Get up and dance at the Mercer Percussion Ensemble concert


Image: Courtesy of Mercer Marketing

The Mercer Percussion Ensemble is hard at work in preparation for their upcoming concert, which will include two pieces written specifically for the group by composer Darren Pettit.

Matthew Causey, Contributing Writer

Marcus Reddick, the Director of Percussion Studies at Mercer University, will be hosting a performance by the Mercer Percussion Ensemble on April 8 in Fickling Hall.

The concert will include a variety of pieces and styles of music, including two pieces written specifically for this event by Darren Pettit, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Student musicians will perform the majority of the concert, and Reddick will join them for a few of the pieces that require an additional musician.

“We had a mass exodus in personnel at the very beginning of this semester,” Reddick said.

After the previous recital last semester, Reddick was prepared to teach an ensemble of seven people. However, more than half of its members dropped out for various reasons, leaving him with only three musicians for this upcoming recital.

Reddick was forced to change things to accommodate the new number of musicians, which he said put a large strain on the program this semester. He even had to call Pettit to ask him to re-work the pieces for three people instead of seven.

“So of course I had to call him immediately [because] I commissioned [the pieces] last March,” Reddick said. “He’s graciously re-written it. He’s got us the parts out and everything, and it’s great. It’s written for three people, so we’ll make it work.

While the change in personnel made programming more difficult, Reddick devised a new list of pieces that will be played at the event.

The pieces that will be featured in this recital include Rosauro’s “Cenas Brasilieras,” Tompkins’ “Board Games,” Peyton’s “Primitive Echoes,” Gottry’s “Heads Up,” Romig’s “Parallax” and Peters’ “Study in 5/8.”

The concert will also include Bear Steel, a steel drum ensemble that will play a few pieces in between performances by the percussion ensemble.

“I try to, as much as possible, create an environment that’s indicative for the professional, but also something that’s going to challenge the listeners. Always,” Reddick said, “Because professional music isn’t always readily accessible.”

On top of the variety of pieces, Reddick said that he also wanted to have at least one piece that urged people to get on their feet and dance. He said that he wanted those who attended the recital to enjoy the music in a way that not many people do at other professional recitals.

“I always encourage audiences . . . that if you feel like dancing, go ahead,” Reddick said.

Reddick also urged Mercer students to come and enjoy the recital while they can. He said that unlike the recitals the music school puts on, the concerts you can attend outside of college often cost $20-50 or more.

“I like people to . . . have fun listening to music, and I like for my students to go up there and have fun playing the music,” Reddick said. “I have a very simple motto: If you’re not having fun, don’t get on the stage.”


*Editor’s note: The initial posting of this article included an incorrect date. It has been fixed and we apologize for any inconvenience.