Artist-Lecture Series concludes with rePercussion

Caleb Martin

Dan Twiford and Vince Romanelli perform as rePercussion in the Akin Auditorium on recycled pots and pans. Jan 19th. Photo by Bridget Reilly

More than 50 guests came to experience the last Artist-Lecture Series an audience-involved musical performance by rePercussion, a progressive percussion duo most known for their high-energy rhythm and comedic shows, in Akin Auditorium.

Performing at MSU

Atop the stage of Akin Auditorium, upon the chickenwire of a small makeshift fence were old, dented pans, beat up, rusted street signs, and warped, shiny trash can lids, each of variable sizes and shapes. Beneath them were four, empty, blue 50-gallon barrels and four, white, five-gallon buckets, with a pair of drum sticks resting on the two buckets closest to the audience, who sat in anticipation awaiting rePercussion’s arrival on stage.

The performance took off with the lively duo, Vince Romanelli and Dan Twiford, energetically running out onto the stage, and taking seat on two white buckets side by side, while beating on the two remaining white buckets with a contagious attitude the crowd couldn’t ignore.

“The first 8 minutes of our show is really us trying to prove that we’re just like everyone else,” Romanelli said. “So we’re self deprecating and we’re goofy, and we try and set the ability to make fun of yourself.”

The show had the audience clapping along with the duo while dancing in their seats. The constant audience participation and the comical antics portrayed on stage between Romanellli and Twiford kept the audience in a constant state of smiling.

“The purpose of our show is to entertain,” Twiford said. “It is  as much for escapism as any other piece of entertainment. It’s definitely for people to come and have a good time and not be where you are for a minute, let your hair down, let your guard down.” 

The performance was an unusual piece to end the Artist-Lecture Series with, as the title of the series includes the word “lecture.”

“This particular group, in contrast to maybe the more intellectual lectures you would see, is something that will be a fun event, it is a casual event, it fit the nature of starting the semester, and there was an opening during the Stampede Week planning for this to take place. That way the Artist-Lecture Series is helping the broader campus environment to welcome students for the spring semester and provide an enjoyable experience or opportunity for students,” Matthew Park, associate vice president and dean of students, said.

rePercussion was paid $40 to play for 25 minutes at their first performance in 1997. Since then, their charges and showtimes have steadily increased parallel to their growing fame. Their performances can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, costing between $1,000 and $15,000. MSU paid rePercussion $3,000.

Jessica Mowrer, social work junior, said she enjoyed the performance for multiple reasons.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I like seeing men with man buns perform and I like drumming and stuff like that.”

Students, faculty and Wichita Falls residents left the Akin Auditorium exuding amusement and enjoyment after a performance they won’t soon forget.

rePercussion’s History

Romanelli has been a private instructor as well as a volunteer instructor for the past nine years at the W.O. Smith Music School of Nashville, Tennessee.

“The last student I had I taught from 12-years old, in the sixth grade, all the way to him being a music major in college, which is pretty awesome,” Romanelli said.

Romanelli’s current co-performer, musician and professional percussionist, Dan Twiford, began teaching privately as soon as he left the drum corp at 22 years old. Since then he has been a private instructor for anywhere between 15 to 20 kids at any given time of the year, ranging from 5th to 12th grade.

“We met at Pearl Drums where Dan used to work,” Romanelli said. “I was originally looking for some marching percussion, and Dan was the marketing director at Pearl Drums for marching and that’s where we met. We did a couple random gigs over a two year period and then I asked him to come do a show in Dubai for three weeks with me and another guy and from then it’s turned into a full time show.”

Twiford began describing his own, self-proclaimed, “more accurate” version of how he began to work with Romanelli as a full time musician.

“This guy is a serial friend maker. He scoops them up everywhere he goes, and keeps in good touch with them, and that’s exactly how it happened with me,” Twiford said. “I was a guy he bought drums from once upon a time, and then he stole me from my employer for professional music, which in, Nashville, it is a major accomplishment to go full time music. Vince was one of the bright lights in Nashville convincing me that that was a possible life to live because he’s been doing it.”

Besides rePercussion being known throughout the years for tremendous animation and infectious enthusiasm, they’re also known for their peculiar choice of instruments and hardware they use in the performances. Both the percussionists are professional drummers who have chosen to play beats and rhythms upon various items the average person would call junk.

The Bucket Boys was the brain child and first entrepreneurial venture of group member and founder, Vince Romanelli in 1997. The group’s success began in small performances spaced out over time. Romanelli and his original partner, a friend he met in high school, were given the opportunity to play for his partner’s mother’s students, where she taught at in his hometown elementary school. The Bucket Boys caught the attention of the principal and vice principal of the school, who invited The Bucket Boys to play at different venues, including the Illinois State Fair.

The duo performed for 13 years and even had a brief television appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2009. Romanelli didn’t know The Bucket Boys would become a full time gig until its performance at the Illinois State Fair. The Bucket Boys placed second at the fair, which ultimately opened more opportunities for the group to play, gaining them more recognition across the state, the United States, and ultimately around the world.

In 2013, Bucket Boys changed its name to rePercussion.