From Ship to Stage: Reese Maultsby's Musical Voyage to Carnegie Hall


May 28, 2024

 Reese R Maultsby

On June 2nd, Reese Maultsby will travel to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall with the Butler School Wind Ensemble. Having just graduated with a DMA, he served as a band teaching assistant for the past three years. His journey to Carnegie Hall was an unusual one, taking him around the world to some of the most beautiful places, often with a margarita in hand.

Reese's musical journey began unexpectedly. It all started when his father volunteered to help a neighbor move. During Reese's first-grade year, his father assisted an elderly woman in the neighborhood with her move. When they finished, she expressed her inability to pay him but offered something else instead: an old drum set that had been gathering dust for years, possibly decades. Reese was immediately captivated by the instrument, eagerly grasping the drumsticks and experimenting with beats.

 Reese R Maultsby as a kid playing a drumset

Reese playing his first drumset

The pivotal moment came a year later, during Reese's second-grade year, when his father took him to observe a rehearsal of the Jude Bowerman Band, a blues trio from Olympia, WA. Witnessing the drummer Everett James’ skill and passion ignited something profound within Reese. He declared, “That's what I want to do.” That Christmas, instead of receiving conventional toys, Reese received the gift of drum set lessons.

While some parents might have balked at the prospect of their child pursuing such a noisy passion, Reese's parents embraced it with grace. Reese’s parents acknowledged that “it was only hard until he got good, then it was interesting”.

In high school, Reese's life took another unexpected turn. While most high school students who had been playing the drum set for seven years would be trying to play with every local rock band they could, Reese moved away from the drum set. In his freshman year of high school, he decided that he wanted to teach percussion at the highest level and devote his life to teaching. After seeing a video of the Blue Devils drum line, he told his district-level band director, “I want to do that.” The director suggested moving away from the drum set and towards classical music, which he did. Reese recalls telling his band director, “I want to teach at the highest level I can and play at the highest level I can, and I am just so thankful that I have been able to do it ever since.”

After completing a dual major in undergraduate studies, Reese's life took an unexpected turn that led him around the world. Reese completed his undergraduate degree at Central Washington University with degrees in music education and percussion performance. Then, he fell in with a crowd of friends who had a unique approach to college and how to afford it. This group would complete a music degree, incur the accompanying student loans, and then work on a cruise ship for a year as musicians to pay off the loans. They would then pursue a master's degree and repeat the process. It was a lifestyle of going from port to port, then school to school, then back to port to port. This is what Reese did. He secured a job playing drum set on the main stage, playing the 7 pm and 9 pm shows for great pay. Reese remembers it as “wonderful, amazing, and I loved it.” Reese got to play concerts at night while at sea and explore the world during the day as a tourist.

two men on the side of a cruise ship

Reese with a friend on the cruise ship

3 friends with a ship behind them

Reese with friends while at port

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately for Reese, his talent led him to receive full scholarships for his master's and doctorate programs, eliminating the need to return to sea to pay off student loans. For his master's, he attended James Madison University, where he had a similar role to what he did at the Butler School of Music—writing, teaching, and overseeing various ensembles. At both universities, he had a teaching assistantship, which provided a full scholarship and living stipend. With no student debts to pay off, he will now step into his new role as an Assistant Professor of Percussion at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.   He said that he would recommend playing a cruise ship to pay off student loans to his future students at Lamar.

Reese will play at 2 pm in Carnegie Hall in the Isaac Stern Auditorium on the Ronald O. Perelman stage, with the Texas Wind Ensemble.


Reese performing at the Butler School of Music

 If you are going to be in New York for the Concert and would like to go there is a 40% off discount code that people can use on the Carnegie Hall website to purchase tickets:  DIS44417



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