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Percussion Ensembles

Jesse Willis, Director of Percussion Studies

The CCU Percussion Studies Program offers a progressive, 21st century approach to the study and performance of the percussive arts.  The percussion curriculum at Coastal develops musicianship, technical proficiency, cultural awareness and technological literacy in both performance and pedagogy. All percussion majors at CCU receive specialized training in classical, contemporary and commercial musical idioms including orchestral percussion, chamber music, drum set, jazz vibraphone, solo marimba, world percussion and marching percussion.  In addition to artist level private instruction, percussion students enjoy a variety of performance opportunities including wind ensemble, concert band, jazz big band, jazz combo, funk/fusion ensemble, pop music ensemble, percussion ensemble, marching band and world percussion ensemble.


Percussion students at Coastal Carolina University also benefit from living next door of one of the largest resort destinations on the East Coast. The University’s advantageous location provides students with hundreds of professional-level performing and teaching opportunities, which allow our students to make positive professional connections and acquire valuable real world experience, better preparing them for successful careers in a variety of musical fields. For more information about percussion studies at Coastal, please contact Director of Percussion Studies, Jesse Willis at jwillis@coastal.edu.



The CCU Percussion Ensemble is open to both music majors and non-music majors (by audition. As one of the most unique ensembles on the CCU campus, the CCU Percussion Ensemble performs both classic and contemporary literature for percussion. The ensemble has performed at high schools around the state of South Carolina and been invited to perform at the South Carolina Music Educators Conference and the South Carolina Day of Percussion.


The CCU Percussion Ensemble offers a multifaceted educational experience for each student. Every member of the CCU Percussion Ensemble will have the opportunity to perform in a variety of musical settings. Each semester the group performs both large works for percussion orchestra, as well as more intimate chamber pieces.   


Literature that has been programmed in the past includes: “Toccata for Percussion”, “Six Marimbas” by Steve Reich, "Mudra" by Bob Becker, "Crown of Thorns" by David Maslanka, “Kyoto” by John Psathas, “Vespertine Formations” by Christopher Deane, "Stained Glass" by David R. Gillingham, "Marimba Spiritual" by Minoru Miki, "The Doomsday Machine" by Michael Burritt, “Six” by Ivan Trevino, and many more.


Each semester the group has access to several days in the CCU recording Studio. This opportunity provides our students with the opportunity to work in live studio recording session and offers them valuable real world recording experience.  For more information on the CCU Percussion Ensemble, please contact Director of Percussion Studies, Jesse Willis at jwillis@coastal.edu.

 percussion ensemble


Under the direction of Jesse Willis, CalypSamba, The CCU World Percussion Ensemble, has performed at arts festivals, music education conferences and dozens of public schools throughout the state of South Carolina and the Southeastern United States. The ensemble recently won the prestigious Percussive Arts Society World Percussion Ensemble Competition and was invited to perform at PASIC 2015 in San Antonio, TX.


The ensemble is made up of a diverse group of undergraduate students majoring in a variety of different fields. Members of the ensemble have come from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Texas and St. Thomas. During its 13-year history, the ensemble has studied and performed musical styles from Africa, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, India, Cuba and Brazil.


The CCU Steel Pan Ensemble is part of CalypSamba and is one of the most in demand performing ensembles in the music department. Each semester the group performs for important campus events as well as several run-out gigs across Myrtle Beach and the South Carolina resort area known as the Grand Strand. CalypSamba is an integral part of the CCU Music Department, which focuses on providing each student with a culturally and stylistically diverse music education. For more information on the CCU World percussion Ensemble, please contact Director of Percussion Studies, Jesse Willis at jwillis@coastal.edu.

percussion, World Music

CCU “Spirit of the Chanticleer” Drumline and Front Ensemble

The CCU “Spirit of the Chanticleer” Marching Band performs for all home games and is an integral part of the CCU football game-day environment. The Chanticleer Drumline is the heartbeat of the band and provides energy and excitement during the game, for parades and during the group’s halftime performances. The Chanticleer Front Ensemble is similar in instrumentation to a drum corps front ensemble with a variety of keyboard percussion instruments, auxiliary percussion (including drumset), and electronics including guitar, bass guitar, and synthesizer. Members of the Chanticleer Percussion Section are provided with an elite, “drum corps style” marching percussion experience, with emphasis on a high-level of technique and precision. The “SOC” Drumline and Front Ensemble is open to all CCU students by audition. For more information, please contact Director of Percussion Studies, Jesse Willis at jwillis@coastal.edu

 percussion, marching