Elon holiday percussion album benefits local schools

The Department of Music, Teaching & Learning Technologies, and the School of Communications had roles in the fundraising project.


By Caitlin O’Donnell ’13

A holiday percussion album produced by a dozen Elon University students will do more than spread cheer this season.

“Lo, How a Rose…” from the Elon University Percussion Ensemble also helps two local schools.

Featuring 10 tracks of classic holiday music performed on a variety of musical instruments, including vibraphones, drums, bells and timpani, the album proceeds will benefit percussion music at Williams High School and Cummings High School in Burlington, N.C.

The idea for the album originated with Professor Jon Metzger in the Department of Music. While leading sessions with Elon Academy scholars in 2011, Metzger learned that Cummings students in the university-led college access and enrichment program did not have a band program.

Metzger also had spoken with an Elon University alum teaching at Williams High School who said equipment there was in poor condition. It was then that Metzger said he first considered the possibility of a holiday album as a fundraiser.

“All these factors came to mind,” Metzger said. “We wanted to let this be a fundraiser so that everybody could enjoy the music but the proceeds could go to help something else.”

Metzger’s percussion students wrote all of the arrangements before spending a day last spring recording tracks. Bryan Baker, coordinator of video projects in the School of Communications, assisted in the process while with Teaching & Learning Technologies and sought help from students to film three of the arrangements being performed.

“It’s a very visual kind of thing as well to see all those members collaborating and communicating together through music so it made sense to do the video for it as well,” Baker said.

The duo spent their summer months editing the pieces. Nor is it the first time Metzger and Baker have collaborated on a project. They worked together in the past, including a compilation Christmas album featuring musicians from Alamance County.

“Anytime I get a chance to work with Jon, I always jump on it,” Baker said.

Metzger said the sale of the album, available for $10, has already surpassed their original goal. He aims to present a custom-made snare drum to both Williams and Cummings High Schools sometime in early 2013.

“It’s a ton of work and you look back on projects and say, ‘Oh my gosh, how did we do that?’” Metzger said. “But it’s really what we live for, the opportunity to do big projects like this.”

Those interested in purchasing a copy of the holiday album can contact Jon Metzger at jmetzger@elon.edu or 336.278.5683.