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Neil Larrivee to be Inducted into WGI’s Hall of Fame

“The Hall of Fame is the highest honor to those individuals who make a significant contribution to WGI, and who have in some way influenced the course of our history. Their contribution may be made through artistic standards, administrative leadership or adjudication.” Our very own Director of Education and Product Development, Neil Larrivee, will be inducted into the WGI Hall of Fame on Wednesday, April 13. The induction will take place just before the start of the 2016 WGI World Percussion Championships in Dayton, Ohio. This post announcing Neil’s induction was written by WGI Marketing Intern Hannah Corson and appeared on the organization’s News page: “Simply put, Neil Larrivee will not leave a stone unturned in his quest to be the best at what he does.” Peter Tileston, King Philip Regional HS Music Director 1983-2010. His desire to set new standards has not gone unnoticed, as he has been honorably elected into this year’s WGI Hall of Fame. He will join 58 others who have received this highest honor because of their significant contributions to the activity. Larrivee will be inducted in a ceremony to take place Wednesday, April 13, just prior to the start of the 2016 Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. If there is one thing that Neil Larrivee has known his entire life, it’s drumming. Growing up, Larrivee was surrounded by music due to his father and uncle’s involvement in a rock n’ roll band. While his father managed the band, his uncle was the drummer, which spurred Larrivee’s interest in percussion. This interest quickly turned into a passion. Larrivee was named Percussion Director and Arranger as well as Co-Marching Band Director of King Philip Regional High School in 1985. During his time at King Philip, Larrivee helped to lead the marching band to numerous championships on the state, regional, and national levels as well as 10 New England Championship high percussion awards and 6 USSBA Championship high percussion awards. While the marching band excelled, Neil felt the need to take the band program to the next level. In 1995, King Philip fielded its first indoor percussion ensemble. After their WGI debut in 1996, the group went on to win the WGI Scholastic World silver medal in 1997, 1998, and 2001 and a gold medal in 2000. Additionally, King Philip’s Scholastic Concert World ensemble received a silver medal in 2001. After leaving King Philip in 2002, Larrivee became the pit arranger for Dartmouth High School. While at Dartmouth, the indoor percussion ensemble received a WGI Scholastic World medal for five consecutive years, including a bronze medal in 2004 and 2005, a silver medal in 2006 and 2007, and the prestigious gold medal in 2008 and 2009. Ed Devlin, Blessed Sacrament Director and Hall of Fame member, states, “Neil’s best strength is his passion for the activity and any project that he becomes involved in.” This passion was not only shared with high school band programs, but also with various drum and bugle corps. Neil spent numerous years with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps of Allentown, PA where he served as Pit Director and Arranger from 1993 until 2008. Over the course of these years, Larrivee played an integral role in helping the corps claim four DCI World Championships along with four high percussion awards, resulting in his induction into the Cadets Hall of Fame. Neil has also arranged for notable drum and bugle corps such as The Bluecoats, Northern Star of England, and Jubal of the Netherlands. More recently, he has worked with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps as the Percussion Arranger. Neil Larrivee has not only served as a magnificent educator over the years, but also as a trusted partner of WGI. From 1997 to 2002, he was a member of the WGI Percussion Advisory Board and Steering Committee. Larrivee played a crucial role in helping to shape the indoor percussion activity during a major stage of development. He also conducted educational sessions on programming for newer groups in the circuit. “In my opinion, Neil Larrivee’s greatest contribution to the indoor percussion activity is as the Director of Education for the Vic Firth Company,” says WGI Hall of Fame member Tom Aungst. In the midst of teaching and working with WGI, Larrivee has dedicated much of his time to advancing the activity through his role at Vic Firth. As Director of Education and Product Development, Neil develops products and tackles problems such as the risk of hearing damage in performers. Because of his involvement with Vic Firth, Larrivee is at the forefront of innovation for indoor percussion. Over the years, Larrivee has become a giant in the world of percussion and will only continue to guide the activity to the next level. Tileston believes, “His sphere of influence has grown through his determination, station, and commitment.” Currently, Neil Larrivee judges, presents clinics, and holds a prestigious position at Vic Firth. In his spare time, as an avid concert attendee, Neil will often be found taking in live performances of jazz, orchestral music or contemporary chamber music in Boston or where his travels may take him. ©2018 Vic Firth Company

VF Artist, Joe Saylor, Featured in Modern Drummer Magazine

Appearing on the cover of this April’s edition of Modern Drummer is Vic Firth Artist, Joe Saylor. The article takes a look at the start of Saylor’s training as a drummer when he was just eight-years-old taking lessons from local college students in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Just four years after starting on drums, Saylor had the opportunity to begin learning from and working with Jazz great, Roger Humphries. “My advice to younger players is to get around older musicians…Be around them as much as possible, and try to play with them. That’s where you really get the essence and the feeling of the music.” -Joe Saylor   The rest of the article recounts Saylor’s history as a drummer; from playing in his high school’s band under the direction of his father to performing with prominent artists such as Joe Lovano, Steve Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, and most notably his two-year period of playing with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks (a band who re-creates and specializes in pre-swing jazz music from the 1920’s and early 30’s). A large portion of the article focuses on Saylor’s friendship and performance history with Jonathan Batiste. The two are currently part of Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the house band featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Get the full article and see VF Artist Joe Saylor on the cover of this April’s Modern Drummer. ©2018 Vic Firth Company

Vic Firth Featured in The Music Trades Magazine

Leading drumstick manufacturer Vic Firth Co. welcomed top representatives of its sales and distribution network to its third annual new product launch at NAMM. Mark Dyke, Director of Sales, applauded the group’s efforts, noting that despite currency fluctuations and major economic and political challenges for some of its dealers, 2015 marked yet another record year for Vic Firth sales. Neil Larrivee, Director of Education and New Product Development, announced that the company would be using more videos to introduce new products and better explain their inspiration and benefits to dealers and their customers. He demonstrated the initiative by showing the group videos presenting new Signature Series drumstick models honoring Chris Coleman and Jen Ledger. Other new products included Signature models for Ray Luzier and the late Keith Moon, new vibe and marimba mallets, and the Gadd Pad, a practice pad celebrating the 70th birthday of legendary drummer Steve Gadd. Mark Wessels, Director of Internet Activities, pointed out that each model would be re-released with new videos designed to further promote interest and sales. Mark additionally outlined features of the company’s re-tooled website, which now features more layers of content, enhanced interactivity and end-user engagement, and improved stick and mallet selection guides. Andy Tamulynas, Earned Marketing manager, discussed Vic Firth’s international/multilingual social media initiatives and upcoming digital campaigns. In the coming months the company will launch a new web and social media campaign celebrating the community’s love and passion for drumming. Beautifully produced and edited, the videos will feature “unknown” drummers and be subtitled for distribution in global markets. ©2018 Vic Firth Company

Maria Finkelmeier Brings Fenway’s “Green Monster” to Life

What do you get when you combine musicians, visual artists, and an iconic Boston landmark? One of the most imaginative, interactive, and musical pieces of live outdoor art that Lansdowne street has ever seen, Waking the Monster (the Green Monster that is). Vic Firth educator, Maria Finkelmeier, was one of the ingenious creators and performers behind Waking the Monster. A Boston-based percussion performer and educator, Maria has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia with Ensemble Evolution-and international percussion group, which she also co-founded. Maria, along with fellow artists Ryan Edwards and Sam Okerstrom-Lang worked collaboratively in order to create Waking the Monster. Their final product was featured in ILLUMINUS, a nighttime contemporary art event that took place during Boston’s HUBweek 2015.   ©2018 Vic Firth Company

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