WU percussion ensemble to create beats on Sunday

Brandon Bills

The Washburn University percussion ensemble will perform a holiday concert Sunday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. in White Concert Hall.

Percussionists have long been part of the Holiday Vespers concerts at Washburn, but this is the first year the ensemble will perform their own concert. Tom Morgan, associate professor of music and director of percussion studies, said he hopes to see the concert become an annual event.

“There is no better medium for playing Christmas music than percussion,” said Morgan.

The 12-member ensemble, all students majoring in percussion, will perform Christmas classics such as “O, Holy Night,” “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” A unique arrangement of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” will also be performed in which each of the twelve gifts will be represented by the sound of a different instrument, such as chimes for “four calling birds.” Appropriately, the gift on the 12th day of Christmas is “twelve drummers drumming.”

The ensemble will utilize a wide range of instruments, including marimba, xylophone, timpani, orchestra bells, vibraphone and chimes.

“The whole percussion family will be represented,” said Morgan.

He said concert attendees can expect “a special visitor from the North Pole” to perform. Santa Claus will join the ensemble on the grand finale, titled “Jingle Jazz.” The role of Santa will be played by Keith Mallory, Washburn University marching band director.