kc beats team

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kevin clarke

A native of Kansas City, Lees Summit North High School Graduate, Kevin made his solo debut with the KC Symphony 1999. He studied percussion at the Peabody Conservatory, where upon graduation found work as Principal Timpanist in Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra (South Korea). Kevin was a highly sought after performer for solo recitals, concerto performances, and new music concerts in Japan and Korea. Kevin also served as Percussion Faculty for the Kyoung-Hee University (Seoul, Korea) School of Music

Finding a love of teaching while in Korea, and a desire to push Kansas City’s appreciation of Percussion to a new level, He decided to return home and currently runs the Non-profit “Kansas City Youth Percussion Ensemble” (ww.KCYPE.org) where we train the next generation of Well Rounded musicians all around the KC Area. Kevin also runs the percussion program at Blue Valley SW High School, and you can also find Kevin occasionally performing with the KC Symphony, a once childhood dream come true.


Evan Maslak

Evan coaches drum line and percussion ensembles at Shawnee Mission South and Olathe Northwest high schools.  He also maintains a busy schedule as a private instructor, teaching full time at KC Percussion Studios.  Since 2010, Evan has served as the assistant director of the Kansas City Youth Percussion Ensemble. As a performer, Evan plays regularly with the Mikey Needleman Band (www.mnband.com) throughout the Midwest, and has recorded drums for various studio projects.  In addition to live/studio band work, he has also played drum set and percussion for numerous musical theater productions, and has performed with several local jazz musicians throughout the Kansas City area.

Evan’s love of percussion began when he was nine years old. Growing up in Overland Park, Kansas, Evan was musically active at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.  In 2013, Evan completed a Bachelor’s of Music Performance at the UMKC Conservatory of music. Evan continues to live in Overland Park with his wife Casey.

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Eric abney

Eric Abney is a music educator based in the Kansas City area. Eric holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Kansas, and currently works as a vocal music teacher in the De Soto school district.

As a percussion performer, Eric has been a member of many ensembles, including the University of Kansas Marching Jayhawks, Colts Drum and Bugle Corps and WGI Finalist Gateway Indoor. After aging out as a performer, he began his teaching endeavors at Olathe North High School as a bass drum technician, and later at Blue Valley Southwest High School as a Percussion Caption Head. Eric has also served as a percussion instructor for the University of Kansas Marching Jayhawks and Missouri State’s Pride Marching Band.


bird fleming

Bird Fleming was raised in Washington, DC and developed a desire to study and play music in his fifth grade band class. After learning recorder, C concert flute, and clarinet, he switched to playing the drums. Since his parents could not afford a drum set, he settled for bongo drums. Rightfully so, drumming fit in perfectly with the rhythm and blues and Latin music that were so much a part of his parents household--his mother an African-American, and his father of West Indies descent. Soon melodic instruments became a thing of the past. By the age of 20, Bird was proficient in a variety of African and Afro-Cuban instruments--congas, bongos, bells, shakere, and the djembe drum.

Soon after this period and in later years, Mr. Fleming began playing with such notables as a Babatunde Oluntunji, Dom Um Ramao, Gil Scott Heron, Melvin Deal, Sun Ra, Frank Colon (presently with Manhattan Transfer), Larry Harlow and the Temptations. In the 1970s, Bird’s career led him to San Francisco, where he continued to perform. But most importantly during this time, he began studying the sophisticated rhythmic intricacies which form the basis for traditional hand drumming. Bird moved from San Francisco to Kansas City in 1981, making Kansas City his home. Since that time, he has performed and taught traditional music in schools, community centers, and universities throughout the metropolitan area. In addition to teaching and performing, he was the founder of Manos, New Village, and Maus do Samba, three folkloric ensembles performing locally, all now a part of the Traditional Music Society. The Traditional Music Society based in Kansas City Missouri, is a non for profit arts in education organization of which Bird is the founder and present executive director. Though his musical travels have ended in Kansas City, Mr. Fleming’s career continues to grow and flourish. He considers himself fortunate to be able to maintain his studies with teachers Bernard Wry, Augustine Romero Diaz from Cuba, Abu Bukari from Ghana, Abdullah Camara from Senegal, and Moacyr Marchini from Brazil. Mr. Fleming holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Park University and a Master’s degree in African and African American Cultural, with a Certificate in Black Studies, from the University Missouri, KC