Julia is excited to join Fusion’s design team as the Program Coordinator for the 2024 season. She is a Fusion Core alumnus who marched in the snare line from 2012 through 2016 and went on to join the percussion staff for the following 3 seasons. Julia is currently the Assistant Band Director and Percussion Director at Nutley High School in NJ. In 2017, she and her staff founded the indoor percussion program at NHS and since then the group has won multiple local championships and a WGI regional championship.
Outside of the marching arts, Julia is a third-year student in the Physician Assistant Program at Seton Hall University. She is currently completing her clinical rotations and is set to graduate in May. After getting her white coat, she hopes to pursue orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.
Mike Schmitt has worn many hats with Fusion Core over the years. Mike began his drum corps career serving in the roles of marching member, technician, Caption Head, and Arranger at the Hawthorne Caballeros from 1999-2010, earning a world championship in 2003. In 2011, Mike joined the Connecticut Hurricanes as Caption Head, Battery Arranger, and Ensemble Coordinator through 2012. For Fusion Core, Mike served as the Battery Coordinator/Caption Head & Battery Arranger for Fusion Drum Core 2013-2017 and Ensemble Consultant for the years 2018-2020.
In addition to drum corps, Mike was heavily involved teaching and judging both marching band and indoor percussion for multiple circuits through the years. His teaching career began as Caption Head and Arranger for the Parsippany Hills High School (NJ) from 2001-2008. While in this position, his drumline won four State percussion titles, four National percussion titles, and four overall band championships. Mike taught for seven years at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT, and served as Arranger and Ensemble Director. During this time, Westhills percussion ensemble won State championships three times, became a WGI finalist in 2012, and won the US Bands Indoor Championships in Group AA (2012).
During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Mike was Caption Head and Arranger for Pequannock Township High School in Pompton Plains, NJ. This ensemble won the Best Percussion award at both the US Bands States and National Championships in 2011 and were the US Bands Indoor Champions in Group A in 2012. In addition to Parsippany, Westhill, and Pequannock, Mike has been involved with a large number of high schools, including Stamford High School, Roxbury High School, Ramapo High School, Morristown High School, Pompton Lakes High School, West Essex Regional High School, Wayne Valley High School and Ramsey High School.
Mike is looking forward to returning to Fusion Core in 2024 as they embark on their inaugural season in the DCI All Age Division.
Chris is an accomplished composer, conductor, clinician, and educator. Chris M. Bernotas earned a Bachelor of Music degree from William Paterson University and a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. As Director of Instrumental School Methods and Repertoire for Alfred Music, he draws upon his 28-year experience as an instrumental music teacher in New Jersey, and brings an energetic and enthusiastic approach to the world of music education.
As a widely published composer and author, he is co-author, along with Dr. Peter Boonshaft, of Sound Innovations: Ensemble Development for Young, Intermediate, and Advanced Concert Band. He is also co-author, along with Dave Black, of Alfred's ground-breaking percussion method, Sound Percussion.
As an active composer and arranger of concert band, string orchestra, and marching band music, Mr. Bernotas is highly sought after nationwide as a composer of commissioned new works, as a guest conductor, as an adjudicator, and as a clinician on a variety of music education topics. Bernotas has arranged and consulted with many drum corps, including Fusion Core, Hawthorne Caballeros, Connecticut Hurricanes, Magic of Orlando, and others.
Front Ensemble Arranger
Nick Peters will be returning to Fusion for the 2024 season. After marching for five years as a member of the front ensemble, he returned as an instructor in 2019 and this year, will be stepping into the role of Front Ensemble Arranger. Nick has been writing and arranging music in the New Jersey area for almost 10 years.
Nick studied music theory/composition at Montclair State University. He loves transcribing, writing and arranging music.
Nick is currently the Front Ensemble Coordinator/Arranger at Nutley High School in NJ and has taught and arranged in many high schools in the NJ area over the past 10 years. He currently teaches piano and drum lessons during the week, in addition to working at Nutley High School, where he is the Front Ensemble Coordinator and Arranger for their Marching Band and Indoor Percussion programs.
Connor Horwath is a Battery Arranger from New Jersey who has been involved in the drum
corps activity for the last 13 years. His marching experience includes The Connecticut
Hurricanes ('12), Fusion "Core" ('13-'15), 7th Regiment ('16), The Cadets ('17-'18), and United
Since finishing his marching career, Connor has become an experienced battery technician and
arranger. His teaching experience includes Fusion “Core” (‘19), Reading Buccaneers (‘22), and
United Percussion (‘20,’22).
Since 2017, Connor has been the Battery arranger/coordinator at Nutley High School where they have earned multiple percussion awards in local circuits including a WGI regional championship.
Connor is excited to return to the home team as a designer as they embark on their inaugural season within the DCI All Age Division!
Color Guard Designer & Co-Caption Head
Lindsay's marching career started when she was only 9 years old, marching with an independent winter guard from Long Island, NY. From there, she has been a member of the World Class AlterEgo Winter Guard from 2007-2015, 2018. She also marched 1 winter guard season (2018) with Fusion Winter Guard. She's marched with various DCA corps like the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps, the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps, the Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps and Fusion Core. Her DCI experience includes 4 seasons with the World Class Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from 2012-2015. Lindsay has also taught various marching bands and winter guards on Long Island such as Mineola Marching Band, Mineola Winter Guard, Sachem Marching Band and currently is Color Guard Caption Head for the Pride of Malverne Marching Band and the director of the Malverne Winter Guard. Having been involved in the activity for over 15 years, Lindsay is excited to continue her FCCG Design and Co-Caption Head journey for the 3rd season alongside Nick!
Color Guard Designer & Co-Caption Head
Nick's color guard career started in 2003, marching with the Saturday Matinee winter guard as well as the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps. Along the way he has marched with other independent organizations such as; the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps, the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps, the Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps and the world class AlterEgo winter guard. Throughout the years, he has also had the pleasure of working with many different high schools on Long Island. In 2012, he took on the position of Caption Head for the Brentwood High School Marching Band and Winter Guard and has been there ever since. Nick is excited for his 3rd season with the Core and 2nd as Co-Caption Head & Designer alongside Lindsay!
Lindsey was born and raised in Michigan where she began her pageantry arts career. She went on to perform with Genesis Percussion, Rhythm X, Blue Stars, Bluecoats, and Carolina Crown. She received her undergraduate education from Central Michigan University and her Doctor of Audiology from Rush University. Lindsey worked for several years as an Educational Audiologist in southwest Michigan before moving to Atlanta to pursue visual design full time.
For over a decade Lindsey has been an active visual designer and instructor with scholastic and independent programs all over the country, including BOA regional finalists, champions, grand national semi-finalists, DCI and WGI finalists and champions. Since 2014, she had worked as visual supervisor or visual designer with Legends Drum and Bugle Corps, additionally, in 2019 and 2021 she worked with Boston Crusaders as a visual instructor and visual design intern.
For two seasons, Lindsey has been the visual designer with Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, who in 2022 returned to DCI Finalist status for the first time in 13 years, and built on that success to earn 10th place in 2023. During the indoor season, she has worked with several guard and percussion programs in the Atlanta area and around the country. Lindsey spends most weekends within the Atlanta Quest organization at Q2, who returned to WGI finalist status in 2022 for the first time in 7 years, and earned a top 5 position in 2023.
Beginning in the 2022-2023 season, she has taken on a new and unique adventure of designing for the NFL Washington Commanders Marching Band; One of only two marching bands in the NFL. Lindsey is thrilled to join the design team as drill writer for Fusion Core in the inaugural season of DCI All Age division!