James W. Doyle


PASIC15 is now a thing of the past and the fall semester is quickly coming to a close. As usual, the convention serves as equal parts inspiration, social reunions, professional networking, and the acquisition of new music and other percussion items that'll fit in a suitcase.

This year required an extra day and a half of time away as the Animas Percussion Quartet, the percussion section of the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, was selected to perform for Focus Day. With the exception of one month in the summer, the four of us live in different states and although we met in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University for a few days in October, the day before the convention required rehearsal time. 

We performed the 1974 composition, "Four Movements for Percussion Quartet" by Michael Udow-- a deceptively difficult work utilizing maracas, guiros, graduated sandpaper blocks, hand claps, and a wine bottle. The piece emulates a string quartet and gesture and motion is a key component.

This was also my first year presenting a clinic at PASIC. My session was titled, "Free-Rebounding, the Relaxed Full Stroke" and was a synthesis of the pedagogy study I've undertaken with Gary Cook, Dean Gronemeier, and Tim Jones. Below is a pdf of the handout. A special thanks to Beetle Percussion, Black Swamp, Vic Firth, Yamaha, and Row-Loff for the support and allowing me to show up to the clinic with nothing more than a bag of tennis and racquet balls. 


As is typical, I only make it to a fraction of the sessions on my radar. However, one of the biggest highlights included hearing Tom Burritt's recital which was masterfully performed. The flow of the concert was terrific and his artistry is tremendous. The other major standout was hearing Nexus with Iranian vocalist Sepideh Raissadat. Every time I hear Nexus, I'm amazed and inspired beyond belief. There's no question these musicians-not just percussionists but musicians-are amongst the best in the world.

And finally, it was great to see the folks from Japan Percussion Center in the exhibitor hall. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time (and Yen) at their establishment this past summer in Tokyo and was glad to buy more of the marimba music they brought to San Antonio. They are generous, professional, and incredibly kind. I cannot wait for my next visit to Japan and will definitely be visiting again.

 Here's the link to my clinic handout:



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