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David Hall - Percussion


Hello! I have been the Assistant Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist with the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1987. I won the audition in early May of that year a couple of weeks before graduating with a Masters Degree from the Eastman School of Music – lucky me! I say lucky because at that time I didn’t realize that I would be moving to such a great community full of many quality arts organizations, excellent and dedicated musicians, and that I would meet my future wife by chance on February 17th 1988 at Cannonsburg Ski Area!


I’m a native of the historical town of Concord, Massachusetts, home of Henry David Thoreau and birthplace of the American Revolution. I began my journey as a musician there by inheriting my brother’s piano lessons at age 9 (since he wanted to play the trumpet) and drums at age 10 after listening to the Rock opera Godspell. In my early teens I played an authentic rope tensioned snare drum with the neighboring Carlisle Minutemen Fife and Drum Corp and marched every April 19th in the Patriots Day Parade over the Old North Bridge in Concord. I continued that tradition later with the Concord-Carlisle High School Marching Band. My positive musical experiences in high school and a recording of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony, which brought me to tears, convinced me to pursue music as my career.


Another stroke of luck was attending Ithaca College (NY) and studying with marimba virtuoso Gordon Stout. He exposed me to the potential of this beautiful instrument and I’ve had a passion for it ever since. I share this joy with students all over West Michigan performing my Marimbamania! program as part of the GRS Educational Concerts.


What do I do when I’m not performing with the orchestra? These days I’m a bit of a ski junkie! I used to downhill race in New Hampshire during my youth and now try to get out to Colorado twice a year with (or without!) family. I enjoy swimming, and playing tennis with my wife Caroline and two sons, Ben and Evan. I also enjoy playing percussion in the pit for Broadway shows that come through Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo. I have taught at every local college as well as MSU and CMU and currently teach several great kids at my home studio.


My Favorite saying these days: “Mediocrity – it’s everywhere” (Salieri in “Amadeus”)


Pet Peeve: People that talk and don’t listen – like TV hosts and politicians!


Most Memorable moment in the Orchestra: Performing Britten’s War Requiem soon after 9/11


Inspirations: My wife and two sons, my parents, and my colleagues.


Favorite Movie and/or TV Show: Raiders of the Lost Ark


Who would play me in a movie? Clint Eastwood of course!


Bad Habit: Getting things done on time – like this musician profile!


Last book read: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett


Favorite thing about living in Grand Rapids: We have just about everything we need here in GR, including a world-class orchestra, all within a relatively short distance. Let’s keep it that way!


Final thoughts:

Whether it’s only a couple of soft cymbal crashes in a symphony or an entire marimba concerto, I pride myself in giving equal effort to both. I don’t always succeed, and I’m never that critical of myself when I don’t because I know there’s always another day tomorrow, another chance to go for it, another opportunity to make music for a living and touch somebody's heart – pretty lucky I think.

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