Ginger Zyskowski is a creative writer, artist, and composer who has retired from an illustrious career in music performance and education. She was a mainstay in the South Central Kansas area beginning in the 1980’s. She’s played with the Wichita Symphony, Music Theater Wichita, Luciano Pavarotti, Mannheim Steamroller, and more! You may enjoy the chart below that details all these adventures.
Today, Ginger is living in Seattle near her family, where she is focusing on writing and publishing books of poetry.
- Music Theatre Wichita – 1992-current – Pit Percussionist
- Wichita Symphony – 1997 – current – (Section Rotation Player)
- Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony – 1999 – current (Timpani and Section Player)
- Hutchinson Symphony – Section Percussion
- Wichita Wind Ensemble Professional Band – Section Percussion – (2011)
- The Toledo Symphony – Section Percussion
- The Seattle Opera Company – Section Percussion
- Spokane Symphony and Chamber Orchestras – Principal Percussion – (1968-1978)
- Mannheim Steamroller Tour – Auxiliary Percussionist – Wichita, Kansas
- The National Touring Company of Jesus Christ Superstar Original Cast 25th Anniversary Tour – Substitute Pit Percussionist for 2 weeks of National Tour
- International Percussion Symposium III – Escuela Nacional de Musica of the University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico – Guest Artist and Clinician with 3-day residency with Pit Partner Steve Hatfield – “Percussion in the Pit’” Clinic, private lessons, and individual clinics.
- Academic Entertainment Inc. Touring Performer – “Drums Around the World” – a 6 week, 8 state, tour performing School Assemblies
- University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, – Clinician/Performer – “The Private Studio and How to Make It Work”, and performer on graduate recital of my former student.
- Campbell University, Blues Creek, N Carolina – Clinician/Performer with the Campbell University Wind Ensemble, and week –long residency doing master classes and private lessons
- People to People European Tour – Soloist/Performer with the Wind Ensemble from the state of Michigan.
Teaching and Adjunct Positions
- Bethany College (Lindsborg, KS) – Percussion Lessons, Ensemble, and Percussion Methods
- Buhler High School, Buhler, KS – Percussion Instructor – State Drumline Champions in Marching Competition 2 years – 2008, 2009
- Sterling (KS) College – Percussion lessons, Ensemble and, Instrumental Ensemble (Band) Conductor
- Central Christian College in McPherson, KS – Percussion and Percussion Methods
- Hutchinson Community College – Percussion and Music Histor
- Friends University (Wichita, KS) – Percussion and Percussion Ensemble
- Tama Drums
- Sabian Cymbals
- Vic Firth Sticks
- Aquarian Drumheads
Ginger plays Marimba One Marimbas
Back-up Player Experience
- Jack Benny
- Rich Little
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Milt Jackson
- Rolf Harris
- The Sandpipers
- The Mills Brothers
- Art Garfunkle
- Placido Domingo
- Luciano Pavarotti
- The Celtic Tenors
- Diamond W Wranglers
- The University of Michigan – M.M. –Music Education –Percussion
- The University of Michigan – B.M. – Music Education – Percussion
- Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, Michigan – H.S. Diploma
Awards and Recognitions
- Tama Drums Regional Artist – 2008
- Outstanding Percussion Instructor at Hutchinson Community College – 2008
- Teacher Recognition Award – Music Teachers National Association
- Cambridge Who’s Who – listing 2007-2008
- “The Private Studio and How to Make it Work”
- Wichita State University
- Kansas State University
- University of Arizona
- Washburn University
- “Vibraphone Fundamentals”
- PAS Kansas Day of Percussion – University of Kansas
- “Drumset Fundamentals” and ‘Women in Percussion”
- North Carolina Day of Percussion
Percussive Arts Society
- Member since 1963
- Served as President of the Kansas Chapter of PAS – 2011
- PASIC committees served on:
- Keyboard Panel
- Education Panel
- Adjudication Panel for PASIC Composition Contest
In December of 2016, Ginger retired from and closed Professional Drum School in Hutchinson, Kansas. The drum school operated from 1983 until 2016 with a roster of 100+ students from ages 7 through adult. The drum school served students from a 150 mile radius in the Central Kansas region, and has produced some outstanding musicians and percussionists successful in their specific fields of work.
While teaching at Professional Drum School, one of Ginger’s favorite projects was “Stickpeople” – a production written and directed by Ginger for her drummers to experience a ‘rock concert’ type performance. Stickpeople served as a goal for her students to work towards, as well as an opportunity for the parents and families of the students to see some results of their investments of time, money and support. The early ‘Stickpeople’ performances featured from 40 to 50 students playing on at least 25 drumsets (sometimes 30), while in the later few years, there were as many as 63 drumsets gracing the concert venue floor, and 50 to 100+ students all playing along together. The youngest student to perform in any “Stickpeople” was a 4 year old boy and the oldest was a group of parents of the students that formed a percussion ensemble with an original composition by Ginger for this special group.
“Stickpeople” received rave reviews and offered the students a performance opportunity they otherwise might not have had. In addition, the production crew was make up of volunteer students and parents who found this to be a great educational, fun, and family experience.
The Kansas Rhythm and Jazz Ensemble
The Kansas Rhythm and Jazz Ensemble was a performing group of 12 players from Professional Drum School from ages 12 – 18, chosen by audition, and committed to the challenge of playing high school and college level compositions. This group performed on “Stickpeople” as well as guest performances at the Kansas State Fair, The Miss Hutchinson Pageant, PAS Kansas Day of Percussion, and at KU and K State joint percussion recitals. They received a ‘1’ rating at their Wichita Jazz Festival Performance, and were able to travel to Texas to visit the ProMark Drum Stick Company, to Oklahoma to visit the PAS Rhythm museum, and to Indiana to attend the 3 day PASIC percussion festival.
Take a walk down memory lane with these photos from Ginger’s years of teaching and performing…