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Faculty: Percussion

SHELDON THWAITES, B.Mus., Percussion (Drums, Steel Pan, Hand Drums)

Sheldon Thwaites, Percussion

Some of Mr. Slye

Girls performing on drums

SHELDON THWAITES, B.Mus., percussionist, brings to the Ottley Music School his learning from Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., and at the Boston School of the Arts.  He is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music also in Boston.  He teaches drum set, and steel drums at Ottley Music School, and through their partnership with Contemporary Family Services, also teaches steel pan at the Monroe School located at the Nannie Helen Burroughs historical school in northeast Washington, D.C.  

He is the percussionist [drum set and timpani] in the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church band, and with his band travels nationally and internationally (Trinidad and Tobago, Montreal and Toronto, Canada, London and other cities of Great Britain, in Italy, and Guyana in South America).

Robert Thwaites

Robert Thwaites, steel drums


Mr. Robert Thwaites has been performing Steelband music since the age of 9, and was a member of the legendary Pan Am Northstars Steelband in Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.  He has also toured internationally with this group, and these tours include two appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and the Ed Sullivan Show on CBS.

Since settling in the U.S. in 1971, Mr. Thwaites was instrumental in forming Pan United Youth Movement, Inc. (PUYM), a New York 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to empower youth through steel band music and to develop a professional steel orchestra that can showcase the versatility of this instrument.

He raised his three sons in this culture and they learned to play “pan” by ear at an early age. All of them received scholarships to attend the Berklee College of Music from which they have all graduated.  

Mr. Thwaites has performed with several prominent steel bands in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, is a gifted arranger, a soloist, and has taught Pan Music at several locations including Northwestern High School, Hyattsville, Maryland. He joined the teaching staff of the Ottley SchoolMusic in June 2011, successfully teaching students as young as 4 years old, as well as children, teens, adults and seniors.  His OMS students have been performing, not only in the monthly recitals at OMS, but also do gigs in the community.  


Rick Slye, Drum Teacher

OMS Drum Student in recital


Drumset Teacher

RICK ALAN SLYE, Drummer brings to the Ottley Music School 20+ years experience as a percussionist and drummer. He attended Mongtomery College in Rockville, Maryland as music major. For over a decade he serves as Percussionist and Drummer for First Baptist and Metropolitan AME Churches of Washington, D. C., and serves Saint Mary’s Baptist in Silver Spring, MD, and Israel Baptist in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Slye also plays with such organizations as the Ed Charles Trio, the Lorree Slye Trio, Blue Nefu, Seven Love, Haw-thorn Player, and the Heritage Signature Chorale under Stanley Thurston. He has appeared at numerous halls including those at the Kennedy Center and at the Clarice Smith for the Performing Arts. He can be heard on a recording by Seven Love and the Heritage Signature Chorale as well as the CACS Chorus, and “Submission” by Noland William Jr. & Psalmist. Soon to be released is the Loree Montgomery-Slye CD.

Mr. Slye has a way with bringing joy to the very young drum enthusiasts as well as to teenagers and adults. Since 2000 he has been teaching over a decade drumset, snare drums, and bells at the Ottley Music School.

PHONE:  301-454-0991    FAX:  301-454-0298  

MOBILES:  301-467-1021, 301-367-7406



ADDRESS: University Town Center

Prince George's Metro Center Bldg. 3
6525 Belcrest Road, Suite G-20
Hyattsville, MD 20782-2017 USA

OMS Building

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