Rich Holly's Percussion Place

Assorted ramblings and occasional updates in the world of percussion.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Report on National Percussion Ensemble Festival

I'm back home from the National Percussion Ensemble Festival in Indianapolis, which is organized by Music For All (see my previous post).

We heard 8 ensembles from several states, and they all played anywhere from very well to truly outstanding. It's a nice format - each group has a one hour time slot, they're supposed to perform a concert for 40 minutes (although several groups played for much longer than that which backs the whole thing up), and the next 20 minutes is supposed to be a combination of get the first group off the stage while the next group gets set up on the stage. Once a group leaves the stage, they go to another room for a 30-minute clinic from one of the evaluators. There are no scores - it is not a competition. The groups do compete to get to the festival (via recordings submitted earlier), but the event itself is meant to be educational.

This all takes place while the National Concert Band Festival, the Orchestral America Festival, the Honor Band of America, the Honor Orchestra of America, and JazzBand America are taking place, so all in all there were something like 38 performing groups in Indianapolis the past 3 days (2600 students).

In addition to having a great time hanging out with Bill Cahn, Don Liuzzi, and John Wooton, I got to see some other folks with whom it was great to share some time. Gene Corporon of the University of North Texas was there, he conducted the Greeley Philharmonic when I played timpani in that orchestra in 1982. And my Wind Ensemble director from SUNY Potsdam (of 30 years ago!), Tony Maiello, was there, and it was really great to hang some with him, too. He's now at George Mason University and has really made a name for himself as a band and orchestra director, and rightfully so - he's terrific.

All in all, the event was a class act and it ran quite smoothly. Bill Galvin is responsible for running the percussion ensemble festival, and he's to be congratulated - he did an awesome job.