Second Annual Percussion Festival Boasts Over a Thousand Attendees  

Image of the TCU Percussion Orchestra performing in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall.

The School of Music will host its third annual TCU Percussion Festival on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, 2024 in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall.

The School of Music hosted its second annual TCU Percussion Festival last spring featuring world-class guest artists and drawing in over a thousand attendees, including 38 percussion ensembles, 50 soloists, nine guest artists and an elementary steel band. 

Dr. Brian A. West

Dr. Brian A. West

Dr. Brian A. West, Division Chair and Coordinator of the Percussion Orchestra brought the unique festival to campus to offer performance opportunities for concert percussion ensembles across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The festival has quickly grown and attracted students from across the state, including Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. Attendees participated in clinics with leading professional musicians, performed on stage in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall and collaborated with TCU students.  

 “We are astounded at how fast this festival has grown,” said West. “To be the size we are in just two years is remarkable. We hope to offer this event to the public for years to come.”  

The next TCU Percussion Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, 2024 in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall.  

A Letter from Barbara Lund ’15

“As an alumna of the TCU Percussion Studio, this festival has a special place in my heart,” said Barbara Lund ’15, who teaches at Elder Elementary School. “It feels like a mini-reunion because of how many alumni were involved.” 

Lund wrote a letter describing her experience participating and watching her elementary students and other schools experience the performing arts at the 2023 TCU Percussion Festival:

There was a certain buzz in the air when I entered the Van Cliburn Concert Hall to hear the TCU Percussion Studio perform the final concert of the festival. As I scanned the audience, which consisted of middle and high school percussionists and their directors, a smile came to my face as I sensed the energy pulsing throughout the hall. Most students had been at the festival all day, but their passion for music was still evident, even after a full day of traveling, moving instruments and performing.    

I selected a seat in the middle of the hall while gazing upon the dozens of percussion instruments on stage – marimbas, vibraphones, glockenspiels, xylophones, countless cymbals, drums and various hand-held instruments. If you’ve never been to a percussion ensemble concert, it’s a musical experience unlike any other.      

Part of what makes a percussion ensemble concert unique is the enormous dynamic range of the instruments. Even a few percussion instruments can fill the hall with thunderous rhythms or draw you to the edge of your seat while listening to the murmur of a hushed marimba roll. 

North Texas is renowned for its high-caliber percussion programs, but there aren’t many festivals for high school students and the community. Mario Luna founded a percussion festival at Forney High School in 2009, the only festival available to students for about a decade. Matt Moore ’12, the former percussion director at Eaton High School, saw a need for a festival on the western side of DFW. Moore coordinated and hosted a percussion festival at his school in the spring of 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, Eaton’s festival was discontinued after the pandemic swept the nation in 2020.         

Once again, there was a need for a percussion festival, and Brian West stepped up to fulfill this need after the construction of the TCU Music Center. The inaugural TCU Percussion Festival was held on Saturday, April 9, 2022, and featured eight clinicians, guest artists, and 22 ensembles.     

It has been rewarding to see the festival expand to students across the Southwest in the past two years. The hype about the festival has even reached directors outside of Texas. This year, I experienced a “full circle moment” as my elementary students learned a steel band chart with Miles Locke ’15 and John Gaal’s ’19 high school students. Watching your class learn alongside your friends’ students is an incredibly humbling, inspiring and rewarding experience.         

The next TCU Percussion Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, 2024. 

Learn more about the upcoming 2024 TCU Percussion Festival