The Department of Music and the Performing Arts Series at the University of Central Missouri present Saturday Night Live! drummer Shawn Pelton in Live from New York …It’s Shawn Pelton!at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in Hendricks Hall. Joining Pelton on the Hendricks Hall stage will be the UCM Jazz Ensemble.

During his two-day residency at UCM, Pelton also will conduct a drum clinic at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the Hart Recital Hall.

A Missouri native who was raised in Warrensburg, Pelton is a professional drummer and percussionist who has recorded with a wide range of artists and has been a first-call player since moving to New York in the late 1980s.

Known for his high level of musicianship across a broad range of styles, Pelton has recorded with dozens of artists, including Sheryl Crow, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Richie Havens, Pavarotti, Carly Simon, Dixie Chicks, Celine Dion, Chris Botti and Bruce Springsteen. He also has played on Grammy-winning albums for such artists as Ray Charles, The Brecker Brothers, Shakira, Shawn Colvin and Les Paul, and on the Hank Williams tribute album with Bob Dylan.

The son of Elois Pelton, UCM professor emeritus of physical education, Pelton graduated from Warrensburg High School in 1981. In 1985 he earned a bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies and the prestigious Performer's Certificate from Indiana University. While at Indiana, Pelton studied with Kenny Aronoff, who at the time was drummer for John Mellencamp.

“I grew up always banging on things,” Pelton said, describing his childhood in Warrensburg. His first real musical instrument was the cello he played at Central Elementary School, UCM’s former laboratory school, but he “bailed as soon as possible to the drums. I was running around doing gigs in Missouri at 14, which was a great situation, to actually be in a band that young. The sooner you start making music with other people, the better.”

Pelton added that his mother still has the receipt for his first drum set bought at the Ike Martin Music store on South Maguire Street in Warrensburg. “Warrensburg was such a great place to grow up. I feel very fortunate to have had access to the music department at UCM,” he said.

During summer breaks, Pelton sought out experts elsewhere. “I also had the privilege of hanging with Alan Dawson for a couple of summers,” he said. The Massachusetts-based Dawson, legendary in the jazz world, may best be known as an early teacher of Tony Williams, drummer for Miles Davis.

Pelton joined the Saturday Night Live band in 1992 and has been regularly appearing as the drummer on Daryl Hall's internet concert series Live from Daryl’s House, as well as numerous performances at the Kennedy Center, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He toured internationally with fellow Missouri native Sheryl Crow in 2003 and spent several summers in the global band backing Luciano Pavarotti with such stars as Eric Clapton, James Brown, Liza Minnelli, Lou Reed, Bono and many more. Pelton also serves periodically as the substitute drummer in the CBS Orchestra on The Late Show with David Letterman. His film score work includes Armageddon, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, New Year’s Day, Sex in the City 2, Hitch, Maid in Manhattan, The Pink Panther 2, Begin Again and numerous national television commercials.

“I am thrilled to have a chance to come back to visit Warrensburg and play at Hendricks Hall,” Pelton said. “One of the most influential nights of growing up here was getting to see Duke Ellington play in that room back in 1974, two months before he passed away. It was one of the most amazing nights of music...I’ll never forget it.”

Tickets for Live from New York…It’s Shawn Pelton are available at the Central Tickets Box Office in Admin 100-B from 1-4 p.m.Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by calling 660-543-8888, or online

For additional information, contact the UCM Department of Music at 660-543-4530. This event is made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council.

(Courtesy of UCM Public Affairs)