Master Sergeant Eric Garcia, a native of Hendersonville, Tennessee, joined the West Point Concert Band percussion section in 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, where he studied with Michael Burritt and Jim Ross. Master Sgt. Garcia continued his studies at Cleveland State University, graduating with a Master of Music in percussion performance as a student of Tom Freer. After arriving at the band, Master Sgt. Garcia completed a Master of Business Administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
In addition to his marching and concert band duties, Master Sgt. Garcia works as the Logistics and Resource Management Branch Head and the NCOIC of the chamber group Quintette 7. As an original member of Quintette 7, he can be heard on the ensemble's CD, Quintette 7 Plays the Music of Raymond Scott.
Master Sergeant Rone Sparrow is originally from Fairfield, California. He earned a Bachelor of Music in percussion performance and pedagogy from Brigham Young University (1997) and a Master of Music in percussion performance from the University of North Texas (2000). While at North Texas, Master Sgt. Sparrow taught percussion methods classes, directed percussion ensembles, instructed in the percussion studio, and was the coordinator for the UNT Green Brigade drumline. Master Sgt. Sparrow's diverse freelance career includes performances with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Sundance Summer Theater, the Drifters, the Jerry Floor Big Band, and the Walt Disney Corporation. Master Sgt. Sparrow joined the West Point Band in August 2002 and has been featured with the band on steel pans, piano, and mallet percussion.
Before Master Sergeant Nathan Eby joined the West Point Band in September of 2007, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Fresno and his Master of Music from University of California, Los Angeles, both in music performance. He was the Drum Section Leader of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, winning two DCI World Championships and two High Percussion Awards. He was personally awarded Blue Devils Most Valuable Percussionist. In 2005, Master Sgt. Eby was the winner of the Atwater Kent Marimba Concerto Competition in Los Angeles. He has performed with Blast Inc. in their shows Shockwave and Cyberjam and was a member of the Frank Boehm creative force, performing at corporate events for companies including Cisco, Hyundai, Kohler, Honeywell, and Washington Mutual. During his time in Los Angeles, Master Sgt. Eby was a Teaching Artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and an instructor and music arranger for the UCLA Drumline. In addition to his current duties in the Concert Band, Master Sgt. Eby is Library NCOIC and Associate Marching Band Drum Major. He also performs with the West Point Steel Band and Percussion Ensemble. He has presented clinics for public schools, universities, PASIC, and The Midwest Clinic. He is also an active music arranger for GPG Music Publications and has written for schools across the country. Master Sgt. Eby currently performs with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and is the Percussion Coordinator at Arlington High School in Lagrange, New York. Master Sgt. Eby’s teachers include Mitchell Peters, Dr. Matthew Darling, Dr. Tom Morgan, Scott Johnson, Tom Float, Paul Rennick, and Enildo Rausa.
Sergeant First Class Craig Bitterman joined the West Point Concert Band in 2005. Prior to his tenure at West Point, he served as a musician for 2 years in the 50th Army Band at TRADOC headquarters at Ft. Monroe, VA.
His percussion performance studies includes a Bachelor of Music from SUNY Buffalo under Jan Williams, Anthony Miranda and Master of Music from the Hartt School of Music under Benjamin Toth, Alexander Lepak and Shane Shanahan.
Before joining the Army, he freelanced in the New England area as staff accompanist for Wesleyan University, Hartford Conservatory, Hartt School modern dance classes and taught percussion at Holyoke Community College and Community Music School Springfield. Performance highlights during his time in Hartford included performances with Nebojsa Zivkovic, Maelstrom percussion ensemble, June in Buffalo new music festival, Ankara new music festival, Full Force Dance Theatre, and Steel Sunrise Steel Band.
Since joining the band in 2005, there have been many memorable live performances at various New York City venues. Some of these special moments include closing day at the old Yankee Stadium, Google live performance series, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and 4th of July television broadcasts, and Independence Day celebration at Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic.
Outside of performing music, Craig enjoys taking in the Hudson Valley landscape by hiking and biking local nature trails. Additionally, his recent interest in Yoga led him to Mid-Hudson School of Yoga where he practices Hatha and Raja Yoga.
Sergeant First Class Yalin Chi joined the West Point Band in January of 2008. Originally from Beijing, China, she gave her debut with the Central Opera Symphony Orchestra in 1997. In the same year, she moved to the United States and studied with Victoria Mushkatkol at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Sgt. 1st Class Chi completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music at the Juilliard School, under the instruction of Seymour Lipkin and Jerome Lowenthal. She has performed in prestigious venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Gardner Museum, and Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, South Korea. Sgt. 1st Class Chi attended the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2006 with an orchestral piano fellowship. She has attended the Taos School of Music, Music Academy of the West, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. She has performed in master classes for Arie Vardi, Richard Goode, John O'Conor, and Boris Berman. Sgt. 1st Class Chi has collaborated with many musicians, including Joseph Alessi (principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic), Philip Cobb (principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra), Andrew Wan (concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony), and clarinetist Charles Neidich.