Madison Scouts – All Star Alumni Concert

Kevin Lucas • August 2022GoodVibes • August 2, 2022

On April 30, 2022, the Madison Scouts Alumni had an all-star reunion concert organized by former director Scott Stewart as a benefit for ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Scott chose some of the best members of the Madison Scouts from all time, consisting of members from many different decades. I will be discussing the percussion section which includes Jim Yakas, Jeff Peterson, Joey Banks, and myself.

Yakas put together the percussion section. We had a total of three days of rehearsal to assemble Madison Scout classics such as Malaguena, Rhapsody in Blue, Ballet in Brass, Remembrance, and others. The four-man percussion section had mallets, drum set, multi-percussion, and some marching percussion. 

The percussion parts are very interesting because they were trying to arrange an entire drum corps book into four parts. Each of us were having to play a lot of material as well as several instruments, sometimes simultaneously. I played mallets and some other instruments on most of the songs, and it had been such an honor learning Madison classics from years when I didn’t participate in the corps. Rhapsody in Blue, for example, had the mallets playing some of the solo piano parts. They were very challenging and fun, and the parts were adapted from piano to mallets in the 1980s. The drum set was playing a lot of funk, jazz, syncopated rhythms, hemiolas, and different rhythms played with each limb simultaneously. The Latin percussion parts called for multiple instruments being played at the same time. The mallet parts were typical Madison four mallet style with cool jazz riffs and runs that feel like “Mach 10.” The four of us had assembled a very tight, cohesive, and exciting percussion section. We planned on recording the event with both audio and video so your students can enjoy the concert on Youtube. 

With such limited rehearsal time and such difficult music, we had to be very efficient with our time. We spent time rehearsing individually, and with smaller groups, before putting the ensemble together. We put into practice the techniques of rehearsal I have talked about in earlier articles. We implemented “review and enlarge,” which is constantly reviewing previous learned material while gradually adding more material. We also implemented “perfect practice.”  I have mentioned many times in articles that practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. When your students practice mistakes, they are essentially going backwards, and bad habits must be unlearned. Practicing music perfectly at slow tempos, over and over, will establish the excellence you and your students desire. It is the kind of practice that made the Madison Scouts champions. 

Here’s a bit about each of the amazing percussionists involved in this project. I am going to take a moment to talk about each musician as well as background information.

Jim Yakas marched the snare line in the Madison Scouts from 1992-1997. He is currently professor of percussion at Vandercook School of Music in Chicago, IL. He has also served as professor of percussion at University of Central Florida in Orlando and has been an instructor for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.

Joey Banks has played drums for two-time Grammy nominated artist Bobby Messano. He played the snare line for many years during the 1980s for the Madison Scouts. He is co-founder of the Black Star Drum Line. He also holds a US Soccer Federation B License and is involved in teaching many excellent youth soccer programs.

Jeff Peterson played on the snare line of the Madison Scouts for five years in the 1980s, including one off center in the 1988 DCI World Champion Madison Corps. Peterson was also on staff for many years with the Madison Scouts. He is currently teaching the Black Star Drum Line and is also very active in the healthcare industry, working for Quartz Health Solutions as IT business manager,  and American Family Insurance.

In 2016, The Huffington Post called Kevin Lucas “the most talented percussionist since Lionel Hampton, Ginger Baker and Tito Puente”. He has been nominated for 38 music industry awards for his Echoes in the Sand album, and he won the 2016 American Songwriting Awards. Lucas performed with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from 1992-1994 and won the DCI Midwest Individuals in 1994 for keyboard percussion. He placed second in the United States for concert hall percussion at the Music Teachers National Association collegiate competition in 1997.

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