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Meet the 2019 Cabs Percussion Staff

The Hawthorne Caballeros are thrilled to introduce their 2019 percussion staff!


Carlos Vazquez – Snare Technician

Carlos is a graduate of the Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he double-majored in Music Education and Psychology and is currently working on his master’s degree in percussion performance at Rutgers. His marching background includes Cadets of NYC 2004, Skyliners 2006, and Bushwackers 2010. Carlos has been a percussion educator in New Jersey for over 10 years teaching several high schools, private lessons, clinics, and the Rutgers University Drum Line. He is an active freelance musician in the New York and New Jersey area, specializing in classical and Latin percussion. He has played on the national tour of Hair, the musical, and currently plays snare drum for the NY Giants Drum Line as an employee of Gallant Entertainment. He has had the honor to play alongside musicians such as Eddie Palmieri and Delfeayo Marsalis and has recorded with the Wu-Tang Clan.


Brian Horn – Snare Technician

Brian Horn is a marching percussion educator from Somerset, NJ.  His marching percussion career started 15 years ago at Immaculata High School in Somerville, NJ. Brian’s first experience with an independent group was playing snare drum as a member of the Bushwackers (2010). Following the DCA experience, Brian then marched 2 seasons, including his age-out season, at United Percussion (snare drum 2011, 2012)

Brian has been the caption head at Westfield High School (US Bands), since 2012. Brian also has WGI teaching experience, with East Coast Percussion (2018) and most recently with United Percussion A (2019). This will be Brian’s second season returning to the Caballeros.

Brian is highly anticipating his return to the team to help with the continual growth of the corps and its future members.


Floyd Murray – Quad Technician

Floyd Murray is a musician and educator based out of central New Jersey. He began his marching career with the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps tenor line in 2007 and continued in 2010 and 2011. He then became a member of United Percussion’s tenor line in 2011 and was the section leader in 2012.

As an educator, Floyd has instructed various award-winning high school drumlines around the New Jersey area including Ramsey High School, Woodbridge High School, and Westfield High School. In 2013 he instructed the quad line for the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps. Since 2013 Floyd has been a battery instructor at Old Bridge High School for both the marching and indoor ensembles. Most recently the group was awarded the 2018 WGI Scholastic Open Class silver medal and WGI fan favorite award.

Currently, Floyd is a performer at GEI Entertainment for the NFL Giants Drum Line, the quad tech at United Percussion 2, and is extremely excited to be returning as a quad tech for the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps.


Kirby Marino – Quad Technician

Kirby is a percussion educator, adjudicator, and arranger in New Jersey. He started his marching career at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. He then went on to march with the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps (2012, 2013) and Fusion “Core” (2015). Kirby aged out with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016 and United Percussion (2014-2017).

Kirby has taught and arranged for numerous high schools in New Jersey but is currently the battery arranger for Phillipsburg High School and a battery technician at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Kirby is also the battery caption head at United Percussion 2 and quad technician for the Rutgers University Drumline. This is Kirby’s third year with the Hawthorne Caballeros and couldn’t more excited to get started again with this great organization!


Ryan Brodhead – Bass Technician

Ryan is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with his degree in criminal justice, political science and sociology. His marching career started back in 2012 with Cadets2 Drum and Bugle Corps for their inaugural season and continued through the end of the 2014 season. He then went on to march with Cadets Winter Percussion for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, as well as spending three years with the 10-Time DCI World Class Champion, The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps (2015, 2016, 2017). He also spent three years in the Rutgers University Drumline and served as bass drum section leader for his last two years.

He has taught multiple high school percussion programs in New Jersey and is currently the Percussion Caption Head & Battery Arranger for Madison High School in New Jersey. This winter, Ryan is one of the battery instructors for the inaugural season of United Percussion’s A-Class ensemble. This will be Ryan’s second year with the Caballeros and he can’t wait to get started.


Roman Trujillo – Bass Technician

Roman is a percussion educator from Southern California. During his time in California, he taught at numerous schools while studying music education at Riverside Community College and San Diego State University. He began playing drums at a very early age and became drawn to the marching arts during his freshmen year of high school. Roman went on to march bass drum in with Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps, Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, and with San Diego State University.

