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Meet the Black Swamp Team

Eric Sooy

Eric Sooy - President and Founder

Eric is the Founder and President of Black Swamp Percussion. His lifelong hobby of instrument crafting began as a child, aided by his father and his well-appointed workshop. He earned a BM in Percussion Performance and a MM in Ethnomusicology from Bowling Green State University. His ethnomusicology studies took him on field research trips to Bali, Indonesia, and Ghana, West Africa. He was a percussionist in the Grand Rapids Symphony from 2001 to 2014. He's done a lot of other interesting things too, but keeps it a secret. His hobbies include bicycling and asking you what your favorite color is.

Tim Church

Tim Church - Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Tim has been working for Black Swamp Percussion full-time since 2000., after receiving a BM (Grand Valley State University) and MM (University of Akron) in percussion performance, Over the years, Tim has performed as an extra or freelance percussionist in a variety of musical situations around Michigan.  Outside of managing sales, marketing, and Artist Relations for Black Swamp, Tim enjoys habitually watching Star Wars with his two daughters on the weekends.  

Jamel Taylor

Jamel Taylor - Vice President, Operations

Jamel brings a unique blend of leadership and creativity to the team and keeps the shop humming along as vice president and production manager at Black Swamp. A proud graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, Jamel started at Black Swamp and moved to West Michigan in 2006. Outside of the shop, Jamel enjoys podcasts, home improvement projects, and spending time with his wife and dogs.

Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson - Production Specialist

Eric started working with Black Swamp Percussion back in August of 2014. He is currently involved with the production and recording of Black Swamp products. Eric received his Bachelors in Music Performance from Western Michigan University, and his Masters in Music Performance from Northwestern University. He is currently Principal Percussionist of Holland Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with Grand Rapids Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Southwest Symphony, and Northwest Indiana Symphony. Eric just became a new homeowner, so when he isn’t working or performing he can be found installing gutters, building furniture, or working in the yard.

Nathan Coles

Nathan Coles - Branding and Media

Nathan joined the BSP team in September of 2016. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance. Nathan has been playing drums and performing since he was 11 years old and continues to perform with several West Michigan bands, play in pit orchestras, and compose original music.  He also enjoys video and audio production and applying his creativity in new directions. While not working at Black Swamp or freelancing, Nathan often finds himself playing video games or spending time with his family.

Samuel Overman

Samuel Overman - Tambourine Technican

Samuel is the dedicated tambourine technician at our shop. He builds almost every tambourine that leaves our doors, and takes great pride in his work. Samuel is a graduate of Grace Bible College, where he earned a Bachelor's of Music and Worship Arts with a minor in Biblical Studies. He grew up in North Carolina and moved to Michigan for college. In his free time, Samuel enjoys reading, attending baseball games, and working on instruments. He is also a member of the band "The American Hotel System", playing guitar and violin.

Mak Mattis

Mak Mattis - Shipping Assistant & Customer Service

Mak is a shipping assistant and customer service representative at BSP. They earned a Bachelor of Arts in percussion from Grand Valley State University and an Associates degree in recording technology from Grand Rapids Community College. They are also a freelance drummer and an educator at School of Rock. When not working or performing they enjoy Premier League soccer and spending time with their partner and 4 cats.

Tanya Nazarenko, Black Swamp Percussion bookkeeper, posing for a photo

Tanya Nazarenko - Bookkeeper

Tanya Nazarenko is an accomplished photographer and marketer originally from Kiev, Ukraine. She holds a degree in economics and marketing from the Trade Economic University in Kiev, where she also pursued her passion for photography, exploring various genres with a particular affinity for capturing emotions over conventional portraiture.
Her love for photography extends beyond profession into hobbies and travel adventures. Tanya finds joy in documenting her journeys through travel photography, often focusing on the intricacies of macro photography to reveal hidden details. Her explorations have taken her to iconic destinations such as Washington D.C., New York, and her beloved Indonesia, where she finds inspiration in the vibrant culture and delectable cuisine of Asia.
Currently based in Holland, Tanya shares her life with her husband and two children, embracing the balance between family life and her creative pursuits.

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