Fall 2021

Fall 2021 semester is off to a great start. We’ve started rehearsing our contemporary percussion ensemble music, with pieces by Philip Glass, Baljinder Sekhon, Michael Colgrass, and many more. The students are digging into their parts and working hard on some challenging music. We’re excited about this concert as we have several students conducting pieces, and the students are also involved in all aspects of the production of the program, including repertoire selection, logistics, PR/marketing, and more.

We’ve also started rehearsals with the new Global Percussion Ensemble, a group dedicated to exploring various world music drumming traditions, and creating new music. Special guest M’bemba Bangoura, a master drummer from Guinea, will be working with our students later in the semester.

Applied lessons are underway, and we’re working on the usual diverse range of material, including contemporary music, orchestral excerpts, jazz drum set, and of course our ensemble parts.

The students are busy, morning until night, practicing and studying. They are truly amazing.

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New Videos

We’ve been busy this semester learning cool music and performing it and recording it. Check out this video of Kyong Mee Choi’s amazing “A New Earth”:

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New year, new projects!

2021 is looking great for WP Percussion. We’ve got some great repertoire planned, a whole new recording project, and as always a wonderful group of students, faculty, and alumni, all participating and working together. We also just loaded up a recording from a few years ago here: https://wpmusic5.bandcamp.com/releases

WP Perc recording 2014 Cover

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Three Weeks, Three Festivals

Busy days for us here at WP Percussion. In the last three weeks we’ve performed at the New Jersey Music Educator’s Conference in Atlantic City, the Necessary Noise Festival in Rahway, and the Verona Day of Percussion. Our students played beautifully!

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Busy semester coming up . . .

Spring 2020 will be a great semester. We’re performing at NJMEA, the Necessary Noise Festival, and the Verona Day of Percussion. We’re also starting to lay down tracks for our next recording, featuring music from the 1930s. We’re going old school!

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Memorizing Mallet percussion music

New blog post about memorizing mallet percussion music. Check it out! https://paytonmacdonald.com/2019/04/10/memorizing-mallet-percussion-music/

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Future, Present, and Past

Last night I attended the Wayne Valley High School music. It was great to see several of our WP alums up there playing trumpet and conducting (Gabe Batiz runs the band program at Wayne Valley and he’s a WP alum). In the pit orchestra Michael DeLuccia (WP alum) was playing drum set and Isabelle Thomas (First-year student, starting Fall 2019) was playing percussion. Elise McAloon was there to support them. Elise is one of our seniors, graduating in May. I was so happy to see all that WP percussion talent in one place!

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Isabelle, Elise, and Mike

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WP Percussion at the NJMEA conference

We recently made an appearance at the New Jersey Music Educator’s Area conference in East Brunswick. As usual, our WP Percussion students performed beautifully.

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Florida in January

A few weeks ago a group of WP percussion students traveled to Tampa, Florida to perform on the McCormick Marimba Festival, hosted by University of South Florida and Robert McCormick. The students played music by Guimera, Jarvis, MacDonald, and Bishop. They also got to interact with a lot of amazing students from all over the U.S., Canada, Thailand, Japan, and Europe. Congratulations to our WP students for a great job!

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NJPE at PASIC!

The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble is a professional group in residence at WP and we’re delighted to be performing at PASIC this year with the legendary, four-time Grammy winner frame drum master Glen Velez. We’ve got a Showcase Concert at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, November 17, at Sagamore Ballroom at the Indianapolis Convention Center. If you’re at PASIC please come check out the show!

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