Percussive Arts Society Recognizes Yamaha Artists for Contributions to Music Education

INDIANAPOLIS (November 29, 2018) ― The Percussive Arts Society (PAS) has announced the 2018 recipients of its distinguished awards, three of whom are Yamaha artists. The awards ceremony was held at the PAS International Convention in Indianapolis on November 16.
"We are pleased that PAS has acknowledged the achievements of these fine musicians who have spent their entire careers working to inspire, educate and support percussionists around the world," says Troy C. Wollwage, marketing manager, percussion, Yamaha Corporation of America.
One PAS Lifetime Achievement in Education Award was awarded posthumously to Dean Witten, recognizing his contributions as one of the most highly regarded leaders in percussion education. His teaching career spanned 45 years, 38 at Rowan University where an astounding 32 of his students won the annual Rowan Orchestra Concerto Competition. He also had performed all over the world, recording with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion and Harry Connick Jr., and had commissioned and premiered 52 new works for percussion ensembles from local to internationally renowned composers.
Also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement in Education Award was Dr. Willis Rapp, who has served on several faculties including Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he retired in 2013 with the distinction of Professor Emeritus. He has more than 500 publications to his credit over the past 45 years through such companies as Meredith Music Publications, GIA Music Publications and the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation.
John R. Beck, percussion professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Wake Forest University, received the Outstanding PAS Supporter Award. Splitting his time equally between education and performance, he has been a staunch support of the organization for decades. While PAS president from 2013 through 2014, Beck began community outreach drum circles at the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. This led to his training as a Remo HealthRHYTHMS facilitator and his current research work using interactive group drumming with stem cell transplant recipients to help reduce stress, anxiety and pain as well as to improve their overall hospital experiences.
"Music education and improving the lives of others through music has always been the mission of Yamaha, and it is gratifying to be recognized for the innovative ways the company has integrated its mission with tangible results," Wollwage says.
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