Drum Friends are the Best Friends!

Not sure what you’re doing Sunday evening, March 25, 2018 at 7pm?
You’re going to the University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble Concert!

We’ve decided to invite a pile of guest artists to join us to celebrate our first full year in our beautiful new facilities in the Desautels Faculty of Music Tache Construction! Check out this amazing line up:

Mike Kemp–Principal Timpanist of the WSO will be featured in John Beck’s Concerto for Timpani and Percussion Ensemble. Mike is a great player and a great human being. Check out his bio here!

Cam Denby will be featured on the marimba in a performance of Ghanaia, this is an exciting and rhythmic work featuring a world percussion ensemble accompanying the marimba. It is a U of M Percussion Ensemble tradition to feature the graduating students in the percussion ensemble concert and I am looking forward to this performance as well as to hearing more from Cam in the future!

Kevin King is best known as Floyd the Clown when getting up to any type of antics but we are going to see his juggling skills in action during our Ballet for Basketballs! These novelty pieces are a great way to explore sound and choreography in percussion writing, plus they are just a TON of FUN!

The U of M Alumni Ensemble is back! We had a such a great time performing last year during “This is it” the farewell concert for the great hall, that we decided to “put the band back together again” for another performance. It has been so much fun working with former students, former classmates, and current colleagues and getting the chance to get together and play!

Alyssah Poiron is a third year student who will be performing a xylophone solo with the alumni ensemble! Instead of the traditional xylophone rag, she’ll be forming a xylophone jig entitled “the absent minded woman” a title which does not in any way apply to Alyssah!

You won’t want to miss this concert! We hope to see you there!

Admission is free–Silver Collection at the door.

Sunday March 25, 2018. 7pm. T-145 (Large Ensemble Room, main floor, Tache  New Construction) in the Desautels Faculty of Music

Prairie Percussion 2018!


Looking forward to another great year at the MBA PPW!

This summer’s workshop will be from August 7-10 and I can’t wait to see our returning participants and meet all the new drum friends who will be coming to join in on the Drum Fun!

I am so grateful to all of the participants, the guest artists, the wonderful educators, and dear friends who have all worked with me to make sure that this workshop has grown and developed and thrived, and now, in its 7th year, is part of the MBA family of summer programs. When I started this program I hoped that this workshop would help grow the percussion community in Manitoba and I am so honoured that so many people have given so much of their time and talents to help make that hope into a reality!

Registration is open for this year’s workshop. Click here for more information or to register.

We are back in the amazing facilities at the Desautels Faculty of Music and I am starting to work on the classes, guest artists, masterclasses and special events for this year’s workshop. Its going to be another great year of Drum Love!

University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble Winter 2018

Its going to be a heck of a semester for the University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble. We have several exciting performances coming up!

Come see the U of M Percussion Ensemble as we perform in the Commons at The Forks on Sunday January 28, 2018 at 1pm for a pop concert as part of the WSO New Music Festival. We will be premiering three pieces by U of M student composers. Fascinating and eclectic works by Anatol Rennie, Chris Love and Nolan Hildebrand.

My percussion students will be performing solo and small ensemble works for marimba as part of the Millennium Library Concert Series on March 1, 2018 at 12pm downtown at the Millennium Library. This is an exciting opportunity for these students to show off their skills on the marimba as part of this wonderful chamber music series.

Join us this spring for our final On-Campus concert featuring Mike Kemp (principal timpanist of the WSO), Cam Denby (graduating student) and the return of the U of M Alumni Percussion Ensemble. March 25, 2017 at 7pm. Made up of graduates from the past 30 years this ensemble formed last year to perform at the Great Hall Farewell concert and they had so much fun that we’ve decided to have another go at it!

Cody Iwasiuk and Los Cabus Drumsticks!

I’m delighted to announce that one of the instructors and guest artists at this year’s Prairie Percussion Workshop will be Cody Iwasiuk, known locally as the drummer in the Dirty Catfish Brass Band but Cody is also busy with a variety of projects across Manitoba and Canada!We are excited to have him working with all of the students at PPW.

Check out his and other past and current artist bios here:

Artist Bios

Cody is sponsored by Los Cabos Drumsticks and the MBA Prairie Percussion Workshop is happy to announce their support of an award that will be given out to an outstanding performer during this years workshop! This award will go to a participant who demonstrates exceptional musical ability and development through the week. I am grateful to this company for offering their support of the MBA PPW!

All students who attend the workshop are automatically under consideration for the award.

Thank you to Los Cabos for their support of this program!

Am I doing this right? –or… how I’m hoping I’ll be spending my summer vacation…


By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is noblest; second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. –Confucius


I always get to this time of year in a mixed state, on one hand, I’m ready for the change of pace and for a little time to recover from a busy winter semester. And then about 3 days go by and I’m wandering around the house sure that I have things to do, but I just can’t quite figure out what they are.

Inevitably, there are long term tasks (like updating my website, hence the current blog post attempt…) and sorting out music and plotting what new and exciting adventures I’m going to force my students to join me on next year, but somehow, in the middle of a quiet day, I can’t quite put my finger on the specific thing I should be doing right this second. Musicians and educators live a life of here and now, what concert do I have to play tonight, what do I need to remember to do for my students tomorrow. Things are urgent. Adrenaline is your friend. All I think about in February is survival, and how great it will be in May when I have time to think, and in May, I can’t seem to think clearly at all.  Clarity seems to come in August, when suddenly the new school year is coming up and I think of 15 great projects and wonder why I didn’t take some of that free time in May to organize and plot out these great ideas.

I need to learn to look backwards (who even remembers what show they played yesterday, a week ago, nevermind a month, or 3 ago…) and reflect on what actually happened. After that, maybe I can step far enough outside this desire to feel as though every project needs to be urgent in order for it to hold my attention. Maybe I can give an idea room to grow, and change, and not worry that I don’t have every detail laid out from the outset. I love crossing things off lists, but maybe at this time of year I need a different kind of list, a “lets see what happens” list.

Anyone else feel this way? Or differently?