CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Percussionists will honor Thomas L. Davis with UI concert April 19
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Current and former percussion students from the University
of Iowa School of Music will honor Thomas L. Davis, the long-time percussion
teacher at the UI who retired last spring after 38 years on the UI faculty,
by doing what he taught them to do -- play their instruments -- in a concert
of music composed or arranged by Davis, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19, in Clapp
Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature two percussion
groups: the UI Percussion Ensemble, made up of current percussion students
in the School of Music and directed by UI visiting faculty member Dan Moore;
and an ensemble of percussion alumni, directed by John Beckford, a UI alumnus
who is head of the music department at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
Davis, who regarded the Hawkeye basketball coach of the past 11 years as
"the other Tom Davis" because he arrived on campus so recently,
taught percussion and led the Percussion Ensemble at the School of Music from
1958 through 1996.
In addition to teaching percussion, at various times Davis directed the Hawkeye
Marching Band and headed the jazz program at the School of Music. He has also
been active in the Iowa City area as a jazz percussionist and vibes player
and has made several jazz recordings, including some with Dick Schory's Percussion
Pops Orchestra in the 1960s and '70s.
For the April 19 concert, the UI Percussion Ensemble will play "Fancy
That," "Stompin' Thru the Rye," "Greensleeves" and
"Mau Mau Suite," all arrangements or original compositions by Davis.
The alumni group, featuring Davis' former students from as far away as Philadelphia,
Seattle and Texas, will play Davis' "Panda Pause" and "El Races
de la Camp Town," as well as a medley of Davis' favorite jazz tunes.
In addition, a brass ensemble will perform Davis' "Requiem and Ritual,"
and the two percussion groups will combine to end the concert with two of
Davis' most popular arrangements, "Londonderry Air" and "Concertino
on a Well Known Rustic Air."
A nationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore helped lead
the SkyRyders Drum and Bugle Corps, taught percussion at Montana State University
and studied for a doctorate in percussion at the University of Kentucky.
For the past 10 years Moore has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo,
whose CD "Cricket City" has been described by Pan-lime Magazine
as "a brilliant collage of pan-marimba pieces."
Beckford teaches percussion and music history at Furman University. He studied
percussion with Davis, earning bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from
the UI. While at the UI, he played with the Quad City Symphony, the Cedar
Rapids Municipal Band and the Iowa Percussion Quartet. He also served as teaching
assistant with the Hawkeye Marching Band.
In addition to his teaching duties at Furman, Beckford is principal percussionist
with the Greenville Symphony. He is past president of the South Carolina Chapter
of the percussive Arts Society and a regional artist for the Yamaha Music
The UI Percussion Ensemble consists loosely of any students who are studying
percussion at a given time. The instruments used in the percussion ensemble
repertoire vary widely, including not only the drums and cymbals usually associated
with a percussion section, but also gongs, woodblocks, xylophones, marimbas,
and virtually any other instrument that can make a sound by being struck.