• November 21, 2014

Beat goes on at UMHB’s percussion festival

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 4:30 am

If rhythm is your thing, a whole lot of shakin’ will be going on at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s 13th annual percussion festival, which takes place tonight.

If you go, a pair of earplugs, discreetly wielded, may prove prudent given the not-so-big venue: Hughes Recital Hall, which is itself nestled into the recesses of Presser Hall. It’s hard to know which will be higher: the students’ unbridled, adrenaline-charged performances, or the decibel level.

The clever, unorthodox pairing of bassoonist Scott Pool with a percussion ensemble, while outre, will showcase the little heard solo capabilities of the daddy of the double-reed instruments.

Guest artist Michael Varner, an associate professor of percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington, is a published composer, performer and clinician, and will take the stage as the headliner of the festival.

UMHB has designated the festival as a “Fine Arts Experience,” and each student is required to attend one “Fine Arts” event each semester, which can sometimes make concerts crowded. An early arrival time is recommended to get good (or sometimes, any) seats.

On Tuesday, in the third-story band hall, UMHB music ed major Ashley Wallace, a freshman from Harlingen, worked out on the trap set. A member of the school’s drum line as well as a pianist, she smiled when asked about the percussion festival. “It should be fun, and we’ll learn a lot, too.”

If today’s festival doesn’t satiate your drumming appetite, there’s Saturday’s master class, also conducted in Hughes Recital Hall. With tympani, marimbas, wind machines, glockenspiels, snares, toms and everything else, your education in syncopation will be complete.

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