Summer of 1997 UMaine Percussion Ensemble tour of France

Dr. Stuart Marrs,Director
Tour of southeastern France
July 12-30, 1997

Southeastern France
Tain l’Hermitage-Tournonsur Rhône

The University of Maine Percussion Ensemble, Dr. Stuart Marrs, Director, toured Southeastern France from July 12-30, 1997. The group performed two different programs as a percussion ensemble in five concerts. In addition, the ensemble members comprised the percussion section for the Orchestre Philharmonique Rhodanien, performing such significant repertoire as Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas and the world premiere of a work composed by Japanese composer I. Tsukamoto.

Musically, culturally, and socially, the tour was an enriching event for all the UMaine students involved. The ensemble performed to large and enthusiastic audiences throughout the tour. The first three concerts, in which the UMaine Percussion Ensemble performed Eight Inventions by Kabalac with Carmina Burana as the second half of the concert, had a combinded attendance of over 4,000. The professional quality level philharmonic orchestra was made up of student and professional musicians from thirteen countries from Europe, the Americas and Japan. The friendships and personal relationships established between the orchestra members form an enduring bond that transcends national borders and cultural backgrounds. Maine students had the opportunity to travel and perform in some of the most beautiful areas of France including the Rhône river valley and the French Alpes.

Dr. Stuart Marrs directed the percussion ensemble concerts, coached the percussion section for the orchestra, and performed as soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique Rhodanien in Costa Rican composer Luís Diego Herra’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra.

After the percussion ensemble concerts several audience members came up to say how much the enjoyed the performances with comments like:

“What is your recording label? I would like to buy some of your CDs.”

“You have established ‘percussion’ for me as a serious musical performance medium.”