Dr. Kelsey Tamayo has a multi-faceted musical career in performance, research, education, and writing. She is especially active in the new and contemporary music scenes. Kelsey is a founding member of Collective Behavior (CoBe) and Unanimous, both student-run new music ensembles in the East Lansing area. Kelsey collaborated as the performer in the Michigandered Marimba Project.  She premiered Victor Marquez’s “The Fallen Tree” on Alex Smith’s Michigandered Marimba, an instrument made from all Michigan materials. Currently, Kelsey is a percussionist with the Springfield Drury Civic Orchestra, the Springfield Regional Opera, and the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra. She regularly streams live music on twitch.tv/PercussiveEvent.

Kelsey has performed as a percussion soloist extensively in America and abroad.  As a winner of the 2013 Michigan State University Honor’s Competition, Kelsey performed as a soloist with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.  During the 2011 season, she performed as a soloist with the Brevard Music Festival Orchestra.  In 2006, she was the winner of the IBLA International Instrument Young Artist Competition and completed the national tour with brilliant reviews at Carnegie Hall, New York University, Radford University, and the University of Arkansas.

In addition to her performance career, Kelsey is a dedicated teacher.  She has mentored students from the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp and Institute, the Fowlerville Community Schools, the Howard County Public Schools, the Peabody Youth Orchestra, and Tuned-In’s Peabody Youth Wind Orchestra.  Kelsey taught MSU’s Class Percussion, instructing future music educators about the percussion world. Additionally, she was a teaching assistant for MSU’s musicology department, where she helped instruct non-majors about world music and popular culture.  Currently, she is the percussion professor at Drury University and works for Rolla High School coaching drumline and front ensemble. Whether in the classroom, on the marching field, or in the rehearsal hall, Kelsey believes that teaching music and inspiring the next generation is perhaps her most important mission.

Many people question why Kelsey has so many degrees. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Education, Master of Music degrees in Wind Conducting and Music Theory Pedagogy, and a Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in Percussion Performance.  She completely attributes this to her crazy love for music, musical study, and education. She also had a bet with her father that they both would one day share the same name, Dr. Tamayo, to confuse people at public events.

Kelsey currently lives in Missouri with her husband, Jonathan Staub, a tuba player with the 399th army band. If Jonathan and Kelsey aren’t working on repertoire for tuba and percussion, they are probably out exploring with their energetic husky, Marsh, and adventurous tuxedo cat, Bayonetta.


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