Percussive Arts Society

Industry News — September 2022

Pearl Larissa YeePEARL
“Musicians Making a Difference” College Scholarship Recipients 
In May 2021, Pearl Corporation announced the opening of a new college scholarship, “Musicians Making A Difference,” awarding two $5,000 scholarships annually to high school musicians who have demonstrated the ability to impact positive change in their community. After careful review from a diverse panel of Pearl staff and artists, Pearl is proud to award this year’s scholarships to Amy Hwang and Larissa Yee.

“I am beyond grateful to be a recipient of the 2022 Musicians Making a Difference Scholarship,” says Amy. “The scholarship will be invaluable in paying for my college and conservatory education and allow me to focus on becoming a better musician and person. Thank you so much to Pearl Drums for supporting musicians who are passionate about giving back to their community!”

“I am honored and beyond grateful to be selected as a recipient of the Musicians Making a Difference Scholarship,” says Larissa. “Music has been an important part of my life since I began learning the violin in first grade, and as I begin college at the University of California, Berkeley this Fall, I plan on staying involved in musical ensembles and student organizations.”

Eric Sands Named National Sales Manager
Rhythm Band Instruments, LLC, has announced that Eric Sands has been named National Sales Manager for RBI Music. Eric will be responsible for domestic sales and sales administration for all RBI Music brands including Toca, Silvertone, Grover Pro, Boomwhackers, Vintage, Aulos, and Big Joe.

Previously, Eric worked as Sales Manager–Americas for Positive Grid, National Sales Manager for Orange Amplifiers, and District Sales Manager for Korg USA. “Eric’s experience working with dealers, key accounts, and rep firms are a perfect fit for us. He will help us to move forward, build great relationships, and grow the market for our brands,” said Brad Kirkpatrick, President, and CEO of RBI Music.”

Eric added, “I look forward to working with the team and great brands at RBI Music while providing excellent support for our dealer partners.”

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Toca Mary KnyshTOCA
Partnership with Mary Knvsh for “Inclusive Music Circles”
Toca Percussion is pleased to announce a teaching and product arrangement with Mary Knysh, the founder of Rhythmic Connections, an innovative company advancing education, health, community building, and creative development through drum circles and music improvisation She has traveled the world for over 35 years inspiring participants to tap into healing and human potential through the transformative power of music. Mary is also a professional musician, recording artist, and published author who works with people of all ages. A sought-after facilitator, trainer, and Orff Schulwerk clinician Mary has long been an endorser of Rhythm Band Instruments, the parent company of Toca Percussion.

Since the release of the Toca Freestyle II line of drums, Mary has increasingly used these instruments as part of her repertoire. And with those Toca products as a base, she has created a curriculum course designed for music educators, music therapists, and drum circle facilitators to develop and practically apply methods, techniques, and practices for leading and engaging students Pre-K to Grade 5 in creative music performance circles that emphasize improvisation, responsive musicianship, social emotional awareness, student leadership, and community building using body, percussion, voice, drums, and small percussion. 

Central to this course is a World Drumming Kit anchored by Freestyle II Nesting Djembes and Tom-Toms, Toca’s Flex Drums, Egg Shakers, and an assortment pitched tubes from Toca’s sister company, Boomwhackers.

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Rubén Blades Percussion Section Added to Artist Roster

Toca Jose Daniel Raul

Toca Percussion is pleased to announce the signing of three percussionists playing with one of the most iconic performers in the salsa and Latin jazz genres, the world renown musician, composer, actor, and activist, Rubén Blades.

Jose Ramon Guerra is a percussion teacher and school band instructor as well as a percussionist and chorus musician with more than 25 years of experience. He has been involved with the Orquesta Sociedad Anónima for more than 15 years, accompanying international musicians such as Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Larry Harlow, Danny Rivera, and many more. He is currently a percussionist (conguero) and chorus member of the Roberto Delgado Orchestra, which accompanies Master Rubén Blades. He won two Latin Grammys in 2021 with Blades. 

Daniel Jimenez has shared the stage with and accompanied international artists in the Salsa and Latin scene such as Wichy Camacho, Ricky Luis (N’klave), Frankie Vasquez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and many others. In 2014, he won first place in the El Rey del Timbal contest, and in 2015, he won first place at the La Fiesta del Tambor in the drums category. From 2015–19, he directed his first musical project along with other colleagues and musical friends called MecaniK InformaL. That group combined Salsa, Cuban Timba, and the urban sounds of Panamanian reggae music. Currently he is the drummer of the Roberto Delgado Orchestra, the backing band for Rubén Blades. He won two Latin Grammys in 2021 with Blades. 

Raúl “Toto” Rivera is a professional percussionist from Panama who has been performing with Rubén Blades since 2015. Previous to scoring that gig, Raúl has performed with a such salsa and Latin jazz artists as Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Pedro Arroyo, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Celia Cruz, Tito Nieves, La India, Víctor Vítin Paz & Big Band, and many more. During his time with Rubén Blades, he has received five Latin Grammy awards and two Grammy awards. “

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