The Percussive Arts Society International Conference and Expo was recently held on November 11-13 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Thousands of percussion students, teachers, clinicians and performers descended on the state capitol for three action-packed days of drumming and percussion. The exhibit hall featured more than 115 exhibitors showcasing the latest in instruments, gear and publications.
The first 750 people to visit the SABIAN booth took away a handy red cinch bag! Others met with product specialists, purchased cymbals and triangles, and got a sneak peak at the latest Band and Orchestral and Drumset models, including new SABIAN AAX Suspended cymbals and SABIAN Vault Artisan Traditional Symphonic Medium-Heavy Extra Dark cymbals.
The buzz-creating AAX OMNI and Vault Holy China – officially launching at NAMM 2011 – were also on display to the general public for the first time ever. From all indications, these models certainly do live up to their hype.
Clinics and performances by SABIAN Artists were very well attended throughout the entire weekend. Scott Deal and Ensemble 64.8 performed “Wood” and “Skin” from the Eco-acoustic Telematic Opera "Auksalaq" during Thursday's “Focus Day: Ecology of Percussion–Earth Modality”. Deal is a Professor of Music and Director of the Donald Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
On Thursday, the Texas A&M University–Commerce Percussion Ensemble performed a Competition Showcase Concert under the direction of SABIAN endorser Brian Zator. Later that day, Shawn Mativetsky, a Montreal-based percussion instructor at McGill University, performed “Les arbres célestes” during the “Elemental Sounds” portion of Focus Day. Mativetsky performs and composes music for dance and theatre in both Western classical and contemporary/new music.
Jim Babor, a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1993, presented a Symphonic Mallets Lab during which four students on stage were shown steps to correct common performance mistakes. Babor has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony and the New World Symphony. He is also a faculty member of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
Introduced by Memo Acevedo, Scott Kettner presented an energetic Master Class entitled “Contemporary & Popular Approaches to Northeastern Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset”. As a percussionist, composer and recording artist, Kettner has studied intensively in Brazil and in 2006 was elected Latin Jazz Ambassador by the US State Department.
Eric Willie and Jason Baker performed “Vespertine Formations” with the other members of Bain Percussion during the Focus Day session “Finding our Connection”. Baker, an Assistant Professor of Percussion at Mississippi State University, is a frequent solo performer and clinician who also serves as President of the Mississippi Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Willie is an Assistant Professor of Percussion at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) and is the President of the Tennessee Chapter of Percussive Arts Society.
Omar Carmenates, Assistant Professor of Percussion at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, presented an informative Research Lecture on Thursday afternoon. Later in the day, University of Wisconsin-Madison World Percussion Ensemble performed under the direction of Associate Professor of Percussion, Anthony DiSanza.
Vera Figueiredo is the Founder, Dean and Coordinator of the Instituto de Bateria (IBVF) in San Paulo, Brazil. As expected, her clinic “Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset” was a powerful and dynamic presentation that certainly underlined Vera’s passion for percussion.
With special guests Michael Spiro, Juan Alamo, Raul Radro, Mike Mixtacki and Steve Scher, Orlando Cotto’s keyboard clinic and performance explored Afro-Cuban Music for the Concert Marimba. Cotto is a faculty member at the University of Delaware and Nathan Carter School of Music in Baltimore City.
Joby Burgess and his “Electronic/Technology” clinic and performance was certainly a change-of-pace – Joby performed an entire song using only two bottles of Fanta! Co-founder of the duo New Noise, Burgess eventually joined the percussion quartet Ensemble Bash. He has toured extensively with Stewart Copeland and in 2005 he founded the multimedia collective Powerplant. The British percussionist spends much of his time commissioning and recording new music.
Brooks Truly presented a World Lecture on “The Afro-Cuban Abakua: Rhythmic Origins to Modern Applications”, with guests Brandon Kunka, Travis Roye, Neal Bright and David Yunis. As a Miami-based freelance percussionist, drummer, instructor and clinician based, Truly performs and teaches a variety of musical genres including classical and contemporary solo percussion, jazz, orchestral, and world music.
Friday ended with a late night drum circle led by Chet Doboe, the Long Island musical director and arranger/composer of the Hip Pickles Drum Band. The band facilitates interactive drum performance for major corporations and schools. Doboe has written 20 books on drumming and is a regular contributor to both Modern Drummer and Percussive Notes.
The world’s leading motivational drumset clinician, Dom Famularo, kicked off the last day of PASIC with a passionate Drumset FUNdamentals clinic entitled “Self Expression…Technique execution meets artistic feel!” The audience hung on Dom’s every word as he described his experiences as a young drummer. One of Famularo’s students later joined him on stage to show off the many skills he has learned from the master.
Also on Saturday, former Breaking Benjamin drummer Jeremy Hummel presented his “Mind & Matter” drumset clinic. The professional drummer, educator, clinician, studio musician and columnist for Modern Drummer is now the musical director of an eight-piece horn band called Into the Spin.
Chris Baron and Tim Goodyer performed with London’s jazz percussion ensemble All Bluff and Porterage during their Ensemble Showcase Concert. The group regularly presents workshops focusing on individual and group improvisation skills as well as on folk, jazz, and world music traditions.
Jamal Mohamed welcomed guest performer Jonathan Jones on stage during his World Clinic/Performance “Doumbek Rhythms and Techniques”. Mohamed performs with the world music group Brahma, the percussion group D’Drum, and the Middle Eastern jazz ensemble Beledi; he also serves as Director of the Meadows World Music Ensemble and percussion instructor at Southern Methodist University.
Best known for his work with Lady Antebellum, Brice Williams presented a master class on “Drumming in Today’s Country Music”. Williams earned his first gold and platinum albums for his work with Lady Antebellum, and he has also toured and recorded with Sara Evans, Sawyer Brown, Luke Bryan and Tyler Hilton.
Michael Bump’s Saturday afternoon FUNdamentals clinic was entitled “Timpani – Making Friends with Pedals”. Bump is the Director of Percussion Studies at Truman State University and an artist-faculty member and principal timpanist at the Sewanee Music Festival.
The final SABIAN artist performance at PASIC was the World Clinic “duoJalal”, integrating World and Chamber Music. Presented by Yousif Sheronick and his wife Kathryn Lockwood on violin, their unique style encompasses traditions and instruments from the Middle East, North and West Africa, Brazil, India and Europe.
Although he was unable to attend PASIC, legendary SABIAN artist Jack DeJohnette was inducted into the 2010 PAS Hall of Fame. Jack sent a video message, shown at the concert performance later in the evening.
PASIC is always exciting, informing and a wonderful re-affirmation of why we all do what we do in this industry. With music education and performance front and center, PASIC is a refreshing re-focus on musical instruments and their importance to the lives of students and teachers both. See you in 2011!
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