News Archives

UNCP Hosts Percussion Guest Artist

Benjamin Toth, professor of percussion at The Hartt School was in residence at UNCP March 9th through the 11th. While at UNCP professor Toth performed a solo recital, accompanied by members of the UNCP Percussion Ensemble, rehearsed with the percussion ensemble and taught private lessons to percussion majors. In addition he presented two masterclasses focusing on frame drum techniques and the Brazilian "Ritmica" approach to teaching rhythm. While at UNCP Professor Toth said this about the percussion program: "When you add it all up (equipment, facilities, percussion faculty, tuition cost, variety of ensembles, strength of ALL of the percussion ensembles etc.) UNCP is one of the best values in the COUNTRY for a percussion education!"

UNCP Wind Ensemble Selected to Perform at 2008 NCMEA Conference

The UNCP Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Altman, was selected this summer to perform in concert at the 2008 North Carolina Music Educators Conference. NCMEA is a three day conference that6 brings together music educators from throughout North Carolina for clinic sessions and performances. Teachers in North Carolina receive in-service credit for attending. This is the second time in four years that the UNCP ensemble has been selected to perform. Joining Dr. Altman and the wind ensemble at the conference will be the choirs of UNCP and guest conductor Samuel Hazo. Hazo is in demand throughout the country as both a guest conductor and composer. The UNCP Wind Ensemble will perform several of Hazo's works under his baton including one work that is not yet published! Congratulations to Dr. Altman and the students of the Wind Ensemble!

UNCP Drumline Camp Featured in Fayetteville Observer

Drummers work on improving skills at UNCP camp

By Chick Jacobs

Staff writer

PEMBROKE — Put five dozen drummers in one room, give them a few hours to learn a new score, then have them all play together.

The result could be described as something between chaos and sitting in a metal storage shed while 100 popcorn machines explode around you.

Yet, amid the unrelenting hailstorm of sound, if you listen, is music.

Forget the school books, the supplies, the new sneakers and locker assignments: for a half-dozen drum lines across Eastern North Carolina, school began this past weekend at UNC-Pembroke.

“It’s the perfect time for camp,” said Tracy Wiggins, the director of percussion at UNCP. “Next week, most of these kids will be starting on their fall programs at their schools. This will knock the rust off for them.”

It’ll also let others know that drumming is more than grabbing a pair of sticks and flailing away.

For many school bands, especially smaller ones on shoestring budgets, percussion is a noisy afterthought. There’s simply not enough time or personnel to do more than make sure the drums are keeping time and marching in line.

So UNCP’s Summer Drum Daze is offered at no cost to any high school drummers in the state. It’s sponsored by several percussion companies to teach proper rudiments for drummers.

The camp is part public service, part vested interest for Wiggins and the school. By improving the quality of drummers in the state, he said, “we’re improving the skills of student who might end up right here.

“So the better they become, the better off we are.”

Skill work begins as soon as the drums are unpacked. Wiggins, who came to Pembroke from Oklahoma to organize the school’s first marching band, has always had a fondness for drums — and playing properly.

His instruction to the kids who have come from as far as Garner and Princeville: play smart.

“Every drum line’s got someone who wants to be the macho guy,” said Jonathon Moore. He’s the student drum leader for UNCP’s 20-piece “Spirit of the Carolinas” drum line. He also helps instruct percussion at Jack Britt High School.

“The macho guy tries to show off by pounding the drum, rather than letting the drum do the work. Then you’ve got the smart guy, the guy who uses his head and doesn’t get worn out.

“You be the smart guy.”

Some take his advice to heart — and hand. Others require a little more convincing. As the camp runs through a progression of practices, the macho drummers are nursing sore hands.

“There’s this little muscle in your hand,” Moore said. “Or there is, if you’re practicing and playing properly. It’ll do the work if you let it.”

Outside, beneath a spread of crape myrtles, Robert Brennan’s lesson to a cluster of quad drummers is part music, part geometry, part physics. Find the shortest distance between two drums, he says, to minimize motion and increase speed.

“If you’re playing correctly, you won’t hear yourself,” Wiggins added. “The goal in percussion is to hear others. If you hear yourself playing, you aren’t lined up with everyone else.”

