The Lamar University drumline performs at PASIC.

Lamar University’s Drumline and Percussion Ensemble both took first place at the annual Percussive Arts Society’s International Competition, Nov. 11-14, in San Antonio. Winning first place at the Percussive Arts Society is among the highest honors a collegiate percussion ensemble can receive. The awards establish LU’s percussion program as one of the finest in the world.

“We are extremely proud of these ensembles,” said Kurt Gilman, chair of the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music. “They just keep getting better and better, and they really are putting us on the map.”

Travis Fife, director of marching percussion, and Matt Holm, instructor of percussion, conduct the ensembles.

“Having the experience of going to this convention is truly an honor and a valuable opportunity for our students to grow and develop,” said Fife. “I’m very proud of the students and their dedication. This is a huge stepping stone for our percussion studios, the music department and the university.”

The Percussive Arts Society is a non-profit music-service organization whose mission is to promote percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world. Today, the society has nearly 7,000 members, with 50 chapters located across the United States and 28 international chapters.

LU’s Drumline competed and won in the college standstill marching percussion category. The 45-member group performed “Catching Shadows,” written by Ivan Trevino and arranged by Fife and Holm.

The Percussion Ensemble placed first in the chamber percussion ensemble category. The small, five-member group performed “Kyoto,” written by John Psathas.

“We are extremely grateful for the support from LU,” said Fife. “Dr. Derina Holtzhausen, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, attended all three days of the competition and cheered us on. It was great to have her there. I’m also thankful to Dr. Scott Deppe and Dr. Eric Shannon for making it possible for the entire marching band to attend the competition and support the percussion groups. We had a great showing from Lamar.”

“It was not a surprise to me that our ensembles won,” said Holtzhausen. “Their performances were breathtaking. You could have heard a pin drop when they finished playing because everyone was just in awe. I am greatly impressed by and proud of the hard work from our students and faculty in the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music.”

For more information about the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music at LU, visit or call 880-8144.