JOE KUERZI | Director / President / Founder
Joe Kuerzi started playing percussion at the age of 11 when he studied with Joe Fuhrman of the Armed Forces School of Music. Activities such as church league basketball and bee keeping fell along the wayside, as his pursuit of percussion became a lifelong obsession. Joe continued his studies with Al Place, Lawrence Stone, Dr. Richard McLendon, James Rago, Daniel Wooten and Michael Mann. Joe is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Phi Boota Roota, and Phi Mu Alpha.
Still an active performer, Joe has performed in numerous musical organizations throughout the East Coast, Midwest and Southern regions of the country. Video performances of his rendition of the “Little Drummer Boy” are still a popular holiday treat.
Joe became active in the drum corps activity and spent over 20 years touring with numerous drum corps organizations. Joe was associated with the Phantom Regiment, the Northern Aurora, The Americanos and the Kiwanis Kavaliers. Joe served on the Drum Corps Midwest Board of Directors, the Drum Corps International Division II/III Board of Directors, was named Director of the Year for Division II/III and was a part of the design team that was the recipients of the Drum Corps International Spirit of Disney Award three consecutive years for shows that were recognized for being the most creative and entertaining in the activity.
As an instructor, Joe has been involved with the instruction and design with over 50 different high school programs and 19 state champion ensembles in four states. He has two quilts made from shirts of said groups and enough hoodies and member jackets to represent a different group every day of the month. Joe currently teaches in the Farmington Public Schools where he instructs the Percussion Classes at both Harrison and North Farmington High Schools, is the Assistant Band Director at both schools and is the Auditorium Manager at Harrison.
Joe is a founding member of the indoor percussion activity in Michigan. Joe has been associated with the following ensembles in the Michigan Color Guard Circuit: Novi Percussion, The Diddle Dogs, Harrison High School Percussion, Arthur Hill Percussion, Ferndale Percussion, Eastside Fury, North Farmington Concert Ensemble, Southgate Anderson Indoor Drumline and is the founder and Director for the last 10 years with Farmington United Percussion. Joe has served as the MCGC Percussion Liaison, and is a member of the MCGC Hall of Fame.
Joe currently resides in Pleasant Ridge with his wife Colleen and their two hound dogs, Biscuit and Gravy.
TIM LEACH | Business Manager / Treasurer
Tim (“Mr. Leach” to the kids) has been working in various volunteer staff positions with FUPE since its second year. He is currently the Business Manager for FUPE and the Secretary/Treasurer of Farmington United Winter Performance Groups.
Tim’s job is summed up simply by saying “He handles all matters not pertaining to music or music instruction”. (Tim's musical talent is limited..he can't even play the radio!!) But, if it needs to be found, purchased, paid for, collected, documented, moved, built, driven, repaired or coordinated, Tim is involved.
Tim has volunteered for the North Farmington High Marching Band by hauling their equipment to and from Band Camp for the past few years. Tim has also been a parent volunteer/ staff member with the Harrison High School marching band since 2003, currently as the Equipment Manager, Pit Crew Chief, and Tractor Driver Extraordinaire! Bring him a 7-11 coffee (1/3 French Vanilla Cappuccino, 2/3 regular coffee) and he is at your disposal!!!
KYLE MILLER | Program Coordinator
Kyle has served as a percussion instructor and designer for various music programs in Michigan for over a decade and has been with FUPE since 2012; serving as the Program Coordinator since 2016. He is also currently serves as a member of the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps percussion staff. His teaching approach focuses on fat diddles, chexercises, and relating the lessons learned in drumming to "real world" scenarios. This ensures students not only become ridiculously good drummers, but better people as well. Kyle is also endorsed as an Innovative Percussion Featured Artist - Percussion Educator.
An interesting fact about Kyle is that, through his journey as a performer, he has spent a marching season on every drum in a standard five person bassline. This journey began with the Michigan State University Drumline (2007 - 2010) where he learned very quickly that he was not “all that” like he thought he was in high school. He then became involved in the WGI activity, marching with the NorthCoast Academy Percussion Ensemble (2009) and representing the Dynasty Corporation at the 2009 Indoor Percussion Europe Finals in Belgium. This journey was concluded by marching with The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps (2009 - 2011). While at The Cavaliers, he represented the Yamaha Corporation at the 25th National Cultural Festival (2010) in Japan and served as the Drum Sergeant for the 2011 Cavaliers Drumline; recipients of the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Section in Drum Corps International.
