Percussion and Drumming Festival

The Shepherd University Music Department will present a free Percussion and Drumming Festival on Saturday, November 5th from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center on the Shepherd University campus. The instructional clinics are geared toward percussionists and drummers of all ages, including professionals, students, and enthusiasts, and the event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by Shepherd University Department of Music, the Percussion and Drumming Festival will feature Dream Cymbals clinician, Wes Crawford, performing a variety of solo and play-along pieces on drumset and break down the concepts and parts for each. Topics covered include improvising over ostinatos, note displacement, polyrhythm development, Drum 'n Bass techniques, Hip Hop and Be Bop, and more. Sergeant Major (Ret.) William H. (Bill) Messerschmidt will present a clinic: Traditional Rudimental Drumming and its Relevance for Today. The Shepherd University Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of D. Michelle Humphreys will present a performance featuring works by Ney Rosauro, Emmanuel Sejourne, Paul Bissell and Michael Culligan and an informal reception and chat session with the clinicians.

Wes Crawford demonstrated an interest in drums from an early age and began his professional career after graduating from college, having studied percussion with Dr. John Floyd at Virginia Tech. He began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz / Rhythm and Blues singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and on cruise ships, opening for acts such as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, occasionally performing alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore, and were featured with various symphonies. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. Crawford also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as several outside recording projects. He also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor's School for the Gifted.

Crawford has been an independent artist on drumset and percussion and performs and records with acts such as Shahin and Sepehr, Cocktail Nuts, mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, saxophone legend Ron Holloway, Bay Jazz Project, BeatsWork! corporate teambuilding group, and Nightlife. He has also performed and /or recorded with the show band Nightlife, Squeeze Bayou, Aisha Kahlil, Eva Cassidy, Al Williams, Mary Ann Redmond Band, Zydeco Crayz, children's artist "Oh Susannah!," Mystic Warriors, Cantare, Classical and Jazz pianist Jeffrey Chappell, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. Other noteworthy performances and recordings include the David Bach Consort, Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, African Continuum Theatre Company's "Hubert and Charlie," "and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. He has also recorded for The History Channel and for PBS Mr. Crawford teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in school assemblies with Cindy Rosenberg's Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. He is director of the Drumset and Percussion Camp, a part of the annual Goucher Summer Arts Institute. His latest Music And Games 4 U label projects are his interactive "A Rhythmic Murder Mystery" DVD, which he also performs live, as well as the "Wes Crawford's Drumset Play-Along" DVD. He currently serves as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and works as a musical consultant for Sustainable Environments for Health and Shelter.

Sergeant Major (Ret.) William H. (Bill) Messerschmidt was Principal Percussionist of The United States Army Band (Pershing's Own) at Washington, D.C. from 1994-2002. Previously, he served as Concert Band Section Leader, marimba soloist, solo clinician, timpanist, and Special Drummer at Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, and The U.S. Capitol. He also appeared as percussionist, field drummer, and timpanist with the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band element, the U.S. Army Orchestra, and with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets at The White House for the 50th Anniversary of NATO. Prior to his service with Pershing's Own he was a member of The U.S. Army Field Band, the Army's official touring band, and during his 32 year military career SGM Messerschmidt performed in 49 states and 16 foreign countries, for 6 U.S. Presidents, Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and Pope John Paul II. SGM Messerschmidt received a Bachelor of Music with Distinction degree in 1969 from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with William Street and John H. Beck. Later, he worked on a Master of Music degree at The Catholic University of America, studying with Michael Bookspan, Principal Percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Retired from the Army in 2002, Messerschmidt now works with The Capital Band in Washington, D.C., The Fifes and Drums of Prince William III, the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra, and The Cathedral of St. Thomas More Brass and has performed ad hoc with the Harrisburg, Annapolis, Chesapeake/St. Mary's, Prince William, Shenandoah, Lynchburg, Richmond, and Roanoke Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Baltimore Opera and The National Christian Choir. Since 2008 he has been a Percussion Instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He also teaches at Christ Chapel Academy and the Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge and at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA. An Honorary Lifetime Member of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers, he is also a member of the United States Association of Rudimental Drummers, the Percussive Arts Society, The National Association for Music Education, the College Music Society, Sabian Artists, and the Vic Firth Education Team. Among honors he has received are The Meritorious Service Medal for "meritorious performance of duty" and "His musical expertise" as well as being named a "Governor's School Outstanding Educator" by the Governor's School for Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Richmond, VA. In 2002 SGM Messerschmidt was awarded The Legion of Merit from the President of the United States for "His outstanding record of musical performance and leadership."

Dr. Michelle Humphreys teaches percussion at Shepherd University, directs the Shepherd University Percussion Ensemble, and teaches Percussion Techniques courses. She is the coordinator of the Shepherd University Percussion Festival, an annual event for percussionists and drummers that features instructional clinics, performances, and networking opportunities for professional, student, and amateur drummers and percussionists. Dr. Humphreys is a versatile artist, performing widely as a classical percussionist, world music instrumentalist, and drummer. She is Principal Percussionist with the Baltimore Opera Company, Opera Lafayette, and Opera Vivente, and maintains a busy performing schedule in Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York. Other current performing affiliations include American Opera Theater, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, Concert Artists of Baltimore, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Philharmonic, Ars Antiqua (Chappaqua, NY), and Foundling (Rhode Island). She is also active in the popular music world as a performer and studio-recording artist.

Currently serving as President of the Maryland Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), Dr. Humphreys directs the annual PAS Day of Percussion, an event which features distinguished clinicians and performers from around the world and attracts over 250 professional and amateur percussionists each year. Dr. Humphreys earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Towson University, where she won the Peggy and Yale Gordon Concerto Competition. She holds a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance at the University of Maryland College Park.

For more information about the Shepherd University Percussion and Drumming Festival contact Michelle Humphreys at 410-960-2771 or email