San Marcos, Texas June 21, 2009 -- While temperatures continued to rise above the 100 degree mark for multiple days in a row, Blanco High School Drum Line members took a break from the summer heat inside the cool confines of the School of Music building at Texas State University. The students, accompanied by BHS percussion instructor Brandon Aly, traveled to San Marcos to participate in the week-long intensive percussion studies camp hosted by the University Music Department. Students in attendance included Travis Bailey, Christian Collado, Warren Gibbons, Forrest Jones, Eleanor Kirkscey, and William Torre.
The annual event draws approximately seventy high school and middle school percussion enthusiasts from band programs throughout the state. The well-rounded camp activities emphasize both individual musical studies and ensemble playing. “It was great! The most I have ever learned about percussion in one place,” said sophomore percussionist Travis Bailey.
Campers began their mornings rehearsing in one of the many ensemble groups, which showcased the varied musical and rhythmic sounds of the percussion family. As each day progressed, students had the opportunity to explore and learn about the many aspects of percussion, including snare drum and tympani techniques and mallet instruments, such as marimba and vibraphone, as well as Latin percussion, steel drums and jazz drum set. The afternoons were filled with master classes, private lessons, and drum line. Every evening, campers and parents were treated to a concert featuring camp instructors and clinicians.
Clinicians for this year’s camp included Bret Kuhn, design and percussion consultant for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle corps and former Caption Head of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as Paul Wertico, seven-time Grammy Award-winning drummer and Head of Jazz Studies at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
At the conclusion of the week-long camp, parents and friends were invited to attend percussion ensemble recitals and a drum line exhibition showcasing the talents of the students. One highlight was a new marching cadence, which the Panther Drum Line will perform during marching season this fall.