Shortly after moving to New Jersey, Roman began teaching with the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps as a bass tech. He is currently teaching bass drum at United Percussion 2 for the winter season. He is also the Percussion Caption Head at Parsippany High School and Pequannock High School. Helping his students develop as musicians and as adults is important to him, as well as striving for a positive environment. Although success is always a plus, the most important aspect of the activity is the learning experience.

This is Roman’s third year with the Caballeros and is very excited to get started!


Tom O’Hara – Front Ensemble Technician

Tom O’Hara is a percussionist and educator based in central New Jersey. Tom began his teaching career in 2011 at Edison High School where he is currently Co-Percussion Caption Head for the marching band and indoor percussion ensemble. He has given clinics and worked with numerous schools and organizations throughout New Jersey, including the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra.

Tom also has several snare drum solos published through Bachovich Music Publications. A solo from his book entitled “Six Impressions for Solo Snare Drum” was featured on the repertoire list for the 2017 Modern Snare Drum Competition.

Tom received his Bachelor of Music from Rutgers University, where he studied intensively under Joseph Tompkins, Javier Diaz, Michael Truesdell, and Kyle Zerna. He currently serves as an instrumental music teacher in the Linden Public School District.

Tom is very excited to join the Hawthorne Caballeros percussion team!


Justus Wilson – Front Ensemble Technician

Justus is a percussionist and music educator from the Lehigh Valley, PA. His marching percussion career began in high school with the Bangor Area High School Marching Band, serving as the percussion section leader his final year. Since then, Justus has had the opportunity to grow his skills as a percussionist and a performer at multiple performing ensembles, such as The Raiders, Carolina Crown, and United Percussion. While also taking time to grow as an educator, working with local high schools in the Northern Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania area, and also with United Percussion 2 during its inaugural season. This will be Justus’ second season with the Caballeros.

Throughout the course of his playing career, Justus has had the privilege of learning from some fantastic educators, including Ian Hale, Iain Moyer, Dave Osworth, Paul Nalesnik, Steve Ballard, Marcus Neudigate, Jim Ancona and Thom Hannum. He is excited to use these experiences to continue the growth of the front ensemble from last season and to aid the members to drive the corps to new heights.


Valeri Liiva-Katz – Front Ensemble Technician

This will be Valeri’s 20th year with the Hawthorne Caballeros. She has had many various positions including writer, arranger, section leader, member, conductor, and instructor. This year she will be a technician for the front ensemble’s percussionists.

Valeri is from a small town outside of the Philly-area, Media, PA. She marched with The Crossmen of Pennsylvania for 3 years and aged-out with The Blue Devils of Concord, California. She completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education from West Chester University of West Chester, PA. She taught Lone Star Junior Drum and Bugle corps of Commerce, TX. She completed her masters in Music Education at The University of North Texas, Denton, TX.

Valeri has taught music throughout NJ since 1998; marching bands, indoor drum lines, concert bands, jazz bands, pit orchestras, instrumental lessons, choirs, general music, and the Little Kids Rock program. She is presently a full-time instrumental music teacher and band director at the Elizabeth Public School District in Elizabeth, NJ, at Winfield Scott School No. 2 and Toussaint L’Ouverture Marquis De Lafayette School No. 6.


Sam Liss – Front Ensemble Technician

Sam Liss will be rejoining the Caballeros Team for her second year as a front ensemble technician. Sam has participated in drum corps since the age of 15 years old, starting with The Jersey Surf in 2009 and 2010, and eventually joining Carolina Crown in 2011 where she became the section leader for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Sam has also spent several seasons with United Percussion, performing with the group in the 2010 through 2013 seasons and eventually joined the team in an administrative position in 2015 and 2016.

Sam has worked with several high schools in the northeast area including Edison High School, New Providence High School, and Council Rock High School South.

While Sam is not working with drum corps, she resides in Brooklyn where she works at McCann Worldgroup and actively competes in NPC Bodybuilding Competitions.

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