Kyle is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Accounting & Information Systems, specializing in Information Technology. By day he is a Cybersecurity Consulting Manager, leading elite groups of cybersecurity professionals and ethical hackers; helping organizations identify and fix vulnerabilities in their information systems before malicious evildoers have an opportunity to exploit them. When he is not working or teaching you may find him running the streets of Detroit, hiking mountains, or getting schooled in racquetball by the elderly.
JOHN MCFARLAND | Music Arranger
John Max McFarland is an active composer/arranger in WGI, DCI, and BOA. He is currently the Program/Music Coordinator for the 2016 DCI Open Class Bronze medalist Legends Drum and Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, Michigan. From 2013 to 2015 he was the percussion composer/arranger for Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In WGI, John has composed and arranged for many ensembles ranging from Scholastic A Class all the way up to Independent World Class. Many notable clients include Eastside Fury (2012-2014), Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble (PIA Finalists 2012, 2013) and Ferndale Independent Percussion (2015 PIA Silver Medalists). John also composes marching band shows for high schools and colleges all over the country.
John received his degrees in Composition (B.M.) and Percussion Performance (B.M., M.M.) from Western Michigan University. He studied percussion under Judy Moonert. John has performed as the principal percussionist and Principal Timpanist for the University Concert and Symphonic Bands, as well as the University Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony and Battlecreek Symphony as a substitute percussionist. John was also a marching member of the Kiwanis Kavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps as well as the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. John studied composition under Curtis Curtis-Smith, Dr. Richard Adams, and Dr. Robert Ricci. His compositions and arrangements have received international recognition with performances all over the United States as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. John resides in Parma Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Sydney, his son Camden, his daughter Cadence, his 2 cats (Zoe and Minkah), his 4 greyhounds (Jason, Jasper, Lola, and Walker), and Italian Greyhound (Sophia).
ROB SIMKO | Battery Coordinator / Tenor Drums
Rob started concert percussion in the fifth grade. He marched with the Clinton High School Drumline from 1997-2001. Rob has also been a marching member of Eastside Fury and Great Lakes Percussion.
Rob began teaching with FUPE in the Fall of 2005, as the Tenor Tech. He has also taught at Ferndale High School Marching Band and currently serves as the Percussion Coordinator at Troy Athens High School. Rob has been teaching at Harrison High School Marching Band since 2007.
Kurt Reyes | Snare Drums
Kurt is the current percussion director at Dakota High School where he has been working for the past 8 years. He began his marching experience playing snare at Avon High School in Indiana. While attending Avon, he was instructed by Jay Webb, Jeff Queen, and Brian Coley. After high school, Kurt marched in the Independent World group, Indianapolis Independent, under the direction of Jim Bailey. During the summers of his college years, he spent his time teaching at various high schools across Michigan.
When Kurt is not teaching he can be found walking his 2 pugs, Potato and Panda. He is also an avid tennis fan and coffee lover.
Kurt is currently endorsed by Vic Firth as part of their education team and is also part of the D'Addario Education Collective.
JOAN NOBLE-PRUETT | Visual
Joan Noble-Pruett is currently in her 24th season with Michigan Marching Band as the Flag Instructor, is a Professor in the School of Music, Theater and Dance at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and holds a dual appointment with the Michigan Athletic Department. She is the Director of the Michigan Winter Ensemble, the Winter Competition color guard of the Michigan Marching Band. This also marks her seventh year as the Assistant Coach of the Michigan Dance Team. She brings a wealth of experience gathered through her years working with color guard ensembles across the country. With the Dance Team, she lends her expertise in formations, transitions and precise execution.
Noble-Pruett continues to work with numerous high school programs throughout the country and is a sought-after judge around the United States for Color Guard, Marching Band and Dance Team competitions. This past spring Joan was a guest presenter at the Universal Dance Association and Varsity University at the Dallas Coaches Conference, as well as the Costa Mesa Conference in CA. Each summer she is a featured instructor at the Central Michigan University Drum Major and Color Guard clinics, working with guard and drum majors on strength, conditioning and movement.
