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Nov. 14, 2002, Gazette

Percussion student in Montreal

By Sharon Gray

Photo by Chris Hammond
Andrew Dunsmore in front of a marimba, displaying some of the many mallets he uses to play percussion instruments.

For the first time, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra has selected a Memorial music student for its annual national competition. Third-year percussion student Andrew Dunsmore traveled to Montreal this week for the semi-finals Nov. 13. If successful, he goes on later this week to compete in the finals.

“I’m really pleased to be part of this competition at such a young age,” said the 20-year old student, noting that the competition accepts applicants up to age 30. “I’ll be entering again when the competition comes around to percussion in three or four years – I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from this experience.”

Mr. Dunsmore began playing percussion while at MacDonald Drive Junior High, where his mother directed band and needed someone to play glockenspiel. He continued to play percussion while at Prince of Wales Collegiate. As a percussion student at the School of Music, he specializes in the marimba but is familiar with most of the percussion instruments which fall into four large divisions – timpani, keyboard percussion, snaredrums and triangles, and ethnic percussion instruments. He began his studies with the late Don Wherry and recently Rob Power; he was chosen last year to be Sabian representative for the Percussive Arts Society Scholarship and traveled to Nashville to attend the national conference. He also won the Rose Bowl at the 2002 Kiwanis Music Festival and was one of three St. John’s students selected to participate in the CBC’s national radio series Up and Coming, featuring 27 young musicians from across Canada.

For the semi-final competition with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Dunsmore selected four pieces – Wind in the Bamboo Grove by Keiko Abe, Shona Dream Dance by Canadian composer Mark Duggan, a sonata on timpani and a snare drum piece. “The program I’ve put together has three pieces that are very textually based,” he said. “For example, Wind in the Bamoo Grove has some very interesting technical effects that give the impression of walking through a bamboo grove.”