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PASIC Continues to Raise the Bar by Michael Balter

by Rhythm Scene Staff | Dec 01, 2019

Nate Smith
Nate Smith

Each year, PASIC offers something for every drummer and percussionist: clinics, masterclasses, mock auditions and symphonic labs, performing ensembles of all ages, daytime and evening showcase concerts, a new music focus day, DrumFest, a MarchingFest and DrumLine Battle, drum circles, Rhythm! Discovery sessions, an amazing Expo Hall, along with so much more. For its attendees, PASIC has been and continues to be an unlimited opportunity to learn, explore, and expand the art form of drums and percussion. The clinics, masterclasses, and concerts are presented by a “who’s who” of percussion, enabling the convention goers to be challenged and motivated to take their playing to the next level. If one is serious about drums and percussion, PASIC is the place to be!

Ice Sculpture


I have personally attended PASIC for the past 40 years, with the one exception being 1986 when my younger son was born. Each year, I would showcase and promote the new Balter Mallets products, which meant spending a lot of time in the booth. Additionally, for 27 of my 40 years, when I was not in the booth, I was attending PAS Executive Board meetings, committee meetings, or Board of Directors meetings. Having had to “work” the convention did not afford me the opportunity to attend many of the daytime events. However, that time at the booth did provide me with a valuable opportunity to meet countless numbers of people, many of whom have turned into lifelong friends.

PASIC 2019 was a different experience for me. Why? Being retired, this year was the first for me to truly soak in many of the sessions and concerts being presented. I finally had the free time to attend events and enjoy in-depth discussions with students and friends. Having the time, I saw PASIC through a different perspective, and I am very pleased and enthusiastic about what I witnessed.

Third Coast Percussion
Third Coast Percussion Ensemble

I have always been amazed by the passion students have for what we do; we are indeed a very special group, and perhaps just a little crazy. We are always trying to take our playing and understanding of music to the next level. Going around PASIC listening to various performers, walking through the exhibit hall or down the hallway, hearing students running scales, playing on a drum, drum set, or practice pad, I was deeply impressed with the musical talent on display. They have strong chops, complete mastery, and an overabundance of dexterity. With the amount of skill and complete command that today’s students have in their playing, I am eager to see how the next generation of drummers and percussionists will raise the percussion arts. It is obvious that there is no limit as to how greatly they will enrich our art form in both performance and education.

We live in a world where everything is loud and louder. At PASIC, particularly in an exhibit hall full of drummers, musical nuance can be hard to find. I am eager to see how students incorporate nuance, sensitivity, and musical expression as an equal part with technique. Each contribute powerfully to a composition, allowing it to be meaningful and tell a story that will connect with the audience. Having chops is a good thing (and did I see players with chops at PASIC), but I am most encouraged when that technique is utilized with musicianship.

All Star Percussion Ensemble
All Star Percussion Ensemble

Over the years, so many times I have said, “PAS, is all about the people.” PAS is more than a society and more than an association; PAS is a family! Each year PASIC is truly a “family reunion” where one can see old friends and make new ones. It is a place where one can reminisce about the past, experience the energetic present, and see the vibrant future of the Percussive Arts Society. Next year, when you come to the “reunion,” find me so you and I can talk drums, percussion, and music. See you in Indy, November 11–14, 2020! 

Michael BalterAs a first call professional percussionist, drummer, and educator based in Chicago, Michael Balter has done it all: recordings, TV and radio commercials, concerts, night clubs, theaters, and more.His enthusiasm and dedication to total perfection earned him a well-respected name in the music business, and it also made him acutely aware of the need for quality products. Drawing upon his years of experience, he quickly earned a reputation for developing the finest and most extensive line of mallets. The same passion and attention to detail he demonstrated in his playing established Balter Mallets as the mallet leader within the music industry. For 27 consecutive years, Michael served on the PAS Board of Directors, and he had the distinct pleasure of serving on the Executive Board of PAS for 16 of those years, including an unprecedented eight consecutive terms as PAS Treasurer. Recognized for his dedication to PAS, he received the Distinguished Leadership Award, the only recipient to earn such an honor in the Society’s history. In 2015, Michael was inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame. Michael retired in 2018 when he sold Balter Mallets to the Zildjian Company.


