Beautiful sounds and never a silence


An orchestra of marimbas (with bass, percussion and a xylophone), handcrafted instruments and cymbal mutes were just some of the highlights for the ears on Sunday 8th February at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The Day of Percussion has now completed 23rd consecutive years and is still going strong.

The day heralds the new percussion year with spring just around the corner and it was good to meet up with colleagues from the RNCM, Southern and JAM Percussion as well as catch up with long standing partner in rhythms Dave Hassell. There was also a very productive meeting of the National Association of Percussion Teachers where members discussed some very good ideas for the committee to set in motion for the coming years. All information will be available at or on the Facebook page

My exhibitor table was placed on a balcony overlooking the doors to the main concert hall and sandwiched between the Matt Nolan Custom and Cymbomute stands. Some wonderful sounding hand made cymbals, gongs, effects and triangles from Matt Nolan offset by the equally effective (and most needed for a practice room or teaching studio) cymbal mutes that allow the drummer to ‘keep the feel’ Two entrepreneurs creating new sounds for the drum and percussion community.

The day was as usual packed with concerts and demonstrations to appeal to the wide range of experiences of the audience and included a rare outing for the Manchester Marimba Orchestra that had been organised by RNCM and Birmingham conservatoire tutor Liz Gilliver. The sound was fantastic as the ensemble of 20 marimbas, a xylophone, string bass and some orchestral percussion performed a repertoire of music seldom heard in this country.

Manchester Marimba Orchestra

Manchester Marimba Orchestra

As for the day, I hope a few more drummers and percussionists will join NAPT after our conversations, I met customers that were only email addresses a few weeks ago and I was commissioned to write some new works. And why never a silence? With all the different stands of instruments on show stretching from the main doors to the furthest balcony of the reception area there was always someone trying something percussive so never a quiet moment.

Percussion music from Peter R. Birkby is available at or email with ideas for commissions.

© P.R.Birkby 2015


About derangeddrums

Composer, percussionist, musical director, teacher and educator. My music has been written for audiences in palaces and in the street. Music is my vocation and my passion and I hope you enjoy it too.
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