#LiveToPlay is:

Taking a rain check on dinner with friends.

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We All #LiveToPlay

It's not about being rich. Or famous. It's about doing what you love.

Create your own video showing the world how you #LiveToPlay. All you need is a smartphone and a free video editing app (iMovie, Cameo, etc.)! If you make it, we'll share it! You can even download our #LiveToPlay video bumper to make it official.

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"It's not even a career choice. I do this because I love doing it. And not only do I love doing it, I feel like I have to do it."


Yahya Alkhansa

Hometown:
Tehran, Iran

Yahya's Story

Amy Garapic

Hometown:
Brunswick, OH

Amy's Story

Ryan Garcia

Hometown:
Los Angeles, CA

Ryan's Story

Ameehan Kaplan

Hometown:
Atlanta, GA

Ameenah's Story

Alex Major

Hometown:
East Greenwich, RI

Alex's Story

Jake Reed

Hometown:
Kansas City, MO

Jake's Story

Cullen Ryan

Hometown:
Norwood, MA

Cullen's Story

Mike Vega

Hometown:
Santa Paula, CA

Mike's Story

What #LiveToPlay Means to Us:

At Vic Firth, music is in our DNA. Nearly everyone here has been touched by music in some way. Each and every product we introduce has been labored over by a team of percussionists. We understand that even the smallest design detail can make a big difference. That was Vic's vision: a team of passionate people making world-class products.

I attribute our success to many things, but chief among them is this: I've surrounded myself with the best of the best. Each member of our organization has an unbelievable passion for what they do and a level of expertise which is unsurpassed in the industry.

Vic Firth

Take a minute to meet the Vic Firth team and find out how we #LiveToPlay.


Vic

Company Founder
81 years in music.
50 years with the BSO.
52 years with his company.

Neil

51 years in music.
30 years with Vic.

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Chuck

43 years in music.
26 years with Vic.

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Mark

47 years in music.
16 years with Vic.

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Rob

33 years in music.
14 years with Vic.

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Andy

23 years in music.
10 years with Vic.

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Ben

22 years in music.
9 years with Vic.

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Joe

36 years in music.
6 years with Vic.

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Scott

23 years in music.
3 years with Vic.

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Christian

14 years in music.
3 years with Vic.

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Amber

15 years in music.
1 year with Vic.

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Eric

20 years in music.
1 year with Vic.

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Team Vic

Whether from personal experience, or from years working alongside Vic himself, nearly everyone here has been touched by music in some way. We're extremely lucky to have experts — the best of the best from every field — come together and make our family what it is!

Meet the rest of our ensemble.


Yahya Alkhansa

Hometown: Tehran, Iran

I don’t know how familiar you are with the situation in Iran, but it's not like you can go to a music store and buy music. Most of it is illegal there. So we were masters of bootlegging. I had all the bootlegs of Metallica, and 70’s rock bands: Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, all of them. I was like 15 years old when I saw a rock video from Metallica and I was like, man, this is what I should play!

At first when I told my parents I really wanted to play drums, they really didn't take me seriously. I was a kid and they thought, "ok, it’s a thing and it'll go away." But then I went and found a drum set myself. There were no drum shops in Tehran, so I to put a Frankenstein drum set together for myself. I got a bass drum from one person, a snare drum from another one. At some point, they realized I was really serious about this and they gave up. "OK. Do what you got to do. If you really want to do it, then do it"

Actually playing music wasn't easy though. Here in the states, if you and your friends put a band together and say "let’s play" ...well, it’s not like that in Iran. If you have music, you have to get permission from the ministry of culture to publish it. You need permission to play any live music. You always have to get permission from them. And for most Western music, it’s almost impossible. That was one of the biggest struggles.

Amy Garapic

Hometown: Brunswick, Ohio

Starting out in school band, I wasn't allowed to play drums because there were "too many drummers". So I played xylophone and marimba. Eventually -- I think it was eighth grade -- I said, enough is enough. I want to play snare drum. I told my band director, auditioned, and got the spot.

