Sherry Clayton
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Sherry Clayton

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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By Sue Morgan:

When we think of women in the blues, we typically think of singers - or, a guitarist-vocalist such as Bonnie Raitt. 
Much rarer in this heavily male-dominated musical genre is the woman instrumentalist.  Meet Sherry Clayton, a drummer.
Most blues drummers probably begin in rock music.   Young Sherry began with Highland pipe band snare drumming while in Cadets, which requires different skills than with the more familiar drumset drumming.  She’splayed in all styles from rock to funk,  jazz ensembles, and world rhythm and Celtic music. 
She received a Diploma in Jazz Studies from St. Francis Xavier University, and continues to take master classes from Kevin Crabb of Los Angeles, via Skype. 
She was a member of Hypatia Creative Women’s Jazz Orchestra.   Hypatia was directed by Lorae Farell, and included notable guests such as Hugh Fraser (one of her music heroes), Jim Byrnes,Bill Runge, Christine Duncan and New York vocalist June Katz. 
She organized a show production of a tribute to John Lennon which was very well received, and is planning to another show possibly later this year.  She has a number of ideas about how musicality can be broaden that is unusual for a drummer.  Possibly this is because when she is drumming, she “sees” the music visually. 
Besides her skills as a musician performer, Sherry is also a teacher.  She has worked through a number of local music stores including Tom Lee’s, and is also a private practitioner.  She begins by focusing on technical skills on the snare drum as well as instruction in making beats and rhythms have a creative and musical "feel."  This to get the student playing with music quickly as possible, encouraging creativity while within a supportive personalized lesson plan.  This actually is how I first met Sherry - several years ago, I took drumming lessons from her!  She was a superb teacher - I was a dismal student, appalled at discovering I needed the sensory skills of an octopusfor all four feet and both hands.  I may try again, and she’ll still be my choice for teacher.
Besides who she is as a musician, here’s a brief sense of the woman. 
Sherry is an interesting thoughtful woman.  Sherry says gender issues aren’t as much in evidence as one might suppose in this music.  The guys generally welcome her since her musicianship is at a good level. 
Sherry has a very keen appreciation for the impacts of gendered socialization.  The childhood memories of how the differences of entitlement were made very clear to little girls and little boys.  Little girls encouraged to play quiet games “within the chalk lines” such as hopscotch and tetherball,while boys got to run and shout and rough-house over the indoor and outdoor playing fields devoted to their sports.  
In effect, the boys got the privileges of being able to make mistakes in order to learn to improve.  This comes up with her female drum students - so many have the rhythmic abilities, but don’t have the confidence to make loud noises(and practising and playing drums on their own is very loud sound).  Little girls are still taught to be quiet in their play and that carries over into their adult lives and endeavours.
A financially viable career path for any musician is difficult - and especially so for women.  What are Sherry’s musical goals for the future?   She wants to continue to improve her drumming.  She wants to expand into performance show production.  Meantime, at the jams, a tasteful drummer. 
- The Victoria Blues Society - This Week In Blues Bluesletter - Week #14


Discography


Departure - 3 Jazz Fusion Tracks ( for website )

Tom Morrissey Band - Island Man ( CD )

To the Utmost ( CD)

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Bio

Sherry Clayton is a professional drummer with over 20 years experience in all genres - latin, jazz, rock, funk. Fluent sight reading - great with click - solid time. available immediately for travel

Performances with well known artists:

Hypatatia Women's Creative Jazz Orchestra; conducted by Hugh Fraser with guests: Jim Byrnes, Christine Duncan, Campbell Ryga, Bill Runge.

Commodores Big Band, Don Leppard Big Band.

Storm: Reggae/Soca band
TMB: Celtic Rock/ Newfoundland folk, classic rock
Departure with Monik Nordine: Jazz Fusion
Fear Factor: Modern Jazz Quintette
Free Lance: House drummer for local jazz jam, blues jams, perform with local rock, jazz, funk, world rhythm groups.

Sherry Clayton Band: Creative project; Book, rehearse the band and write arrangements with lead sheets for 2 horns, piano, bass and drums.

Other musical instruments/skills: Music theory, classical music terms, orchestral percussion, arranger's piano, back up vocals.
Drum Instructor: Private Teacher, Tom Lee Music, Peninsula Academy, Long and Mc Quade Music.
Diploma Jazz Studies - St.F.X.U.

Music Goals:

To be an artist and bring my professional and diverse experience ( Show Band, cabaret, rock, funk, world rhythm, country, R&B) , strong reading skills, and commitment to excellence to other artists or a group that is expressing creative inspiration, is innovative, and is sharing the joy of music with passion.

To continue to seek the mastery of my instrument; currently study with Kevin Crabb of Los Angeles (article in Modern Drummer Sep 2011).

Professional Training and Experience specific to cruise ship drumming:

Masterclasses/Mentors:

Dave Robbins (VEJI, Hugh Fraser Quintette, Drum Prof Capilano College, Masters McGill)
Jose Sanchez ( Cuban Styles) - authentic cha-cha, songo, mambo etc.
Mike Michalkow (Vancouver Professional Musician, formerly Carnival)

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