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Music department to present drumming festival November 16

ISSUED: 31 October 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Department of Music will present a free percussion and drumming festival Saturday, November 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Frank Center.

The program features educational and entertaining clinics and performances for drum and percussion students, teachers, and enthusiasts. It is sponsored by the Shepherd University Department of Music with support from Yamaha and Vic Firth.

Time and rhythm are two of the most important elements of music. Joseph McIntyre, principal timpanist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, will present “It’s About Time–A Timpanist’s Perspective,” exploring the concept of time and demonstrate how it affects every aspect of timpani playing, including stick technique, pitch, sound production, and rhythm at 11 a.m.

Nucleo Vega will present “Drum Melody: Playing Jazz Melodies Note-For-Note on Drum Set,” performing a wide variety of jazz melodies note-for-note on the drums, ranging from swing, bebop, post bop, and Latin jazz. Topics to be discussed include how to tune your drums in order to produce drum melodies, techniques used to perform scales and pitches on the drum set, soloing melodically, following the changes, overcoming melodic obstacles, orchestrating around the kit, and working with ostinatos at 12:15 p.m.

The Shepherd University Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Michelle Humphreys, adjunct professor of music at Shepherd, will present a performance featuring works by John Cage,William Bolcum, Russell Peck, Chopin, and Shepherd student Walker Williams at 1:30 p.m.

McIntyre has been principal timpanist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years. He pursued degrees in percussion at the University of Maryland and has studied privately with Gordon Stout, Leigh Stevens, Fred Begun, Tony Ames, Cloyd Duff, and John Tafoya. He performs frequently with the National Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, National Philharmonic, Cathedral Choral Society, and Washington Brass, as well as the Richmond, Arlington, Millbrook, Fairfax, Alexandria, and National Gallery orchestras.

Vega is an accomplished performer, educator, and author. He holds a master’s in jazz performance from University of Maryland and his teachers include Mike Shepherd, Steve Fydik, Sean Rickman, Jeff Ballard, Dave Throckmorton, Robert Miller, Ron Barnett, and Chuck Redd. He was awarded the First Year Educator of the Year award in Howard County, Maryland. At the age of 27 he published his first book, Mel Bay’s “Understanding Groove for Drum Set,” which was featured in Modern Drummer, Jazz Times, Drum Magazine, and Drummer Magazine, and was a finalist for Best Drum Book of the Year by Drum! magazine. He also wrote Mel Bay’s “Paradiddles Redefined for Drum Set,” which was featured in Modern Drummer April 2010 and received rave reviews. He currently writes for the drum e-zine Percussion Sessions and has been a guest speaker for Teach for America.

A concert band director, church director, and professional drummer in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area, Vega organizes and runs jazz services, playing material from John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” album and tours with the award-winning Celtic world ensemble Harp 46, which has three albums in the top 10 of the World/New Age Billboard. He performs with SAW-finalist jazz group Never in Denver, Euphonasia, Swingtopia, Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Collegiate Orchestra, and members of D.C.’s military bands Army Ambassadors, Navy Commodores, Army Blues, President’s Marine Band, Airmen of Note, and the Naval Academy Jazz Band.

In the church circuit, Vega has shared the stage with Dove award-winning musicians Nichole Nordeman, Vickie Winas, and David Crowder. He also has recorded with the Praise Award-winning group Enter the Worship Circle. He has shared the stage with Grammy Award-winning musicians Chris Vadala, Steve Wilson, Michael Bowie, Al Petteway, members of the Afro-Bop Alliance, and jazz greats Scott Wendholt, John Toomey, Mike Pope, Loston Harris, Jim Snidero and James King. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Blues Alley, and the Verizon Center and in festivals including the PASIC MD/DE Day of Percussion, East Coast Jazz Festival, Northwest Folk Life Festival, W.C. Handy Jazz Festival, Emergent, Bumbershoot Festival, Fourth of July celebrations on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and the S.A.W. Awards.

Humphreys teaches percussion at Shepherd and 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, and Foundling. 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), 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.

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.

All are welcome to stay after for an informal reception and chat session with the clinicians. The festival is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Humphreys at 410-960-2271 or

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