Percussion ensemble to international conference

Siri Mandava, Of The Talon staff

In the 2022-2023 school year, the percussion ensemble will be performing at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Each year the clinic selects several bands from around the country to perform and feature music; however, the group was one of only two percussion ensembles in the world performing at the event. Teachers, publishers, composers and directors from around the world come to Chicago during the clinic to see the performances and hear new music. Junior Jenny Reiter said that when she initially found out she was mostly in shock because it hadn’t really been on the radar.

“We didn’t think we would make it in because [percussion teacher Peter Repp] made it out to be this big thing that like we were gonna submit for but like we weren’t really going to get it,” Reiter said. “When he came in and told us it was a big surprise, it was really exciting though.”

The percussion ensemble applied for selection in March and found out mid-April of 2022. Repp said that they had to submit several different materials in order to apply.

“We just had to submit a couple of videos and audio recordings of some of our performances from earlier in the year. So we got to play at something similar but just on a state level for MMEA [Missouri Music Educators Association] and we just took that performance and took the recordings from that and submitted that as our application. We had to have some letters of recommendations and stuff written for it too but it’s mostly just based on the recordings that we sent in,” Repp said.

The group’s performance will be about an hour long, which is double the amount of time for their MMEA performance. Junior Slate Skiles said that it was a lot of music but they would be able to play pieces that they had already seen before.

“The amount of music we are performing is a lot because our performance has to be one hour long but luckily we are allowed to do pieces we have played before in the past and we are also allowed to play easier rated pieces of music because that is the rules of the clinic,” Skiles said.

Due to the long performance time, Repp said that he has already started giving out some of the music for the students to look at.

“I’ve already started passing out some of the music, just for the students to start looking at a little bit, we won’t start really rehearsing any of it as a group until next year but hopefully they can spend [some time] as sort of a summer project kind of getting ahead,” Repp said.

Reiter said that though the prep work will be hard, it is always gratifying once she is performing.

“It’s difficult with the prep but it’s always rewarding when you get to go and be there. Our performance that we did for MMEA was only 30 minutes so we did about six songs so we’re probably going to be doubling that so it’s a little bit more work. It’s a little stressful to think about but you just have to watch your time and get stuff done early,” Reiter said.

Everyone in the highschool percussion group will be making the trip to Chicago, where Repp said they will stay a couple of days so that they can hear some other groups perform. Skiles said that he is excited for the trip and not nervous for the performance.

“I have faith in Mr. Repp and all of our amazing percussionists to be able to come rally together and be able to perform at the highest level,” Skiles said.

Repp said that he is most excited to see the students being able to demonstrate their abilities at such a high level.

“It’s just a really cool opportunity to kind of showcase the kids and what they do really well, we’ve had the opportunity to be recognized at a state level but I think it’s cool that the whole country or I guess in theory it’s an international conference so people from around the world will get to see the Rockwood Summit students doing their thing,” Repp said.