Joel Castro is a freelance musician and educator based out out of Warner Robins, Georgia. Growing up in a family of musicians, Joel was exposed to percussion at a very young age. Joel attended University High School in Orlando, Florida, where he developed a keen interest for marching percussion. His teachers in high school include Adam Steff, Nick Guiliano, Noel Alvarez, Jason Burris, Jeremy Brown, and Matt Verburg. After high school, Joel began his college studies in percussion performance, studying with Paul Vaillancourt and his father Miguel Castro. Joel received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia.
Joel recently completed his Master’s Degree at the Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music. There, he held an Associate Instructorship position, teaching private lessons and assisting with percussion ensemble. Having studied with Kevin Bobo, John Tafoya, Michael Spiro, and Steve Houghton, Joel is proficient in many different areas of percussion including orchestral percussion, solo concert percussion, drum set, Afro-Cuban folkloric music, and Brazilian percussion. Joel participated in multiple ensembles, such as the IU Philharmonic, New Music Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Afro-Cuban Folkloric ensemble, and Brazilian Percussion Ensemble. During his time at IU, he has worked with notable conductors such as David Dzubay, Arthur Fagan, David Effron, and Carl St. Clair.
Joel has a wide variety of professional performing experience. He has held playing positions with the Springer Opera House, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, the Ocmulgee Symphony Orchestra, and the Evansville Philharmonic. Joel has performed on world premieres by composers including John Mackey, Dan Truman, James David, Sergio Assad, Matthew Welch, and Wayne Peterson. In 2013, Joel received 2nd place in the Modern Snare Drum Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. Joel has also attended and performed at summer seminars such as the Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminar and Chosen Vale. There, he had the opportunity to study with world renowned artists such as Leigh Howard Stevens, Matthew Duvall, Robyn Schulkowsky, Christian Wolff, Tim Feeny, Pedro Carneiro, Michael Burritt, and Doug Perkins.
Joel is a member of Up/Down, a percussion quartet including members Jordan Walsh, Jonathan Mashburn, and James Klausmeyer. The group recently reunited at the Schwob School of Music to record their debut album and will return in August. Joel serves as the video producer for this project.
In 2010, Joel was the center snare for Independent World Class indoor drum line, Timber Creek Independent. Joel’s drum corps experience includes his age-out year with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps in 2014. The corps received the Fred Sanford award for best percussion this year.
Joel has taught several high school marching bands for six years, and is currently the caption head and percussion arranger for Houston County High School, in Warner Robins Georgia. He has also taught the snare line at Mercer University and Indiana University. Joel has taught with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Along with working at institutions, Joel has been a private percussion instructor since 2010.