Railmen 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.