• Professional Drummer
  • Percussion Instructor
  • Clinician
  • Trained HealthRHYTHMS Facilitator
  • Drum Technician

During his thirty-five year career as a Professional Drummer, Carl has amassed a long list of performance credits with prestigious artists and major venues, including: Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, Shrine Auditorium, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Queen Mary, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Crazy Horse Steak House and Saloon, Palomino Club, B.B. King’s Blues Club, The Coach House, The Golden Bear, and the Elizabeth Howard Curtain Call Theater. He has also appeared in the Calgary Stampede, Canada; the World’s Fair, Spokane, Washington; Santa Claus Lane Parade, Hollywood; Chinese New Year’s Parade, San Francisco; Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival; Orange County Fair; Los Angeles County Fair; Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade; Lion’s Club Costa Mesa Fish Fry; and the Music Educators Conference in Tucson, Arizona.

Carl has appeared on television for KABC and KCET, as well as KLOS radio. He also played as Ringo Starr in the Beatles tribute band, “Rain”. Carl drummed on exercise guru Denise Austin’s video, “Anti-Aging Baby Boomer Workout”. He led his own dance band, “Eclipse” for eight years, appearing widely throughout Southern California at both clubs and private and corporate functions, playing drums, as well as singing lead and backup vocals. Carl has also sung in various choirs and in leading children’s summer music camps. He performed with popular Southern California 50’s band Ruby and the Rockets for several years, as well as with Hollywood screenwriter and singer/composer Howie Klausner (“Space Cowboys”). Carl also drummed for contemporary folk singer/songwriter Yolande Ng for four years. He has played on the tracks of numerous commercial projects, as well as on demos for emerging artists.

Carl has been invited to appear with the Pacific Symphony, and has also performed with the All American Boys Chorus, as well as with critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble I Cantori at their Southland concerts. He appeared with classical duo-pianists/guest artists Katheryn Klein and Pinio Dovalis Benetatos at California State University, Long Beach, and performed with noted liturgical composer Bob Hurd’s national concert tour. Carl was also the sole drummer for the renowned annual Chapman College Rock and Roll Review Show, playing for over 30 different artists. He was the Staff Drummer at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach for four years, and he frequently played for many other Southland churches in a wide variety of musical styles, including: Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pasadena; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Irvine; St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, Tustin; Holy Family Cathedral, Orange; Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa; Newport Mesa Christian Center, Costa Mesa; Christ Church by the Sea, Newport Beach; The Mormon Stake Center, Newport Beach; Church of Religious Science, Cypress; as well as Temple Bat Yam, Newport Beach and University Synagogue, Irvine. Carl has also performed at many high school and choir concerts, including the Orange Coast College Chorale and Tustin High School Choir, and has performed regularly for local organizations, including events at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Newport Yacht Club, Balboa Yacht Club and the Jonathan Club of Los Angeles.

Carl has extensive experience playing Broadway musical productions for the Musical Theater Academy of Orange County (Margie King, Director), including: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, Annie, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, HMS Pinafore, Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Godspell, The Lion King, Man of La Mancha, Mary Poppins, Babes in Arms, The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Brigadoon, Tom Sawyer, Cinderella, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and the Little Mermaid. He also played for Guys and Dolls at Coronal Del Mar High School and Bye Bye Birdie at Harbor Day School, Newport Beach.

Carl Smelser, Percussion Instructor, has been teaching for over 35 years. Private lessons include drum set technique, music reading and theory in a variety of styles, including Jazz, Broadway, Latin, Rock, Country, Blues, Gospel and Afro-Caribbean. He also teaches group classes in drum set, hand drums, and a variety of percussion instruments.
As an Adjunct Instructor, Carl has taught class and private drum set, rudimental, orchestral and hand drums at Corona Del Mar High School, Mater Dei High School, Sage Hill High School, Edison High School, Villa Park High School, Fountain Valley High School, Anaheim High School and Foothill High School.
Through the Carl Smelser Drum Studio, Carl has also taught privately in students’ homes for the last 35 years, serving a diverse and elite clientele of all ages, from beginning students through college music majors to professionals.

As a Clinician, Carl has presented master classes and workshops at: Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, Newport Beach Parks and Recreation, Orangewood Children’s Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Newport Mesa Unified School District, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Huntington Beach City School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Irvine Unified School District, Eastbluff Boys and Girls Club, and Guitar Center of Fountain Valley. Carl has also judged many drum competitions throughout California, and is an active member of The Percussive Arts Society.

Carl has been a Trained HealthRHYTHMS Facilitator for the past three years, leading drum circles for health and wellness in a variety of settings, including schools, businesses, community groups and medical settings. Recent drum circles include: The American Business Women’s Association of Orange County, Kaiser Permanente Hospital of Orange County, California State University, Fullerton Center for Successful Aging, Orange County Unified School District.

Carl is an expert Drum Technician and managed a major retail drum shop for 5 years. He also provided technical advice in Research and Development for major drum companies including Yamaha, Ludwig, Tama, Drum Workshop, Zildjian, Vic Firth, Remo, Roland and Gretsch. Carl demonstrated the Synare electronic drum set at the National Association of Music Merchandisers convention in Anaheim, and has acted as Technical Consultant for many live concerts and recording sessions, as well as for touring road crews for artists such as Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, and Alabama. Carl also assisted in production and lighting for the Variety Club International Celebrity Tributes to Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller, as well as running sound for his own band,


Carl has studied with leading artists in the music industry, including: The United States Marine Corps Band, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rob Slack (Principal Percussionist, Pacific Symphony), Dr. Michael Carney (California State University, Long Beach, Jeff Hamilton (Diana Krall, Barbara Streisand), Clayton Cameron (Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joe Williams, James Taylor, Sting, Mariah Carey), Rick Latham (B.B. King, Edgar Winter), Paul Kreibich (Ray Charles, Carmen McRae), and Kenny Aronoff (Rod Stewart, John Cougar Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Smashing Pumpkins).