Percussion Ensemble To Perform at International Festival
The words written by nationally renowned bassist John Clayton are permanently ingrained in Dave Zerbe’s memory.
“I’m speechless,” wrote Clayton following a performance by the Alma College Percussion Ensemble at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 2006. “This is beyond gorgeous...a fantastic performance. Is there a better place to go to study mallet percussion? I think not.”
Clayton was so impressed he invited Zerbe and his student percussionists to perform at the prestigious Centrum Jazz Festival, an international jazz festival in Port Townsend, Wash., on Saturday, July 28.
“It is a huge honor to be invited to play at this jazz festival,” says Zerbe, faculty director of the Percussion Ensemble. “You can’t apply to perform there; they seek you out. John Clayton invited us based on our performance at Notre Dame. The musicians playing at the festival are all amazing performers.”
The main stage roster at this year’s festival includes such standouts as tenor saxophonist Houston Person, the Banda Brothers Latin Jazz All Stars, vibist Joe Locke, the Roy Hargrove Quintet, and vocalist Roberta Gambarini.
Alma is the only college group in the nation invited to perform. Alma’s 30 student percussionists will perform a 50-minute set with guest artist Joe Locke. Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove will precede Alma’s festival-closing concert on July 28.
Their performance will include “The Heat of the Day” by Pat Metheny, “Time Check” by Don Menza, “Crazeology” by Charlie Parker, “Latin Train” by Arturo Sandoval and “Highland Air” by Lyle Mayes to name just a few. The Percussion Ensemble will perform in McCurdy Pavilion, a former World War II-era balloon hangar that seats 1,200 people.
Founded more than 25 years ago, Jazz Port Townsend has become one of America’s premier jazz experiences. Led by Artistic Director John Clayton, the festival consists of a weeklong residential workshop where musicians live, jam and learn with some of the world’s finest jazz artists. At the end of the workshop, the artists and faculty take to the stage for public performances.
Prior to the trip out west, Alma’s Percussion Studio will host its annual percussion camps for more than 150 middle and high school percussionists during the weeks of June 18 and 25, with public gala performances the evenings of June 19 and 26.
“Most of the students who are now in the Percussion Program at Alma are alumni of the high school camps,” says Zerbe. “This is the sixth year we have hosted the camps. No other institution in Michigan sponsors summer camps solely for percussion.”
The concert percussion camp meets from June 17 through 23. As part of the camp, the Alma College Percussion Ensemble will present a gala performance at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 19 in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission is free and open to the public.
The marching percussion camp will take place the following week, June 24 through 30. At 8 p.m. June 26, the Alma Percussion Ensemble will perform in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission to both concerts is free and open to the public.
Posted: Fri, June 8th, 2007 at 8:48AM