Art Talk Monday: North Louisiana Youth Percussion Ensemble Festival

This week's Art Talk Monday is written by Greg Lyons, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at Louisiana Tech University.  He directs the Percussion Ensemble in multiple concerts on and off campus each year. The event discussed was held last weekend; however, the article offers a wonderful glimpse of the event in case you missed it!  On Friday and Saturday, April 5 & 6, 2013, the Louisiana Tech University Percussion Studio will host the 2nd North Louisiana Youth Percussion Ensemble Festival in Howard Auditorium (corner of  Dan Reneau Dr. and Adams Blvd.). A festival opening concert will take place on Friday at 7:30 PM featuring guest artist/clinician, Dr. T. Adam Blackstock. The event continues on Saturday from 1-4:30 PM and concludes with a festival closing concert at 7:30 PM. Admission is $5/adults, $3/students w/id. A complete schedule of events is available at (click Outreach).


 “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”    

 --Marcel Proust

North Louisiana is home to many outstanding school percussion programs, several of which will be featured this weekend at Louisiana Tech University as part of the North Louisiana Youth Percussion Ensemble (NLYPE) Festival. The Ruston High School Intermediate and Advanced Percussion Ensembles as well as the Marimba Band will perform along with the West Ouachita High School Percussion Ensemble and the Ouachita Jr. High School Percussion Ensembles.

This year marks the second occurrence of the NLYPE Festival, which is hosted by the Louisiana Tech University Percussion Studio. Performer and educator Dr. T. Adam Blackstock (Troy University) will appear as a guest artist/clinician and will be joined by Implosion Percussion Group (Mel Mobley, John Pirkey, Michael Holdiness, and myself) for the Friday evening concert. That concert will include Steve Reich’s Drumming (I.) and Toru Takemitsu’s Rain Tree along with several solo works performed by Dr. Blackstock.

The school percussion ensembles start at 1 PM on Saturday. Each group will receive a short clinic with Dr. Blackstock following their performance. Dr. Blackstock will also present an hour clinic on a percussion topic at 3:30 PM. Capping off the festival is a closing concert at 7:30 PM, which will include a performance by the Louisiana Tech University Percussion Ensemble. Also featured on that concert will be the Honors Youth Percussion Ensembles, comprised of select students from the participating schools. Dr. Blackstock will coach these young musicians each afternoon in preparation for this unforgettable performance.

The idea for the NLYPE Festival was born in May 2010 during a presentation I attended as part of the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. The presentation offered several reasons for creating this type of festival:

  • Provides an opportunity to showcase local advanced student performers
  • Addresses the fact that students often have a limited amount of performance opportunities
  • Gives students the opportunity to see and hear more advanced performers
  • Exposes students to a more diverse array of percussion literature
  • Brings an atmosphere of seriousness to the art of percussion performance
  • Offers students more experience on more instruments
  • Fosters a sense that we are all in this together
  • Allows college students to take on a practical role from a teaching/administrative perspective

Please come hear and support some of the best young percussionists in North Louisiana at this weekend’s NLYPE Festival. Bring your new eyes and discover great music right here in Ruston.

Visit to learn more about related events in the percussion studio.