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Percussive Attack Camp

Popular workshop back for another season

July 13, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Percussive Attack Camp is back.

The Percussive Attack Camp is a week-long, five-hour-a-day workshop where students learn fundamental percussion skills and experiment on found instruments and traditional percussion instruments.

The camp is a collaboration between music teacher Carrie Biolo and Cindy Whitehouse and Marquette Community Enrichment Programs, a service of Marquette Area Public Schools.

Article Photos

In photos taken last August, top, Carrie Biolo directs the Percussive Attack Camp during its last musical performance at the Marquette Commons. (Journal file photo)

This is the summer camp's second year and Biolo said there will be a few changes from last year.

"Last year I started a morning camp session by playing a marimba solo," Biolo said. "This really got the students' attention. They listened attentively - live, right there next to the instrument - an invaluable learning tool. I immediately realized the students were lacking that faculty performance that is offered at so many summer camps and vowed this summer to present an entire recital for the camp."

To that effect PAC students will attend a faculty recital at Reynolds Recital Hall featuring the percussion work of Eric Roth. Roth, a composer, performer and producer, will work with the students at the camp. Among his numerous recent accomplishments, Roth was the conductor of the orchestra for the "Surprise, Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," accompanying such legendary artists as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. His arrangements and orchestrations have been performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and other prominent orchestras and ensembles. He has taught at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music in New York, Boston University and Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

Biolo said she was thrilled that the students will get to work with Roth.

"Eric's involvement with PAC's summer faculty creates an extraordinary opportunity for students to learn from, work with, and perform alongside a composer who is writing exciting percussion music. It immerses the students in a professional and engaging environment with a very high-profile artist," she said.

There will be three free concerts this summer. The faculty recital at Reynolds Recital Hall will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 3. There will be a performance of Roth's "Clark St. Bridge" in the courtyard of Graveraet School's recently renovated historic fountain at noon Aug. 4. The premiere of "Lyceum" will take place at Kaufman Auditorium at noon Aug. 5.

"Last year's experience taught me that kids and adults are very eager to play percussion, make noise and bang on things. PAC will teach the students how to refine their fundamental skills and make music in multimedia performance events," Biolo said.

In addition to working instruments, students will work in the computer labs at Graveraet to learn music software. The performance of "Lyceum" will be streamed live and students will be tasked with developing a YouTube page for it.

The camp, which costs $75 per person, is open to anyone in middle school or older. The only prerequisite is that students know how to read music.

"Although it may be helpful in the beginning, students don't have to know how to hold a drumstick. At the start of last summer there were two adult students who could read music very well and played a little bit of hand drums, but never played on a snare drum with sticks.

"The rudimentary work I do at the start of camp gives them enough insight into holding sticks, that with a little practice they have a good basic technique for playing," Biolo said.

For more information email Biolo at or go to

Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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