Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble
The Memorial University Percussion Ensemble was formed by Don Wherry in the late 1980s, and changed its name to the Scruncheons in 1992. Over the years the Scruncheons have presented hundreds of concerts and workshops, including collaborations with dance, theatre, and the visual arts. They have performed and collaborated with many well known artists and musicians, including Trichy Sankaran, Jerome Blais, John Wyre, The Newfoundland Symphony, and the Beothuck Street Players.
Since the passing of Don Wherry in 2001, the Scruncheons have become more inspired and determined than ever to create, experiment, perform and explore. Since 2001, the group's activities have been directed by Rob Power. Rob is a founding member of the ‘original' Scruncheons, and is the current professor of percussion at the MUN School of Music.
The Scruncheons perform regular concerts and workshops featuring improvisation, world music, homemade instruments, contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire and world premieres. Many Scruncheons compose music for the ensemble, and these works are premiered throughout the year in various venues. They are regular performers at the Sound Symposium, and have been heard several times on CBC Radio's Musicraft, as well as nationally on Two New Hours and The Signal.
As members of the School of Music percussion studio, the Scruncheons benefit from weekly private lessons, as well as weekly masterclasses, covering the many topics of the modern percussionist's world, including snare, timpani, and mallet technique, orchestral ‘mock auditions', improvisation, hand drumming (South American, African, Indian), building homemade instruments, mallet construction and repair, repertoire study, and listening sessions. Recent guest artists include Ian Bernard (NAC Orchestra), John Wyre (formerly of NEXUS), Paul Ormandy and Ray Dillard (Cuban Drumming), and Curtis Andrews (African Drumming).
The group will often expand to include up and coming percussionists, former students, and other percussion enthusiasts. Once a Scruncheon, always a Scruncheon!