17th annual percussion festival is a hit for attendees

Beat, rhythms, tempos, patterns — speak with any of the young musicians who attended the Del Mar College Percussion Festival on April 14, and they’ll know. The interactive competition/day-camp event brought local high school and middle school students together to pick up new techniques and tricks.

“This is the 17th annual percussion festival, and the third year including Flam Jamm,” said Neil Sisauyhoat, percussion director at Del Mar college.

Sisauyhoat said the main objective for the event was to engage attendees in a variety of percussion styles and have the chance to have fun making music together.

The event began with UIL competitions and led into interactive mini-sessions on ideal techniques for several percussion instruments such as snares, marimbas, drumsets and bongos. Students went from intently listening and clapping in their seats to flocking on top of the stage and engaging in a jam session.

The event was led by Sisauyhoat, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Matthew McClung and Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Jason Kihle.

“Attendance is open to the entire Coastal Bend area,” Sisauyhoat said.

Lalo Davila, Del Mar alumnus and director at Middle Tennessee State University, led an experimental jam session by bringing all of the students in attendance onto the stage and passing out different instruments and assigning different beat patterns. Afterward, they all took a group selfie while raising their drumsticks.

Benjamin Garcia from Flour Bluff, plus Jesus Cavazos and Daniel Muñez from Carroll, placed in the top three for the snare drum contest.

“They’ve got a lot of informational clinics that are very well put together,” said Sabas Cavazos, father of Jesus, attending his third year at percussion fest.

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