The Chamber Percussion Ensembles carry on a tradition of excellence in performance, recording, and commissioning concert repertoire for percussion. Under the leadership of Professor Brian Justison from 1999 until 2017, the ensemble won the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition and was selected to perform at the 2008 Percussive Arts Society Interational Conference Focus Day session. In 2013, the group was awarded a Downbeat Student Music Award for “Best Classical Group.” Performances at numerous regional music festivals are also part of their activities. Additionally, their debut CD Best Kept Secret received laudable reviews from both Gramophone and Percussive Notes. The group has premiered more than twenty new works, including four such premieres at PASIC showcase concerts. They released their second recording in the fall of 2012 comprised solely of works premiered by the ensemble.
Each year the percussion ensembles present a concert season beginning with the ever-popular Halloween concerts. Sponsored by the Children’s Museum of Illinois, WAND-TV and Pepsi, this all-ages, family-friendly event of the season takes place in the infamously haunted Albert Taylor Theatre. Audience members join the ensemble in costume and all proceeds go toward students attending the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. The ensemble then embarks on an annual recruiting tour with recent performances in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Memphis, the Quad Cities area and central Illinois.
In February, Synergy showcases the distinctiveness of Millikin University’s ubiquitous interdisciplinary alliances through a collaborative concert featuring performances with students and faculty across the College of Fine Arts.
The season ends in April with the Masterworks concert showcasing the depth and breadth of contemporary percussion chamber music through a program featuring works by the discipline’s leading composers. Each year, the ensemble premieres a new work commissioned through the Percussion Music Commission Fund on this program. In sum, these ensembles explore the diverse world of percussion music from the novel to the sublime.