Meet Jamie Drysdale, a 2001 Graduate of RUHS, resident of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and lead singer and frontman of the Random Canyon Growlers, a successful Bluegrass band he formed with fellow RUHS graduate David McMeekin. (Check out samples of their music here.)
"After graduating high school, I took a year off and was part of a student exchange program, making my home in Balaklava, South Australia. Upon returning to the states, I enrolled at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York where I eventually majored in Politics and Media.
"It took me a long time to settle on a major at Ithaca. Like many of my friends, I came out of high school with a wide range of academic and creative interests – so much so that it was astounding to me how many people came in as freshmen knowing exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives.
"Luckily, Ithaca had a progressive new program for earning your BA called "Planned Studies", where I was allowed to create my own major drawing on a number of diverse disciplines that excited me. I was able to take the most interesting classes from all of the different schools (humanities, music, communications, and health sciences), and seek out all of the professors that had reputations as inspirational educators.
"After college I worked for a couple of years as a video engineer at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, overseeing the output side of the largest library of high definition footage of birds in the world. I loved working at Cornell. It was professional and exciting. But in the end, I couldn't resist pursuing a passion of mine that had developed over my years at RUHS, and that had largely been neglected during my years in Ithaca – a love for the performing arts.
"So I moved out to Victor, Idaho in the shadows of the Tetons of Jackson, Wyoming with my friend and fellow RUHS graduate David McMeekin (class of 2000), and a plan to start a Bluegrass band with whomever we could find. Having the premier ski mountain in North America in our back yard didn't hurt our confidence in the decision.
"Growing up in Randolph, I was constantly involved in plays, concerts, and performances. The school offered me opportunities to perform in everything from concert band, chorus, and festival choruses like All-State and Winooski Valley to the autumn theatrical performances every year. And it allowed me to do all of these things while still playing on sports teams. I can't imagine that there are many schools out there like RUHS that allow you to pursue such a range of different extra-curricular activities without considerable friction.
"Long story short, I needed to get back that feeling in my life that I could only get from performing. So I moved out west and was lucky to find a cadre of talented acoustic musicians with whom I formed the Random Canyon Growlers. The band has been my principal income for the last three years and we've played in states and venues all over the west. We are about to embark on our first tour of the UK and Ireland where we will be playing twenty-two shows in twenty-five days. Then I will return to Jackson, where I will play music by night, and fill my days playing in 500 inches of western powder."
For more information on Jamie and the Random Canyon Growlers, visit their website