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THE PERCUSSION SCHOLARSHIP GROUP

+ WELCOME

We are The Percussion Scholarship Group


On behalf of The Percussion Scholarship Group we would like to welcome you to our official website! Feel free to check out our gallery and keep up with our upcoming events. We appreciate all of your support and hope you continue to enjoy our music.

 

 


+ ABOUT US

Our History

Launched in 1995 under the direction of CSO percussionist Patricia Dash and Douglas Waddell, percussionist with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Percussion Scholarship Program offers intensive, individual, weekly percussion instruction on a full scholarship basis... Read more

Directors


Patricia Dash

Patricia Dash


Douglas Waddell

Douglas Waddell

Members


Meet the members of the Percussion Scholarship Group!

+ CALENDAR

Our calendar shows upcoming events.

+ FAQ

Our History

What is the application process for my child/student to apply for the Percussion Scholarship Program?

Each spring, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) sends Application Packets to third and fourth grade teachers at elementary schools in Chicago, both public and private. Teachers are asked to nominate outstanding students. Teachers fill out a questionnaire, and distribute applications to the students they have nominated. Nominated students and their parents complete the application, which is then sent to the program’s directors.

If completed application materials from teachers and students are received by the printed deadline, the students and their families will then be invited to attend the Percussion Scholarship Groups spring recital at Symphony Center. Applicants must attend the recital. After hearing the performance and learning more about the experience of playing in the group, applicants are invited to sign up for a brief interview scheduled for the following weekend. At the interview, the program’s directors meet with each prospective student and their parents. They are given some simple rhythmic exercises which test for aptitude.

All applicants are notified as to whether or not they have been accepted for a provisional training period. Those accepted begin individual and group lessons during the summer months. A preliminary performance at the end of the summer allows the program’s directors to determine which students will continue and which will conclude their participation.

How do I know if teachers at my school received Application Packets?

The CSO sends to long list of schools, but it may not be comprehensive. If you would like to see if you your child/student’s school is included, please e-mail institute@cso.org. We will be happy to add schools to the list, as long as they are within Chicago city limits.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students who are in the third or fourth grade attending a school in the Chicago city limits.

If accepted into the program, what is the time commitment?

The Percussion Scholarship Group meets weekly on Saturdays (and sometimes on Sundays) year round, with the exception of weekends that coincide with major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Additionally, students are asked to practice for a minimum of 45 minutes daily at their own homes, and practice time increases as student’s progress in the program.

How long can my child/student participate in the program?

Students who are invited to continue after the provisional period are eligible to participate through the eighth grade, and select students are invited to continue through high school.

How many new spots are there each season for new participants?

It varies year to year, based on the total number of current participants. There is room for approximate 5 to 10 new students (provisionally) each spring.

Are there any costs associated with participation in the program?

No. The program allows participants to study with a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra percussion section free of charge. Instruments are provided for home practice as well as for individual and group lessons.

How often does the group perform?

The Percussion Scholarship Group performs several times each season at Symphony Center, and occasionally at other venues.

My child/student has no prior musical experience. Will he/she still be considered for the program?

Yes. We look to teachers to help identify students who work well with others and have a great sense of responsibility and commitment. Equally importantly, for students to succeed in the program they must have extremely supportive, dependable parents and a strong sense of self-discipline. Prior musical training does not help – or hurt – an applicant’s chances of acceptance into the program.

My child/student has been playing percussion for a few years now. Can he/she join?

If the child/student meets the eligibility requirement (in grade 3 or 4 at time of application, and attending a school within Chicago city limits), then they are welcome to apply. Students in higher grades are not eligible to join the program. As previously stated, prior musical training does not help – or hurt – an applicant’s chances of acceptance into the program.

My family has summer vacation plans that take us away from Chicago for 2 or more weeks. If accepted into the program, can my child still participate?

This is determined on a case by case basis. It is worth applying for the program, and if accepted, parents should proactively communicate vacation time to the program’s directors. If the child will miss a substantial (2 or more) number of lessons, it can be detrimental to their development and ultimate success in the program.

I’m interested in seeing the Percussion Scholarship Group perform. How can I find out about upcoming performances?

Information about upcoming performances can be found on this website: www.percussionscholars.com and on the CSO website, www.cso.org.

+ GALLERY

+ VIDEO

A video of our performance of Symphonic Metamorphosis, arranged by Cliff Colnot, performed in Buntrock Hall, Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, May 26, 2013.

