Every year since 1991, the Central California Day of Percussion has allowed students to interact with professional musicians.
The event begins at 8 a.m. with the ensemble festival and is followed by three to four of the guest artists from around the world presenting to the students.
Students then perform while being judged by the professional musicians. Students are also able to participate in clinics where they are offered guidance. The day concludes with a concert by the professionals.
“There is nothing like it in the Valley,” said Dr. Matthew Darling, president of California Chapter of Percussion Arts Society and music professor.
It provides the opportunity for students in the area to hear first-rate musicians perform and give clinics.
“Some students in the Music Department on campus even get the opportunity to play with them,” Darling said.
Adam Pietz, a festival coordinator, said the performers interact with the audience in clinics by allowing kids to demonstrate.
“It makes the clinics more entertaining by making it fun and engaging,” Pietz said.
John “JR” Robinson, the most recorded drummer in music history and a participant for the festival, said his involvement came from the enjoyment of educating younger kids.
“They need mentors and directions when they’re younger,” Robinson said. “They think they know something or a direction but they are not totally sure.”
The festival is an interactive moment for all students, Darling said.
The event attracts anyone from the elementary school level to the high school level. Participants perform and get advice from the musicians.
“It involves everyone in the community,” Darling said.
Pietz said he is looking forward to the entire day.
“They don’t have a lot of exposure to high level music.They see what they see on TV and hear what they hear on the radio,” Pietz said about the kids.
Robinson said he is excited to judge the percussion ensemble.
“I’m excited about hearing younger people and seeing where their heads are,” Robinson said.
Other performers such as Thom Hannum, Hands On’Semble and We Got the Beat will be active participants in the event as well.
Hannum will attract the older, high school-to-early college group, while Hands On’Semble will attract the younger kids, Pietz said.
The event will be held in the Fresno State music building concert hall.
Tickets are available online or the music building box office.
“I’ve been going to this for 10 to 15 years. It’s sold out every single time I’ve been there,” Pietz said. “I couldn’t imagine this year being any different.”
The Twenty-first Annual Central California Day of Percussion will be held Saturday.