Drumming up a passion for percussion
Ryan Summerlin May 15, 2014
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — In the last nine years, the Glenwood Springs High School Percussion Ensemble has found out there’s nothing more fun than making noise by beating on the instrument of their choice.
Mallets, drumsticks, hands and more are used to create different sounds that come together to produce a beautiful and often rowdy rhythm. Established in 2009, the GSHS Percussion Ensemble started as an idea in a young percussionist’s mind. With the help of many parents, the city of Glenwood Springs, the high school staff and band teacher the program has grown and has seen success competing with many larger high schools on the Front Range. The group is almost entirely self-funded, and it is kept alive by the determination of all its members and the generosity of the community.
On Thursday, May 15, the Percussion Ensemble took a tour of schools in Glenwood Springs, partly to promote the program and Percussion Premier Show at 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, at the Jeannie Miller Theatre at GSHS. The tour is not an easy task, but the Percussion Ensemble members have it down to a science. They arrive at the high school early in the morning, take apart their instruments to fit on a truck then, once at their destination, put the instruments back together, and perform. They repeat the process to go to the next school.
This year, after making five trips over Vail Pass to compete, the ensemble had great results, taking second or third in three out of the five competitions, and one of the second place wins was at the WGI Regionals. They were a young group this year with several new members, and they placed well against much larger schools from the Denver area. The group has raised its own money for competition trips, instrument repairs, instructors, uniforms and more.
Tonight the ensemble will perform its competition pieces, and many of the members will play in smaller groups or solo. During intermission there will be silent auction items, including a 2013 limited edition bat signed by Todd Helton, of the Colorado Rockies, who is now retired. Silent auction items also include a night at the Hotel Colorado, bicycle tune-ups, gifts from downtown retailers and the community.
Tickets for the show are $10 for adults and $5 presale from ensemble members and $15 at the door.