Percussion Staff

Alex Albertson

Artistic Director

Alex Albertson returns to Railmen Percussion as its program coordinator, music arranger, and lead administrator. Additionally, he is currently a music teacher at Logan-Magnolia Community Schools in Logan, Iowa. His curricular responsibilities include teaching the 5th grade, 6th grade, junior high, and high school concert bands. He also directs the Panther Marching Band, jazz band, and the pep band. In 2019, the Logan-Magnolia High School Jazz Band earned 4th place at the Iowa Jazz Championships, marking the group's return to the event for the first time in 15 years. In 2018, he was recognized with the SW Iowa Young Band Director's Award for his work with the Logan-Magnolia band program.

In addition to teaching full-time in a public school, Alex is a percussion educator, clinician, and composer in the Omaha, Nebraska area for various programs such as Bellevue East High School, Millard North High School, Millard South High School, Elkhorn High School, and Iowa Western Community College. Prior to teaching in Omaha, he worked as a percussion instructor at Lincoln-Way East High School and Pioneer Indoor Percussion in Chicago's south suburbs. Alex has spent several years on staff with the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from Dubuque, IA. Most recently, he served as the corps Program Director in 2019, leading the design team and helping the corps return to Open Class Finals for the first time since 2015.

Alex earned his Bachelor's degree in music education from Western Illinois University. During his time there, he was named a winner of the annual WIU School of Music Concerto/Composition Competition, where he performed with the university's orchestra. He is also proud to be an alumnus of the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps and Rhythm X Indoor Percussion.

Ben Samson

Music Director

Ben Samson is a percussionist and educator residing in Omaha, NE. He is currently serving as the Percussion Director at Millard North High School, and as the Music Director for Railmen Performing Arts. He is also a very active clinician and percussion arranger in the Midwest. As a performer, Ben is very active in theater work as a percussionist and music director, performing in numerous productions annually, as well as other local ensembles and venues.
As an educator, he has worked as a director, tech, arranger, clinician, and consultant with many Nebraska and Iowa high schools. Under his instruction, groups have consistently been awarded high percussion awards and honors.
Ben is a very experienced WGI instructor, currently as the Music Director for Railmen Performing Arts, a 2018 PIA 4th place finalist. He has also served as the Ensemble Caption Head for Purecussion music, placing in finals for PIA each year from 2014-2017.
He was an instructor for DOJO Percussion, the 2010 PIA World Champions. As a performer on the professional stage, Ben has been priveleged to be a part of numerous ensembles.  His credits include; The Omaha Symphony, The Omaha
Community Playhouse, The Theater Arts Awards, The Rose Theater, The Ralston Community Theater, The Chanticleer Theater, Resonanace, The Eastern Music Festival Ensembles, The Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra, The Shelterbelt Theater, The Bellevue Little Theater, and many others.
Ben is an alumnus of the prestigious Eastern Music Festival from 2005-2006. During his time at the festival, he was able to study with Dr. Christopher Norton, John Fedderson. He also had the opportunity to share the stage with some of the world’s leading musicians such as Joshua Bell, Branford Marsalis, Tommy Igoe, Rolando Morales-
Matos, and many others.
His teachers include;  Charlie Lindbloom, Tomm Roland,  Ken Yoshida, Dana Murray, Carlos Figueroa, John Fedderson, and Christopher Norton.  Ben is proud to be a member of the Innovative Percussion family.

Josh Spaulding

Front Ensemble Technician

Josh Spaulding is a composer, music educator, and percussionist currently based in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He currently is a freelance composer, marching pageantry arts designer, sound designer, and teacher in east Nebraska.   Prior to coming to Nebraska, Josh previously taught band at Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake, Mississippi and he was a front ensemble technician for the WGI Independent ensemble, Audio Theater, from 2015 - 2017.  He has also worked with the Colt Cadets and the Seattle Cascades during the summer of 2019.  Josh had the honor of marching with the WGI  Independent World ensemble, Gateway Indoor in 2014, where he was able to work with notable educators in the marching arts such as Mike Macintosh and Amanda Loeffler.  Josh holds a BMME from the University of Tennessee Martin, where he was taught by Dr. Julie Hill, and an MM in music composition from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, where he was taught by Dr. Greg Simon and Tom Larson.Josh is looking forward to his third season with Railmen Indoor!

Angelo Makropoulos

Sound Design

Angelo Makropoulos is a Music Educator from the South Chicago Suburbs where he serves as Assistant Band Director/Director of Percussion at Marian Catholic High School. He also works with the Winter Percussion Ensemble at Victor J. Andrew High School. During the summer, Angelo is one of the Sound Engineers for The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. 

