Russell Wharton is a percussion educator, performer, composer, and arranger living in Bloomington, Indiana. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Russell’s time with The Cavaliers organization began with Green Thunder in the winter of 2008. He then marched with the drum corps as a bass drummer from 2008-2012, serving as the Drum Sergeant in 2012 and helping the 2011 percussion section capture the Fred Sanford High Percussion award. 2019 will be Russell’s fifth year on staff with The Cavaliers. He has also been involved with the Boston Crusaders, Cavaliers Indoor Percussion, Monarch Independent, and numerous high school programs.

Russell recently finished his Master of Music degree in Percussion at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied a diverse array of musical styles, including orchestra, timpani, chamber, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and solo percussion. He served as an Associate Instructor within the percussion department, teaching lessons and the Percussion Methods class. Russell also was active as a composer at IU, and had several pieces premiered by the IU Percussion Ensemble. For the 2018-19 school year, he returned to IU to continue as an Associate Instructor and pursue a Performer’s Diploma.

Prior to his time at IU, Russell lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He attended Texas Christian University from 2008-2013, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education Following graduation, he went to work at Keller High School from 2013-2016 as a percussion instructor while maintaining an active life as a freelance drumset player. 

Russell enjoys being involved in many different musical situations at once. He believes in a well-rounded approach to musicianship and finds musical diversity to be a constant source of inspiration and education. As an educator, Russell encourages his students to think critically about the music they are playing, as well as the lessons that the music teaches them. One of Russell’s favorite aspects of the drum corps activity is the personal growth that each player undergoes as they strive to achieve at the absolute peak of their abilities. He feels a passion for learning and self-discovery, and hopes that he can pass that on to his students.

Russell is fortunate to have had many excellent mentors and teachers, including but not limited to: Michael McIntosh, Jim Casella, Jim Ancona, Brian Tinkel, Joe Hobbs, Joe Roach, Ellis Hampton, Drake Melson, Adam Bruce, Jami Fennell, Adam Clay, Aaron Collins, Sean Frittelli, John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Michael Spiro, Steve Houghton, PQ Phan, Aaron Travers, Brian West, Joey Carter, Dave Hall, and Martin Blessinger. Russell is endorsed by Innovative Percussion and Remo Drumheads, and his compositions are published by Tapspace Percussion.