Percussion Studio

The Alma College Percussion Studio consists of a diverse group of young musicians. The program has a rich 25-year history, in which its graduates have become extremely successful educators and performers. Recent alumni have performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony, as well as numerous regional orchestras. Many graduates have become successful educators at the high school, middle school, and collegiate level. Alma’s students have also been accepted to prestigious graduate programs around the country.

Percussion Ensemble.

The Alma College Percussion Ensemble performing Seichii Tanaka’s “Tsunami”


Alma’s percussion students enjoy an education that is very well-wounded. All students gain experience on a wide range of topics including: snare drum, mallet keyboards, timpani, orchestral percussion, solo repertoire, chamber repertoire, and world percussion. A number of instrumental ensembles are open for student performance, such as the Kiltie Marching Band, Kiltie Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and the award-winning Alma College Pipe Band. All students study with Professor Dave Zerbe and perform in the Alma College Percussion Ensemble.


The Alma College Percussion Ensemble’s complete performance at the 2014 Notre Dame Jazz Festival

Alma’s Percussion Ensemble is in a class all its own. Founded in 1989 by David Zerbe, the group is multi-faceted and performs traditional chamber music as well as jazz, steel drum, and world music. The ensemble has toured the country, having been invited to events such as the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Michigan Music Conference, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, and the Centrum Port Townsend Jazz Festival in Port Townsend, WA.


The Alma College Percussion Ensemble performing Mendelssohn’s “Sinfonia IX”

High praise has been given to the group even from those far outside the Alma community. Grammy-winning bassist/composer/conductor John Clayton said:

“The Alma College ensemble left a packed house at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, the Clayton Brothers’ members, and me with our jaws on the floor when we heard them. It wasn’t just precision, it was passion. It wasn’t just synched, it was soulful. It was exciting, it was beautiful, and it was an experience that no one in the audience would forget. Is there a better place to go to study mallet percussion? I think not.”

If you would like to see more performance videos, please click here.

For more information, please contact David Zerbe at


The Alma College Percussion Ensemble performing David Maslanka’s “Hohner”