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?

The Manitoba Band Association Prairie Percussion Workshop at the Desautels Faculty of Music!

Its a mouthful, but it is all GOOD NEWS!

I am so excited to announce that the Prairie Percussion Workshop is going to be a part of the Manitoba Band AssociatiIMG_0294on family of summer music programs!

The Manitoba Band Association offers Summer Band Camp programs across the province for middle school students. I have worked at these Summer Band Camps for the past 10 years and I can attest to the amazing mix of fun and education that goes on in these exceptional programs. I will continue to coordinate the PPW but registration will be taken over by the MBA. This exciting change comes with some wonderful benefits for current and new PPW attendees. If any student wants to attend both an MBA Summer Band Camp and the MBA Prairie Percussion Workshop they will be eligible for a $50 discount on the combined fees! That’s a long way around to saying that families can get a deal if students want to attend two wonderful summer music events!

I am also delighted that our host for this year’s event will be the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba.  The new facilities that are opening up this spring are beautiful. The percussion studio and rehearsal rooms are part of the new construction behind the recently renovated Tache Hall and are at the heart of the U of M campus.  Students will have the opportunity to explore and discover the world class facilities at PPW, which is the first public event scheduled in the new construction.
(see here for more details: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/music/662.html)

New Administration and New Facilities are exciting, but the heartbeat of this event is the amazing performers and educators who come to work with students and to share their love for all areas of percussion with them. Plus, I love seeing the looks on every student’s face when they walk into the main rehearsal room and see 4 marimbas, 3 vibraphones, 12 timpani, 6 drum sets and a partridge in a pear tree…

Can’t wait to see you there. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions!

Register Today!

This is it! (the last concert in the Great Hall!)


I am overjoyed to be saying good bye to the Great Hall (which, let’s be honest, is not that great…) and to be moving into our new facilities in the new construction attached to the Tache building, the new home of the Desautels Faculty of Music on the University of Manitoba Campus!

The percussion studio was moved over the Great Hall as a “temporary” storage and rehearsal space in 2004 and we can’t wait to get settled into our new home, but I also think its important to celebrate the achievements of the past, and to remember where we’ve come from.

The current students won’t remember the days when rehearsals were held in the Taché Auditorium (this was before my time) and equipment was carried in and out of there several times a week… I’ve heard a rumour that our old Deagan marimba enjoyed a trip down a short flight of stairs in those days…

From there we moved on to the joys of the annex, a former lab, turned percussion studio, with a drum set practice area in a retired walk-in freezer! Good Times!

…and now we are in the Great Hall Kitchen (yes, the back of a former cafeteria kitchen, though it was still a functioning kitchen when we first got there, talk about a great way to make friends…!) and this summer we will be moving to our new home. As Rachel and Monica would say “Its the End of an Era!”

To Celebrate, we are having a Dance Party! A lighthearted concert of classic (and sometimes hoaky) pop tunes.  I am so excited to be debuting the University of Manitoba Alumni Percussion Ensemble, made up of U of M percussion grades from 1982-2015! This group will play, along with the current U of M percussion ensemble and we will trade dance sets and reminisce and celebrate as we get ready to move forward into our next chapter!


The concert will be in the Great Hall at University College on March 24, 2017 at 7:30pm. You won’t want to miss this one!

Prairie Percussion Workshop 2016!

I can’t believe that this will be the 5th workshop, I know that people say it all of the time, but where does the time go?! I am so excited that this workshop has been able to grow and thrive as a resource for young musicians!



All students are given access and opportunities to develop their skills in all areas of percussion.



Students are grouped with their peers in small ensembles to develop their musical and technical abilities.



Students are given the opportunity to develop skills they can take back to their music programs.

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Music ‘n’ Mavens


I am honoured to be a part of this year’s Music ‘N’ Mavens series at the Rady JCC. I will be performing with two dear friends who happen to be amazingly talented musicians. Cathy Wood, Eric Platz and I will be performing a combination of duets and trios for Clarinet and Percussion including works by Sid Robinovitch, Astor Piazzola and a workshop performance of a new work by Fjola Evans.

We will be performing at 2pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016 as part of this interesting and inspiring series of lectures and concerts.

For more info on this series you can click here.

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University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble

The University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble had the amazing opportunity to “open” for So Percussion on January 24, 2016 as part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival at the Centennial Concert Hall. We Performed works by Joan Tower and David Lang and had the chance to meet with both composers and to have a Q&A with So Percussion before hearing them play an UNBELIEVABLE concert! It was an amazing day for the UofM Percussion Studio and we are looking forward to taking that energy to our concert on March 20, 2016 in the Great Hall at University College as well as to our studio recital on March 11, 2016 in Eva Clare Hall at 12:30pm.