Through High School, music was still a part of my life, but I was an athlete too. Athletics were a big part of my identity at that point. So when I got to college, I decided I wanted to try something new. I auditioned for music school, things really solidified and I felt like I really couldn't live without it.

There's a lot of love, care, excitement, disappointment. You go through a lot of emotions when you're creating music with other people. I think because of that, my closest friends really are musicians. We're all fighting too. We're trying to live these lifestyles in cities that aren’t the cheapest cities to live in. It's a struggle all the time, but we rely on each other.

You want to be supportive to your friends and to other people in the community and you want to learn and you want to grow. I don’t want to play the same music all the time. I want to hear what other people are doing.

Ryan Garcia

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

I decided to play music because it made me feel something nothing else did. A friend of mine asked me - 'we need a drummer, can you just play a few beats?' I said, yeah, screw it. I tried it out and ended up really liking it. Immediately after that I got on my brother’s drum set and started practicing.

My family doesn't really quite get it yet. Not entirely. As soon as I step out of the door at work, I'm in musician mode. And I'll practice anywhere I can. Even on the bus. I get stares. Sometimes from the front of the bus, right next to me, I'll just be doing my thing looking up at the ceiling with my headphones in working things out. And I'll just have people looking at my hands.

Ameenah Kaplan

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

I was the dishwasher in my family. The kitchen sink was really my first instrument. My first drum instrument that had tones and was awesome and there was water involved! I think I was always serious about it. I think my folks just didn’t understand I was serious about it.

I Learned my first groove – Bullet the Blue Sky, by U2 – from a guy named Brad down the street. What we do is fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re probably doing something wrong. I do feel successful as a drummer because I keep doing it. Somehow I keep sitting down, somehow I keep challenging myself to do it. So it feels good.

When I’m in doubt or if I’m uninspired I turn to the drums and I’m humbled and reinvigorated. Always.

Alex Major

Hometown: East Greenwich, Rhode Island

I started playing drums around 10 or 11 years old. At the time, I just remember taking an interest in bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd. Just wanting to sort of do what they do.

I went to school in Boston and played with my band Ellis Ashbrook a lot up there. When we all graduated, we decided we needed to go to a place that was the next step up. New York was the next logical place. Without really knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we packed all our stuff in a van and moved down here.

It's a fun experience going to different clubs and getting to play our music. We used to throw a lot of parties in our basement and that's how we built up our community of amazing people. We obviously want to make a living, but we want to create a unique experience for the listener… doing something that's original and groundbreaking as often as possible.

Jake Reed

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

My dad sort of played drums when he was in high school, so there were some drumsticks around the house, but beside that, it was not really a musical family. I think there was just something I saw and I liked. I just wanted to do it.

My grandmother gave me this CD -- Buddy Rich vs. Gene Krupa. I hadn't heard that much drumming outside of what I’d seen on MTV. Jazz wasn't even on my radar. I think it was the second track on that CD -- it's called Buddy’s Blues or something. That is the track that got me. Because Buddy just blew me away. That was the first thing I heard that really made me think 'this is what I want to do.' I gave up sports and every other extra curricular activity to play drums.

It's all about the music. Every time I play drums, it's about the music. It's not about me. It's about making the music sound the best I can make it sound. If that means I have to play really simple, then yeah. Let's do it.

Cullen Ryan

Hometown: Norwood, Massachusetts

Talent will only take you so far. Your work ethic - that's what really carries you. That's what makes good drummers.

In the Drum Corps world, the stuff you are playing can be extremely difficult, but if you love what you're doing, it can be an extremely freeing thing. It's like that feeling when you hit the middle of the show and everyone is together -- We used to refer to it as "riding the wave". We put in all the work and then we just do what we were trained to do. When everyone is on board with that, it's incredible.

Your attitude about it is always your decision. It's the middle of the day, you're in Texas. You're in the middle of long rehearsal. It's very easy to be like "I wish I was home, I wish I was at the pool. I wish I wasn't in 100 degree weather on a football field." But you've gotta think: "I'm out here, I'm with my friends, I'm lucky to be here."

