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The 14th Annual KoSA International Percussion Workshop,Camp & Festival

The KoSA International Percussion Workshop and Festival held its annual drum camp on July 30th to August 2nd at a spectacular new venue: the “KoSA Centre des Arts” (KoSA Centre for
the Arts), located in Montréal, Québec, Canada. KoSA is the brainchild of Montreal percussionist Aldo Mazza, of the world-renown ensemble Répercussion. It has been a fourteen year dream of Aldo’s to house the KoSA Academy – a year-round world-music centre and music school in Montreal – in a venue that would incorporate not only a fully-equipped facility for a music school, but also a mid-size concert hall with state -of-the-art acoustics and lighting. KoSA 14 was a perfect way to inaugurate this new enviable space and the annual event certainly did not disappoint its loyal participants. In fact, the festival created a real buzz with local media, members of the artistic community and the general public.

KoSA’s theme this year: “Get Real!” was about following your convictions and your passions to create your reality. This year’s participants, coming from all over the U.S, the U.K, and Canada, experienced their ultimate dream of intense, hands-on percussion training with some of the finest artists in the world. Only at KoSA can you experience steel pan classes in the morning and then expand your mind with South Indian rhythms and percussion, while in the same day have an intimate drumset class with the legendary Ndugu Chancler!

Other celebrated artists this year at KoSA included: Memo Acevedo (Tito Puente), Pierre Beluse (Montreal Symphony Orchestra), Anne-Julie Caron (Classical marimba soloist), Ndugu Chancler (Michael Jackson), Mario DeCiutiis (Radio City Music Hall), Kenwood Dennard (Sting, George Benson), Dom Famularo (Global Drum Ambassador), Aldo Mazza (Repercussion), Allan Molnar (Nelly Furtado), Giraldo Piloto (Klimax), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Santana, Lionel Ritchie), Jim Royle (Steel Pan Master), Repercussion, Dave Samuels (Spyro Gyra, Caribbean Jazz Project), Trichy Sankaran (South Indian Master), Glen Velez (Paul Winter Consort) and Michael Wimberly (West African Drumming). During the evening performances, these percussion masters were accompanied by Jean St-Jacques (Uzeb) on keyboard and MalletKat and Tim Loftin on bass.

Participants were introduced to different percussion styles in masterclasses, received hands-on instruction during daily workshops and were coached by their idols with our resident rhythm section in the KoSA rhythm section labs.

At KoSA, drumming education and performance extends beyond the classroom, as participants and faculty eat and jam together all day and night. The KoSA faculty also treated participants and the public to three spectacular evening concerts.

On Thursday night, a pre-concert cocktail media event launched the festival and percussion enthusiasts were amazed by incredible performances which showcased the skill and passion of the artists. A highlight of the evening was the mind-blowing performance by the Canadian ensemble “Répercussion” which
celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.

Friday night’s concert included a special homage to the legendary Michael Jackson, and the evening program had the audience dancing and grooving with memorable moments including Kenwood Dennard’s renditions of “The Ghetto” and “Funky Broadway”.

Saturday’s electrifying finale drew a full capacity crowd and featured all KoSA artists, culminating in an original grand finale number which brought the audience members to their feet.

Finally, nightly jam sessions, a KoSA tradition, were expanded into a Sunday evening wind-down jam with faculty, participants and house rhythm section members John Roney on piano and Morgan Moore on bass at Montreal’s premier jazz club, Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill.