The World Percussion Group (WPG), an ensemble of youth percussionists from all over the world, will perform at BYU on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall.
The group is directed by the percussion duo Maraca2, made up of Tim Palmer and Jason Huxtable of the U.K. Following Maraca2’s success as a duo, Palmer and Huxtable came up with the idea of putting together the WPG in 2014 as a performing group for budding international youth percussionists.
“The concert encompasses the project and really enforces those nationalities,” Palmer said.
The concert at BYU will represent the diversity of the group, according to Palmer, with music from many different countries. The show will include pieces from the South American, Japanese, Celtic and Middle-Eastern cultures.
The WPG’s performance at BYU is part of a two-month tour throughout the United States. Two groups of international youth percussionists will perform on the tour, including youth from the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ukraine, Spain, Estonia, Taiwan and China.
The first group of percussionists began the tour in Las Vegas on Feb. 15. From there, the ensemble has performed at various venues throughout the U.S. This group will end their part of the tour with a concert in Louisiana on March 13. The next group will pick up where the first group left off on March 15, training for their first venue in Texas. The second group will end the WPG tour after performing in Minnesota on April 9.
BYU professor Ron Brough, artistic director of the BYU Percussion Ensemble, said he arranged the WPG’s visit to BYU seeing it as a great opportunity for his students to enhance their skills as musicians.
“I think it’s wonderful for the students to see great players come together,” Brough said. “When they see other percussionists play excellent music at a high level, it inspires them to do their best.”
Palmer and Huxtable said the inspiration to put together the WPG began when they saw a need for a platform were emerging professional percussionists could showcase their skills. They then created the WPG as a way to give young percussionists from all over the world an opportunity to gain experience by performing together on tour.
“Ultimately, we realized that the only way to really learn how to perform is to actually do it,” Huxtable said.
Maraca2 hopes that the WPG will improve percussion education throughout the world and help the youth percussionists who participate in the group get a start as professional percussionists.
“It certainly adds to the global opportunities for percussion education,” Huxtable said. “It provides new opportunities for people who start in their percussion careers to really get out there and make a name for themselves.”
The Maraca2 duo also said the show they perform on the WPG tour is one that is accessible to all audiences in addition to being a unique experience for both the youth percussionists and the audience.
“As far as we know, there’s nothing like this that has been done before,” Huxtable said.