Percussion ensemble offers Cuban, African touches in spring concert


Booming drums and shrill bells filled McCain Auditorium as the K-State Percussion Ensemble presented its spring concert Wednesday night.

The ensemble, which is directed by Kurt Gartner, associate professor of percussion, performed eight pieces using a variety of instruments including xylophones, vibraphones, triangles and several types of drums.

The first piece began with performers entering in pairs from the two doors on the side of the stage, as well as from the public seating area.

Stephen Buntain, freshman in athletic training, said he enjoyed the entertainment aspect.

“It was interesting how they started with people in the audience and had the music come together on stage,” Buntain said.

The performance then continued with guest conductor Ashley Maughlin, graduate student in music, conducting “Mosaic,” as well as several pieces without a conductor.

The show also featured a variety of musical styles, including a traditional Cuban song called “Santeria Salutes.” The piece was performed in two movements with traditional African Bata drums.

Buntain said he enjoyed the performance as a whole, especially since he is a former percussionist himself.

“I just like to listen to percussion music,” Buntain said, “especially higher-level stuff like this.”

Jeff Heiman, sophomore in computer science, said he thought the concert overall was a success.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Heiman.

Before the last piece was performed, Gartner showed his appreciation to the audience.

“Time is a precious commodity,” Gartner said, “so we’d like to thank you for spending some time with us.”

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.