Rich Holly's Percussion Place

Assorted ramblings and occasional updates in the world of percussion.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This morning I attended the memorial service for William F. Ludwig II, who passed away in late March. I was glad to see that several industry icons and representatives were present, as well as several well-known drummers and percussionists. Words of remembrance were beautifully given by his daughter Brooke, son William F. Ludwig III, and his granddaughter Maggie Mae Ludwig.

I first met Bill sometime in the '70's and felt lucky to be living near him the past 25 years. We would see each other 1-2 times a year, and he was always so full of life. Not only did he have an incredible library of stories to tell, but he told them marvelously and with a great sense of humor.

Perhaps my favorite recollection of Bill is this: When I was the Illinois chapter President of the Percussive Arts Society in the late 1980's, we were having our annual Day of Percussion in the Chicago suburbs. That morning a huge snowstorm came in fast and furious. One of my students and I left DeKalb early to make sure we made it to the location - with the hopes that the storm was hitting DeKalb but perhaps not the Chicago area. Unfortunately, the storm was throughout the entire region and the snow was piling up fast. We arrived to find we were the only ones there, the host was not there, none of the host's students were there to help set up. 5 minutes later in walks Bill Ludwig, saying he left early because he wanted to make sure he made it to the Day of Percussion. The minutes went by and only a few die hards showed up. By the time 9:00 a.m. came around, the official start time of the day's events, there were less than 10 people there - and none who were there were any of the day's clinicians! Bill asked me what we were going to do, and I told him I would ask everyone to be patient and that we would give others more time to arrive. He said to me, "Why wait? Get me a drum - no - let's get 3 drums! We'll play Three Camps and I'll talk about the historic significance of it!" So, Bill, my student and I rummaged and found 3 drums and 3 pairs of sticks, and that's what we did. It was the only clinic that day, but the few of us that were there were treated to in-depth coverage of one of Bill's most passionate subjects.

I won't go into all the details of his life, since there are several great obits online if you google his name. Here are links to two of them:

Ludwig Drums website announcement

Percussive Arts Society In Memoriam

Today's service ended with several drummers playing Three Camps on rope drums. A fitting tribute to a great friend. R.I.P., Chief, we'll miss you.