Marimba Camp Information

Intent of the Marimba Camp:  It is the intent of the camp faculty to offer the high school percussionist an opportunity to gain an overview of the technical requirements and musical potential of four mallet marimba playing.  As well, it is hoped the student will gain a sense of the instrument’s history and literature.   Our aim is to offer this in a fun, useful and unique camp setting.  

Recitals:  The camp faculty will present recitals in the evenings in the Music Department’s recital hall.  The camp participants will have the opportunity to perform solo pieces as well as participate in the marimba ensemble performance.

Marimba Camp Sessions:  The camp sessions will be divided into three broad areas that include the following:

Technique.  Study of the major grips used, common stroke types, shifting, interval change and rolling.

Musicianship.  This will include aspects of phrasing, dynamics, and mallet types and their applications, time, touch, tone, voicing and reading. 

History and Literature.  These sessions will provide an overview of the marimba’s history, its major personalities (performers and instrument makers), and an introduction to the literature for the instrument.    

Related activities will include participation in marimba ensembles, performance in master-classes and sessions on the keyboard emphasis All-State Etudes.

Faculty:

David Bessinger has taught at Southwestern Oklahoma State University since 1984.  He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University and the Master of Music in Percussion Performance degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Oklahoma in 2009.  His doctoral research document examined the genre of Marimba Soloist with Percussion Ensemble from 1959 to 2008.  His primary teaching areas at SWOSU include all facets of percussion performance and pedagogy.  In addition he teaches courses in Music Theory and period courses covering Music of the Baroque and Music of the Twentieth-Century.  His primary teachers include Larry Vanlandingham of Baylor University, Thomas Siwe of the University of Illinois and Lance Drege at the University of Oklahoma.  He has also studied with marimbist Leigh Howard Stevens in Asbury Park, New Jersey and Nancy Zeltsman in Boston, Massachusetts.  He has twice performed as marimba soloist with the SWOSU Wind Ensemble.  The first was a performance of Daniel McCarthy’s Chamber Symphony for Marimba and Winds and the second was a consortium commission and performance of David Gillinghams’s Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble.  As director of percussion at SWOSU he has organized seminars, workshops and festivals for performing musicians to appear on campus.  These include marimbists Gordon Stout, Leigh Stevens, Nancy Zeltsman, Michael Varner,  vibraphonist Jerry Tachoir and electronic percussionist Scott Deal.  Through the sponsorship of the annual SWOSU Jazz Festival, numerous drum set performers have appeared on campus, including Ed Soph, and Steve Houghton.  Dr. Bessinger is a past President of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and has hosted the Oklahoma Percussion Festival on three occasions.   

Jeremy Parr, from Chickasha, Oklahoma holds degrees from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music Performance) and Oklahoma City University (Master of Music in Percussion Performance).  Scholarships and awards received while at Southwestern include the Music Alumni Scholarship, the Mu Phi Epsilon Scholarship and Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. He attended the Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar in 2008.  As a performer he has had varied experiences that include the Oklahoma State University Winter Percussion Ensemble, the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, the Enid Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra.  Marimba Concerto performances include Timeless by Michael Burritt with the SWOSU Percussion Ensemble and Daniel Levitan’s Marimba Concerto with Percussion Orchestra with the Oklahoma City University Percussion Ensemble.  Mr. Parr’s teaching experience includes working as the Drumline Instructor/Arranger at Yukon High School from 2007-2008.  He is currently the Assistant Band Director at Moore High School, where he coordinates the marching percussion activities and conducts the Symphonic Band.  He also assists with younger bands at Central Junior High and Highland East Junior High.  He continues to teach privately in the Moore and Yukon school districts. 

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