Music City 2020 design team embraces new bold culture

Music City Drum Corps launches its 2020 season with a revitalized design team featuring a new group of award-winning Nashville professionals who will join key returning designers.

Shane Gwaltney will lead the team as program coordinator. He is a charter member of Music City Mystique Indoor Percussion, and has since served as an arranger, designer and program coordinator for the eight-time World Champion Winter Guard International ensemble.

Gwaltney has arranged and worked with Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta and Southwind drum corps, as well numerous international, independent and high school indoor percussion programs. He is also an artist and clinician for a number of equipment manufacturers and co-owner of Synced Up Designs.

“Music City has incredible potential and growth ahead of it, so the opportunity to lead this next chapter is a welcome challenge,” Gwaltney said. “It’s very appealing to work with a team focused on bringing the best possible experience to the performer.

“Expect a new drum corps. Expect a new identity. Expect a new culture. Expect boldness,” Gwaltney said. “Comfortably fearless is a mindset we will adopt as we move forward. This team is full of forward-thinking, open-minded, talented designers I’m excited to work with.”

Other new design team members include Jeremy Thompson, brass arranger, CJ Barrow, music design, and Jason Palmer and Drew Farmer, visual design.    Returning team members from 2019 include Matt Penland, battery arranger, Tyler  Sammons, front ensemble arranger, and Michael O’Neil and Jake Kalemba, guard design. 


• Thompson is a full-time wind composer, arranger and sound designer for the marching arts. The former Blue Devils hornline member lives in Denver where he is active as a visual instructor, choreographer, clinician and adjudicator.

• Penland is a Washington, D.C. based performer, educator, arranger and percussionist in the U.S. Air Force Band. He is on the instructional staff for Santa Clara Vanguard. Within DCI, he marched with Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown and Crossmen.

• Sammons is the percussion director at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas and serves on the instructional staff for Santa Clara Vanguard. The University of North Texas graduate was a former member of both Phantom Regiment and Crossmen.

• Barrow is an educator, composer, designer and Music City Mystique front ensemble veteran who currently serves as a high school band director in middle Tennessee.

• Palmer is an instructor, music designer, drill writer and body movement designer for programs across the country. He has worked with a number of DCI, WGI, university and high school programs including Spirit of Atlanta, Cavaliers, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts, Colts and Glassmen.

• Farmer left band directing in 2009 to become a full-time marching arts designer, consultant and adjudicator for marching bands, winter guards, indoor percussion ensembles and drum corps. The Kentucky-based alumnus of the Cavaliers Drum Corps owns Marching Show Concepts, Inc. and Center X Productions.

• O’Neill is a Houston-based color guard instructor and choreographer who has worked with the Glassmen, Troopers, Boston Crusaders, Madison Scouts and previously with Music City in 2018, as well as multiple high school and independent winter guards around the country. He also serves as the program coordinator for Eklipse Winter Guard in Nashville.

• Kalemba has extensive DCI and WGI experience as a color guard designer and choreographer.  As an instructor, he has worked with the Boston Crusaders, Crossmen and Troopers drum corps. As a performer, he marched with Bluecoats, Carolina Crown and WGI fan favorites Zydeco Color Guard and Pride of Cincinnati.

“I’m confident this team will create a product that challenges and inspires our performers and keeps fans coming back for more,” Music City Director Joe Roach said. “We’re committed to ensuring our student experience continues to evolve both competitively and culturally.”

Learn more about the 2020 Design Team.

Information about the 2020 Audition Experience can be found at