Mike Vega

Hometown: Santa Paula, California

I've been into music since I was a kid. My brother's a drummer, so I was going to shows, getting involved in the music scene, the punk rock scene, the metal scene. Watching drummers was inspiring to me. The more shows I went to, the more I wanted to play.

As a kid, I identified with it, I was a dorky kid. I wasn't a jock, I loved skateboarding. Punk Rock. I really identified with that. It shaped me for what I do now.

I like the no-name drummers. It might be the 1st time I'm seeing their band and I don't even know their name, but they're crushing it. That inspires me.

Neil Larrivee

Director of Education and Product Development

Neil brings to the team an unbelievable passion for percussion and music education -- fueled in large part by his 35 years of experience as an educator himself!

A graduate of Boston University with a degree in percussion performance, Neil was out in the world teaching and playing professionally when he started working in Vic's garage. As a self-employed musician, the extra income was definitely a help! He figured he'd probably work for Vic for about 3 months. 3 decades later, he's still here and as fired up about the job as ever.

Over the last 30 years, Neil has played a unique role in the overall growth of Vic Firth. On the product side, he's collaborated with Vic and countless artists to design and perfect nearly every stick and mallet in our catalog. He has also brought his passion for percussion education to the forefront of his role within the company through many initiatives, including the Vic Firth Education Team. The Ed Team is the industry's leading education program, supporting students and teachers alike with training, resources and events around the world.

Outside of Vic Firth, Neil has over 35 years of music teaching experience. He is the former Front Ensemble Director and Arranger for the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. There, he was part of 4 DCI championships and 4 High Percussion Awards during his 16 year tenure and has recently been selected as a member of the Cadets Hall of Fame. Additionally, Neil served as the Front Ensemble Coordinator and Arranger for the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps from 2010 through 2012.

From 1985 – 2002, Neil was the Co-Marching Band Director, Percussion Director & Arranger at King Philip Regional High School of Wrentham, MA. During his time at King Philip, the Marching Band attained state, regional and national success including 2 Bands of America Northeast Regional Championships, 2 BOA Grand National Semi-Finalist placements and the 2000 Grand National AA Class Bronze Medal. The Indoor Marching Percussion Ensemble captured the 2000 WGI Scholastic World Championship and placed second in '97, '98 & 2001. Additionally, the Concert Percussion Ensemble placed second in the 2001 Scholastic Concert World Class.

From 2004-2010 Neil was the pit arranger for the Dartmouth High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble. During that time, Dartmouth won the 2008 and 2009 WGI Scholastic World Championship, placed second in 2006 & 2007 while also placing 3rd in 2004 & 2005.

Neil is still an active clinician and adjudicator in the marching band and indoor percussion arena. As a music lover and avid concert attendee, Neil will often be found taking in live performances of jazz, orchestral music or contemporary chamber music in Boston or wherever his travels may take him!

Chuck Moulton

Merchandising Manager

Chuck started pairing sticks for Vic in 1990. In the 26 years since, his passion for music has fueled his contributions in artist relations, sales, marketing and merchandising. Hands-on and music-obsessed, Chuck perfectly embodies our company culture and what we're all about.

Chuck wasn't a drummer growing up. You might think that would make him a bit of an outsider at Vic Firth, but you'd be wrong. His lifelong obsession with music have put him right at the heart of our culture.

Early on in his musical journey -- around elementary school -- Chuck started out on trumpet (he would later switch to mellophone). He grew up listening to Al Hirt and Maynard Ferguson, but like everyone else, he wanted to BE Buddy Rich. He'd never miss an opportunity to see live music and he has saved every ticket for every concert he's been to. No joke.

Around high school, Chuck's involvement in school music and Drum Corps came to a crossroads. Because of the overlap between Summer Drum Corps and school marching band, he had a choice to make: it was either band, or drum corps. He couldn't be a part of both.

Following his heart, Chuck decided to continue adding to his Drum Corps resume. All told, Chuck has hit the field with the Pembroke Imperials (74-79), Spectra (79), Alliance (80-83), 27th Lancers (84-86) and the Garfield Cadets (87).

