The Southern Miss School of Music held the final concert of the international percussion festival on Feb. 16, 2019, at the Thirsty Hippo in downtown Hattiesburg. This performance was the inaugural event of what director of percussion Dr. John Wooton, stated will be an annual event. The performance featured many pieces from all over South America including musical numbers from Guatemala and Argentina.
Dr. Wooton said, “I decided I wanted to do this because I get to travel all over the world. I get to experience all kinds of music and all kinds of people and all kinds of culture, and I always think I wish my kids and my students could do this.” He went on to say, “when you travel, you learn so much of other cultures that you become less of a bigot.” Dr. Wooton said he wanted to bring the cultures of the world to Hattiesburg and allow people to experience them through the music played at the festival.
Other performers at the concert included renowned Mexican Marimba player Javier Nandayapa and Argentinian professor Oscar Albrieu Roca. Nandayapa stated that he and Roca have been here for a week teaching percussion students in the School of Music about music from different cultures through clinics and rehearsals. He also said, “I like to travel to different countries, especially to share these kinds of moments and concerts and rehearsals with students and professional musicians.” Nandayapa performed many pieces in the festival with students and with Roca.
The festival was a rich experience for students in the audience and in the percussion program as well. Dante Thomas, a senior music education major at the University of Southern Miss, said in regards to continuing in live performance, “absolutely, this is one of my favorite things here, especially the professor.” Thomas went on to mention how good it was that a performance like this was performed at the Thirsty Hippo so not just the students of Southern Miss, but the public could be exposed to international music as well.
The music played was from a variety of cultures and nations, such as Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina. These pieces were well received by the audience. When introducing the show, Dr. Wooton stated how the group will be performing a show of the same caliber at the same time next year. The event also served as a benefit for the University of Southern Miss percussion studio, as admission was $15 for non-student patrons.
photo courtesy usm.edu