2020 Day of Percussion

Per・cus・sion             noun

-musical instruments played by striking with the hand or with a handheld or pedal-operated stick or beater, or by shaking, including drums, cymbals, xylophones, gongs, bells, and rattles. 

If that definition gets your heart beating at a rapid tempo, you should take a whack at the U of A Day of Percussion! This annual event features clinics and performances by guest artists, the U of A Percussion Ensemble, and area high school ensembles. 


9:30 – Registration (Lobby of FPAC)

10:00 – 10:30 – Fayetteville H.S. Percussion Ensemble (FPAC)

10:30 – 10:40 – Break

10:40 -11:10- Aaron Ragsdale Clinic 1 (Band Hall)

11:10 – 11:20 – Break

11:20 – 11:50 – Bentonville H.S. Percussion Ensemble (FPAC)

Lunch on Your Own

1:00 – 1:30 – Har-Ber H.S. Percussion Ensemble (FPAC)

1:30 – 1:40 – Break

1:40 – 2:20 – Aaron Ragsdale Clinic 2 (Band Hall)

2:20 – 2:30 – Break

2:30 – 3:00 – Heritage H.S. Percussion Ensemble (FPAC)

3:00 – 3:10 – Break

3:10 – 3:40 – Fernando Valencia Clinic (Band Hall)

3:40 – 3:50 – Break

3:50- 4:30 – U of A Percussion Ensemble (FPAC)


Junior High, Senior High, and Collegiate Percussionists


Stay Tuned for our 2020/2021 Season!


9:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.


Faulkner Performing Arts Center, U of A Campus          Click here for maps and directions.


This is a free event. Advance registration is not required.

Meet the Instructors

Aaron Ragsdale, Director of Percussion

South Dakota State University


Aaron Ragsdale is Director of Percussion at South Dakota State University where he teaches applied percussion and percussion pedagogy, conducts the SDSU Percussion Ensemble, and serves as Assistant Director with the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band. He has appeared as a soloist on PAS “Days of Percussion” in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, and as marimba soloist with the Rutgers University Percussion Ensemble as part of the “Great Music at St. Bart’s” concert series at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City and with the South Dakota State Wind Symphony during their performance at the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival in Chicago, IL. 

From 2016-2018, he served as the Patricia Noethe-Pierce Artist-In-Residence at SDSU, and commissioned a slate of new solos and duos for a culminating performance at Symphony Space in New York in May of 2018. In May of 2019, Ragsdale and flutist Tammy Yonce recorded an album of newly commissioned works for flute and percussion duo at the Tank Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely, CO. In edition, March 2017 saw the release of his CD recorded in collaboration with Nathan Jorgensen, “A Miraculous Tale: Mixed Music for percussion and saxophone,” on the Centaur label. 

An advocate and activist in the realm of new music, Ragsdale has premiered and commissioned works by composers including Steven Snowden, Roshanne Etezady, Nick Zammuto, Jay Batzner, Katherine Bergman, Alexis Lamb, Dave Hall, Gene Koshinski, Alan Theisen, Joshua Clausen, Everette Minchew, Caleb Evans and David Skidmore. 

A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Aaron holds a DMA from Rutgers University, a Master of Music degree from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. His teachers have included She-e Wu, Bob Becker, Alan Abel, Richard Gipson, and Chalon Ragsdale. He lives in Brookings, SD with his wife, Ashley, and children, Olivia and Harrison.

Fernando Valencia, Instructor of Percussion

Department of Music, University of Arkansas


A native of Colombia, Fernando Valencia is currently a Lecturer at the University of Arkansas in the areas of Applied Percussion and Latin American Music. Mr. Valencia received his B.M. from the Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia) and his M.M. from The University of Arkansas under the guidance of Chalon Ragsdale. He later went on to Temple University to obtain the Professional Certificate of Studies with Alan Abel of The Philadelphia Orchestra where he was awarded the Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship. Formerly the principal percussionist of the National Wind Symphony of Colombia, he has also performed with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, The Bogota Philharmonic and the  Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey among others. Alongside his academic training, Mr. Valencia has been involved in the research and performance of his Afro-Colombian and Afro-Caribbean musical roots, interests that allowed him to obtain a scholarship to study Afro-Cuban drumming at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana, Cuba in the summer of 2003. While on the East coast, Mr. Valencia was a Percussion Associate Faculty at the Settlement Music School of Philadelphia and performed with several well known latin artists such as Edgar Maldonado (Celia Cruz’s band), Anthony Colon and Orlando Fiol among others. He also played for the Off Broadway show “A Night at the Alhambra Cafe” and made the percussion sub list for “The Lion King”on Broadway. Some of his commercial compositions have been broadcast on television in Norway, Finland, UK and on VH1 channel in the US. He was selected for the cast of the nationally syndicated show “What’s Up Que Pasa”. Mr. Valencia currently performs as a percussionist with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Artosphere Festival Orchestra, Fayetteville Jazz Collective and co-leads the NAMA award winning salsa/latin jazz band Calle Soul.

Chalon Ragsdale, University Professor

Director of Percussion Studies, University of Arkansas


Chalon Ragsdale came to the University of Arkansas in 1975 as Percussion Instructor and Assistant Band Director. He currently serves as Director of Percussion Studies, and Director of the UA Summer Music Camps. From 1990-1998, he was Chair of the UA Department of Music. He has served as Professor of Percussion and as Director of the UA Percussion Ensemble; as Director of the “Razorback” Marching Band; as Director of the UA Concert Band; and from 1989 to 1992 served as Conductor of the UA Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.

The Percussion Ensemble under his direction has performed for audiences at state, regional and national conventions. His private students have won performing honors at the state, regional and national levels of MTNA. He performs as percussionist frequently, and holds the position of solo timpanist with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Ragsdale has received recognition as a music arranger, and is published by Southern Music Company of San Antonio, Texas. His band arrangements featuring percussion have been featured at several CBDNA conventions, and his Tribute to Grainger for Concert Band was chosen for performance on the 1999 Mid-West Clinic.

He earned an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama in 1973 and the Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina in 1975. He served as Director of Instrumental Music in the Tallapoosa County, Alabama school district from 1973-74. He has studied percussion principally with Harold A. Jones, Johnnie Vinson, and Larry Mathis. Professor Ragsdale is sponsored by Innovative Percussion, makers of specialty sticks and mallets.

For More Information About This Event       Chal Ragsdale, University Professor of Percussion – ragsdale@uark.edu

For More Information About Registration     Nastassja Riley, 479-575-6491 or cms@uark.edu