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UA Percussionists Earn Top Placements at International Convention

After taking home the top award for university concert snare players at the 2020 Percussive Arts Society International Convention Individual Competitions, graduate student Nathan Rearick looks forward to seeing UA’s percussion program evolve into a powerhouse.

“The UA percussion studio is a thriving family that keeps pushing the boundaries of proficiency,” Rearick said.

His claim holds true, with three of his classmates also placing in the competition, making UA’s the only percussion program to receive that many top placements. Brandon Mooney placed first in 26+ concert snare, David Curtis placed second in university keyboard, and Benjamin Gouldplaced third in university concert snare.

Despite their success, placing wasn’t the goal for the studio. Gould was preparing for his junior recital when his professor, Dr. Andrew Lynge, suggested he join the highly-recognized competition less than two weeks before the deadline to submit a recording.

“People in my life, including myself, didn’t know if music was a very dependable lifestyle,” Gould said. “Placing alongside players of such high caliber means more to me than actually placing in the competition…it means that I’m doing what it takes to succeed in music.”

Gould originally thought he would major in music education, but changed to percussion performance on the first day of his freshman year. The rest is history.

“Now, concluding my senior year, I feel like I can excel in any musical position that I could possibly end up in my career,” Gould said. “One thing I love about my studies and future life in music is that I have a world of possibilities open to me if I’m willing to put in the work to achieve my goals.”

Rearick attributes his success to his time in Drum Corps International and the prestigious Santa Clara Vanguard, spending two of his summers touring the United States and performing for stadium-filled crowds, as well as the guidance of UA faculty. He thought any of his competitors could have been placed first, so he was overwhelmingly thankful when he found out he had taken the spot.

“With competitions like these, I try to focus more on my improvement through the process,” Rearick said. “What truly matters is improving mentally and physically, regardless of placement.”

The two percussionists plan to continue their percussion work in whatever way they can, with Gould looking to work as a freelance percussionist, and Rearick auditioning for the Air Force Ceremonial Band soon.

“I hope to continue pursuing my passion for music, whether it be performing or teaching,” Rearick said. “Music has always been a positive force in my life and has opened numerous opportunities for me to explore.”


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