Concord High School, Solo Artist
Ben Runkel (b. 1986) is a versatile percussionist, educator, and composer who seeks to bring powerful experiences to his audiences through the percussive arts. A native of Naperville, Illinois, Ben was a winner in the WAMSO Young Artist Competition and has been a soloist with the St. Paul Civic Symphony, Windiana, Elkhart Municipal Band, Northern Indiana All-Star Band, and the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic. Ben has performed locally with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University South Bend Concept/21 Ensemble, and is in high demand as a freelance percussionist. Ben was also a performer in the 1st Annual National Percussion Ensemble Festival in Costa Rica in 2009, and has performed in Millennium Park Chicago, and all across the United States as a member of the Madison Scouts and Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently one of the drummers for the Connection Worship Band based out of Nappanee, Indiana, and can be heard on several live albums from the group.
Ben currently serves as the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Goshen College and the Percussion Specialist for Concord Community Schools, Elkhart, IN, where he directs and coordinates all aspects of percussion instruction and performance. Ben is also an Associate Faculty member of the Birch Creek Music Performance Center Percussion & Steel Band Session in Egg Harbor, WI, as well as a front ensemble instructor with the Blue Stars Drum And Bugle Corps. Other groups that Ben has taught with include the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, the Pioneer Indoor Drumline, Naperville Central High School, Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, and Plymouth High School.
As a composer, Ben writes and arranges for many groups throughout Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. He specializes in marching and classical percussion ensembles and has arranged for wind and orchestral groups as well. In 2014, Ben was commissioned to arrange for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble’s Percussion Extravaganza.
Ben is proud to endorse many fine percussion companies including Mapex and Majestic Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and to be a member of the Percussive Arts Society where he currently serves on the Education Committee. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music Performance and Music Education from Northern Illinois University’s School of Music where his primary teachers were Greg Beyer, Robert Chappell, Rich Holly, and Rodrigo Villanueva. Ben currently resides in Elkhart, Indiana where he focuses his time on his students and boosting his performance repertoire and composition library.