Tracy Wiggins is assistant director of bands and coordinator of the percussion program at the University of North Alabama. He has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the HARTT School, University of Hartford. Dr. Wiggins holds a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Oklahoma State University. He has made solo appearances at universities throughout the United States and Jordan. He has served as Vice-president, Treasurer, and Secretary of the Alabama PAS Chapter, and President and Vice-President of the North Carolina PAS Chapter. He is currently on the PAS Board of Advisors.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Tracy Wiggins: My original plan was to do music and use that to go to law school. Along the way, I did music, and never went to law school! I am also a hugemusical theater nerd, and I would have been very happy performing for Broadway or bus-and-truck shows!
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
TW: The university is in a region known as the Shoals and includes Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield. The Shoals is the home of FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound recording studios, which are soimportant to the history of recorded music. The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Demi Lovato, Steven Tyler, and many more have recorded here. There is a strong tie in to music and culture in the Shoals region; if you have heard “When a Man Loves A Woman” and “Land of 1,000 Dances” you have heard music from the Shoals!
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
TW: I don’t know that this is a huge secret, but I grew up a huge Kiss fan!! My first album I ever owned was Kiss Alive II, and I got it along with my first drum set for Christmas one year. You could say Peter Criss was one of my first teachers.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
TW: Anything multi-percussion. I am very interested in how to take a variety of sounds and make them cohesive, while also knowing that changing even one of those sounds creates an entirely new instrument. It also brings out my creative side to be able to mix and match sounds that way to create something new.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
TW: I grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma. As a kid, I grew up doing a lot of athletics, including playing baseball and soccer through high school (while doing band and debate), as well as bowling. My dad ran the Southwestern division for bowling, so I spent a lot of time in bowling alleys. In fact, when I started college, some of my tuition was paid by money I won in bowling scholarship tournaments!