Though inspired by President Obama's book, composer Gary Fry stresses that this musical composition is designed to be patriotic, not political, in nature. The work, in five continuous sections, begins with the sweeping & stately Prologue, which also functions musically to reveal the basic motivic components of the piece. The second section, Contemplation, is an instrumental reflection on the timeless values that have sustained our democracy from its inception. In the third section, Anthem, the chorus comments despite challenges, setbacks, and conflict in our nation's history, "There is Hope." The ensemble builds through the fourth section as a call to action called Exhortation, and the work continues with the energetic, joyful, and dance like Celebration, including the choral exclamation that "where there is hope, dreams are free to fly."

Though inspired by President Obama's book, composer Gary Fry stresses that this musical composition is designed to be patriotic, not political, in nature. The work, in five continuous sections, begins with the sweeping & stately Prologue, which also functions musically to reveal the basic motivic components of the piece. The second section, Contemplation, is an instrumental reflection on the timeless values that have sustained our democracy from its inception. In the third section, Anthem, the chorus comments despite challenges, setbacks, and conflict in our nation's history, "There is Hope." The ensemble builds through the fourth section as a call to action called Exhortation, and the work continues with the energetic, joyful, and dance like Celebration, including the choral exclamation that "where there is hope, dreams are free to fly."

"Shostakovich´s Symphony #10 has been our biggest challenge to date. The enormity of this 20th century masterpiece was quite daunting at times. This performance is a culmination of a year of planning and preparation. One of our biggest challenges was creating the brass and string sections using our sequencers and samplers and executing those complex parts live. Our solution of using a click track for those players solved a great deal of problems in addition to the great many hours we spent in the studio creating velocity, tempo and dynamic tracks to balance the samples with the live performers. Mr. Colnot´s arrangement and orchestration was absolutely brilliant. He was able to capture all of its energy and excitement as well as creating our players with parts that worked seamlessly together to create ´the orchestra´! This is such an exciting and tremendous performance of one of the great works of our time. We hope you enjoy it!" - Doug Waddell

Played during 2004 Holiday Concert.

This presentation is a music video of our 2009 spring concert featuring music from Pirates of the Caribbean, Lift-Off, Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Xylophonia, Marimba Spiritual, Blue Motion and Afta-Stuba--performed in front of a packed house on the stage of Orchestra Hall--Home of the Chicago Symphony. We were joined by the brass section of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. We hope you enjoy it!

Prokefiev

"This video is our performance of a medley of Prokofiev´s best music! This arrangement by Cliff Colnot includes excerpts from his 1st and 5th symphonies, the sword scene from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, and the march from his opera Love for Three Oranges. We hope you enjoy it!" - Doug Waddell

Daphnis and Chloe

Played during 2004 Holiday Concert.

Estancia

"This performance of Estancia on the main stage of Orchestra Hall in front of a packed house was one of our most memorable events ever! We had already performed the piece a few weeks earlier at our annual spring concert and the kids really loved it so it didn´t take a lot of incentive to get them to rise to a new level of performance. Add the excitement of performing on this world famous stage, and you have the recipe for something exceptional. Cliff Colnot´s arrangement of this work captures the excitement and energy that Ginastera´s score and the addition of some brass and string sounds made it all come to life! Cliff´s arrangement is something very special and after hearing it we hope you feel the same. Enjoy!" - Doug Waddell

Joshua Chicago

Joshua explains marimba.

Joshua

Joshua explains marimba.

Spain

"This performance of Spain is with Joshua Jones, who was one of the younger members of the group. However, his intuitive ‘groove’ & solid technique allowed us to explore even newer ranges of expression. Although I had played Spain before, it was a significantly different experience working with Joshua´s style of playing." - Yi Wei

"I was especially honored to perform Spain with Yi Wei. I always looked up to her for motivation & advice, but to play with her? I was excited to do it! It didn´t take too long to have good ensemble for rehearsals, and we both learned & liked the piece very quickly. I still play it to this day." - Joshua Jones

The 9 Minute Concert

"The Nine Minute Concert is a sampler mix of our entire performance at the 2005 Percussion International Convention. (PASIC) We had performed at PASIC 3 years earlier with a much more experienced group and I was rather concerned whether this young group of untested performers could deliver a performance that would live up to the high expectations that our group had built it´s reputation upon. As you will hear in this short video, they all did a magnificent job! You will hear a wonderful rendition of Xylophonia, complete with 2 rather willful duck call soloists, Marimba Spiritual, Spain, and our arrangement of Star Wars -- directed by a rather powerful and evil conductor." - Doug Waddell