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    PASIC Continues to Raise the Bar by Michael Balter

    Dec 1, 2019, 00:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

    Nate Smith
    Nate Smith

    Each year, PASIC offers something for every drummer and percussionist: clinics, masterclasses, mock auditions and symphonic labs, performing ensembles of all ages, daytime and evening showcase concerts, a new music focus day, DrumFest, a MarchingFest and DrumLine Battle, drum circles, Rhythm! Discovery sessions, an amazing Expo Hall, along with so much more. For its attendees, PASIC has been and continues to be an unlimited opportunity to learn, explore, and expand the art form of drums and percussion. The clinics, masterclasses, and concerts are presented by a “who’s who” of percussion, enabling the convention goers to be challenged and motivated to take their playing to the next level. If one is serious about drums and percussion, PASIC is the place to be!

    Ice Sculpture


    I have personally attended PASIC for the past 40 years, with the one exception being 1986 when my younger son was born. Each year, I would showcase and promote the new Balter Mallets products, which meant spending a lot of time in the booth. Additionally, for 27 of my 40 years, when I was not in the booth, I was attending PAS Executive Board meetings, committee meetings, or Board of Directors meetings. Having had to “work” the convention did not afford me the opportunity to attend many of the daytime events. However, that time at the booth did provide me with a valuable opportunity to meet countless numbers of people, many of whom have turned into lifelong friends.

    PASIC 2019 was a different experience for me. Why? Being retired, this year was the first for me to truly soak in many of the sessions and concerts being presented. I finally had the free time to attend events and enjoy in-depth discussions with students and friends. Having the time, I saw PASIC through a different perspective, and I am very pleased and enthusiastic about what I witnessed.

    Third Coast Percussion
    Third Coast Percussion Ensemble

    I have always been amazed by the passion students have for what we do; we are indeed a very special group, and perhaps just a little crazy. We are always trying to take our playing and understanding of music to the next level. Going around PASIC listening to various performers, walking through the exhibit hall or down the hallway, hearing students running scales, playing on a drum, drum set, or practice pad, I was deeply impressed with the musical talent on display. They have strong chops, complete mastery, and an overabundance of dexterity. With the amount of skill and complete command that today’s students have in their playing, I am eager to see how the next generation of drummers and percussionists will raise the percussion arts. It is obvious that there is no limit as to how greatly they will enrich our art form in both performance and education.

    We live in a world where everything is loud and louder. At PASIC, particularly in an exhibit hall full of drummers, musical nuance can be hard to find. I am eager to see how students incorporate nuance, sensitivity, and musical expression as an equal part with technique. Each contribute powerfully to a composition, allowing it to be meaningful and tell a story that will connect with the audience. Having chops is a good thing (and did I see players with chops at PASIC), but I am most encouraged when that technique is utilized with musicianship.

    All Star Percussion Ensemble
    All Star Percussion Ensemble

    Over the years, so many times I have said, “PAS, is all about the people.” PAS is more than a society and more than an association; PAS is a family! Each year PASIC is truly a “family reunion” where one can see old friends and make new ones. It is a place where one can reminisce about the past, experience the energetic present, and see the vibrant future of the Percussive Arts Society. Next year, when you come to the “reunion,” find me so you and I can talk drums, percussion, and music. See you in Indy, November 11–14, 2020! 

    Michael BalterAs a first call professional percussionist, drummer, and educator based in Chicago, Michael Balter has done it all: recordings, TV and radio commercials, concerts, night clubs, theaters, and more.His enthusiasm and dedication to total perfection earned him a well-respected name in the music business, and it also made him acutely aware of the need for quality products. Drawing upon his years of experience, he quickly earned a reputation for developing the finest and most extensive line of mallets. The same passion and attention to detail he demonstrated in his playing established Balter Mallets as the mallet leader within the music industry. For 27 consecutive years, Michael served on the PAS Board of Directors, and he had the distinct pleasure of serving on the Executive Board of PAS for 16 of those years, including an unprecedented eight consecutive terms as PAS Treasurer. Recognized for his dedication to PAS, he received the Distinguished Leadership Award, the only recipient to earn such an honor in the Society’s history. In 2015, Michael was inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame. Michael retired in 2018 when he sold Balter Mallets to the Zildjian Company.


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