Percussion circle

The JC percussion program is a very innovative experience, involving performance in settings such as percussion-only ensemble pieces, traditional concert band, orchestra, and jazz ensemble settings, and also more cutting-edge, trendsetting experiences such as 2006's/2016's Impressions of Magnetic Resonance (a 12-minute surround sound, near-darkness performance for 11 percussionists), the very memorable and effective 2007/2013 "Haunted Hall" in which the ensemble physically played our performance hall, and the very innovative "Steely Pan and the PVC's" group, in which we play standard Caribbean steel drum pieces on large tubes. We've also recently performed such standard works as "Bonham," "Three Brothers," "Crescendo," "Ku-Ka-Ilimoku," "Streams," "Taiko," "Sabre Dance," "Samba Macabre," "A La Samba," "A La Nanigo," "Stubernic," "Portico," "African Welcome Piece," "Troika," "Tusk," "Oh, Beautiful" (with our Women's Chamber Choir), "Yobel," and a series of works with guest composer/conductor Phil Faini.

Percussion membership is open to all students at Juniata. The time commitment is typical for one-credit music ensemble enrollment, approximately 2.5 to 3 hours per week. Ensemble repertoire is selected based on the abilities of the members in any given semester, and members may opt for additional experiences beyond the minimum (and many do!)

Questions about Percussion at Juniata? Email Dr. Latten by clicking here, or call 814-641-3471.


(I tend to not use that word, actually, but you get the idea): I need to hear where your talents and interests lie, so that I can appropriately choose music for the ensemble. To save time later in your Juniata career, I need to hear you only once - typically during your first week of school here although we can set something up prior to that if you wish:

I need to hear all students play a short rhythm reading excerpt which I will give to you a couple days in advance. That's the only required part of the hearing.

However, you probably play some or all of the instruments below, so (as I said) since I wish to gain an accurate idea of your interests and skill levels, IT WILL BE MOST HELPFUL TO HEAR AS MANY OF THE AREAS BELOW AS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH. EVERYTHING BELOW IS OPTIONAL IN THE HEARING. If any or many of them are “no experience,” that’s absolutely fine….I just need to know that. So, please choose none, one, or more of the following:

  • any prepared pieces that you might have from high school – something from a lesson book, a part of a solo or concerto you’ve played, etc… on snare drum, timpani, 2 mallet keyboard, 4 mallet keyboard, drum set, and/or hand percussion;
  • Timpani tuning technique;
  • Drum set styles (time patterns, fills, measured and free solos);
  • Hand and World drumming (we own bongos, congas, timbales, djembes, surdo, bodhran, talking drum, cuica, repinique, pandiero, reco-reco, berimbau, et al.) ;
  • Lead (tenor) steel drum;
  • Short sight reading excerpts on any of the standard instruments that you are comfortable with.