March 9, 2014 12:08:03 AM
The Mississippi State University Percussion Ensemble recently released its debut CD, "Under a Southern Sky."
"The students and I came up with the idea last spring to record a CD of some favorite pieces we had performed over the past several years," said Jason Baker, associate professor of music and director of percussion studies. "Having had success both at MSU and around the state, we wanted to do something to help establish a national presence for the group. We seemed to have the perfect combination of musical selections and student talent, so the timing was right on."
In addition to pieces by Nathan Daughtrey, Josh Gottry, Gordon Hughes, Troy Breaux and Ney Rosauro, the CD also features an original work by Robert Damm, MSU professor of music and director of music education partnerships.
"To someone who is unfamiliar with this type of music, we wanted to offer a wide variety of selections with cool, interesting instruments that are just fun to listen to," Baker said. "However, the CD would also be of interest to music enthusiasts and academics, as all of the pieces were published in the last decade by living composers and showcase a commitment to new music and scholarship that is vital in a university setting."
Copies of the CD may be obtained at no cost from the music department. The entire playlist also can be downloaded or streamed for free from soundcloud.com/#msstatepercussion/sets/under-a-southern-sky.
Baker said donations to the Percussion Studio Fund through the MSU Foundation, though not required, would be greatly appreciated.
"We raised all of the money for this project ourselves, so the students were committed and had total ownership from start to finish," he said. "They worked extremely hard all semester, often coming in on weekends to rehearse outside of the normal class time--all to make sure that the recording sessions in December went perfectly."
Cynthia J. "Cindy" Jennings of Columbus, a junior music education major, is a member of the ensemble. She is the daughter of Paul and Kimberly Jennings.
To learn more about the MSU Percussion Ensemble, visit msstateperc.info. Follow the group on Facebook at facebook.com/MSStatePercussion. Baker may be reached at 662-325-0390.