Chuck has also given back to the activity that he loves with many years of teaching. He's been a visual instructor at Norwood, MA (87-04, 07-11), Dartmouth, MA (98-00), King Phillip (88-90, 12-13), King Phillip Indoor (96-01, 07-09). He's also been on staff at several DCI corps through the years, including Spartans (88), East Coast Jazz (89), Blue Knights (90), and Boston Crusaders (92).

In 1990, Chuck was an ironworker teaching part-time at Norwood High School when he was dealt a serious setback. A car accident knocked him out of the workforce for several months. He wouldn't return to walking high steel. Through Norwood, Chuck met Neil Larrivee and began working at Vic pairing sticks. Since his start in 1990, Chuck has brought his passion for music to many roles at Vic, including sales, artist relations, trade show and merchandising.

Chuck might not have grown up with sticks in hand, but he absolutely Lives To Play. Actually, after all these years of working at Vic, his left hand is better than a lot of drummers we know!

Mark Wessels

Director of Internet Activities

Back before most people knew how to internet, Mark was the webmaster for one of the first percussion websites in existence -- TheDrumClub.com. As a drummer and teacher, his foresight to bring the world of percussion education to an online audience set the mold for what VicFirth.com would become when he joined the team in 2000.

Growing up in West Texas, Mark spent his school days playing in band and gigging with country groups on the weekends. He was a member of the Texas All State band as well as the San Angelo Symphony and Abilene Philharmonic.

After earning his Bachelor of Music from The University of Texas at Arlington, Mark began teaching private lessons and drumlines in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Between 1988 and 2000, Mark was a Band Director in the Texas Public School system -- teaching award-winning groups such as DeSoto and Plano.

Mark was extremely active in the DCI activity. From 1986-1991, he was the head percussion instructor and arranger for the Sky Ryders Drum & Bugle Corps. He then went on to become a DCI (and WGI!) judge from 1992-2001.

His background in music education eventually led Mark into writing and self-publishing his own instructional material. His books; "A Fresh Approach to Snare Drum", "A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion", "A Fresh Approach to the Drumset" and "5 Minute Theory" have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

In 1989, Mark launched one of the first percussion websites on the internet -- TheDrumClub.com. Much of the educational content from TheDrumClub (including the 40 Essential Rudiment Play-Alongs we use today) was rolled into VicFirth.com when Mark joined our team in 2000.

Mark works from his home in Texas. When he's not working at Vic, you can find Mark on the golf course, or relaxing with his family in Disneyworld.

Rob Grad

Marketing and Graphic Design

Check your bass player jokes at the door. Rob Grad is one of us. True that his early days playing in garage bands eventually led to record deals, music videos and national tours, but he started just like the rest of us -- with big dreams and a love for music. Rob brings that passion to the creative marketing work he does every day at Vic.

Rob's obsession with music started at just 5 years old, but it took him a while to settle on an instrument. He started with piano lessons. Didn’t like it. Then clarinet. Didn’t like it. Then drums. Too much work. Then guitar. Didn’t like it. Eventually, some neighborhood friends needed a bass player. Rob gave it a shot and was hooked.

My first band played our 9th grade talent show. I was king for a day. And for a wallflower like me who had trouble making friends, that was huge. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue music for a career.

He continued playing with various friends in the neighborhood, and before he knew it, found himself on stage at the legendary Troubadour in Hollywood with the band Marauder. He was 15.

Marauder would go on to become the neucleus of Rob's next band, Kik Tracee. In 1989, they signed to RCA records and life started moving pretty fast! Interviewing record producers (in their drummer's mother's garage), music videos on MTV, national tours with Joe Walsh and Bon Jovi, it was the real deal rockstar life.

As the grunge scene of the early 90's started to take shape, Kik Tracee ultimately disbanded. But it wasn't long before Rob was at it again, this time as frontman for his new group Superfine. They signed an indie deal with Fish of Death Records in 1996 and made music well into the 2000's.

