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Dr. Sarah Waters

Associate Professor of Music
Presser Hall 226
525 S. Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
(419) 772-2704

Dr. Sarah Smith Waters teaches Applied Percussion, Steel Drum Band, Percussion Ensemble, African Music, American Music, Conducting, and Music History and is the Director of the Ohio Northern Summer Music Camp for students in grades 7-12. A native of Lima, Ohio, she received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Ohio Northern University in 1987; a Master of Music in Percussion Performance and Conducting from Western Michigan University (1991); and a Doctorate in Percussion Performance from the Ohio State University (1995).  She was the recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1999 and taught for a year in Botswana. She has been on the faculty of Muskingum College, Mississippi Valley State University, The University of South Dakota and was teaching at Holy Cross School for Boys in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) forced her and her family back north where beloved alma mater took them in.

This past summer (2015) she taught “African Music Since 1950” at the University of Ghana through the United Studies Abroad Consortium. This trip resulted in obtaining a Fulbright Visiting Scholar grant to bring Professor Benjamin Ayettey from the University of Ghana to ONU for 2015-2016 to teach African music and dance. Her CD, “Shreds: Music for Trumpet and Percussion,” recorded with colleague David Kosmyna will be released through Centaur Records in June 2015. An avid steel drum performer Waters participated in the world’s largest steel band competition in Trinidad and Tobago called “Panorama” as a member of the band “birdsong” in February of 2015. She has been a member of the PAS All Star Steel Band and for “Pan Rocks.”

Currently she performs with the Lima Symphony Orchestra, and in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts on ONU’s campus for various events. Prior to coming home to ONU, Waters was a percussionist in the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Concert Band and Principal Percussionists and Timpanist for the New Orleans Civic Symphony. She has been the Principal Timpanist in the South Dakota Symphony, the Principal Timpanist and Percussionist for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Percussionist for the Sioux City Municipal Band.

Waters is a member of the Contest and Procedures Committee of the Percussive Arts International Society, and is secretary of the Ohio Chapter of PAS. On January 24, 2015 Waters hosted The Ohio Day of Percussion on the campus of ONU, inviting world-renown guest artists and over 200 percussion enthusiasts, teachers, and students.               

Her most recent area of research is the percussion music of the Beijing Traditional Opera, and together with her student Chang Tong, has written an article that will be published in May of 2015 by Percussive Notes. She and three other ONU faculty members will lead a summer music workshop in Beijing in July 2015.

Other recent articles include “Make a Joyful Noise” Triad (Ohio Music Educators On-Line Journal) (April, 2015); “Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future: Music Education in China” Music Educators Journal, (December 2013); “A Look at the Percussion Holdings in the Czech Museum of Music, Prague” Percussive Notes, (Vol. 51, No. 3, May 2013); and “Music,” article entry in Robert A. Waters, Jr., The A to Z of United States-Africa Relations, (Scarecrow Press, 2010).

Sarah and her husband Rob live in Ada and have two boys, Donald, 12 and Robby, 10.


Department of Music

Patty Warner

Presser 202
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.