Dalia Berman



Dalia Berman graduated with her bachelors degree in performance from California State University, Northridge and masters degree in world percussion from California Institute of the Arts.

In the marching activity, Dalia has been a member of Pulse Percussion, Phantom Regiment, The Academy, Mandarins, Velvet Knights and Full Force Percussion. She started working with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps Pacific Crest in 2014. Dalia is looking forward to her third year working with Dark Sky Percussion. 

Jackson Lai

Jackson Lai.jpg


Jackson is a percussion instructor in Southern California. He currently works with Ayala High School, Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo High School, Warren High School, and Pasadena City College. He teaches the front ensemble at the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets during the summer.

Jackson received his B.M. in Instrumental Music Education from California State University, Long Beach and studied percussion under Raynor Carroll and Dr. Dave Gerhart. He is currently working on his Master of Education with Single Subjects Teaching Credential.

Jackson’s drum corps experience includes two summers at the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets and three winters in the Pulse Percussion Organization. He is excited for his first year working with Dark Sky Percussion."

Abby Zarate



Abby Zarate works as a music educator in the Southern California area and is incredibly excited to be joining the 2018 Dark Sky Percussion front ensemble staff.

Abby has been very involved in the activity since graduating high school in 2012, she started her marching career with the Riverside Community College Marching Band ('12). She then went on to perform five seasons with WGI World Champion group RCC Indoor Percussion (2013-2017). She also toured with the Sacramento Mandarins (’13), the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (’15), and Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps (’14,’16).

Abby has been teaching throughout California since starting her marching career. She has worked at Pasadena HS, Golden Valley HS and Valencia HS in the Southern California area.  She also had the privilege to teach with the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2017 season. Abby is currently teaching at Canyon HS in the Santa Clarita area and at Ayala HS in the Chino area.

Jon Mleynek



Jonathan Mleyenk has studied piano and percussion for nearly 20 years. During his 10 years of teaching marching percussion programs, his front ensembles have consistently received top awards. In Arizona, his groups won awards from the Percussion Arts Society, and consistently placed in the top three at the Winter Guard State Championships. While instructing at Gilbert High School in Arizona, Mr. Mleyenk took his group to Dayton, Ohio for the WGI World Championships and finished 4th place in Scholastic A Class. Immediately after relocating to California, Jonathan began teaching Torrance High school and helped them earn a Bronze Medal at the SCPA Championships. 

Jonathan Mleyenk has been with Dark Sky Percussion for 8 years and is proud to have contributed to the group’s promotion to World Class. Jonathan is fun to be around, confident in his teaching, but at the same time, he’s dedicated to continuing his own development and learning.Jonathan is not only an effective percussion instructor for his students, he also strives to influence his students to become passionate performers. 

Tia Barrera


Tia Barrera: Front Ensemble Instructor

Tia Barrera is a percussion educator from Claremont, California. She is a long time veteran of Dark Sky Percussion. Additionally, she has marched Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps and Orange County Independent. Currently, Tia teaches the front ensembles of Arcadia High School, Nogales High School, and San Marino High School.