WU percussionists showed skills Tuesday

Ten percussionists showed off their skills during the percussion studio recital at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in White Concert Hall.

The percussionists played the timpani, marimba or the snare drum for their solos, although Matt Mirsch, junior, played by turns a field drum, snare, tambourine, cymbal and xylophone for a song called “Slavic Dance,” which required multiple percussion instruments.

Lucas Whippo, senior, played “Shell Shocked (for Michelle),” a song written by Tom Morgan, director of percussion at Washburn. Whippo said the song is more listener-friendly than most songs that are written for snare.

“These days, I would say a good half of the snare drum solos you run into for collegiate performers are basically just obstacle courses,” said Whippo. “[The composers] are basically like, ‘OK, let’s throw this there and do this here and just see what happens,’ and the songs are challenging, but they don’t really speak musically.”

After Whippo, Kelsey Cook, freshman, took the stage to play the marimba for a song called “Furioso and Valse.” Cook used two sticks instead of the usual four to play her song, which was an intricate, fast-paced melody. Percussion is a traditionally male-oriented endeavor, and Cook stood out as the only female percussionist to take the stage on Tuesday night, but it didn’t phase her at all.

“There are expectations I have for myself,” said Cook. “It makes me try harder. I have to keep up with the guys.”

After the final performance of the evening, Tom Morgan briefly spoke to the audience.

“Thank you very much for coming and supporting these folks,” he said. “You can tell why I’m so proud of them all, and what a pleasure it is for me to work with each of them.”

Morgan reminded people to get in their applications for the fifth annual Northeast Kansas Total Percussion Camp, which will be held on Washburn’s campus this summer from July 21 – 25. Enrollment forms can be downloaded at http://www.washburn.edu/cas/music/ensembles/percussioncamp.html.