Celebrating 50 Years of Percussion Education at IUP

Posted on 2/12/2017 10:11:14 PM

This academic year, 2016–17, marks the 50th anniversary of percussion education at IUP.  

The program began in fall 1966 when Gary Olmstead, now professor emeritus, was hired as IUP’s first full-time percussion instructor. Olmstead developed the program over his 37-year tenure to a position of international recognition. Michael Kingan took over the program in fall 2003 and has continued the tradition of excellence in percussion education and performance.

IUP percussion alumni hold positions all over the world in public and private school education, college/university education, performance in all areas and all levels of percussion, and prominent positions in business, publishing, and composition

The IUP Percussion Ensemble is acknowledging this 50-year landmark in three ways. First, the opening piece performed on the first IUP Percussion Ensemble concert of November 14, 1966, was the opening piece performed at the Intensity concert of September 22, 2016. Then, at the November 3 concert, IUP PE performed “The O-Zone,” a piece composed by Jack Stamp (IUP percussion alumnus and former director of Bands) in recognition of Olmstead’s 25th year at IUP.  It was conducted by current graduate assistant Chris Medycki.

Finally, on February 17, 2017, the ensemble will premiere “Déjà vu All Over Again,” again composed by Jack Stamp but this time to celebrate 50 years of IUP percussion. This piece is composed in the style of the warhorse “Three Brothers” by Michael Colgrass, which was also performed on the first 1966 concert. The soloists will be IUP percussion alumni Marc Nelson, Scott Kemerer, Jason Olear, and Chellise (Allocco) Stolarz. They will be accompanied by current students, one from each class (freshman through graduate students).

Department of Music