Carol Nelson Colwell was born in Lockport, IL. She comes from a family of percussionists. Her brother Jeff is also a professional percussionist and her mother Lois was her first Marimba teacher. She graduated high school from the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy. At the age of 18, she won first prize in the Illinois Young Performers Competition which earned her the opportunity to play a concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She received her Bachelor’s of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and Master's of Music degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music. She was a percussionist in the Honolulu Symphony and Timpanist and Xylophone Soloist with the River City Brass Band. She also has had an extensive freelance career having played with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, New world Symphony, Omaha Symphony and Seattle Ballet to name a few. Currently she has played with the Reno Phil for over 10 years and lives in Dayton, NV with her husband Marty and dog Parker.