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Meet the Solaris 2017 Educational Staff

Oscar Escobar


Oscar has been involved with the music and marching activity for nearly 20 years. He was a member of his high school music program for 4 years. After graduating high school he began marching lead mellophone with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. There he marched in 1998 and in 1999 Oscar was diagnosed with cancer and took a year off from drum corps to be able to return to march with the Boston Crusaders in 2000. In 2001

he joined Micro Magic Drum Corps and help Magic of Orlando return to the DCI field in 2002 as a visual staff member. That year Magic of Orlando won the division 2 World Championships.


Oscar’s teaching career began in 1998 as a visual tech at the BOA finalist Miami Coral Park High School. In 1999 Oscar helped Braddock Sr High compete in BOA Orlando. From 2000 to 2002 he taught Miami Palmetto High school and Coral Gables High school. In 2002 after returning from DCI tour he moved to the Florida gulf coast where he continued to Study Horn performance at Edison State College and receiving an Associate in Arts Degree. He was the visual designer and caption head for the North Fort Myers Red Knights in 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2014. In 2005 to 2014 he worked for the Estero Wildcat Band as show designer and coordinator. In 2008 and 2009 Estero Achieved a top five finalist spot at the FMBC. Oscar has also worked with groups like Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps, Tampa Bay Thunder and the Sun Devils. 


Oscar’s professional music career began in 2004 playing with several pops orchestras and community bands in the Fort Myers and Naples Area. Oscar has performed with world renowned musicians like flautist Nestor Torres and singer song writer Don McLane. Oscar was a member of the horn section of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. He currently continues to follow his passion as a musician and music educator. Oscar lives in Vero Beach Florida with his wife Christine and their two children.

David Flores


David will be joining the team as the Low Brass Tech. He has an extensive marching career starting with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps at the age of 16. David has performed on tuba, euphonium, and bass drum throughout his 7 years of marching in DCI, DCA, and WGI. He was also a founding member of Solaris’ debut season in 2015. David is currently a member of the Port Charlotte Brass Quintet. David has taught percussion and brass playing at several SWFL high schools over the past five years, and has most recently taken over the visual program at Cypress Lake High School. He currently resides in SWFL and is studying in the FSW School of music. As a founding member of Solaris, David is excited to return home and continue to grow the organization.


Samantha Strawman

Samantha is excited to bring her nearly fifteen years of music experience to the Solaris team. From 2004-2011, she was involved as a member and trombone section leader in both her high school and collegiate music and marching programs, with experience in both corps-style and show-band-style marching. Originally from Ohio, she graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a degree in K-12 Instrumental Music Education. Her teaching experience includes everything from kindergarten general music, to various high school instrumental ensembles. During her three years as a music educator, she consistently helped her various ensembles earn historically higher ratings at performance assessments and festivals. In 2014, she joined the Sun Devils Drum and Bugle Corp as a lead baritone.


Samantha currently resides in Southwest Florida, where she is pursuing a second bachelor's degree in Software Development and is planning her wedding with Jordan Rigdon. She hopes to one day combine her passions for music and technology.

Jordan Rigdon


Jordan is excited to return to the Solaris family and to be working with old friends again. Jordan is Freelance trumpet player in southwest Florida. He has taught high brass with St. Augustine HS, Fleming Island HS, Estero HS and the Sun Devils Drum and Bugle Corps. His marching experience includes 2 years with Spirit of Atlanta and 2 years with the Sun Devils. Jordan Currently works at Cadence Music in Ft. Myers as an instrument repair technician and is looking forward to getting married to his Fiancé Samantha in April.

Tami Fessenden


Tami is excited to be joining the Solaris Drum Corps Staff as a Brass technician for this 2017 season. She was a Soloist with Solaris when they premiered at DCI Atlanta as part of Soundsport. In addition to performing with Solaris in their inaugural season, Tami was a member of the USF herd of Thunder Marching Band.  She has had the pleasure of playing trumpet at Walt Disney World, Tampa Bay Lightning Frozen Funk Band, Artis-Naples Pro-Am, and several musicals playing lead. Tami is currently the assistant band director for the Naples High School Golden Eagle Marching band and teaches music at Lake Park Elementary. She is a member of FMEA, FEMEA, Sigma Alpha Iota and Kappa Kappa Psi.

Marissa Kotzin


Marissa is the Director of Bands at Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts in Fort Myers, Florida. Originally from Orlando, Marissa taught low brass for her alma mater, Dr. Phillips High School, and the West Orange High School Warrior Band. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education from the FSU College of Music, studying trombone under Dr. John Drew. While at FSU, Marissa was a section leader and drill assistant for the Marching Chiefs. She also performed with the University Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Trombone Choir and Seminole Swing Machine. Marissa marched with Carolina Crown in 2013 and aged out with The Cadets in 2014. 

Marissa is thrilled to return the Drum Corps activity and to work with the incredibly talented team assembled by the Solaris organization.

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