Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Fall Percussion Ensemble musicians to play paper bags and 100 other instruments

Monday, October 15, 2012
Christopher Whited, left, and Shelby Ratliff, right, rehearse for the Fall Percussion Ensemble performance. Photo by Nathan Hamilton

The Southeast Missouri State University Percussion Ensemble will play unconventional instruments and have a special guest appearance by the Southeast Golden Eagles Marching Band drumline and front ensemble this fall.

The faculty organizer of this performance is Dr. Shane Mizicko.

Mizicko is an associate professor of music, director of the Golden Eagles Marching Band drumline and director of the Fall Percussion Ensemble.

According to Mizicko, this year's Percussion Ensemble is made up of 35 students who are mostly music performance and music education majors. The 35 students will combine to play over 100 instruments during the performance.

Students rehearsed two or three times per week beginning the second week of classes depending on their schedules.

"There are very elaborate parts .... one student could be responsible for four, five, six instruments, and that's what makes it very interesting and exciting," Mizicko said.

The music repertoire is varied, including Latin-based pieces entitled "Sweet Rio" by Arthur Lipner and "Bomba É" by Rolando Morales-Matos at the beginning and ending of the first half of the performance.

According to Mizicko, 25 students will close the second part of the performance with the percussion of "La Vida Es un Carnaval," recorded by the Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz.

Other songs include pop song "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5, rock song "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kerry Livgren and classical piece "Introduction and Allegro" by Richard Schory.

In one of the pieces, "Quartet for Paper Bags" by Larry Spivack, four students will perform with paper bags.

"One person has a very small paper bag, a medium-size bag, a medium-large [bag] and the fourth a big shopping bag, just tapping on the bag and air blowing in them," Mizicko said. "It's a novelty kind of piece and to show you have percussion in almost anything and it's an easy setup, it's a simple little bag just on stage."

Students also will play wood blocks, bongos, congas, vibes, xylophones, shakers, agogo bells, triangles, gongs, rainsticks, djembe, shekere, bamboo wind chimes and other instruments.

"All the music we play is all notated just like an orchestra would read," Mizicko said. "All, even [the] paper bag is notated."

Mizicko said that it is hard to teach and feel the beat when Americans are too "rock 'n' roll," and the feeling for Latin music does not run in the blood.

Mizicko added that when people go to the River Campus they see that every piece has a different instrumentation.

"People are walking up the stage after the concert to look up instruments and ask themselves what's a shaker, and [they] look around to see who's playing that weird sound," Mizicko said.

"If someone hasn't been [to a percussion concert], people are usually amazed because there are literally hundreds of instruments."

The Percussion Ensemble will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

Tickets cost $10 for the general public and $3 for students with a Southeast ID and can be purchased at the River Campus Box Office. For more information, contact the River Campus Box Office at 573-651-2265.

The Southeast Percussion Association accepts contributions to support events like the Percussion Ensemble, off-campus outreach and collaborative performances, percussion instrument maintenance and purchases and guest artists' visits.

People who wish to make donations can do so by contacting Dr. Mizicko via