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Chris Tarka

Midlothian HS
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Chris Tarka is the Director of Percussion at Midlothian High School and a freelance percussionist in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. At Midlothian his responsibilities include overseeing the percussion program grades 6-12 for the MHS cluster, which includes Frank Seale Middle School, coordinating the marching percussion program, and coaching the high school percussion ensembles. During his time at Midlothian the program has received the honors of performing at the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2014, received the Sudler Flag of Honor from the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2015, and being named as a Mark of Excellence nationalwinner from the Foundation for Music Education in 2016.

Before moving to Dallas, Chris earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Akron in 2010. While at Akron he was a member of many ensembles including the UA Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble 1, Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Steel Drum Band. In addition Chris has also performed as a percussionist with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Wooster Symphony.

As a member of the Grammy nominated University of Akron Steel Drum band Chris was fortunate to perform alongside many well known artists in the pop and steel drum genres such as Tony Lindsey (Santana), Andy Narell, Relator, Liam Teague (NIU), Pan Ramajay, Ray Holman, Robby Greenidge (Jimmy Buffett), and Cliff Alexis (NIU). In addition he has performed for President Barack Obama at his 2008 campaignstop in Akron, OH.  

Chris is very active in the field of marching percussion as an educator at all levels. He has worked with many high school, collegiate, and independent ensembles throughout the country. In addition to many fine high school programs Chris has worked with DCI and WGI organizations such as Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps as a caption head, Legends Drum and Bugle Corps under Landon Ewers, and Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble under John McFarland. As a performer, Chris was a member of the University of Akron Drumline where he served as the section leader; he is also an alumnus of the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps. Chris has had the opportunity to learn from many great teachers in the world of marching percussion including Rob Ferguson, Jon Merritt, and Chris Hestin.

As an adjudicator Chris has served on TMEA Region and Area percussion panels that choose students for the prestigious Texas All-State Bands and as well as serving on the TMEA All-State Jazz drum set panel selecting drummers for the Texas All-State Jazz Bands.

Chris has been greatly influenced by all the extraordinary teachers he has had the opportunity to study with throughout his career. His teachers include Larry Snider, Matt Dudack, Mark Gonder, Chester Englander, Kevin Bobo, and Michael Spiro. Chris is a member of PAS, TMEA, and an educational artist for Pearl/Adams Instruments, Innovative Percussion, and Black Swamp Percussion. Chris currently resides in Dallas, TX.