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Percussion Ensemble


The percussion studio at Ohio Northern University is very engaged, active and successful.  It is open to music majors and non-majors who participate in ensembles. These ensembles include the 150 piece Marching Band, the Wind Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonic Band, the Jazz Band, Steel Drum Band, Percussion Ensemble, and as needed, the pit orchestra for musicals.  ONU has two 5-octave Adams marimbas, two 4.3 octave Musser marimbas, a new set of 5 Adams timpani, new Adams xylophone, new Adams chime, a full steel drum band, African drumming, and Chinese percussion, plus other instruments you would expect in a large college – however, ONU is a smaller liberal arts college – the best of both worlds!

The studio is under the direction and guidance of Dr. Sarah Waters. Waters has a Doctorate in percussion performance (Ohio State University ’95), a Masters in percussion performance and conducting (Western Michigan University ‘91), and a Bachelor’s degree in music education (Ohio Northern University ’87). She is a Fulbright Scholar, and spent a year studying and teaching in Africa. Recently, Waters toured China performing and teaching master classes. In summer of 2014, Waters taught African music in Ghana.

At ONU, you can be as busy as you want to be - playing and performing to your heart’s delight!  Of course, we keep an eye out for you that your academic work does not suffer from it! Our music majors graduate with a strong record of landing teaching jobs.  Others will go on to graduate school, or even military bands.

Recent student success includes two ONU Concerto contest winners.   These bi-annual competitions involve the entire student body, and to win is great achievement. Selected winners have the opportunity to perform with the ONU Symphony Orchestra in front of an audience of usually 300 people. In 2010, percussionist Joshua Purk won playing Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto and is now a percussionist with the Army Reserves. In 2012 Jeffrey Martin won this same contest and was featured performing Rosauro’s Timpani Concerto. Martin recently accepted the position as a full-time teacher of steel drums at Clark Montessori High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, Emanuel Bowman (ONU 2013) performed a junior and senior recital and has accepted the position as Graduate Teaching Assistant at The University of Akron (declining the same at Miami (OH) University). Emanuel’s recitals were on a very high, graduate-school level. I look for him to be extremely successful in his Master’s program and to go on to earn a Doctorate. I have already invited him to present his Master‘s recital at ONU in two years.

In Spring 2013, the percussion students went to the Ohio Day of Percussion where they performed and received comments from Michael Burritt (Eastman School of Music), Jim Culley (Cincinnati Conservatory) and Gwen Burgett (Michigan State University).

The Percussion Ensemble performs high-caliber collegiate literature. Students are given the opportunity to compose or arrange for the ensemble and to rehearse and conduct the group. ONU is now able to offer African drumming and dance (we have twice collaborated for concerts with Brenda Hoyt-Brackman and her dance students), and due to my research and visit to China this past May, I have brought back several Chinese percussion instruments, which the ONU students will have the opportunity to play in percussion ensemble. Truly, ONU Percussion students have a chance to experience and perform music from the non-Western world.

The ONU Percussion ensemble performs at the end of each semester, and will take trips.  During Spring 2011 we traveled to Elder High School in Cincinnati and then on to Fisk University in Nashville, a historically African-American university, where we performed several works for percussion ensemble that are by new and cutting edge composers (Brent Dietz, Sharpened Stick, for example) and several works by Fisk University composer Gary Powell Nash.
Emanuel Bowman performs "Rhythmic Caprice" by Leigh Howard Stevens at his junior recital.
"We No Speak Americano" performed by the ONU Percussion Ensemble.

Watch the ONU Wind Orchestra play "Stubernic Fantasy" by Mark Ford. Directed by Sarah Waters, featuring Manny Bowman, Jeff Martin and Andy Kremyar.

See more performances in the Videos tab to the right. 



Past Percussion Ensemble Concert:


Master Class with percussionist Bob Becker