Prior to Michigan, Noble-Pruett was the color guard instructor for the Indiana University Marching Hundred for four years. She also taught Color Guard and movement with the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps and the Spirit of Atlanta.
While she was active in competition herself, she competed for six seasons in Winter Guard International and was part of the gold medal winning State Street Review at the world championships in 1987. She also competed for nine seasons in Drum Corps International with several ensembles, including the Schaumburg Guardsmen, 27th Lancers and Santa Clara Vanguard.
Joan lives in Farmington Hills, MI. with her husband Brandt and son, Steven.
BRIANA KELLER | Visual
Briana is new to the FUPE staff for the 2018-19 season. Her percussion experience includes playing bass drum and snare drum at Pickerington High School North in Pickerington, Ohio - her hometown. She was a member of the Spartan Marching Band Color Guard (2012-2015) and was elected section leader her senior year. Her WGI marching experience includes State of Art (2013, 2014, 2016) and Redline Percussion (2015), participating in both Open and World Class Finals. She also assists with the visual program at Motor City Percussion. Briana is currently a student at Michigan State University studying elementary education.
Blake Koschmider | Bass Drums
Blake, originally from St. Johns MI, now spends most of his time wandering the sidewalks of Michigan State University. During the day you might find him at the Michigan State College of Music, in classes or practice rooms, attempting to better himself as a musician. At night you are likely to find him playing bass drum, or hanging with his roommates. If it is fall you will find him rehearsing with The Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band Drumline (2016-present). During the summer Blake spends his time as a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and will be finishing his second summer as a member of the bass drum section in 2018. In past summers Blake has spent time teaching various groups throughout the state of Michigan.
Blake plans to graduate from Michigan State University in 2021 with a degree in Music Education. He is very excited for the opportunity to aid in the education of this ensemble.
JESSICA KUKLA | Cymbals
Jessica’s marching experience began at FUPE in 2011. Since then she has marched cymbals at Motor City Percussion (2012), Eastside Fury (2013-14), Northcoast Academy (2016) and on the Michigan State Drumline (2014-16). Outside of band, Jessica is in her fourth and final year at Michigan State studying editing and publishing and documentary production. She is excited to return to the “home team” and teach cymbals at FUPE this season.
Colin Davis | Cymbals
Colin Davis graduated in 2011 from Michigan State University with a degree in human physiology. His experience in marching percussion began in 2002 with the Waterford Mott Drumline. From 2007 to 2009 he marched cymbals with NorthCoast Academy from Saginaw, Michigan and aged out with them in 2011. He spent two years as a cymbal player in the Michigan State Drumline (2008-2009) under the direction of Dr. Jon Weber while performing in numerous clinics, competition exhibitions, and two bowl games. In 2010 Colin aged out with Teal Sound Drum and Bugle corps (Jacksonville, FL) as a part of their cymbal line in the corps world class debut season.
Colin was the cymbal instructor with Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012, and taught the cymbal line at Legends Drum and Bugle corps in 2014 and recently taught the 2017 and 2018 Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps cymbal line in Houston, Texas. In Michigan, Colin was previously the cymbal instructor and a part of the creative cymbal design with NorthCoast Academy from 2012 to 2016. Colin has been a cymbal instructor and consultant for multiple WGI ensembles including Vigilantes Indoor Percussion (PIW), Stryke Percussion (PIW), 2015 WGI Scholastic A Champion Lake Orion Percussion (PIA), Huron Valley Percussion (PIA), Farmington United Percussion Ensemble (PIA) and 5points Percussion (PIO).
Colin currently resides in San Antonio, TX with his wife and is looking forward to the upcoming season.
ROBERT SCHMIT | Front Ensemble Coordinator
Bobby is a Dutch citizen who happened to find his way to Michigan just to teach band. He started his percussion career in South Carolina where he graduated from the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. During that time, he marched Xylo/Glock with Palmetto Percussion in 2013. His Michigan experiences include North Coast Academy from 2014-2015 on Marimba, Quads and Sampler Guy at Motor City Percussion from 2016-2017. Along with those groups, he has been a part of the Michigan State Drumline from 2014-present on Quads and is finishing out his final year with group on Bass. He has taught several high schools in the area along with Motor City Percussion. Bobby will be graduating from MSU in the spring with a degree in Mechanical Engineering along with a minor in Computer Science and Music.
