Putnam City North Percussion Ensemble to Play for International Audience

11.03.2017 7:40 AM

A group of 24 students from Putnam City North High School will be one of just three high school percussion ensembles to perform at the prestigious Percussive Arts Society International Convention on Nov. 10 in Indianapolis.

The invitation to the Putnam City North percussion ensemble came in June when the group’s director, Dane Romano, received word that his students were selected as one of the winners of the Percussive Arts Society’s (PAS) International Percussion Ensemble Competition. The prize for being a winner in the competition is the chance to be featured performers at the convention, the largest drum and percussion event in the world.

Romano remembers receiving the news that Putnam City North had been selected as a winner in the international competition.

“When I received the phone call I was stunned and thrilled. It’s always been a goal to be selected as a winner of this competition. We all work hard and we hope and dream. But to actually be chosen for this award is incredible. This is the pinnacle for the high school percussion ensemble art form,” Romano says.

Romano says the success of Putnam City North’s percussion ensemble has been in the making for some time.

“For this group it has taken years of rehearsal and dedicated students who have learned to value the process of hard work and phenomenal performance. So much of this success is owed to past students who have already graduated, students who were dedicated to showing up on time, practicing outside of rehearsal and buying into performing and rehearsing at a high level at all times,” Romano says.

The music played by percussion ensembles is usually classical, challenging, imaginative and sometimes experimental. Depending on the piece being played, a percussion ensemble may play marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones, chimes, pianos, bells, hand bells, tambourines, maracas and triangles. They may play drums, too – instruments like concert toms, bongos, congas, snare drums, tenor drums and concert bass drums. There are numerous other small percussion instruments that can be used, as well as instruments from cultures around the world. From time to time percussion ensembles use something as unexpected and unconventional as flower pots, sheets of metal or sirens.

People who would like to hear the Putnam City North percussion ensemble will have two chances before the group leaves for Indianapolis. At 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, the ensemble will play in the Medium Rehearsal Hall in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, the group will play in the Performing Arts Center at Putnam City North High School. Admission two both concerts is free but donations are welcome.

In both concerts the ensemble will play the pieces they will perform before an international audience in Indianapolis:
• Mass by John Mackey
• Ku-Ka Ilimoku by Chistopher Rouse
• Montana Music mvt. II by David Maslanka
• Tigernado by Jamie Whitmarsh (World Premiere)
• Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre arranged by Joseph Craven
• Symphony No. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich arranged by Joseph Craven

Romano says the students are eager to perform at the convention.

“The convention draws thousands of attendees each year from across the U.S. and more than 20 countries. Because it’s the highest honor a high school percussion ensemble can receive, it’s a notable achievement for our program, district and state. Our students very excited to have earned this opportunity to perform,” Romano says.