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WGI 2016 World Percussion Championship Spotlight

This week, many dedicated and talented percussionists will make their way to Dayton, Ohio for the WGI Percussion World Championships. The indoor percussion ensembles and drumlines who compete in WGI spend countless hours during their season rehearsing so that they’re able to have the best performance possible at every show. These indoor performing groups typically consist of a front ensemble and a marching percussion section. Some groups also incorporate an additional section of visual performers to enhance the visual effect and impact of their production. Not all indoor performing groups are affiliated with a high school. There are independent performing groups whose membership consists of performers from all different locations. Vic Firth Educator, Chris Rivera, has been the Band Director at Norwalk High School since 2010. In addition to supervising the school’s marching band, three concert bands, two jazz ensembles, and two winter guards, he also directs the indoor percussion ensemble which competes in WGI’s Scholastic Open Class. Chris took the time to reflect on what the experience of being involved with an indoor percussion ensemble is like as well as what it’s like to compete in WGI. “The benefits of being a part of a competitive indoor percussion ensemble are endless. In addition to learning advanced level musical and visual concepts, students also gain time management, dedication, teamwork and communication skills. At Norwalk High School we rehearse 3 days each week. Tuesdays 6-9pm are typically a visual focus, Thursdays 6-9pm are mostly focused on music, and Saturdays are for ensemble.” “I have been involved in WGI since 2004.  I am fortunate to be on the WGI Advisory Board to see the inner working of the organization. It is amazing to see how much the activity has grown, not only from a design perspective but also in regards to what the members are expected to perform, in such a short amount of time.  Other than the fact that we still use percussion instruments, the activity has completely evolved into something new and exciting. WGI week is amazing. Our schedule is always completely full and down to the minute. There really isn’t much free time at all. The emotions amongst the group during WGI week can range from complete panic and chaos to absolute joy and celebration!” Watching all the other ensembles and seeing which ones come up with new and innovative ideas that haven’t been seen before. Meeting up with friends from around the country that he only gets to see once a year at this event.   “Stay Calm!  WGI can be very stressful to both members and staff.  If the members see the staff freaking out, they will most likely freak out as well.  Just remember, everyone has the same environment and logistics to contend with (weather, electronics, the tunnel at UD arena, travel, etc…).  Issues are sure to arise during the week, but its how you handle them that will determine how the rest of the experience goes.” ©2018 Vic Firth Company

And the Drummie Goes To…

DRUM! Magazine just released the recipients of their 2016 Drummies! Artist Awards. Experts within the drum and recording industries are consulted with and asked to assist with nominating finalists for these awards. DRUM! Magazine readers also play a part in the selection process by voting for which of the finalists in each category they believe should be the recipient of the award. Drummers don’t often receive the same amount of attention as their fellow musical counterparts in the industry. The Drummies! were created to recognize and highlight the skills, hard work, and achievements of drummers within the music industry. Many artists were recognized and honored with a 2016 Drummies! Artist Award, eleven of which happened to be Vic Firth Artists! Drummer of the Year: Antonio Sánchez Omar Hakim Chris Fryar Rising Star: Robert “Sput” Searlight Joe Saylor Shaun Foist Rock/Pop Drummer: Brian Frasier-Moore Carter Beauford Hip-Hop Drummer: Mike Reid Country Drummer: Ben Sesar Chris Fryar Blues Drummer: Richard Danielson Alternative Drummer: Shaun Foist Jazz Drummer: Antonio Sánchez Funk Drummer: Aaron Spears Chris Coleman David Garibaldi Gospel Drummer: Gerald Heyward Chris Coleman Punk Drummer: Brandon Barnes Jorma Vik Extreme Metal Drummer: Alex Lopez Progressive Rock Drummer: Gavin Harrison Matt Garstka Studio Drummer: Vinnie Colaiuta Drum Set Clinician: Keith Carlock Stanton Moore Percussionist of the Year: Nate Werth Studio Percussionist: Walter Rodriguez Richard Bravo Latin Percussionist: Jhair Sala Richard Bravo Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop Percussionist: Daniel Sadownick Percussion Clinician: Tom Teasley Jazz Percussionist: Nate Werth World Percussionist: Pete Lockett Jamey Haddad ©2018 Vic Firth Company

Maximize Your Practice Time With VF Educator, Stephen Taylor

VF educator, Stephen Taylor, is currently hosting a free online drum lesson geared towards enhancing a drummer’s daily practice routine. The lesson helps drummers learn how to maximize practice time to ensure more focused and productive practice sessions in the future. Taylor’s lesson is titled, Transforming Your Practice Time: 3 Tips for More Focused Practice, and begins Tuesday, March 22. The online lesson will be available for viewing until Thursday, March 30 and is able to be streamed on any device. “Being happy and content with your playing leads to a happier and more productive life outside of the practice room as well. It is going to be a COMPLETE BRAIN DUMP of everything I know about the art of practicing. I am going to show you how to construct a methodical and predictable daily practice routine that lets you maximize every minute of practice you put in.” -Stephen Taylor                 ©2018 Vic Firth Company

The Rolling Stones to Perform in “Landmark” Concert

Since the formation of the Rolling Stones in 1962, the world renowned band has never held a performance in Cuba. However, on Friday, March 25 the band will make history as they perform in Havana for the first time during a free open-air concert. The Rolling Stones say in a statement that “we have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too.” This concert is being held just three days after yet another historic first visit takes place. President Barack Obama will be the first sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba in 88 years. In 1968, Fidel Castro launched a revolutionary offensive which aimed to cleanse the stain of capitalism from Cuba. A genre despised by Castro, one of the things that Cuban authorities targeted in this offensive was rock music. The messages and themes that rock music promoted were believed to corrupt the minds of the Cuban youth. This repressive offensive also shut down all of the nightclubs in Havana for a year. The Rolling Stones will be leading a musician to musician initiative, which will provide essential musical instruments and equipment to benefit Cuban musicians of all genres. Being one of the most educationally conscientious companies in the music industry, we are among the list of donors who will be providing equipment for this respectable initiative. ©2018 Vic Firth Company

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