Like brush strokes in art class, good drumming is found in the details: how a stick is held, proper alignment and accent, even how you move your feet.

“Some people try to keep their feet still,” Wiggins said. “Can you imagine drummers with still feet? We’re a marching drum line, and it’s better to train your feet to move while your hands are moving.

“It’s about impossible to teach later.”

By the end of the daylong camp, it seems most of the students got the message. Rather than a full-blown hailstorm, the auditorium echoes with the clean, crisp sound of proper percussion.

“At the end, there’s something wonderful when everyone plays it right,” Wiggins said. “The kids know it. You can see it on their faces.

“They’ll take what they’ve learned today and use it back at their drum lines at school. They’ll play better, smarter and sound a lot better.”

And this fall, if all goes well, the music will be easier for everyone to hear.

UNCP Becomes a Conn-Selmer School

In the Spring of 2008 UNCP joined the Conn-Selmer School program. A Conn-Selmer School Partnership seeks to recognize a high level of academic and musical excellence at qualified educational institutions, while sustaining the long-term growth of music education and performance. Affiliation with this program will increase the institution's national/international profile as a music school, resulting in recruitment of the most promising students. This commitment to excellence can also assist in securing financial support from organizations and individuals wishing to align themselves with excellence. As well, A Conn-Selmer School designation reinforces our school's long-term position as a leader in music and music education.

Becoming A Conn-Selmer School will provide our institution with a complete instrumental program that will inspire our students, along with maximum savings and long-term budgetary control. At the same time, our school will have established a strong partnership that will serve the needs of student preparing for their musical careers.

Already as part of this partnership UNCP has acquired new marching percussion and methods class instruments (which will be replaced every 2 years!); new King marching brass instruments; and several instruments for concert band usage. In addition, as Conn-Selmer is a division of Steinway, we have recently received a new Steinway grand piano for Moore Hall.

UNCP Summer Drum Daze

Saturday July 26th the UNCP Music Department will host its second ever "Summer Drum Daze". This camp, co-sponsored by Sabian, Ludwig, Evans, XL and Innovative Percussion, brings together area high school drumlines for an intensive, one-day camp to prepare for the upcoming marching season. It includes a performance by the "Spirit of the Carolinas" drumline as well as special sessions for directors.

UNCP Hosts Third Annual Percussion Ensemble Festival

March 14th and 15th the UNCP percussion program hosted guest artist She-e Wu as well as the three winners of the Classical Marimba League Solo marimba Competition. All four artists gave recitals. As well, percussion ensembles from Spring Creek High School and Middle School, Cardinal Gibons High School, Jack Britt High School and Fayetteville State University performed for comments by She-e Wu.

The Medieval Feast Returned to the UNCP Campus on November 30

After a two year “rest,” Medieval Feast VIII returned to the UNCP campus. The Medieval Feast has been a successful venture for seven years, playing to thousands of children and adults.  But it was a victim of its own success.  Each year, we played to a larger audience and each year the show got more expensive to stage.  After making almost no money for the scholarship program three years ago, we “rested” the feast for a year and staged the Choral Cavalcade.  The cavalcade played to a large house, but we all agreed that it just wasn’t the same.  Last year, we played off campus in Laurinburg and in Lumberton.  But we “needed” to be home, where we belonged. 

So the Medieval Feast returned this year staged by the 20 voices of the UNC Pembroke Singers.  So we are thrilled to return to campus.  On Friday, November 30, we performed our show, Dueling Jesters or The Queen to Me a Royal Pain Doth Give, at the new Chavis Annex. 

The Medieval Feast featured costumes by Showboat Costumes of Southern Pines, music by strolling performers, our own Brass Quintet, and this year the special show was about the need for a new queen in the kingdom, written by our own Director of Musical Theatre, Hal Davis.

UNCP Summer Drum Daze

Saturday July 28th the UNCP Music Department hosted its first ever "Summer Drum Daze". This camp, co-sponsored by Sabian and Innovative Percussion, brought together area high school drumlines for an intensive, one-day camp to prepare for the upcoming marching season. It included a performance by the "Spirit of the Carolinas" drumline as well as special sessions for directors.

