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Alumni Feature: Jesse Monkman, Class of 1993

Jesse Monkman, APW Junior-Senior High School Class of 1993, professional percussionist

Where are you now and how did you choose your career? “I am a professional percussionist. I have played with the Boston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Malaysia Symphony, Portland Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic and have toured with the Hollywood Film Orchestra throughout Asia and the United States. I have had the honor of playing under the baton of such conductors as John Williams and Seji Ozawa and have shared the stage with Doc Severenson, T Art Garfunkel, Yo Yo Ma and Stix. I also toured throughout the U.S. with the Gypsy Jazz group, Velvet Caravan as a percussionist and have been a featured soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony performing Russell Pecks Glory and the Granduer concerto for percussion and orchestra. I have been an invited artist of the SBSW Music Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Rochester Music Festival, Spoleto Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival and a Tanglewood Music festival Fellow. I live in Jacksonville, FL where I continue an active teaching and performance career and write music compositions that are performed globally. I will have a four orchestra premiere in January played by the Jacksonville Symphony.”

What was your most memorable high school experience? “I remember the band fondly, of course, but some of my best memories came from competing on the track team. It was really useful to help me grow through self-induced struggle. It was very rewarding, much like I have found my musical path.”

What APW class/teacher had the biggest impact on you? “One of my most memorable teachers was Rod Jennings. He was taken too early from this life but had a lasting impression on me. He had a passion for music and instilled it in his kids in band, as well as his own children. Jack took over the band program and was wonderful. Jeff Manwaring was also a fantastic band teacher as well. APW has a blessed history of top-notch band teachers. APW had some fantastic teachers with real world experience in their chosen field. This was helpful to get exposed to what it would be like in the field.”

What is your advice for the next generation? “My advice is don't shy away from what you are called to do and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your life. Aim to thrive and not just survive.”


jesse monkman spotlight feature