I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, as the youngest of five. I got into music through joining a church choir to imitate one of my sisters. This grew into a love of all kinds of music, but especially classical, Broadway, avant-garde, and jazz. I took voice lessons, piano lessons, and saxophone lessons, and ended up hearing my voice most clearly through the saxophone. I experienced a life-changing moment when I played for my grandmother two months before she died of ovarian cancer. It was the last performance of live music she heard. This was the first time I came into contact with the true power, spirituality, and impact of music.
As a teenager, I became aware of my sexuality as a gay man, which led to some adversity in my conservative town. I would turn to the saxophone as my catharsis, writing small pieces of music to test my own abilities. Creating my own musical world helped cultivate not only my technique on the instrument, but my love for classical music. This shaped my need to share the world of classical music with others. I decided I wanted to go to school to become a professional musician. I knew I would be able to blossom in a large city, where I could fully be myself.
From my home in Alabama, I moved to Chicago to do my undergraduate and masters degrees at DePaul University. There, I found a diverse group of talented, dedicated musicians that shared my love and passion for the world that music creates. My ears expanded by studying over seven centuries of music. I was the first musician at DePaul to win both the Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the Wind Symphony Concerto Competition, and was lucky enough to have my parents see both of the performances.
During this time I began to play with some professional symphony orchestras, such as the Milwaukee Symphony, the Madison Symphony, and the Chicago Camerata. Finding communities of musicians who come together for their love of music inspired me to work towards not only the beauty, passion, and love of music; but to share and teach it with others through education. This time in my life cemented my goals to become a professor to help students understand the importance of the craft and art of music in whatever fields of interest they pursue- discipline, passion, and patience.
Now, I am the instructor of classical saxophone and a chamber music coach at North Park University. I also teach at the Chicago Academy of the Arts and teach through the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. I have privately taught students ages eight through eighty. I play with ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony, Madison Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Fulcrum Point New music ensemble, and others. I have premiered my own music in over 10 states, and love to touch on important issues in the world through the lens of music. I also return to my hometown of Huntsville, AL once a year to be the Production Manager of Twickenham Fest, a classical music festival that brings great musicians from all over the world.
I enjoy pushing boundaries. I love to collaborate with others. I give back to my communities in every way I can and try not to take life for granted, but also try not to take life too seriously. I love animals and plants. I have way too many houseplants, and I drink way too much coffee. I'm also an expert 4-leaf clover finder.
I am always looking for new projects to dig into and grow from. I hope to inspire and teach others about the importance of music.