This is Akiel’s third and final season as a member of United's snare line. He first joined marching band in 2009 and was actually cut from trumpet on his first day. He ended up playing timpani that first season and grew more interested in drums as the season progressed. Akiel joined his high school’s drumline the next year and he’s loved it ever since. He stopped playing after high school, but was inspired to start marching again when he saw his good friend "Paco" (Alejandro Gallo) marching drum corps. Since then, Akiel has marched snare at the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps and DCA's White Sabers.
Outside of United Percussion, Akiel is a biotechnology major at William Paterson University, a barista at Starbucks, and works at City Hall in his town. Ironically, the only item he drinks from Starbucks is their lemonade. He doesn’t believe that chocolate is a candy, but his favorite chocolate bar is a Snickers and his favorite actual candy is Skittles. In his free time, Akiel can be found watching anime or making homemade fries.
Here’s what Akiel has to say about joining United:
I love all of the people I've met here. It's become a second family. Aside from improving as a percussionist, I've learned so much about being a better person through all of the scenarios we are faced with while doing this activity. The family aspect will always be my favorite part about this organization. With an organization like this one, no matter what your situation is, you will always have someone there for you.
Help Akiel and United Percussion this week in Dayton by donating an hour of rehearsal here