March 28, 2014

UAB Percussion gets busy with free performances in April

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mark fordMark FordApril is a busy month for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Music’s UAB Percussion, with a festival for area high school percussion ensembles and three free concerts.

Assistant Professor of Percussion Gene Fambrough, DMA, will perform a free faculty recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in UAB’s Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th St. South. Fambrough will present a recital with a program of mostly premieres: new, original music for percussion soloist and percussionist with quartet. Included in the program is an original work based on the drumming of Neil Peart, longtime drummer for the rock group Rush and one of the most influential drummers of all time. The faculty recital will feature a guest appearance by Iron Giant Percussion on two of the compositions.

For the first time at UAB, Steel Bands I and II will be featured in a free spring concert at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 11, in UAB’s Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Steel Bands I and II will perform classic steel band tunes from soul calypso, or soca, and calypso styles to hits by Andy Narell and Paul Simon. The bands are directed by Fambrough. Admission is free.

gene fambrough 2Gene FambroughAs part of UAB Music’s fourth annual Percussion Festival, UAB Percussion Ensembles will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South. The free concert will feature guest artist Mark Ford, coordinator of percussion at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. UAB Percussion Ensembles I and II will perform in a wide variety of musical literature and styles, including a “visit” to a local coffee shop. Guest artist Ford will perform as a soloist as well as with the ensemble.

As part of the festival, UAB Music will host several area high school percussion ensembles during the day on April 17, to perform in the ASC and receive coaching from Ford afterward. There will also be clinic sessions by Ford and Fambrough throughout the day. Ford is a marimba specialist and the coordinator of one of the largest percussion programs in the United States at UNT. A composer, author, educator and active performer on the marimba, he has been featured throughout the United States at universities and music conferences. He also regularly performs at international music festivals in South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

For more information, call 205-934-7376. Visit the UAB Department of Music online at

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