From his years on the stage, to his studies at California State University, Northridge, music had always been there in Rob's life. But a new artistic itch was emerging.

It started innocently enough; making websites and designing album artwork for bands, including his own. Over time, the design work began to grow and he started getting referrals for work in the music industry. In the early 2000's, Rob started working with Vic on our advertising programs and he's been with us ever since! Like the rest of us, Rob's love for music and experience as a musician is something he relies on every. single. day.

When he's not making music or designing ads, you can usually find Rob holed up in his art studio. Rob is a brilliantly talented fine artist, working in mixed media. His artwork is on display in numerous fine art galleries, in the San Francisco International airport, and of course, at the Vic Firth offices in Boston and LA. Check out Rob's TedX talk (YouTube link) to hear more about his journey of artistic expression and his career as a musician and a visual artist.

Andy Tamulynas

Earned Marketing Manager

Andy's a 23 year veteran of the drums with all the typical credentials. Started young. Played in terrible garage bands. Played in less terrible garage bands. He initially went to school for music, but ultimately fell in love with digital media. Today, when he's not behind the kit, he can usually be found cooking up some kind of marketing campaign or glued to Vic's social media channels!

Andy's interest in the drums came very early, but he didn't really sink his teeth in until he started in school band in the 6th grade. Throughout middle and high school, Andy never passed up on an opportunity to play (concert band, orchestra, jazz band, marching band, musical productions, you name it). Weekends were usually spent soaking up Boston's local music scene. There always seemed to be a punk, ska or hardcore show happening in some glamorous venue (VFW hall).

Andy auditioned for and got in to the Percussion Studio at UMASS as a Music Education Major, but as the summer before college began to bleed into fall, he was having second thoughts.

Almost immediately, he found a home with the media geeks, switched majors, and began weaving music into media. He worked the photo desk at the school newspaper so he could shoot the national acts that came through campus. He helped to film recitals and concerts in the Fine Arts Center. He spent 4 years in the Minuteman Marching Band under Thom Hannum and Colin McNutt -- and outside of class enjoyed writing and performing music with friends.

Today, Andy works on the Marketing team here at Vic -- specifically in digital and social media. He's still actively writing, recording and performing. When he's not in the office or at a gig, he's most likely to be brewing beer or traveling.

Ben Davies

Artist Relations Manager

The first couple things you notice about Ben is that he's super passionate about music and really, really good at connecting with people. He's a graduate of the Engineering program at Musicians Institute and knows a lot about working with artists, but his contributions go way beyond his gig as Artist Relations Manager. Ben's a super creative thinker and loves getting his hands dirty in marketing, promotions, anything and everything!

Ben was big into sports growing up (football, baseball, bmx, you name it), but he also had an early obsession with music. His parents started him on the guitar because they thought that drums would be too loud and too expensive. (Sound familiar?)

In high school, like most of us, Ben played in a band. When the drummer would flake out on a rehearsal or a gig, Ben would slide into the drum throne -- which seemed like a pretty natural fit. Eventually, the drums just made sense.

Ben went on to attend the Musicians Institute in California for performance and music business, but soon switched gears and entered the engineering program.

As school was wrapping up, Ben's engineering chops and drum knowledge landed him a job working for Vic Firth Artist Pat Mastelotto in Austin, TX. With Pat, Ben helped to produce well over 100 tracks for all sorts of different recording projects. He also had the opportunity to get to know representatives within the industry, including the Vic Firth artist relations team.

"For some reason it never really dawned on me that there were "reps" for companies. Meeting these guys changed everything... I never thought that kind of job was possible!"

Ben left a big impression on us, so when a gig opened up in our Artist Relations department, he was an immediate candidate. His love of music, knowledge of the industry and passion for connecting with people and brands made him an obvious fit. His contributions go way beyond artist relations. If you've ever submitted a #VF15, you have Ben to thank! Totally his idea!

When he's not hanging with artists in our West Coast office, you're most likely to find Ben ...hanging at Grain Lab in Burbank with artists. Created/nurtured #VF15 - Interests: cars, creative thinking, reading, fitness, making food and having fun!

