Even though the in-person Day of Percussion was canceled this April, the four guest artists worked together to present a Virtual Day of Percussion available on YouTube.
Day of Percussion is an event held at St. Cloud State University each year to celebrate the art of drumming.
Organizer Dr. Terry Vermillion worked together with the guest artists to collect almost three hours of videos in a 10-episode playlist. Most of the videos feature original educational content from looping/sampling guru Martin Dosh, marimba improvisor/composer Jenny Klukken, drum set artist JT Bates, and live effects processing experimenter Anthony DiBartolo. The artists were originally scheduled to present during the Day of Percussion and were excited to participate in a new way.
“They were awesome and very thankful that we did not cancel our commitment to them as presenters,” Vermillion said. “The devastating challenge for gig musicians like these is that everything has been canceled all the way through the summer.”
Vermillion said he was happy to be able to retain the university’s commitment to the musicians as well as provide an educational component to young musicians who are learning from home at this time who otherwise would have participated in the event.
“I’m proud of the work I’ve done to curate this virtual event,” he said. “It has been a learning curve for me too.”
The virtual event was a first for Vermillion, who was able to take his experience from teaching online courses to ensure the videos were edited and had professional-quality audio.
Finding a quiet space to set up instruments and make some noise was a challenge for the artists as it is for students during this time of staying at home.
“Educators have been talking about the benefits of asynchronous learning where students can study and consume the information on their own schedule, I thought that a playlist of original content from the artists that could be pushed out on social media was a good way for people to benefit from the artistry of our presenters,” Vermillion said.
Day of Percussion is always open to students and enthusiasts of all ages to participate in a day of percussion, clinics competition and performance. The event usually draws participation from several high school musicians and Vermillion is encouraging them to participate in the virtual event by sharing the event with music teachers throughout Minnesota.
The Day of Percussion is hosted by the Department of Music and the School of the Arts. The event is sponsored through the financial support of the David Swenson Memorial Foundation, which has granted more than $700,000 since 1994. The David Swenson Foundation provides scholarship funding for students majoring in music whose principal instrument is percussion, supports the purchase of equipment for the music program,
and has funded professional guest artists presenting to students and the community.