Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Evans Artist Spotlight - Chris Deviney - Philadelphia Orchestra

NAME: Chris Deviney

AGE: 43

CURRENT JOB: Principal Percussionist, Philadelphia Orchestra


THE EARLY YEARS: (some information on where you grew up, where you studied, degree(s) earned) Grew up in North Carolina and Florida. Went to Florida State University for undergrad degree in Music Performance, Temple University for Master’s Degree.

ONE THING YOU ARE PRACTICING RIGHT NOW IS: Solo marimba literature and a marimba part to a percussion ensemble composition at Curtis.

MY PLAYLIST OF “TOP SONGS” WOULD INCLUDE: Anything by Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, or Chick Corea.

QUICK PRACTICE TIP: Practice slowly and only increase speed by two clicks of the metronome after you’ve played it perfectly 5 times in a row.

WORST NON-MUSIC RELATED JOB, DESCRIBE: Hardest was picking tobacco as a 14-yr. old; worst was working at a golf course putting in drainage lines (ditch digger).

HOBBIES INCLUDE: Recently learned to scuba dive; will golf anytime I’m available.
WHAT EVENT, PERSON, OR MOMENT HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON YOU AS A MUSICIAN? The person who has made the greatest impact on me as a musician is Alan Abel. He is a fabulous musician but also a kind-hearted individual who gives his all to anyone studying with him. His generosity knows no boundaries and his encouragement is legendary. He never settled for anything mediocre but always made you feel that you were important to him. Lessons were always at his house in his basement (with tea provided if you were so inclined) so you felt like you were a part of his immediate family. This kind of support system is rare these days but one that I try to recreate in my own teaching. Trying to emulate his special sense of caring and effort is the best tribute I can give to him.

MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE OR TRIP: My first time getting to go on tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1991 was especially memorable. It was my first time in Europe and the opportunity to perform in some of the best acoustic concert halls in the world was really special. Getting to play next to the percussionists in the Philly percussion section was also a treat. I learned so much just observing how they produced their sounds and how they presented themselves on stage. I also had a side project that was all my own that I still continue with today. I researched the locations of graves of famous composers (mostly in Paris and Vienna) and did grave rubbings of their tombstones on large sheets of parchment. They hang in my house in large black frames. It sounds strange, but seeing the graves of these people actually brought them to life for me in a way. They weren’t just names on a piece of paper but instead were real people who struggled with the same aspects of life we all struggle with.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN, WHY? If I couldn’t be a musician but could pick any other job in the world, I would definitely be an NFL referee. I officiated high school football for 8 years and was on the field any Friday night I wanted until I moved to Texas in 1998 (where 8 years experience meant little compared to people with 12 years and more…). With a newborn daughter, I gave up officiating realizing that I wouldn’t see her grow up at the pace I was setting. It was a great hobby while it lasted and being on the field during a high energy football game was always a thrill and something I’ll never forget.
For more information about Chris Deviney

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

About Me - Jim Bailey (Part I)

I have always had a fascination with drums. This much has been obvious my entire life. As far back and any of my family members can remember, I have always had an inclination to ‘make music’ with pot, pans, and whatever else would make a noise when I hit it. My earliest significant memory when I actually gained clarity that I had a real fascination with drums and percussion was (funny enough) during an episode of Mr. Rogers when he went to visit his local music store. I remember only a few things, but those things I remember well. The local ‘drum guy’ gave Mr. Rogers a drum lesson on a beautiful gold sparkle snare drum. The drummer taught Mr. Rogers (and the viewers) two rudiments, the Paradiddle and the ratamaque. Two down (PAS 40 International Drum Rudiments) and thirty-eight to go!

That was somewhere in the mid to late 1970’s (if you couldn’t tell from the gold sparkle drum). It was a few years later that my obsession with marching percussion kicked in to high gear. When I was about 11 I saw my local high school marching band in a parade…probably the annual 4th of July parade. While watching the percussion section, my attention was drawn (for no particular reason) to the tenor section…of which consisted of two high school students playing tri-toms. I remember the sound to this day and I have to say, it was compelling! The deep, tangy sound of those tri-toms instantly hooked me and I became an instant lifer of the tenor drums. This became the instrument I marching in high school and drum corps before returning to drum corps as a tenor tech and eventually caption head of several drum corps.

One of the two students playing tenors that day would not only influence me to follow my passion with percussion, but also motivate me to march with the drum corps that became my other obsession, The Cavaliers. Those of you who follow marching percussion with particular detail may know my mentor, Pat McGowan. Pat played in the Cavalier tenor line from 1988 until 1991 and was one of the most significant people to help development the Cavalier tenor style that became so definitive in the early 90’s. If you don’t know him by name, you surely know his cadence, “Bunco Rules”, which he wrote for the Cavaliers drumline in 1990. This cadence became an instant classic and was performed by the Cavalier drumline from 1990 until I wrote a cadence called Cobham’s Revenge, which replaced it almost 12 years later. After that parade I ran home and convinced my parents to let me join band. I enrolled into summer percussion class right away and began to study percussion with a few of my neighborhood friends.

Percussion in high school was fun. The band was not all that great, and we didn’t go to huge festivals like BOA, PASIC. The Spartan Festival (Chicago) was too far and WGI had barely started its percussion circuit. Nonetheless drumline was fun because everyone enjoyed it and wanted to be great. Practices were carefully balanced with standard drumline antics and the right amount of serious work needed to bring all of us together. We had no instructor. Only armed with a handful of DCI videos and the inspiration of a fellow Highland band member now Cavalier. The practice fields of Highland, Indiana is where I got my first real taste of the type of dedication and work needed to function and succeed in a top 12 caliber drumline. In 1989 I decided to get my first real taste of drum corps. I signed up to audition for the Cavaliers drumline. I was 13 years old. As you can imagine, this was quite a schooling for me. Despite being immediate cut from tenors, I did manage to survive two cuts from the bass drum line that weekend. I was pretty proud of myself. In hindsight, I am sure the staff was simply investing in my future and allowing me to get a full weekend of experience before getting news that would simply devastate any 13 year old. I promised myself I would never return to that camp again unless I was 100% certain I would not walk away disappointed. Six years passed as I gained more experience necessary to ace the audition and claim a spot in the drum corps of my dreams. (to be continued…)