SCOTT LEHMAN | Front Ensemble
Scott has worked with numerous high school and independent percussion ensembles in the region. In fact, if you hear the phrase, “Weren’t you just on the floor with all these other groups?” you might be at an MCGC show, and he’s probably nearby. In addition to FUPE, Scott currently works with front ensembles for Novi High School’s fall and winter programs, and Eclipse Percussion (formerly Ferndale Independent).
Experience in the marching arts began for Scott at Lake Orion High School, where he spent two seasons in the front ensemble and one season as drum major. While earning a Bachelor degree in Media Communication, Scott assisted with Lake Orion Percussion’s inaugural season in 2010. He then played synthesizer for Eastside Fury from 2011 to 2013, including one season as front ensemble section leader. The following year, Scott instructed Eastside’s rhythm section.
During the day, Scott works for Lawrence Tech as a Media Production Coordinator. During fleeting moments of free time, Scott can also be found on improv stages around Metro Detroit with his troupe, Skeleton Farm, or in the skies over Pontiac as he works toward a private pilot’s license. Scott is excited to work with a great group like FUPE!
TOM MACHOWSKI | Auxiliary / Drum set
Tom has been playing drums since 1965. He began Marching in High School and was a member of the Western Michigan University Marching Band.
Tom played drumset for various “rock and roll” bands. He also was in the percussion section of the Farmington Community Band for 14 seasons. Tom still marches in several parades each year.
Tom is a member of PASIC and has several private students. Tom has been with FUPE since its inception, and has been an integral part of the group. His main focus is on the drumset and auxiliary parts players.
AUSTIN SCHACHINGER | Tenor Drums
Austin is a alumnus of the Farmington United Percussion Ensemble, marching from 2011 to 2013 on Tenors. He was also a marching member with the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band Drumline from 2013 to 2016 and the NorthCoast Academy Percussion Ensemble from 2014 to 2017. He has served as a percussion instructor for various programs in Michigan over the past few years.
Austin is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Economics. By day Austin is a works at Quicken Loans as a Mortgage Banker. He is very excited to be working with the home team this winter season.
ZACH DESJARLAIS | Tenor Drums
Zach is new to the staff this year for the 2019 season. Zach began marching indoor drumline with Farmington United in 2012 in Scholastic Open class ensemble. Since 2012, he marched with FUPE again in Scholastic Open class in 2013, then went on to march at Motor City Percussion (2014), then returning to FUPE in Independent A class (2015) and becamce a 5th place WGI finalist ensemble. He then went on to march at Northcoast Academy (2016), and lastly Redline Percussion (2017, 2018). In 2017, Redline was a 14th place world class finalist, and then Zach aged out of WGI with Redline in 2018.
Zach has also marched with three different Drum and Bugle Corps. Zach has marched with Legends Drum and Bugle Corps in 2014, 2015 under the instruction of Landon Ewers. He then marched with Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016 and was instructed under Tim Scott for Tenors. Lastly, he went to to age out with Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps in 2017 where he was instructed under Henry Gillard, Chris Drummer, and Mike Tant. Zach also participated in DCI's performer's showcase contest in 2017 representing Oregon Crusaders Tenorline and received the award of placing 3rd.
Zach is currently the Percussion Caption head at Farmington High school, a program he is also an alumnus of. He is also a member of the Detroit Lions Drumline. Zach is a music Major at Eastern Michigan University and is going into his final year in the bachelor of arts program. After many years of being involved with other ensembles, Zach is very excited to be returning to the one and only "home team" this season!
BEN FAUPEL | Tenors
Ben Faupel is originally from Mason, Michigan and is now a Marketing Major as a sophomore at Michigan State University. With plans on graduating from MSU in the spring of 2021, he will receive his Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. While starting his competitive marching career at Motor City Percussion in 2016 through 2018, as well as being a current member of the MSU Drumline since 2017, he brings not only his passion for the activity, but his experiences from teaching multiple high schools across the state of Michigan. He is super excited to be working with the quads at FUPE and can’t wait to see their successes throughout the season!
RALPH BIGGS | Snare Drums
Hi, I'm Ralph!