Stop Time

"Stop Time was the first piece I really memorized, and that made it even more fun to play. It was nice to play something with solo and ensemble for the first time as a soloist. I really liked to play the ending because of the jazz feel. I love jazz in music especially when I get to play it." - Joshua Jones

Sleigh Ride

"Our arrangement of Leroy Anderson´s Sleigh Ride is a special one for us in that it was the first piece we asked Cliff Colnot to arrange for us way back in 1995. In that first concert Patsy and I played Mr. Anderson´s well known work on two marimbas. The original fifteen 5th grade members of the ensemble played an array of non-pitched percussion instruments, having only been introduced to the art of playing percussion three months earlier! Since those early years, Mr. Colnot´s arrangement has evolved as the members of the group have improved their skills. Each year it is a staple of our holiday concert. And what is the most difficult decision I must make every year---what cute first year student is going to play the slapstick!" - Doug Waddell

Virginia Tate

"At first when learning this piece, I struggled to find a feel for the music because of the many changes in theme and emotion. But when my teacher told me to think of the piece as a rolling, moving, jazzy tune, I slowly began to notice how the different segments connected and how the piece grooved. Once I was able to get a feel for the music it was much easier to transition between the different sections and project the different emotions that the piece invoked. All in all I have to say that Virginia Tate is my favorite piece up to date, because of the flow and the swing of the music and the multiple emotions that are portrayed throughout the piece. These two ideas significantly helped me bond with the music and it allowed me to show the emotions of the piece through my body movements and phrasing, which made this performance thrilling and my most memorable one." - John Ringor

The Percussion Scholarship Group Music Video 2009

This presentation is a music video of our 2009 spring concert featuring music from Pirates of the Caribbean, Lift-Off, Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Xylophonia, Marimba Spiritual, Blue Motion and Afta-Stuba--performed in front of a packed house on the stage of Orchestra Hall--Home of the Chicago Symphony. We were joined by the brass section of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. We hope you enjoy it!

Shostakovich 10th Symphony

"Shostakovich´s Symphony #10 has been our biggest challenge to date. The enormity of this 20th century masterpiece was quite daunting at times. This performance is a culmination of a year of planning and preparation. One of our biggest challenges was creating the brass and string sections using our sequencers and samplers and executing those complex parts live. Our solution of using a click track for those players solved a great deal of problems in addition to the great many hours we spent in the studio creating velocity, tempo and dynamic tracks to balance the samples with the live performers. Mr. Colnot´s arrangement and orchestration was absolutely brilliant. He was able to capture all of its energy and excitement as well as creating our players with parts that worked seamlessly together to create ´the orchestra´! This is such an exciting and tremendous performance of one of the great works of our time. We hope you enjoy it!" - Doug Waddell

Libertango

"I really enjoyed performing Libertango. Even preparing for this performance was enjoyable. I had to find mallets to play the piece with, and I even had to work out so my left hand could handle the bass line! The beginning, to me, sets the audience up for that surprise triplet that takes you into the tango. First, it´s the right hand with a single line. Then the second time, I do double stops to add to the main line. Then again the feel changes in another break. My favorite part of that was doing the 32nd notes in between each of the lines. Then after the cadenza it goes back to the tango feel. The ending was my favorite part. I love how you get to hear different versions of the main line, and if I could, I´d improvise that whole ending. All in all, I love to play this piece, and I will continue to play it. " - Joshua Jones

Star Wars

Who doesnt love this great piece of Music! Cliff Colnots spectacular arrangement is such great fun! You will hear the Main Theme, Yodas Theme, the Imperial March, & the Throne Room! We were thrilled to be together again with the fabulous Chicago Youth Symphonys brass and bass sections. If youre a fan of this wonderful fantasy trilogy, youll love hearing John Williamss magnificent score performed by the Percussion Scholarship Group.

Lift Off/Pirates of the Caribbean

This exciting arrangement of Pirates was the kickoff of our long awaited 2009 Spring Concert entitled Lights, Camera, Percussion! Chicagos very own Gary Fry created this wonderful arrangement especially for this concert. We are joined by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras brass and bass sections. Enjoy!

Afta Stuba

Mark Fords visually interesting trio was so fun we decided to double the pleasure and expand this work to include 6 of our members. We had a great time putting this one together!

