Community Music School Students Sweep 1st Place, Marimba Spots at MMPAT

Mar. 14, 2017

CMS Percussion Students Capture First Place in Marimba Competition
Jack Stiens and duet partner Miguel Kaiser, with guest judge, internationally reknowned marimbist She-E Wu

Webster University student percussionists won big at this year's 10th Mid-Missouri Percussive Arts Trophy competition held March 3-5 in Lebanon, Missouri. They swept first place in all three categories and had additional students place in the top three.

Erin Elstner, director of percussion studies, led student percussionists from Webster's Community Music School (CMS) and the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts to the competition.

The competition annually highlights the solo marimbist, but this year it also included duets and non-traditional percussion, such as playing items not typically used as percussive instruments.

Among students taking first place in marimba were CMS percussionists:

  • Jack Stiens for his duet performance of “Catching Shadows”
  • Amelia Malone for her non-traditional solo performance of “Songs I-IX, a piece for “actor percussionist"
  • Jack Cytron for his solo performance
Percussion students
Left to right: Solo marimba 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners Jacob Cytron,
Aaron Zoll and Miles Kim; 1st place non-traditional solo Amerialia Moore.

Making a Webster sweep of all three places in the solo marimba competition, CMS percussionist Aaron Zoll won second place and Miles Kim won third.

“The competition in this category is significant,” said Elstner. “The judge this year for the marimba category and duets was She-E Wu, head of the percussion department at Northwestern University and member of the percussion faculty at Manhattan School of Music.”

"It is a real thrill to have students participating in these kinds of festivals and representing the school!" Elstner added. "They represent the Webster University Community Music School, their school music programs which include Ladue, Clayton and Francis Howell high schools and their parents for providing them with music lessons and supporting them in extra-curricular musical activities."

Peter Sargent, dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, said these awards are evidence of the impact Elstner has as a teacher. “The Percussion Ensembles for both the Community Music School and the Department of Music benefit from the instruction of a very gifted adjunct faculty member.”

"We are very fortunate to have a percussion instructor the caliber of Erin," said CMS director Carol Commerford. "Not only does she provide the highest quality training to our percussion students, but she is a very caring person who mentors them through to college and beyond. Erin's students are very dedicated to her because she has very high standards and will do absolutely anything to help them reach their goals."

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