Skip to main content

Time:

Thursday
December, 19, 2024
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

Location:

W184

Category

High School Percussion Ensemble

Conductor

Conductor Thumb
Benji Baker

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Lebanon Trail High School is located in the heart of Frisco, TX; a stone’s throw away from the Frisco ISD Administration Building. As a minority-majority campus, Lebanon Trail hosts a diverse student population with families immigrating from all over the world, primarily from South and East Asia. For nearly 30 years Frisco ISD was the fastest growing school district in the United States. While no longer the fastest growing, Frisco schools have an enrollment near 67,000 with 77 campuses including 12 high schools; nearly all of which are classified in Texas’s second largest school size, 5A. Since opening in 2016, the Lebanon Trail High School Band has advanced to the UIL State Marching Band Contest three times with appearances in 5A State Finals in 2019 and 2023. The Lebanon Trail Wind Ensemble has advanced to state for TMEA Honor Band, being named 4A Runner-Up in 2019 and 5A Finalist in 2023. Annually Lebanon Trail hosts four full-sized concert bands, two jazz bands, two full orchestras, and a live pit orchestra for musical theater. The Lebanon Trail Percussion Ensemble boasts a healthy feeder pattern averaging around 100 percussionists from the 6th grade beginner level to high school seniors. LTHS hosts two percussion concerts annually and often performs select chamber pieces on the band’s winter concert. In addition to large and chamber percussion ensembles students are able to participate in samba school, afro-cuban, and various other world percussion ensembles. The percussion ensemble has recorded reference recordings for publishers and can be heard on “The Flexible Ensemble” by David Ratliff and Eric Sokolowski from Tapspace Publications and on “Moon Chasers for Solo Marimba and Percussion Ensemble” by Mark Ford from Musicon Publications; the latter of which Lebanon Trail premiered with Professor Mark Ford in Spring 2023. The Lebanon Trail Drumline is the 2022 Lone Star Classic Standstill Division II Silver Classification Champions and has earned caption awards for “Best Front Ensemble” at various competitions for consecutive years. Annually LT percussionists compete in the TMEA All-State Audition process with members earning spots from the Region level all the way to the State level. Additionally, percussionists regularly receive “Division I” ratings on their UIL Solo performances. Members of the percussion ensemble have also competed at Percussive Arts Society International Convention in the Solo Marimba competition and have qualified for the semi-finals and finals of the Great Plains International Marimba Competition for consecutive years. Nearly 90% of all students in percussion study privately. The former director of the Lebanon Trail Percussion Ensemble, Dr. Rob Parks, tragically passed away during the summer of 2022 after an intense and brief battle with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. Members of the percussion studio performed several pieces at Dr. Parks’ funeral service. Despite this heavy loss the percussion studio has continued to grow and persevere through camaraderie and music making. While it was a tough period of time the students found peace in playing music together to honor a great man, mentor, and teacher. The legacy of Dr. Parks lives on through the percussion ensemble with each generation passing his love of music and education to the next.

Lebanon Trail High School Percussion Ensemble

Conductor's Bio

Benji Baker is an active performer, educator, and arranger in the percussive community throughout United States and Internationally. His performance career has seen multiple appearances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) with various ensembles and as a participant in the marching competition. His arrangements have been performed by numerous ensembles across the United States; including clients such as the University of North Texas Green Brigade, UIL State Marching Contest Finalists, and BOA Regional Finalists and Champions. Benji’s drum corps experience began at the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2009-11) and continued with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps (2012-15). He served as section leader for both ensembles and performed with SCV at PASIC in both 2012 and 2015. After aging out he served on staff with The Academy, Oregon Crusaders, and Music City. He is currently on staff with the Phantom Regiment as a front ensemble tech. Benji joined the cast of the Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway Show, “Blast!” (www.blasttheshow.com) in 2016. He has performed three tours in Japan (2016, 2017, & 2019) with the company as in the role of “Percussion Swing.” Benji was been fortunate enough to study with great percussionists such as Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Sandi Rennick, Christopher Deane, Dr. Robert Schietroma, Dr. Eric Willie, Ed Smith, Jeff Ausdemore, and Ralph Hardimon. He is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society and the Texas Music Educators Association. Benji holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He currently resides in Frisco, TX as the Percussion Director for Lebanon Trail High School and its feeder cluster. Benji is endorsed by Innovative Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, and Dynasty Percussion/Titan Field Frames. For more information on Benji please visit his website: www.benjibakerpercussion.com

Additional Directors

Matthew Tremmel

Back