Ensemble provides experience, endings, opportunities

Samuel Sutton

Members of the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham
Members of the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham

The Percussion Ensemble Spring Concert, presented by the Department of Music on April 18 at 7 p.m., gave experience to associate band director Gordon Hicken, a last performance to music performance senior Buddy Richison, and opportunities for local high school percussion band members.

“It was a lot of fun and hard work because I envision the program, I choose the repertoire, and then we get into the ‘nitty gritty,’ and it gets more intense,” said Hicken, who is also an assistant music professor. “But then you see the finished product, and you see students come out and play fantastic.”

The ensemble included a set of songs played by the school’s percussion band and a performance from band members from local schools such as Childress High School, Rider High School, Colorado City High School and Windthorst High School.

This was a stepping stone for Hicken, and he said it was a fun experience for him and the students. This is Hicken’s first year here, and he said it has been a good transition and there have been no struggles so far.

“It’s been a pretty smooth transition, I’m used to the Lone Star conference from being from Angelo State. I’ve actually been able to get some grants to get some instruments, and we’ve got great support from our Dean, the President, the provost, everybody. From my point of view, it’s been smooth sailing,” Hicken said.

Richison said good things about Hicken as well.

Members of the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham
Members of the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham

“Dr. Hicken has taken this group as far as it can go. This is the best it’s been in the four years I’ve been here,” Richison said. “He, along with everyone else in the music department, challenges us to do better and better every single time.”

Hicken said his goal is to support the school on a national, international and regional level. He has judged percussion ensemble festivals at local colleges like McMurry and Tarleton State and he goes and talks to high schools almost every week about percussion. Internationally, he performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and nationally, he performed with Andrew Allen, director of jazz ensembles, at the North American Saxophone Alliance Convention.

Richison is a senior this year, and this was the final concert he will be doing at this university. 

“It was nice, everything I needed to get done was out of the way, and so I could just come out, have fun, relax and play great. It was awesome,” Richison said.

He said his time here has been long, but also fun. He said he’s learned how to be more professional in life during his time here.

“I’ve learned a lot, I’ve learned how to be a better person in general, a better professional. Whether I’m going out to another job completely unrelated to music, I know how to be professional about it,” Richison said.

His best moments here were in the percussion ensemble. He said they have become like a brotherhood.

“It’s almost like a fraternity. We spend all day together, we play all day, we practice all day. We’re like a family,” Richision said.

After his time here, he said he wants to be a worship pastor at a church.

Local high school percussion members and the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham
Local high school percussion members and the MSU percussion ensemble lead by Gordon Hicken, associate band director, perform in Akin Auditorium on April 18 with a crowd of about 120 people. Photo by Makayla Burnham

“For me, music in the church is the most important thing. Christian music, dealing with the spiritual side of things, that’s important to me,” Richison said.

While the school’s percussion was the primary event of the night, another highlight was the high school percussions playing at the end of the show. The high school band members got up on stage with the percussion and played a song titled, “Wood, Metal, Skin” with them to close out the concert.

“This was fantastic. The students gained an intense amount of knowledge. The students said it blew their mind. And the performance with the university students and other high school students, that’s something they’ve never done before so they’re taking good things back home with them,” Caleb Leonard, Colorado High School percussionist, said.

Richison said this concert was beneficial to the music department and it helped challenge them to get better for the future.

 

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