The beat goes on
Nevada Percussion Arts Society hold festival at UNLV

The Rebel yell

This past Sunday, the Nevada Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society held its annual day of percussion at UNLV. The day was filled with performances, clinics and lectures by all different types of artists from around the valley.

The day opened with Ronnie Vannucci of hit band The Killers leading a drum set clinic while keeping the crowd thoroughly entertained. He discussed his particular style of playing and his experiences playing with The Killers.

Following Vannucci's clinic came a set of solo performances by UNLV Doctor of Music Arts Candidate Alex Stopa and High School Solo and Ensemble winner Daniel Alemeda. Not very often do high school and university players perform together at one event. "I think this is a really good opportunity for the younger kids to get a taste of what the percussive society is all about in Las Vegas," Alemeda said.

Later in the day, the UNLV Percussion Ensemble put on a performance of "The Invisible Men" by Nigel Westlake. The piece was written for a 1906 Austrailian silent film. The film portrays a tale of two wizards who create a potion that has the ability to make one invisible. The overall performance could have been smoother due to technical errors with the movie. It was a rough start, but as far as the musical performance goes, it was extremely interesting and accurately synchronized to the film.

Brett Barnes, who has been chapter president of PAS for the past three years, was very enthusiastic with the event as a whole. "One thing that is good to see is that our membership has grown past 50 members here in Nevada, and we always welcome more," Barnes said. "This is the first year that the performers and clinicians have all been residents in Nevada, [whereas] in the past a few of the artists have been from other parts of the country."

The day was concluded with performances by the UNLV Brazilian Ensemble, Vegas Vanguard and a drum set clinic by Jamie Borden. Barnes said, "The diversity of performers we have today is outstanding. We have classical, drum set, marching and world percussion all in one event, which offers people a good variety of music to listen to."

Nevada PAS is already planning with UNLV for next year's event. Barnes said they have a few great artists already, and the lineup should be solid. The Nevada Day of Percussion is held every spring. For more information or to become a member of the Percussive Arts Society, visit