RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • First Virtual Days of Percussion presented by PAS Philippines Chapter by Zara Lachica

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 15, 2020

    Zara Lachica

    Zara Lachica

    As we look forward to a new year, we normally plot ahead our schedules, travels, performances, and everything that has to do with going outside the comforts of our home. We aspire to become better in terms of percussion playing and teaching. To that end, the Philippines’ first Day of Percussion was scheduled for September 2020, but who would have thought that we’d find ourselves locked up indoors, with nowhere to go or perform and with limited or no access to percussion instruments at all. No one was prepared for this, but as PAS members, our choice was to find ways to continue to inspire, educate, and support drummers and percussionists as best as we could. We are beyond grateful to Chris Hanning (PAS President) and Joshua Simonds (PAS Executive Director) for helping and allowing us to conduct the first virtual Days of Percussion. Special thanks also to Justin Ramirez, who has served us as our communication channel since our chapter was established in 2019.

    The first virtual Days of Percussion was streamed live via Zoom and Facebook for eight consecutive days (May 30 to June 6) and consisted of nine events that highlighted different percussion specialties. Its pilot episode, Deliberate Practice and Complementary Percussion by Zara Lachica, gave emphasis on how to dive into the details of the music by applying some practice strategies to standard orchestral excerpts and provided general playing tips/techniques for the tambourine and triangle. 

    Despite the limitations online, Ryan Peralta was able to facilitate a Virtual Drum Circle by encouraging the audience to prepare improvised instruments to be used for the live loops. Isaac De Alva III discussed the culture and performance practice of the drumline community through his topic, Rudimental Drumming: Drumline

    Versatility and thinking outside the box were some of the key points in Gian Vergel’s discussion on Percussion and Drum Set Playing in the Music Business. Tusa Montes shared about the applications of the Kulintang (gongs) in Maguindanao and fusion music through her topic, Exploration on the Philippine Kulintang. Mar Dizon prepared a tribute for his friend, by performing several compositions by Bob Aves on drum set. 

    A panel discussion titled Situation of Drummers During the Pandemic was hosted by Lexter Deo Santos and composed of university students and esteemed professional players as panelists. Refining our basics is perhaps one of the activities that can keep us busy these days, and Cyd Tumpalan’s topic, Snare Drum Fundamentals, was able to inspire us to begin. The Days of Percussion closed with Timpani and Keyboard Mallets by Gip Chan, which provided the essentials on how to perform efficiently on timpani, marimba, and xylophone. 

    In addition to the nine events, we included a virtual products expo which aimed to promote several businesses owned and managed by our friends and colleagues, including Percussion Access, GDV Productions, and Marching Merch. A short video message from Henry Go of Innovative Percussion was featured as well.

    We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our guests who took part in this event: Sol Bautista, Nimon Noer, JQ Quirino, Lester Esteban, Bo Razon, Junjun Regalado, Joseph Concepcion, Janno Clarito, Alexis Constantino (ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra), Ederic Sampedro (Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra), Allan Abdullah, Roby Calderon (Manila Symphony Orchestra), Karmi Santiago, Mark Hipona (Manila Philharmonic Orchestra), Gabriel Zagala, and Gin Garcia.

    We also recognize and thank those who showed their support by sending their video messages and/or performances: Todd Sucherman, Yun-Ju Pan, Wannapha Yannavut (Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra), Tanmay Mukherjee, Dave Stark (PAS Education Committee), Cara Wildman, and Mark Stone (Chair of PAS World Percussion Committee).

    Above all, our sincere appreciation goes out to Arthur Lipner and John Wooton, who spent their time with us live (Philippine Time).

    With five individuals involved with the logistics and production, delivering an eight-day online program was never easy. We embraced the “new normal” with regards to the use of technology platforms and applications. We adapted to whatever was feasible for everyone—the speakers, guests and broadcast team (Ryan Peralta, Lexter Deo Santos and officers)—to make collaboration work. Our efforts paid off in the positive feedback that we received from the viewers. Ultimately, the impact of this virtual Days of Percussion is tantamount to the hope and joy that we need in this new era.

    The PAS Philippines Chapter Officers are Saturnino Tiamson Jr. (President), Isaac De Alva III (Vice President), and Zara Lachica (Secretary/Treasurer).

