Percussionist plans senior recital

As an artist, passion thrives in such a way that it rivals a heartbeat or a drum beat – or at least, that’s how it is to Washburn University senior, Kelsey Cook, who will be performing her last senior recital this upcoming Sunday on April 15. Cook, as one of the only current percussion seniors graduating in may, simply says that she wants only one thing from her performance – for people to enjoy it.

Cook, a graduate from Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs, MS, was one of the only percussionist from her school while growing up. “I know that I am one of the only percussionist actually getting a degree because people lose their passion for the degree,” said Cook.

Where did Cook’s passion for music first come from? First having played the drums in 5th grade for fun, Cook’s passion actually came from her mother. “My mom would always take me to country rock shows and somehow, since she knew somebody from the bands almost everytime, I got drumsticks from the durmmers and they would sign the sticks for me,” said Cook.

It was then that she realized her fascination with drumming and how it slowly transformed into a life long passion. “I just liked watching them, the hair flipping was amusing to me. It was who I wanted to be then and now I still do.”

What makes Cook’s recital different than other percussion recitals? According to Cook, each song she’s performing has a personal dedication to someone special who has helped her get to where she will be in May-a Washburn University graduate.

“My recital is dedicated to the first teacher that I ever had who passed away recently,” said Cook, “his name was Gary Via. Gary was the first one who told me that I could play one of the pieces I’m performing in the recital when I was a freshman. This piece is usually played by percussionists for this docotrite’s. Now, as a fully rounded percussionist, I’m performing it and dedicating it to him.”

Another piece that Cook is performing is being dedicated to her friends and family because that’s who its about. “The piece is entitled ‘College Life’,” said Cook, “it involves and lot of flying movements.”  There’s also a surprise featured in that piece but to see it, you will have to attend the recital.

Cook will also be featuring a vibe solo, which personally, she has never done at Washburn University before. “That’s going to be a very special and fun piece for me to do,” said Cook.

A large portion of Cook’s reputation at Washburn University has derived from being apart of pep band, but that knowledge really hadn’t hit Cook until this past year when a certain fan came up to talk to her. “There’s this little boy who came up to me and gave me cookies and his parents would tell me ‘he likes watching you more than the actual game,’ ” said Cook. “So, I gave him my drumsticks and signed them for him – it was beyond cute. I really hope he’s at my recital so that I can see him again.”

After graduation, Cook plans on attending M.I. (Musicians Institute) in Hollywood, California. “I’m going for a week after graduation to practice and play with the famous musicians who come in for clinics – It’ll be definite net working and I’m very excited for it.”

Cook’s main ambition, as it has been for her entire career at Washburn University was just to fuel her passion further, which she hopes will show in her final recital. “I just want to perform,” said Cook, “that’s why I got this degree-I’m a performer, I always will be.”