UNCP Hires New Lecturer in Jazz Studies and Music Business Coordinator

UNCP would like to welcome Aaron Vandermeer to it's faculty in the fall of 2007! Mr. Vandermeer is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Brass Literature and Pedagogy at Indiana University. He has earned a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from IU and also holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and biology.

UNCP Announces DrumSet Artist in Residence

Pat Petrillo is the new Artist in Residence in the percussion area at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Pat is recognized as one of today’s most accomplished and versatile drummers, having performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists from many genres of music includingGloria Gaynor, Patti LaBelle, Dee -Lite, Patti Smythe, and Glen Burtnik, as well jazz guitarist Ed Hamilton, and most recently the world music group Oko Jumu. His versatility extends to Broadway in New York City, having played such shows over the years as "A Chorus Line","Grease", "Footloose" and "Dreamgirls". Whether it’s a "deep pocket" groove, or a creative, sophisticated fill, Pat delivers…with authority.

He is also one of the most sought after educators and clinicians in the business. As a clinician and endorser for Zildjian cymbals, Aquarian drumheads, Regal Tip drumsticks, and the S- Hoop drum hoop, he has conducted clinics and master classes all over the world. He is also a faculty member at Drummers Collective in New York City.

Pat’s new DVD/Book, "Hands, Grooves, and Fills", (Visual Music Media)represents a complete curriculum and methodology for drum set development.. His first video, the popular "Snare Drum Rudiments", was one of the first instructional videos ever released.

Pat will be teaching group and individual drumset lessons, as well as classes and ensemble coaching. Lessons are available to the general public. Contact Tracy Wiggins for more information.

UNCP Has New Marching Band Director

Marty Spitzer has been named as the Director of Athletic Bands at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. In this role he will direct the "Spirit of the Carolinas" Marching Band and teach courses in music education. He earned his Master of Arts from Ball State University and his Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University. He also has earned credits beyond his Masters from Illinois State University.

Mr. Spitzer was the director of bands and music department chair at Bellbrook High School in Bellbrook, Ohio from 1988-2001. He built the marching band into a five-time Bands of America Class "A" National Champion. The concert band also excelled as One third of the entire student body participated in the instrumental program. Spitzer is known by band directors throughout North Carolina and the entire country for the accomplishments of the Bellbrook program.

Tracy Wiggins, who has served as marching band director from 2003-2007, will continue at UNCP as assistant marching band director, focusing on the growth of the percussion section. In addition he will continue to direct the rapidly growing percussion program at UNCP.

Percussion Week Comes to UNCP

It will seem like the percussion world has descended upon the UNCP music department from March 27th to April 1st. On March 27th the UNCP Orchestra concert will feature the UNCP Percussion Ensemble and Soloists Don Parker and Tracy Wiggins on David Maslanka's "In Lonely Fields" for percussion ensemble and chamber orchestra. March 29th will see the debut of UNCP's new "world" music ensemble Global Rhythms as they perform their first concert "The World is Round." This concert will feature music from Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Serbia, Trinidad and more. March 30th will see UNCP hosting SO Percussion. This ensemble has performed and recorded around the world to great critical acclaim. March 31st will feature the second UNCP Percussion Ensemble Festival. This day will feature performances by UNCP, Fayetteville State, Spring Creek and Lumberton High School percussion ensembles. these ensembles will then be coached by the members of SO. And bringing this crazy 7 days of percussion to a close, Monday April 2nd will bring drumset artist Pat Petrillo to campus for a 2:30 masterclass. All of these events are free and open to the public.

UNCP Marching Band Auditions Coming SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 21st has been set as the audition date for the UNCP Drumline and Colorguard. Auditions will begin at 9:00 am in the UNCP band room. Those auditioning for the drumline should download the exercises from Anyone auditioning for colorguard is requested to wear comfortable clothes for movement, equipment work, & dance. Wear gym shoes or dance shoes. Girls: Please have hair back, no excessive make-up or jewelry. The colorguard auditions are open to male and female students.

UNCP Voice Department Triumphs at UNCG NATS Auditions

This past weekend, for the first time in UNCP history, our Voice Department participated in scholarship auditions held annually by the North Carolina  Chapter of the National Association Teachers of Singing (NATS). The auditions, held at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, drew over 700 students, participating in 27 divisions. These divisions ranged from high school Freshmen through Seniors, on through undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education vocal students.

