Principal timpanist Jeff Vick and why the percussion section has become the "stars of the show" over the years.
Principal timpanist Jeff Vick moved to Bozeman in August 1989 from Tucson, AZ and joined the Bozeman Symphony shortly after. Jeff brings a vast amount of orchestral playing experience to the organization which has included performing with the Tucson Symphony, Denver Municipal Band, numerous community orchestras, in addition to performing in church settings.
As an educator in the public schools, Jeff currently teaches at Anderson School celebrating his 25th year, at Montana State University and LaMotte School (celebrating his 7th year) as well as teaching a private percussion studio.
Starting with piano lessons in Kindergarten, Jeff continued his musical interests by joining band in the fourth grade. It was with this ensemble he had some great experiences playing in select city wide honor groups and was led by a very inspirational band director in Junior High School. By seventh grade, Jeff had decided that being a band director and player was “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” He then started sitting in on big band gigs with his private teacher in Junior High, working up to paying gigs (combos, community theater shows) in high school.
The Bozeman Symphony was the first musical group Jeff became part of after moving to Bozeman. Jeff shares: “[the Symphony] helped lead to working with other organizations in the community (opera later that first year, Montana Ballet when they used primarily BSO members for the first Nutcracker with live music instead of a recording in 1993, Montana TheatreWorks for their first several shows starting in 1995 (the first couple Matthew was conducting), before taking a break & returning a few years ago to their summer productions. Some of my closest friendships have been made through connections either playing or socially through the symphony.”
If you’ve attended collage performances (or really any performance) with the Bozeman Symphony you know that the percussion section can easily become the stars of the show. The percussion section has had a piece or two featured on every collage concert since the first one in 1998, as well as having the opportunity to be a part of other mixed ensemble works featured as part of the collage concerts.
For upcoming performances on March 3rd and 4th, three different pieces and group combinations will feature the percussion section. These include “Dream Catcher” for marimba, vibraphone and other percussion featuring players Stephen Versaevel, Kris Olsen, Mark Brown and Micah Jastram. PercOrchestra (the Far Afield ensemble) has been doing this one for a few years.
“Number 2” is for Steel Drums (the hammered oil drum barrel instruments from Trinidad strongly associated with Caribbean music) again including the members of the percussion section: Stephen Versaevel, Kris Olsen, Mark Brown and Micah Jastram, along with Cortney Bury on Bass.
Additionally, Jeff will be playing one movement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Histoire du Tango” on marimba with Sue Makeever on flute. Jeff has played this piece for smaller audiences in the past and is very much looking forward to having the opportunity for a wider audience to hear this work and the combination of flute and marimba.
In Jeff’s words: “The variety of pieces and fast pacing – large and small groups, many “musical snapshots” that represent both the large ensemble experience (orchestra and choir) as well as showcasing smaller chamber music groups and the individual musicians who make up the BSO and Symphonic Choir make collage performances exciting."