Freelance percussionist Rachel Hargroder began her musical training with instruction on the piano from her mother at the age of 4. However, numerous failed lesson attempts led to the exploration of other instruments. Her parents acquired a clarinet from a friend, and was told that if she didn't continue studying or enjoying the instrument, that they wanted it back. When she started performing in the middle school ensembles, she couldn't help but feel the need to join (and coach) the rhythmically-challenged percussion section. When she approached the instructor about this issue, he said that she needed to continue playing the clarinet and that there were too many drummers anyway. When high school came around, her percussive desires were finally satiated. She joined the marching band drum line, wind ensemble, orchestra and jazz ensembles, and held section leader status throughout her high school and college careers. Rachel's love of percussion and passion for music led to furthering her education. She received a Bachelor's degree in percussion performance from Metro State College of Denver in 2005, with private instruction from Professor Mark Foster, and a Master's degree in percussion performance from Lamont School of Music in 2008, under the instruction of Professor John Kinzie. She has performed with local groups including the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet, Denver Brass, Fort Collins Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, the Experimental Playground, Denver Young Artist Orchestra, and currently holds the principal percussion position in the Lakewood and Lone Tree Symphonies. She has also performed with touring groups such as So Percussion, The Irish Tenors and the International Dance Festival. Although she appreciates all instruments, the clarinet went back to its original owners.
She is currently the Concert Production and Facilities Manager at the University of Denver's Lamonrt School of Music.