Joe Testa

Director of Artist Relations

When you get to know Joe, you start to see how his whole life has led up to a gig in artist relations. His musical background, warm personality and sense of humor have all helped him to build unbelievable relationships with the worlds best drummers over a 23-year career. Beyond AR, Joe's love of drumming also has a huge impact on our marketing and product development.

Most of us who are really passionate about drums started out pretty young. Joe is no exception. Growing up, he was always interested in drums -- and by the time he got to high school, he took full advantage of every opportunity to play. Concert band, marching band, musicals, playing out with local rock bands, you name it.

Joe took his percussion studies to the next level after high school, attending and graduating from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, NY.

After college, Joe gravitated towards work that would help spread the love for music to others. He went into the music publishing industry. He is the co-author of several percussion books, including The Ultimate Beginner Series Drum Basics (Warner Bros.), UBS Rock Drums Basics (Warner Bros.), UBS Blues Drums Basics (Warner Bros.), Principal Percussion Series: Rhythmic Compositions – Etudes for Performance and Principal Percussion Series: Sight Reading and Rudimental Etudes and Warm-Ups (Hal Leonard). Joe also worked as an editor for books with Russ Miller, Gavin Harrison, Steve Houghton and Fred Dinkins.

During his days in publishing, Joe was often the go-to guy to speak with drum artists when they would call in to talk about their book or video. His musical background and experience as a drummer helped him to build great relationships with the artists. Eventually, an artist relations gig opened up at a major drum company and Joe got the call.

Joe has had an awesome 23-year run in the field of Artist Relations -- and we're happy to have had him with Vic since 2010! When he's not doing his thing with artists worldwide, you're likely to find Joe messing around on drums, golfing, or spending time with his family.

Scott Quade

Digital Media

As a classically trained percussionist and a gear-obsessed videographer, Scott brings a unique mash up of experience to the Vic Firth crew. Active in music from a young age, his studies crescendoed all the way from high school band to earning his Masters in Music. Nowadays, you're most likely to find Scott crawling underneath a drum set with a GoPro in his teeth, trying to get just the right angle!

Like most of us, Scott was obsessed with music pretty early on. Growing up in Missouri, he was the center snare for his high school drumline and a member of the Wind Symphony. In 2007, Scott auditioned for and won 1st chair keyboard in the Missouri All-State Band. He was also the Principal Timpanist of the 2008 Sewanee Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee.

As college approached, Scott knew he wanted to take his passion for music to the next level. He studied at Truman State University under the instruction of Dr. Michael Bump and earned his Bachelor of Music in 2011. He then went on to earn his Masters at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University under the instruction of Robert van Sice and David Skidmore.

During his time at Peabody, Scott began to nurture a growing interest in videography -- producing videos for some of his fellow students in the percussion studio and posting them online. In 2013, the Vic Firth team was hiring for a video editor and Scott's work caught our attention. The rest is history!

When he's not shooting and cutting video for Vic, Scott likes playing the piano and working out.

Christian Lyman

Education and Product Development Coordinator

Christian is our resident jazzer! He's been with the Vic Firth team officially since 2013, but before that, he was an intern in our Education department. Like many of us, he continues to actively perform and record music -- and this hands-on experience is something that comes into play every day as our Education and Product Development Coordinator.

Like most of us, Christian was involved in school music growing up, but his specific love was Jazz. As a member of the Foxborough High School Jazz Ensemble, Christian had the opportunity to be exposed to some great musicians and compete at a high level on a national stage. The group was an Essentially Ellington Finalist in 2007, 2009 and 2010. As a Jazz Combo, Foxborough also won the top spot at the 2010 MSM Mingus Festival.

Wanting to take his swing to the next level, Christian attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating with a degree in Music Business, Management and Marketing. In the summer of 2011, Christian joined Vic Firth as a Berklee intern. He came on to the team full time in 2013 and now rounds out our education and product development efforts alongside Neil Larrivee.

