from Buffalo, New York, whose family relocated to
Endicott when she was five years old.
While still in elementary school, she wanted to learn the trumpet
but her teacher told her that “Girls don’t play trumpets”
and gave her a clarinet.
Sherrie didn’t much care for the woodwind, and took up the cello
instead. After seeing Buddy
Rich and His Killer Force Orchestra in action when she was in the 7th
grade, she decided to take up the drums.
In 1976, she
School and was determined to nab a spot on
the snare-drum line, evening though upperclassmen
usually got those positions.
Thanks to her control, power and sight-reading ability, she became
the only freshman in the snare section at the time.
playing professionally at sixteen years of age. In 1980, she graduated and then
attended the State University of New York in Binghamton from 1981 to 1985. She played local gigs during this
time with Slam Stewart. In
1985, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.
She spent the
rest of the ‘80s splitting her time amongst performing, studying for
a master’s and Ph.D. in music at New York University,
and teaching at NYU and SUNY-Binghamton. While at NYU, she also served as
Director of Percussion Studies.
Artists she worked with around this time included Peter Appleyard, Sonny Costanzo,
Jay Leonhart, Jim McNeely, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Slam Stewart, about whom she wrote her
In 1987, she
started playing weekly Saturday gigs at the Village Gate, and continued to
do so until the establishment shut down in 1993. She received her Doctorate of
Philosophy from NYU in 1990. As
the new decade opened, she found herself working with the likes of Al Grey,
Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Bill Mays, the New York Pops, and Clark Terry. She founded the DIVA Jazz Orchestra
in June 1992.
As if she
weren’t busy enough, she was also composing her own works such as “Four
Rudimental Twists”, “Heavy Metal”, “It’s
Diddle Time”, “Prelude & Funk”, “Rudimental
Hip-Hop”, “Street Beats” and “Table Top Rock”. The Eastman Percussion Ensemble
recorded “Street Beats” and “Heavy Metal” in 1995
and 1999, respectively.
In 1999, the
DIVA Jazz Orchestra went on a tour of Europe that included a stop in Salzburg, Austria. Other groups with whom she has
worked include the Binghamton Symphony and Pops Orchestra, the DIVA Jazz
Trio, Five Play, the John Mastroianni Quintet,
the New Jersey Symphony, and the Oliver Jones Trio.
participated in the AT&T International Women in Music Festival at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on 4th
April 2004, she took part in the Percussive Arts Society’s Day of
Percussion at Western
University. She gave a clinic and the WCSU
Percussion Ensemble returned in kind by interpreting the aforementioned “Street
The DIVA Jazz
Orchestra appeared in Rosse Hall Auditorium at Keyon College in Gambier, Ohio, as part of the Gund
Concert Series, on 4th November 2004.
November 2007, the Onondaga Community College Percussion Ensemble performed
“Street Beats” in Storer Auditorium
at SUNY-OCC in Syracuse,
The Mary Lou
Williams Women in Jazz Festival bestowed upon Sherrie their Lifetime
Achievement Award at the John
for the Performing Arts in 2009.
In 2010, the
DIVA Jazz Orchestra made its splash on the big screen in the documentary, The Girls in the Band, and Sherrie
participated in the Maryland Summer Jazz Festival.
October 2011, the Sun Prairie Senior High School Percussion Ensemble
interpreted “Street Beats” at the SPHS Performing Arts Center.
The Ohio State
University Percussion Ensemble performed “Heavy Metal” at Weigel Hall Auditorium on 29th October
which Sherrie appears include: Blues in the Night, I Believe in You, Johnny Mandel: The Man and His Music, Leave it to DIVA, Live in Concert, Something’s Coming and T.N.T.—A Tommy Newsom Tribute
with the DIVA Jazz Orchestra; Cookin’ on
All Burners; Dedication; Jazz on CD; A Jazzy Way, On the Brink
and PLUS with Five Play; Kick Ass Brass; Piano Jazz with the DIVA Jazz Trio; and, Time Being with the John Mastroianni
In the field
of music education, she has served as a clinician for Aquarium Drum Heads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drum Sticks and Yamaha Drums,
Director of Education for the New York Pops, Jazz Ensemble Director for the
New York Summer Music Festival, President of the International Association
of Jazz Educators’ New York chapter, and faculty member of the Hartwick College Summer Music Festival.