    Zara Lachica obtained her Master of Arts in Music Performance degree from the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School. In 2018, she performed in the Asia Orchestra Week held in Tokyo, Japan, and she has conducted percussion seminars/workshops in several prestigious schools in the Philippines. Zara is a guest musician of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and was the percussionist in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical staged in Manila. Zara attended the Korean Orchestral Percussion Symposium held in Seoul, South Korea. She is one of the speakers in the first virtual Days of Percussion presented by the Philippines PAS Chapter. At present, she is a faculty member at the Everest Academy Manila.

  • People and Places — September 2020

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 17, 2020

    The University of Oklahoma hosted the 9th Annual OU Steel Band Festival on February 15. The event featured performances by the OU Steel Band as well as Oklahoma Christian University, Bartlesville High School, Carl Albert High School, Owasso High School, and Barrel Fish Steel Band from Tulsa. The festival included rehearsals, clinics, an educational presentation on the history of steel bands, and culminated in a performance by each band and several tunes by the combined Festival Mass Band.

  • KoSA Drum Camp Celebrates 25th Anniversary a Different Way

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 20, 2020

    KoSA 25

    KoSA’s co-founders and directors, Aldo Mazza and Dr. Jolán Kovács, had been planning a big celebration for their 25th anniversary. When the world changed in March 2020, the directors of KoSA had to rethink their planned celebration in a very different way. Determined to “Just Drum On,” which was the theme of this year’s camp, KoSA’s 25th edition was held online. Twelve renowned artists delivered their classes on Zoom July 6–10 with great warmth and passion in a carefully designed educational program that did not disappoint.

    Aldo M(azza

    The week kicked off with Jim Riley’s informative presentation on getting great sound out of the drums as well as creating grooves and fills that serve the song. Aldo Mazza’s classes in Cuban technique and rhythms demonstrated his expertise of this country’s music and traditions. Mazza has spent nearly two decades perfecting his knowledge of these rhythms and his classes focused on his very successful method book on the subject. Bill Bachman followed with a terrific session on “Technique, Musicality, and Healthy Hands for the Long Play.” Bachman shared his personal struggle to relearn to use his hand and arm after suffering a stroke many months ago. His emotional story inspired participants and faculty alike to just keep going in the face of challenge. Later that afternoon, Rick Van Horn offered advice on using the right tools for the job when considering stands and other hardware, as well as on the safest and most efficient way to lift and transport heavy gear.

    The next day, the KoSA camp was graced with the presence of the reputable jazz drummer Mike Clark. From his home in Manhattan, Clark expertly demonstrated various techniques such as ride cymbal techniques and phrasing, as well as his signature licks on the drum set. Following this great session, Marcus Santos pumped up the Zoom room with his class on different Brazilian instruments and rhythms using a drum pad. The faculty torch was then passed on to the superbly talented Chester Thompson who gave an amazing class on building independence on the drumset.

    Celine Dion’s percussionist, Paul Picard, delivered a tasteful performance at the KoSA Academy recital hall alongside Aldo Mazza on the drums. His classes focused on explaining which percussion sounds and instruments he uses to spice up Celine Dion’s performances, and he patiently guided students on the proper techniques of playing certain instruments such as cabasa, shaker, triangle, etc. Participants also interacted with the legendary David Garibaldi as he explained how he views “Creativity and Process” in his linear drumming style .

    John Riley fascinated participants with his class on “Movement and Motivic Development.” While all classes were typically one-hour long, the virtual platform allowed faculty to attend each other’s classes, which they did with great enthusiasm. This resulted in marathon-like question-and-answer periods and virtual happy hangs where faculty and participants mingled together.

    On the last day, Jim Norris, well-known publisher of the successful magazine The Canadian Musician, gave a great talk on how to set and achieve goals, keep yourself motivated, and constructively deal with setbacks and disappointment. Faculty alumni Allan Molnar gave advice on creative strategies for online teaching and ensemble performance. Participants then had a chance to use these strategies as they prepared a virtual performance. This concert, which was open to the public, featured solo and ensemble performances by faculty and participants. It also served as a competition for the participants with wonderful prizes to be won by KoSA’s generous sponsors. It was a fitting end to this new way of doing things, which may remain with us for a while. As one young participant from Canada aptly put it: “I was nervous about attending KoSA online, as I had such a great experience last year in person, but this year’s camp exceeded my expectations. When there is warmth and passion in teaching, it can transmit through any medium. Thank you KoSA!”

    KoSA was graciously sponsored by Sabian, Ludwig, Hudson Music, Pearl, Evans, LP, Gretsch, D’addario Canada, and Alfred. For more information on all things KoSA, visit

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Percussive Arts Society
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Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
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