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Extreme Percussion show Thursday, Friday

Rascal Flatts' drummer Jim Riley will perform at Western this Thursday and Friday. Photo from jimrileymusic.com

The Missouri Western State University music department is putting on their ninth annual Extreme Percussion show. The show will start tonight, April 14 and tomorrow evening, April 15. The show will start at 7:30 PM both nights in Potter Hall Theater.

This year Jim Riley, the drummer for Rascal Flatts, will be a featured performer, along with Kevin Rodgers, who is a studio guitar player and recording artist. Most people who are attending the performance are excited to see Riley play, but Dennis Rogers the percussion professor at Missouri Western State University is excited for other reasons.

“The students are going to have four drum set work shops with Riley,” Rodgers said. “He is providing three master classes, that 15 of our percussion students who are drum set focused will be having five, one hour sessions with him.

Riley has further plans for Western Music students.

“He will give a one-hour master class to the whole music department that focuses on his recently published book called “The Nashville Number System,” Rodgers said. “And he is going to create an interactive environment where guitar players, vocalists, pianists, bass players and drummers come together in the band room.”

Every spring this show is put on for the students to perform in front of a large audience. Students begin training as early as August with the drum line during football season. The intense training for the show begins in the spring semester. Jamie Haffner a junior musical education major, believes this show will be even bigger than before.

“There has been a lot of publicity this year,” Haffner said. “We have seen billboards up throughout town and I know a local radio station is giving away free tickets and we have flyers on every bulletin board all over campus. The school website also has all our information up. It could sell out; that is a very likely possibility.”

With a wide variety of music being played during the performance, the audience will be able to see a different side of percussion. The performances vary from a drum line ensemble to a steel drum band. Matt Musselman, a junior musical education major, believes the show is more than just the music.

“The show is great entertainment,” Musselman said. “If I were able to go out and sit down at the show, I would love to do that. I don’t know which I would love more, to sit and see it or to perform in it. There are a couple of blackout pieces that will be phenomenal. Everything will just blow your mind hopefully.”

The show has about 18 performances taking place on the evening, with many of the students being in multiple numbers. Musselman is in 15 of the performances throughout the evening. The students are not the only reason to come view the show.

“Riley is actually composing this piece for his performance,” Rodgers said. “Missouri Western State University and myself have commissioned him to write this piece. This will be a world premiere; it’s really cool this will be taking place here.”

The students have their hands full with a night of entertainment. The percussion departments set their goals high for this show and have put a lot of time in rehearsing for it. Rogers is excited for the two nights of performances this week.

“There is one piece I am very excited about. It will be a blackout and there will be four people who will perform with the sound of a lighter and flames, so you will hear rhythms and see flames while they are all synchronized. It’s just really neat stuff.”

Tickets will be available at the door if they do not sell out. Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for general admission. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Western percussion department’s upcoming performances.


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