Professor Kevin Bobo headlines Youth Percussion Ensemble

March 31, 2017


Professor Kevin Bobo performing on the marimba at the fifth annual North Louisiana Youth Percussion Ensemble – Photo by Jonathan Shaul

Imani Coleman
Staff Reporter | itc002@latech.edu   


Bright lights and well-shined instruments were on full display at Louisiana Tech’s fifth annual North Louisiana Youth Percussion Ensemble Festival March 24-25.


The festival gave local high school students a chance to debut their best talent and to receive a hands-on experience.


The schools included were Ruston High, Neville and Jena.


The headliner was Kevin Bobo, a professor of percussion at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.


Bobo is an internationally respected solo marimba artist and has performed on five continents, according to the festival’s brochure.


He specializes in the maribama. A marimba is “a musical instrument, that originated in  Africa but was  popularized and modified in Central America. It consists of a set of graduated wooden bars, often with resonators beneath to reinforce the sound, and  is struck with mallets,” according to Dictonary.com.


Bobo began playing the marimba at the age of 12.


“The great thing about starting that young was that I never got irritated,” he said. “The entire experience was all centered on exploration; there was never any pressure.”


For Bobo, the “only true obstacle was learning the advanced skill of holding two mallets in one hand simultaneously,” he said.


“During the set I joked about never being able to hold hands with my wife, but it’s true,” he said. “The worst part of learning to play the marimba was the blisters I would get on my hands from the sticks.”


He said he also believes he has yet to reach his maximum potential.


“I have yet to master the marimba,” he said. I believe it is an unmasterable instrument.”


Bobo believes life could not exist in a world without music.


“I believe the arts are very important to everyday society and I believe without them the world would be a very dull place and I wouldn’t want to live there,” he said.


According to Bobo he has yet to reach his highest achievement.


“I don’t think I’ve reached  that moment yet, or at least I hope I haven’t, he said.


The second day of the festival centered around the high schools, and all the schools got a 25-minute set.


Ruston High had two bands that performed a intermediate and advanced set.


The festival’s closing concert also included Louisiana Tech’s Percussion Ensemble and the Honors Ensemble.


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