chanticleer Marching Band.
Mr. Willis maintains an active performing schedule, which has taken him all over the United States. He has performed on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Monarch of the Seas. He has also presented and performed at several state, national, and international music conventions, including PASIC, The Oklahoma PAS Day of Percussion, The South Carolina PAS Day of Percussion, SCMEA, TMEA, CMEA, LMEA, the National Kodaly Convention, and the National Orff Conference. Jesse is currently a member of the Long Bay Symphony Orchestra in Myrtle Beach and has also performed with several other professional orchestras in Indiana, Texas, and South Carolina. He is also a percussionist for the Carolina Master Chorale and the drummer for the CCU Faculty Jazz Sextet.
Prior to living in Myrtle Beach, Jesse was an Associate Instructor at Indiana University, where he was an undergraduate private lesson instructor, and the director of the Indiana University Steel Pan Ensemble. While living in Bloomington, Jesse had the opportunity to play with some of the premier Latin jazz ensembles in the Midwest. He performed and recorded with The Latin Jazz Collective who released their debut album, Que Sopresa!, in the Fall of 2010. He was also the co-leader of the Bloomington based salsa band, El Fuego Lento, who performed extensively in Indiana and Ohio. Some of Jesse’s primary teachers include: Michael Spiro, Steve Houghton, Kevin Bobo, John Tafoya, Alan Shinn, Lisa Rogers and Brent Montgomery.
Jesse has also been a performer and teacher in the marching arts for several years. He has worked with several DCI World Class Finalist drum corps, including the Blue Knights, Blue Stars, Madison Scouts, and Carolina Crown. He has also worked with several championship high schools and college marching bands across the country including Center Grove High School (Greenwood, IN), Northview High School (Brazil, IN) and the Texas Tech University Drumline. Jesse is in demand as a marching percussion consultant, and maintains an active schedule as a guest clinician and adjudicator at high schools and universities throughout the country. Jesse is currently an educational endorser for Vic Firth and Remo.