He received a degree in Music Education with a minor in Music Business from Western Illinois University. Angelo is an alumnus of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Angelo is a Mapex/Majestic, Innovative Percussion, and Zildjian artist.

He is excited to return for his 3rd season with Railmen Indoor Percussion!

John Benson

Snare Technician

Johnny became a snare technician at Railmen Performing Arts in 2017 after marching four years in WGI’s Percussion Independent Open class. His experience also includes four years of snare drum at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) where he graduated with a degree in Meteorology. Johnny is the current battery instructor at his alma mater, Bellevue East High School. He has been instructing there since 2014 and loves being able to give back to the program that introduced him to the marching arts. This passion is mirrored in his role at Railmen where he strives to help build marching percussion in the Omaha area. In his spare time, Johnny enjoys thrifting, photography, and hanging out with his friends.

Megan Samson

Front Ensemble Caption Head

Megan Samson is currently serving as the Front Ensemble Caption Head at Railmen Indoor Percussion.  She holds a B.A. in Music Education with an emphasis in Percussion from the University of Nebraska - Omaha where she studied under Dr. Tomm Roland, Dana Murray, and Ken Yoshida.  During her time there, she performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention two separate years with the UNO Percussion Ensemble. 

Megan has also served as the Frontline Instructor at Millard North High School since 2012.  Under her instruction, the group has won numerous high percussion awards and honors.

Megan has held several other percussion teaching positions around the Omaha Metro with organizations such as; Elkhorn High School, Papillion La-Vista High School, Purecussion Music,  Omaha Central High School, Gretna High School, Aftershock Percussion, and Thomas Jefferson High School.

Megan is an alumnus of the Nancy Zeltsman Marimba Festival, where she studied with, and performed alongside, world renowned artists such as Nancy Zeltsman, Jack Van Geem, Christos Rafalides, Nanae Mimura, Casey Cangelosi, and many others. 

Megan is also an active performing musician in the Omaha area.  Her past credits include; The Nebraska Brass Band, Ralston Community Theater, Omaha Symphonic Winds, and the Rose Theater.  She has also given numerous solo recital performances at The Holland Center, The Blair Concert Series, and Hot Shops Art Center.

Jimmy Lauritsen

Snare Technician

Jimmy Lauritsen is a Millard South High School graduate of 2013 and has been in marching arts since 2009. He was a member of the indoor percussion group “Purecussion Music” for three seasons and was a snare tech during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Jimmy has also pursued a career in the automotive industry where he has attended and completed the automotive program at Metropolitan Community College. He has worked in the Baxter Auto Group of Nebraska since 2013 and is currently a certified technician of Audi Omaha.
In addition to Railmen and working a full-time automotive career, he is the head battery instructor for Papillion-LaVista High School in Papillion, NE. He has worked as a battery tech with Brendon Yates Sr. at Papillion-LaVista since 2014 and was promoted to Battery Caption Head for the 2017 season.

Danny Belt

Visual Director

Danny Belt is currently serving as a marching percussion instructor in the Omaha area for Westside High School and is a Snare drum technician at Millard North High School. Since starting with Westside High School in 2016, he has helped lead the percussion section of the high school marching band to achieve consistent superior ratings at state and local contests. He began teaching with Railmen Percussion in 2018, and under his instruction, assisted in earning the group a 4th place finish in PIA at WGI World Championships.

In addition to teaching percussion for multiple programs in the area, Danny is also an Assistant Manager at Luxottica Optometry. He earned his Associate's Degree from Iowa Western Community College in Science. There, he performed with the college's drumline and served as the section leader for his time as a student.

Danny performed at Thomas Jefferson High School, Aftershock Indoor, and at Purecussion music for three years, writing  drill, creating choreography, and coaching other students as a section leader. Danny will be returning to Railmen in his expanded role of Visual Director, and is excited to grow the love of the marching arts in the organization and in the Omaha area.

Jordan Leever 

Bass Technician

Jordan started as the bass tech for Railmen in the 2017-18 season, after previously teaching for one season at Omaha’s Dojo Percussion. He brings 5 years of marching bass drum experience at all 3 levels of WGI while marching bass drum for Dojo Percussion from 2010-2013 and again in 2016. Jordan also brings 5 years of experience from his time marching bass drum in the Cornhusker Marching Band (2011-2015); two of those years as the bass drum rank leader, and one year as the percussion section leader. He earned a degree in marketing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is currently an Associate Account Manager at Sojern, a company specializing in digital media in the travel industry. Jordan has also been a battery instructor for his alma mater, Millard North High School, since the fall of 2011. And, as of this summer, he has taken on the role of bass tech for Westside High School.

Additional Staff

B.J. Yates - Tenor Technician

Mitchell  Eldridge - Technician

John Kelly - Visual Design