‘Day of Percussion’ brings competition, masterclasses and performances for students across the western US

Percussionist perform in the Fresno State Concert Hall

“In order to prepare for the competition, I am practicing my pieces as much as possible,” Fresno State graduate student Amanda Steinhauer said. “In addition, I have performed a few of the pieces for an audience already to become comfortable with performing the music in front of people. This is always good because it helps to get some of the nerves out!” 

Students from around the western United States will compete in the West Region Day of Percussion, a competitive solo and ensemble festival offered by the Percussive Arts Society on Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30. It is a series of events aimed at furthering the education of drummers and percussionists in all aspects of the instrument.

The “Day of Percussion” begins on Friday with a percussion competition at Fresno State. The Friday events are free and open to the public. Parking is $5 in lot P1 before 4 p.m. and free after 4 p.m.  Then on Saturday, there will be a series of clinics and an evening performance at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall on the Clovis North High School campus. 

“I’m looking forward to hearing the junior high, high school, and college percussion competitors on Friday. I’m also looking forward to all the great clinics by world-renowned percussion artists on Saturday and the closing concert featuring Michael Burritt and Leigh Howard Stevens!” said Dr. Matthew Darling, chair of the Department of Music and President of the California Chapter of Percussive Arts Society.

The Saturday clinics begin at 9 a.m. with  Michael Burritt with his “Keyboard Masterclass,” Tony Nuñez will have his “Marching Clinic” at 10 a.m., followed by Leigh Howard Stevens’ “Keyboard Clinic” at 11. Then Dr. Dave Gerhart will lead a “FUNdamentals Clinic” at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday afternoon, three Carlos Santana percussionists will hold clinics, including Cindy Blackman Santana’s “Drum Set Clinic” at 2:30 p.m. and Karl Perazzo and Paoli Mejias’ “World Clinic” at 3:30 p.m.

Finally, Leigh Howard Stevens and Michael Burritt will take center stage for the “Evening Concert” at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30. The concert will also feature the Fresno State Percussion Ensemble. Tickets for the Saturday events are $20 and are available online or at the door. 

“I am ecstatic to be performing as a member of the Fresno State Percussion Ensemble with Michael Burritt as we will be performing one of his compositions in the evening concert.  ‘White Pines’ is a piece that has always held a special place in my heart, so it will be an immense honor to perform it with him,” said Fresno State student Peyton Esraelian. 

This is the 31st annual Day of Percussion hosted by the Fresno State Department of Music and Percussion Professor Matthew Darling.  The Percussive Arts Society is the world’s largest non-profit association for drummers and percussionists, with performers, instructors, students, researchers, retailers, manufacturers, and aficionados among its members. Clinics, seminars, workshops, and concerts are sponsored by the Percussive Arts Society worldwide.

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Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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