Tate Berkey is a professional drummer and percussionist from Danville, Pennsylvania, and has already at the age of 18 established a career as a working musician in the greater Central Pennsylvania area. Berkey’s wide variety of work has spanned from playing in pit orchestras to performing for crowds of over 1,000 in local rock concerts. Despite being at what some would consider the top of his game, Berkey continues to study and grow his knowledge behind the drums.
Berkey’s musical background came from his great uncle, pianist and composer, Jackson Berkey, who was a founding member of the band Mannheim Steamroller. From there, he was drawn to the drums where he would figure out beats and rhythms while playing along to some of his favorite rock artists, introduced to him by his father and grandfather. Berkey at an early age was inspired by drummers such as Steve Gadd, Neil Peart, Steve Smith, Ringo Starr, and Ginger Baker. He loved to study and watch videos of them playing and would attempt to copy their playing styles.
At age 7, Berkey began private lessons with Danville School District’s newly hired percussion director, Todd Egger. In his lessons, he studied rudimentary technique, orchestral percussion, and of course the drum set. Berkey soon joined his school’s concert band in 5th grade, where he continued to play through middle school and into high school where he participated in Danville’s marching, concert, and jazz bands.
In 2013, Berkey joined the Uptown Music Collective, a non-profit school of music in Williamsport PA. While enrolled, he began participating in performance groups and workshops where his knowledge and experience of playing with other musicians grew. He also had the opportunity to study with drum teachers Adam Westover and Bobby Leidhecker throughout his time at the Collective. Berkey has been a part of numerous bands formed by the Collective including the 70’s Threshold who performed with both Eddie Berner (Flock Of Seagulls) in August 2016 and Bret Michaels (Poison) in October 2016. After 70’s Threshold, Berkey was part of the Collective’s 3rd Street Blues Band, who performed in the 2018 International Blues Challenge’s Youth Showcase held in Memphis, Tennessee, and also performed in multiple local Blues Festivals including the Billtown Blues Festival, Destination Blues, and the Briggs Farm Blues Festival. In addition to the Collective’s performance groups, Berkey participated in the UMC Special Performance Group, the highest level students of the Collective who perform 4 shows annually in Williamsport’s Community Arts Center and Community Theatre League, where attendance from the community has topped 1,200 people to see the high energy performances the Collective is known for. Berkey was a major part of these shows from 2014 to 2019 when he graduated high school.
In addition to performing with the Uptown Music Collective and Danville High School’s multiple ensembles, Berkey has also been a part of many different PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) ensembles including the District 8 Concert Bands and Orchestras, Region 4 Concert Bands, District 8 Jazz Ensembles, and in 2019 was selected as the drummer for the All State Vocal Jazz Ensemble where he performed in Pittsburgh, PA in the PMEA All State Festival. Also as a percussionist, Berkey has performed with The Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra, The Penn Central Wind Band, and The Billtown Brass Band. Behind the drum kit, Berkey has had the opportunity to play with The Gabe Stillman Band (Gibson Guitar Award Winner in 2019 IBC’s), The Gage Avery Band (Country/Southern Rock), One Bullet Left (70s/80s Rock), and most recently, Ash & The Fax (Funk and R&B).
Currently, Berkey has been attending Temple University in Philadelphia, PA as a Jazz Performance major, and is continuing his drum set studies in their program. He hopes to fulfill his lifelong dream of having a successful live performance career as a drummer.