Annual “Evening of Percussion” Concert a Booming Success


Photo courtesy of @bandsofrandolph on Instagram

The RHS Percussion Ensemble, directed by Anthony Eskin, performs at the “Evening of Percussion” Concert on Thursday, May 11, 2023 in the high school auditorium.

Jessica Ackerman, Arts Editor

The various percussion-based music ensembles of RHS and RMS came together for their annual “Evening of Percussion” concert, held in the high school auditorium on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m.

Each group presented a carefully curated selection of pieces highlighting its unique sound and contribution to the Randolph music program, both as an ensemble and with featured soloists.

“I look forward to the Evening of Percussion because the performances are a final product of six months of hard work,” said Anthony Eskin, director of both the RMS and RHS Percussion Ensembles. “The students put a lot of time, effort and dedication into the rehearsals and their individual practice sessions, so as their teacher, it is always extremely rewarding to see the students showcase their hard work.”

The first group to take the stage was the RMS Percussion Ensemble, which featured seventh graders Ryan Chupak, Liam Curley and Rebecca Ohlssen, and eighth graders William Mihalko and Junior Regional and Area Band participant Jonathan Ford. The two selections they played, “Tomfoolery” by Wes Stephens and “Crazy Dance” by Josh Walker, demonstrated a perfect balance of professionalism and youthful excitement that left audience members, as senior Raina Patel said, “energized and excited.”

Next to take the stage was the revered RHS Percussion Ensemble, which featured the following students: Freshmen Jason Bachenheimer, Angus Costello, Alexandra Jampol, Zachary Kaufman, and Richard Torrente; sophomores Roanna Buan, Aishwarya Hariharan, and Region Band member Leah Weinstock; juniors Bassel Daniel, Benjamin Herring, Aidan Patel, Evan Shapo and Lloyd Silkovitz; and seniors Doug Hines, Max Peia, and Kole Luckett. Their six-song repertoire was a masterful display of professionalism and percussion expertise, featuring the ensemble pieces “Haut Metall Holz” by Michael Huestis, “TetraCurrent” by Chad Floyd, “Taiko” by Scott Harding and “Whiplash” by Aaron Ward.

The two pieces that followed, “Xylophonia” by Joe Green and arranged by Bob Becker and “Nzuri Mwana” by Stuart P. O’Neil, featured senior xylophone soloist Max Peia and staff flute soloist Diana May respectively. “It’s definitely difficult to narrow down which piece I was most excited for, but if I had to choose, I would probably say Nzuri Mwana,” Eskin said. “This was the first piece that I have done here at RHS that featured a soloist, so it was very exciting to be able to share such a memorable experience with the students and a fellow colleague.”

At the end of the night, the senior members of the High School Percussion Ensemble, which included Max Peia, Kole Luckett, and Doug Hines, were honored for their contributions and excellence in percussion performance. Upon reflection of these four years, the students thanked Eskin in return by honoring him as a “senior,” as the Class of 2023 was the first one he had taught for all four years, beginning when the students were freshman.

At the end of the performance, the auditorium reverberated with a percussive roar of applause from audience members who were clearly impressed by the exceptional professionalism and passion demonstrated by the student musicians. “The pieces that the students performed were immensely difficult, with some being college-level repertoire,” Eskin said. “[However], all of the students accepted the challenge, stepped up, and performed beautifully, which was no easy feat.”

These exemplary musicians are not done with the stage just yet: the RMS Band Spring Concert is today, Wednesday, May 31.