The second in the Crescent Moon Concert Series will present Kanab’s own Taylor Armstrong on marimba, and the Southern Utah University Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Lynn Vartan, on Saturday, February 25, at 7 pm.

This talented percussion ensemble performs historically significant works for percussion, contemporary percussion literature, novelty percussion and traditional non-western percussion music. The ensembles are comprised of both music majors and non-majors, and welcomes students with a variety of levels of experience.

Several performance opportunities are available to members of the percussion ensembles, including concerts, performances and other promotional events for the College of Performing and Visual Arts, as well as concerts on and off campus.

Percussion students have the opportunity to pursue and design programs in education, such as the Elementary African Drum Group, Bumbleberry Jam and ArtsFusion Elementary Percussion events at rural schools.

Each spring, Dr. Vartan hosts an annual Percussion Festival. The festival features two guest artists who stay in residence in Cedar City for a few days. This gives the percussion students the opportunities for lessons with the guest artists, as well as to get closer to the artists and ask questions about their career and musical life. The percussion studio is very excited to have grown to three full ensembles, and are planning to tour in 2011-2012 academic year.

Director Dr. Lynn Vartan is an international performer and educator who is an advocate for diversity in music.  She has been featured in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Mexico and Europe, in addition to frequent solo appearances in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. Vartan has recorded with ECM, New World Records, Yarlung Records, Albany Records, and was Grammy® nominated three times on Cambria with Southwest Chamber Music.  

Taylor Armstrong is the son of Dr. John Armstrong and his wife Jill of Kanab, and is a 2011 graduate of Kanab High School. He started his musical studies at age eight on the piano, and at age 10 began his career as a percussionist, studying with his grandfather.

Armstrong soon became proficient on the snare drum, drumset and timpani. After receiving a marimba for Christmas gift three years ago, he developed a real affinity for the instrument’s beautiful sound and challenging repertoire.

Armstrong’s hard work and talent have earned him several awards and wonderful opportunities to play with the country’s top young musicians. He performed with the Honor Band of America in Indianapolis, Indiana, one of six percussionists nationwide to participate. He was awarded first place in timpani, marimba, and in the mock audition in Utah’s Day of Percussion, a statewide competition for percussionists. He also played in Utah All State groups, where he earned superior ratings in state solo and ensemble festivals and attended the Percussive Arts Society International Convention for three years.  

He has attended music camps at BYU, Florida, Indianapolis, and had the opportunity to attend the prestigious Interlochen Six Week Summer Music Program in Michigan. Armstrong’s scholastic accomplishments are noteworthy as well. He competed as the Music Sterling Scholar, was awarded runner-up and received a scholarship to SUU. He was an Honor Student at Kanab High School and is in the Honor Program at SUU, where he currently attends and studies with Dr. Lynn Vartan, the Director of the SUU Percussion Ensemble.  

Two years ago, Armstrong performed Ney Rosauro’s five movement concerto with our local Symphony of the Canyons. Recently, he was chosen to perform the third movement of Eric Ewazen’s Marimba Concerto with the Orchestra of Southern Utah on April 19. He also has the opportunity to play in the Advanced Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and other performing groups. 

Come and enjoy a wonderful evening of drums and other instruments from the SUU Percussion Ensemble. Ticket cost of concert is $5.00.