The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has two percussion ensembles (Percussion Ensemble and Global Rhythm Ensemble) comprised of percussion majors, minors, and non-majors. Students who are not percussion majors or minors are eligible to audition for the ensemble.
This ensemble comprises a major part of the percussionist’s performance experience. With very few exceptions the ensemble is devoted to performing literature written expressly for percussion, encompassing a wide spectrum of styles. In addition, music from various cultures (Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern, Mexican marimba, African, etc.) will be included on percussion ensemble programs.
The role of percussion in twentieth century music as a catalyst for acoustical experimentation, compositional theories, and instrumental experimentation and evolution is a fantastic historical perspective and one which still maintains its influential position in a multitude of current musical trends.
Under the direction of Dr. Joseph Van Hassel, the UNCP Percussion Ensemble has performed at the NCMEA Conference in Winston-Salem, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in San Antonio, Texas, and premiered works by Lindsey Jacob, Gene Koshinski, Michael Barnhart, Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz, Dan VanHassel, Joshua Busman, Jeremy Muller, and David Macbride. The Percussion Ensemble often performs with visiting artists from around the country and UNCP faculty members.