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Pearl News

23 May

Bob Becker Residency at Wright State University

Bob Becker was in residence at Wright State University from March 28-April 2.  He presented classes and clinics, taught lessons, and performed in recital with the Wright State University Percussion Ensemble and host/Director of Percussion, Jerry Noble.  Additional guest performers included Pearl artists Gwen Burgett from Michigan State, Braham Dembar (Principal Percussion Indianapolis Symphony), and Eric Schweikert (Acting Principal Timpanist, Detroit Symphony).  Also, Steve Larson (USAF Bandsman) and Jeff Luft (Luft Mallets and Dayton Philharmonic) were actively involved in the project. 

The WSU student performers included Ben Kipp (this summer’s Brevard TA), Travis Wissman (attending Brevard this summer), Bilinda Lou (attending Brevard this summer), Ben Deptula (Blue Lake International Program, Timpanist), Jeff Brooks (Madison Scouts Staff), Ashley Miller (Valley View HS, Percussion Director), Tyler Spears (Greenview HS, Percussion Director), Joey Sheridan, and Evan Weiler.  Becker performed Mudra, Ragtime Robin, Alabam Moon, and Away Without Leave with the student ensembles.  Impressed with the students and the program, Bob said “Jerry had these students solidly prepared and they performed very, very well.  I enjoyed working with these fine young performers.” 

The other artists performed some of Becker’s works, to include: “Unseen Child” (Dembar, Schweikert, Luft, Noble) and “Prisoner’s of the Image Factory” (Noble and WSU student Bilinda Lou).  Valse Brilliante involved Steve Larson, Eric Schweikert, Jeff Luft, and Jerry Noble.  Steve Reich’s “Mallet Quartet” was also performed and included Burgett, Luft, and Noble.  Becker was very pleased with concert saying, “It was quite a treat to work with all these great pros.  I had a blast.  Mallet Quartet was fantastic—a truly great performance and memorable experience.”
The concert, held in Wright State’s newly renovated Schuster Hall, was very well attended by the Dayton arts community.  The audience enjoyed seeing Becker’s virtuosity and were impressed by the students and guest artists.  Bill Platt (retired Principal Percussion, Cincinnati Symphony) was in attendance and said, “This was all so great.  It was nice to see Bob perform--he was an old schoolmate of mine from my Eastman days.  Jerry’s students were fantastic and the pro performances were amazing!”

NEXUS performed in Springfield OH at Wittenberg University on March 27 and then following the Wright State residency, Bob presented clinics at Capital University (hosted by Eric Paton and Bob Breithaupt) and Ohio Northern University (hosted by Sarah Waters).  The tour finished up in Fort Wayne at IPFW (Indiana/Purdue University-Fort Wayne) and included a similar performance with Schweikert, Noble, Luft, Lou, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic Principal Percussionist—Jason Markzon. 

Jerry Noble comments, “It was such an honor to perform with Bob and to get know him. He was obviously great to work with and it was very nice to bring so many great folks together for such a wonderful collaboration.”  The event was funded by the Wright State University Artist Series Fund and additional generous sponsorships.