A total of eight students drawn from the studios of Dr. Robyn Stevens and Mr. Jaeyoon Kim participated. Two students, Freshman, Andrew Stewart and Senior, Dwan Hayes, achieved a "Superior" rating and were advanced to the regional finals at the University of Maryland, College Park. Ms. Hayes placed fourth in Division 23, Senior Musical Theatre Women. Mr. Stewart placed fifth in Division 10, Freshman Men. Within each division, these singers competed against over 20 students from other North Carolina academic institutions. Those achieving a score of 25 or higher were advanced from district to regional finals.

Other participants included Cindy Clemmer,(Division 27, Continuing Education Women) Ashley Davis,(Division 13, College Junior Women) and Matthew Greenslade, (Division 10, College Freshman Men) from Mr. Kim's studio, and Michael Bousquet,(Division 22, Undergraduate Music Theatre Men) Tyronne McClean, (Division 10, College Freshman Men) and Leah Nichols, (Division 21, Undergraduate Music Theatre Women) from Dr. Stevens studio. Our Voice and Music Theatre departments were well represented by these students, each of which received cumulative ratings of "Excellent" within their divisions (20-24 points).

A hearty congratulations to all who participated for your successful initial  representation of UNCP at this event. A special thanks also to Ms. Akemi  Williams who took time out of her already busy schedule to accompany our  students. We look forward to even greater involvement from our voice and Music Theatre department next year. Also, best wishes to Dwan and Andy as they prepare for the next round of this competition on April 13th and 14th at the University of Maryland's hosting of the Regional NATS auditions in College Park!

Moore Hall Recital Series (MHRS) Features John Hart, Guitar, on Wednesday, Feb. 28th, at 10 AM

John Hart, guitarist, will perform works of Kern, Lennon/McCartney, Newley, Rollins, Ellington, Young, and others, at the 10 AM, MHRS concert, on Wednesday. Hart has worked with leaders in the field, including Jack McDuff, Chris Potter, and Jose Luis Rodriguez. He has 7 CDs on Blue Note and concord and has performed on 60 other recordings. He tours regularly with the John Hart Trio, recently releasing a CD entitled, Standards – Green and Blue.

Percussion Ensemble Festival

March 31st will be a busy day at UNCP as we host the UNCP Percussion Ensemble Festival brings area percussion ensembles to UNCP to perform for, and be coached by, the members of the SO Percussion group. For more information on the Percussion Ensemble Festival contact Tracy Wiggins.

Honor Band Returns In 2007

After a years hiatus the UNCP Honor Band will return on March 17th. The guest conductor for the high school band will be noted composer and conductor Mark Camphouse. Visit the honor band website for more information.

Jazz Workshops

Nationally recognized jazz artists, the Jae Sinnett Trio, performed at UNCP February 8th. The performance was followed by an informal workshop. Later in the afternoon the members of the trio will offered individualized instruction for UNCP Music Students. 

The mini-residency was sponsored by the UNCP Music Department Jazz Studies program. 

Faculty Chamber Recital Features World Premiere

On Tuesday January 23rd percussion teacher Tracy Wiggins and piano faculty Beth and Jon Maisonpierre were joined by Dr. Don Parker in a performance of Bela Bartoks landmark work "Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion." The concert also featured the World Premiere of Thomas DeLio's "transients/images" for piano and percussion.

Percussion Residency

The week of November 6th saw international percussion artist/composer Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic in residency with the UNCP Percussion Department. While at UNCP Mr. Zivkovic taught lessons to all percussion majors, presented a percussion masterclass, taught a course on composing to the orchestration class, worked with the UNCP Percussion Ensemble and presented a solo recital featuring his compositions. This was a great week to be a percussion major at UNCP!

Percussion Clinic

On Wednesday October 25th the UNCP percussion studio and jazz program hosted internationally known jazz vibraphone artist Jerry Tachoir. During his clinics at UNCP Tachoir discussed jazz improvisation and theory, mallet technique and the music business. In addition several UNCP jazz students had the opportunity to perform an improvisation for Mr. Tachoir.

Medieval Feast Returns

After a year that saw the first UNCP Choral Cavalcade the Medieval Feast returned in 2006 by popular demand. The feast was held December 1st and 2nd.