Christian has remained extremely active as a player. His performance experience alongside artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Sean Jones and Erica Von Kleist -- along with his experience as a student of Neal Smith, Ralph Peterson and Ali Jackson -- have helped him to find his own voice as an artist. In 2014, the Christian Lyman Group released their debut album, Horizon.

In addition to his time performing, Christian is also an active private lesson teacher in the Boston area. When he's not teaching, playing or working, he loves to snowboard and brew beer!

Amber Fox

Customer Service

Amber is another "new" member of the Vic Firth family, but really, we've known her for years. As a participant in Drum Corps International, Amber got to know the Vic Firth video crew and education team fairly well. After suffering a wrist injury, she shifted focus from music education to music business in order to keep music in her life. A one-time intern, Amber is now a part of our crew on a full-time basis.

Amber had a thing for percussion pretty early on in life. At age 15, she started marching drum corps and immediately fell in love with the activity. But on the last day of her rookie DCI season, something happened.

The corps was loading their equipment truck for the very last time. Amber -- stepping in for someone who would normally do the lifting -- was one of four people hoisting a marimba into the truck. In an instant, the marimba shifted, falling to her side. Amber ended up tearing all the tendons in her right wrist.

She was in high school then, and though this was a serious injury, Amber was determined to remain actively involved in concert band, marching band and percussion ensemble. She visited various doctors over the years, trying to repair the damage that was done. They even tried to put her in a cast right before her college percussion studio audition!

Determined to be a music ed major in college, Amber continued playing and was successfully able to keep her injury in check. She continued marching drum corps through her first two years of college. I literally grew up in DCI and I couldn’t imagine not being involved in the activity and with the people I knew. Her injuries finally caught up to her during a DCI audition camp in 2011. Her arm began to swell and bruise worse than anything she had seen or experienced before. She marched the 2011 season with the Blue Stars front ensemble (under Vic Firth's Neil Larrivee), but she knew her playing days were coming to a close.

After a lot of soul searching, Amber came to the realization that she wouldn't physically be able to build a career around playing. Not wanting to let go of music's influence in her life -- and realizing that the industry side of music could keep her connected to what she loved to do -- she switched schools and majors to focus on music business.

Amber joined the Vic Firth team as an intern early last year and we've since brought her on full time. She is now one of our experts in customer service, talking to folks about products and making sure our endorsed ensembles are taken care of. She's extremely smart, extremely awesome, and above all, passionate about music.

Outside of Vic, Amber is also the president of a non-profit organization dedicated to music. Alumni Funds calls attention to the need for performing arts funding, educates students on fundraising, coordinates alumni and provides services needed to create, maintain, and distribute performing arts scholarships.

Amber also enjoys "speaking banjo." You'll have to ask her what that means.

Eric Gross

Customer Service

Eric is technically one of the newest members of our family, but he's been unofficially a part of the clan for years. During his time at Berklee, he was an intern with Vic in the artist relations department. After graduation, he started touring with the band Vanna and became a Vic Firth artist himself! As of September, Eric is digging in around the office full-time as one of our customer service experts.

Eric grew up in Middleboro, MA doing what most of us did -- playing drums! In high school, he was a part of Middleboro's concert and marching band programs. And of course he spent afternoons at home messing around on the drums.

When college came around, Eric knew he wanted to take music to the next level. He found himself a new home in Boston, studying Music Business at Berklee College of Music. He played in several groups both in and outside of school during his time at Berklee. He also had a chance to get some awesome industry experience as an intern for ASCAP in Nashville and... wait for it... Vic Firth, right here in Boston!

Post college, Eric graduated from Vic Firth intern to Vic Firth artist -- touring extensively with the Rock/Metal group Vanna. Eric was also a recording member of the band, appearing on the full-length releases The Few and Far Between and VOID as well as the EP Preying/Purging.

Earlier this year, Eric parted ways at Vanna to accept a position at Vic. He's now one of our experts up front, talking to customers and artists about product. If you ever need to call us, his will be one of the four voices you might hear on the other end of the line. When he's not here, you'll likely find Eric playing drums (obviously), watching hockey (go Bruins!) or reading.