PAS Recent News

2017 PAS Awards

by PAS | Oct 26, 2017
PAS is proud to announce the 2017 recipients of its distinguished Awards: Outstanding PAS Service Award (B. Michael Williams), Outstanding PAS Supporter Award (Lauren Vogel Weiss), PAS President’s Industry Award (Ron Samuels), PAS Lifetime Achievement in Education Award (Richard Gipson), and Outstanding PAS Chapter Award (Brazil Chapter).

"On behalf of everyone at PAS, I want to congratulate Lauren, Ron, Michael, and Richard, as well as the entire Brazil chapter and chapter president, Ronni Kot Wenzell. The work, service, support, and advocacy each of them do on behalf of PAS is remarkable and these awards represent just a small token of our appreciation. I hope everyone will join us in Indianapolis at PASIC 2017 as we publicly recognize our awardees on Friday Evening at 8:00PM." — Joshua Simonds, PAS Executive Director

Outstanding PAS Service Award

2017 Recipient: B. Michael Williams

The Outstanding PAS Service Award was established to recognize an individual each year that has provided service to the organization through a significant project, cause, or cumulative service that has made a significant contribution to the Society as a whole.

NAFDA South_tar-400B. Michael Williams (b. 1954) recently retired as Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He holds the B.M. degree from Furman University, M.M. from Northwestern University, and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Active as a performer and clinician in both symphonic and world music, Williams has performed with the Charlotte (NC) Symphony, Lansing (MI) Symphony, Brevard Music Center Festival Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has written articles for Accent Magazine, South Carolina Musician, and Percussive Notes, and has made scholarly presentations on the music of John Cage and on African music at meetings of the College Music Society and Percussive Arts Society. In 2004, Dr. Williams received the Winthrop University Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor given to a Winthrop faculty member.

Through the course of his tenure at Winthrop, he has published several acclaimed solo and ensemble compositions for percussion instruments from around the globe, including original works for frame drums from the Middle East and North Africa, solo djembe from West Africa, and Shona marimba music from Zimbabwe. His extensive study of the mbira dzavadzimu from Zimbabwe led to his development of a special tablature-style notation that depicts the intricate melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic interplay of the instrument in a logical and accessible presentation. His books and compositions are published by HoneyRock and Bachovich Music Publishers. He recently contributed a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to Percussion. In 2005, his recording BataMbira, with Grammy-nominated percussionist and producer Michael Spiro, was featured on National Public Radio, The Voice of America, and other broadcasts worldwide.

Williams has served as Associate Editor for World Percussion for Percussive Notes magazine since 2003 and has appeared at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. In 2012, the Winthrop University Percussion Ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society’s World Percussion Ensemble Competition, earning them a showcase concert at the annual convention.

Outstanding PAS Supporter Award

2017 Recipient: Lauren Vogel Weiss

The Outstanding PAS Supporter Award was established to recognize an individual each year that has significantly promoted the Society through his or her professional and educational activities to increase visibility and awareness of the Society.

A longtime member of the organization, Lauren is attending her 40th consecutive PASIC in 2017. A prolific writer about the percussive arts, she has written 32 cover stories for Percussive Notes, including 22 Hall of Fame profiles. Her 300-plus articles have appeared in Drum Business, Drum Corps World, Modern Drummer, Modern Percussionist, Percussion News, Percussive Notes and Rhythm!Scene. Lauren served as Texas PAS Chapter President for almost two decades (1984-87 and 1991-2007), winning the Outstanding Chapter President Award twice (1992 and 2002). She also served the Society as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the PAS Marching Percussion Committee. Since 1979, Lauren has been a freelance percussionist in North Texas, playing with both the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. She marched with the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois during the 1980-1982 seasons and won DCI's "Outstanding Individual Keyboard" award in 1982. Lauren was Vice-President of Lone Star Percussion (1978-1990) and currently schedules percussion clinics and concerts through Percussion Events Registry Company.

PAS President's Industry Award

2017 Recipient: Ron Samuels

The PAS President’s Industry Award was established to recognize those individuals in the Percussion Industry that have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their field and outstanding support of the Society.

Ron Samuels is the owner and founder of Marimba One, in Arcata California. In the early Eighties, while studying piano at Humboldt State University, Ron first heard the marimba being played at a festival. Enthralled, yet living on a student budget, he decided to build his own marimba. Without formal training in either woodworking or manufacturing, Ron dedicated his life to designing and building marimbas

After five years of experimentation under his belt, he exhibited some of his first attempts at concert marimbas at the 1988 PASIC in San Antonio, Texas. These instruments were highly unusual and non-traditional. He came home with several pages (of much needed) suggested improvements recommended by the many percussionists at PASIC. At the following PASIC in 1989, in Nashville Tennessee, he brought new instruments updated with all of the comments and criticism from the previous year. This time his list of suggestions was only a half-page long. And so it began!

The Philadelphia PASIC in 1990 was a turning point. Ron’s marimbas started to become accepted as legitimate concert marimbas. His best teachers on how to build marimbas have always been the marimba players, the musicians. Ron’s job has ultimately been to translate musician’s comments about what they would ideally like a marimba to be into the engineering and acoustics of a Marimba One instrument. The Marimba One team passionately strives to continually make the best instruments possible.

Marimba One’s factory is located in the small northern California town of Arcata where 100% of the design, engineering, and manufacturing take place.

PAS Lifetime Achievement in Education Award

2017 Recipient: Richard Gipson

The Percussive Arts Society Lifetime Achievement Award in Education was established in 2002 and recognizes the contributions of the most highly regarded leaders in percussion education.

Richard C. Gipson serves as Director of the Texas Christian University (TCU) School of Music, a position he has held since 2002. He continues to teach percussion and regularly conducts the TCU Percussion Orchestra and Ensembles. Prior to his TCU appointment, he served for 26 years as Professor of Percussion on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma School of Music, where at times he also held several administrative positions, including Director of the School of Music, Executive Assistant to the President, and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Professor Gipson performed as timpanist and percussionist for more than 30 years with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Oklahoma Symphony, and the Austin and Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestras.

He holds a doctorate from Penn State University, and undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Texas. In addition to TCU and OU, he taught percussion at the University of Texas, Central Missouri State University, Susquehanna University, and Penn State University. His more than 30 original compositions and special arrangements for marimba and percussion ensemble are published by Southern Music Company, Studio 4 Productions, Columbia Pictures Publications, and the OU Percussion Press, and his four commercial compact disc recordings with the OU Percussion Orchestra helped set the standard for performance and recording in that genre. He commissioned and/or premiered more than three dozen works for percussion orchestra and ensemble, including some of the now iconic works for percussion. While he was at OU, the OU Percussion Orchestra was competitively selected to perform at PASIC in 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2001.

Dr. Gipson is a member of PAS and NASM, where he serves as a visiting evaluator chair.

Outstanding PAS Chapter Award

2017 Recipient: Brazil

The Outstanding PAS Chapter Award recognizes individual chapters who have increased membership and provided percussion events, newsletters, and experiences that are beneficial for the continued music education of all chapter members. This award replaces and enhances the PAS Outstanding Chapter President Award, which was an annual award presented on behalf of the Society for nine- teen years to an Outstanding Chapter President. Knowing that an outstanding chapter president’s contributions are really the reflection of the work of the other chapter officers as well as the chapter membership, the Outstanding Chapter Award was integrated into the Society’s awards in 2010. The 2017 Outstanding PAS Chapter Award goes to the Brazil Chapter. Currently, Ronni Kot Wenzell is serving as Interim President.

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