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Millersville Percussion Ensemble marches through Lancaster

Luke Helker
Staff Writer

Last Friday, the students of the Millersville University Percussion Ensemble (MUPE) traveled into downtown Lancaster to present the people a rhythmic display of fun and functional music. Armed with a dozen drums and a hundred hand-made shakers, the group paraded for a solid two hours around downtown Lancaster. Starting at Binns park, the group marched up Queen street, rounded Walnut street, circled back around Orange st, and stopped at Binns park again. The group then proceeded to go march in front of the Ware center, turn the corner of Prince and King, and circle around Queen street until they arrived back at their original starting point again.

Drum major Rich Klimowicz and other MUPE members let children play their drums.
Drum major Rich Klimowicz and other MUPE members let children play their drums.

Led by drum major Rich Klimowicz, the students played authentic Brazillian cadences on snare drums, tom-toms, cowbells, shakers, and there was even one person who was playing on two skillets nailed to a plank of wood. Professor James Armstrong was also directly involved in playing with the students as well as some other Millersville music students not involved in the percussion studio.
For those that were involved, the air was filled with excitement as the students marched down the streets, encouraging little kids and their parents to join in the revelry with some of the handmade shakers that were being passed out. Children were encouraged to play some of the drums with the students and one could see lots of people trailing the group for the duration of their performance. The evening came to a climax when the students arrived at Binns park for their third and final time and just let loose. What was originally a well constructed arrangement of rhythms amongst the different musical voices became a jam session in which everyone was communicating with each other with their drums including a few points in which the ensemble performed some call-and-responses utilizing different members to lead. When the ensemble finally stopped playing, everyone was begging for more. Judging by the crowds of people sticking around to watch and dance with the students, it appeared to be a very successful event wit the potential to happen again.

Millersville University Percussion Ensemble march on Queen Street in Lancaster City.
Millersville University Percussion Ensemble march on Queen Street in Lancaster City.

To help make this event possible, the Millersville University Percussion Ensemble teamed up with John Gerdy of the non-profit organization, Music for Everyone (MFE) to have this parade take place on “Music Friday”. For those of you that are unaware of what that is, “Music Friday” is similar to what the art galleries do on First Friday, but completely focused around music and occurs on every third Friday. With stages and performers scattered along the streets, “Music Friday” aims to bring awareness to the power that music has in our lives as well as promoting the local music that thrives in your backyard.
The Millersville University Percussion Ensemble also put on a few concerts throughout the year, bringing in guest artists and performing a myriad of expansive repertoire. This year’s fall concert will feature Percussion duo, Loop 2.4.3. and will take place on Wednesday November 20th. For more information on the Millersville University Percussion Ensemble and/or Music for Everyone, you can visit their respective websites at: www.facebook.com/muperc and www.musicforeveyone.net.