Mars/Superman/Raiders of the Lost Ark

This fantastic arrangement by our wonderful friend arranger/conductor Cliff Colnot we entitled Superheroes! We are once again joined by the Chicago Youth Symphonys brass and bass sections. Those guys really earned their stripes on this one!

Xylophonia

We have expanded this classic ragtime work to include two xylophone soloists as well as featuring our 2nd year students in an extended percussion solo. Dont miss two of our 2nd year students demonstrating their prowess on the technically demanding but always entertaining duck calls! I just dont understand this younger generation—we just dont speak the same language!

Jovial Jasper

"Out of the many different ragtime pieces I have played, Jovial Jasper has been my most favorite. I love how it had a smooth bouncy groove and how it swung. Because of how the happy, groovy attitude of the piece, I was quickly able to connect with it which made performing it much easier. I especially liked the one section in the beginning where G.H. Green decided to add a little improvisation into the mix. Learning that little adlib part, though difficult because of how different it was from the rest of the piece, was exciting and fun, and it added pizzazz to keep it fresh interesting." - John Ringor

Two Part Invention #4

"Playing the Two Part Invention #4 with Yi Wei was overwhelming. Every time I see Yi and I playing this piece I think to myself ´How did I do that!?´ I have always noticed with every piece we played together that we had this connection and some voice of music. I´ve also learned many new things playing with her, which has challenged me to become a better musician over the years." - Eugene Mason

Frivolity

"Frivolity is my most memorable piece by far. I remember all those long practices I would get so upset. The ending was the real accomplishment! I would always mess up or just stop. Then, Mr. Waddell told me the crowd always remembers the beginning and the ending. This didn´t really help at first since the ending was the exact thing I was having a problem with. When it was time for my piece, I remember thinking, ´Oh snap, I forgot how the ending goes!´ My fingers went numb and all I saw was Mr. Waddell giving me the two bars to begin. After the first five seconds, I loved every minute of it! The ending was awesome!" - Zuri Wells

Bourree

"Through performing this piece, I noticed scales made up the majority of both parts which shows Bach’s ABAB form. The most challenging aspect of Bouree is the precise articulations with which each note & dynamic has to be performed. The piece is split into two movements. The 1st movement is intertwined with many dynamics & fast rhythms-the 2nd movement a sense of calmness is felt. It is still fast, but the style with which the 2nd movement has to be played changes the feel. Overall, this was a piece that I had great fun learning and performing." - Prudence Wong

Sabre Dance Medley

A video of our performance of Sabre Dance Medley: a medley of music from Aram Khachaturian' Sabre Dance, the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah, and George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody arranged by Cliff Colnot, performed in Buntrock Hall, Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Ultimatum

Joshua Jones performing Ultimatum I by N. Zivkovic , recorded in Buntrock Hall, Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on June 6, 2010 as a member of The Percussion Scholarship Group.

Hope

Though inspired by President Obama's book, composer Gary Fry stresses that this musical composition is designed to be patriotic, not political, in nature. The work, in five continuous sections, begins with the sweeping & stately Prologue, which also functions musically to reveal the basic motivic components of the piece. The second section, Contemplation, is an instrumental reflection on the timeless values that have sustained our democracy from its inception. In the third section, Anthem, the chorus comments despite challenges, setbacks, and conflict in our nation's history, "There is Hope." The ensemble builds through the fourth section as a call to action called Exhortation, and the work continues with the energetic, joyful, and dance like Celebration, including the choral exclamation that "where there is hope, dreams are free to fly."

Hope (Short Version)

Though inspired by President Obama's book, composer Gary Fry stresses that this musical composition is designed to be patriotic, not political, in nature. The work, in five continuous sections, begins with the sweeping & stately Prologue, which also functions musically to reveal the basic motivic components of the piece. The second section, Contemplation, is an instrumental reflection on the timeless values that have sustained our democracy from its inception. In the third section, Anthem, the chorus comments despite challenges, setbacks, and conflict in our nation's history, "There is Hope." The ensemble builds through the fourth section as a call to action called Exhortation, and the work continues with the energetic, joyful, and dance like Celebration, including the choral exclamation that "where there is hope, dreams are free to fly."

Symphonic Metamorphosis

A video of our performance of Symphonic Metamorphosis, arranged by Cliff Colnot, performed in Buntrock Hall, Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, May 26, 2013.

See all Videos.

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