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MKE Percussion Festival

April 12 April 13

MKE Percussion Festival Promo Image
April 12, 2024 (7:30–9 p.m.)
April 13, 2024 (10 a.m.–6 p.m.)
All AgesZelazo Center for the Performing Artspercussion@uwm.edu

The MKE Percussion Festival brings together percussionists of all ages for a weekend of educational and performance opportunities. Attendees will be able to learn from guest artists about a variety of topics, instruments, techniques, and musical styles related to percussion in addition to listening to, and participating in, performances and workshops. All events are designed to be accessible and inclusive to empower and inspire all participants on their percussive journey.  

Saturday Schedule

All events are free to participate in for those who register.

Saturday, April 13Description
10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.K-12 Student Performances for Clinicians (advanced registration required) 
1:00–2:00 p.m.Dave Bayles Clinic – Jazz Drum Set
2:15–3:35 p.m.Josh Jones Clinic – Redefining Technique
3:45-4:45 p.m.Bony Benavides Clinic – Bomba: Traditional Drumming from Puerto Rico
5:00–5:45 p.m.Showcase Concert

Friday & Saturday Performances

Join us for two public performances as part of the festival activities.

The MKE Mass Steel Band concert is ticketed for audience members. If you are a pan player who owns your own instrument and would like to participate please contact percussion@uwm.edu.

MKE Mass Steel Band Concert
Date & TimeLocation
Friday, April 12, 2024 (7:30–9 p.m.)Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, Bader Hall and Virtual

Steel pan ensembles and individual performers from around Wisconsin and Illinois will come together to form the 2024 MKE Mass Steel Band. Involving over fifty performers, the event will fill the stage with steel pans and feature a lively combination of traditional music and pop transcriptions.

Showcase Concert
Date & TimeLocation
Saturday, April 13, 2024 (5–5:45 p.m.)Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, Bader Hall and Virtual

This final performance of the MKE Percussion Festival features the UWM Percussion Ensembles and selected outstanding K-12 solo and ensemble performers from the morning session.

Tickets are not required for this FREE event.

Guest Artists

Josh Jones

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Josh Jones started hitting things at age 2 and received his first drum set at age 3. Josh began his formal studies in percussion with the Percussion Scholarship Program under the direction of Chicago Symphony member Patricia Dash, and Chicago Lyric Opera member Douglas Waddell. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music from DePaul School of music and was the orchestra fellow of both the Detroit and Pittsburgh symphonies. In 2022, Josh joined the Grant Park Festival Orchestra as Principal Percussionist. Josh has been featured at Carnegie Hall, on radio and television, and has had two short documentaries made about his musical development and experience. He also authored a percussion method book series, “Spatial Studies for Hitting Things”, and writes musical and philosophical blogs on his website, drummojo.com. Josh really enjoys giving back to the community as well as mentoring young musicians and traveling. 

Dave Bayles
David Bayles Headshot

David Bayles is an active performer and educator. David has performed with many jazz greats such as: Richie Cole, Richard Davis, Slide Hampton, Brian Lynch, Frank Mantooth, Jack McDuff, Charles McPherson, Bob Mintzer, Frank Morgan, James Moody, Melvin Rhyne, Kim Richmond, Bobby Shew, Jim Snidero, Marvin Stamm, Phil Woods and more. In addition, David has performed at some of the top jazz clubs and festivals throughout the United States including, The Chicago International Jazz Festival, Chicago Shore Chicago Jazz Festival. Smalls, Django’s, Café Bohemia (New York City, Chris’ Jazz Club (Philadelphia) and many more. 

David has recorded extensively for the Hal Leonard Music Publishing Corporation-jazz education series. David’s latest recording; Dave Bayles Trio; Live at The Uptowner- Calligram records was released in November 2023. 

David is Associate Lecture of Music at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is the director of the university’s Jazz Ensemble as well as the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Orchestra and jazz combos. Additionally, David teaches percussion at UW-Parkside and is a faculty member of the Milwaukee Jazz Institute. David is an artist/clinician for the Yamaha Musical Instrument Corporation and the Zildjian Cymbal Company.  

Bony Benavides
Bony Benavides HEADSHOT

Bony Benavides is a native of Bogotá, Colombia. She started playing percussion at her school’s ensembles of Afro-Cuban and traditional Colombian music at the age of 13, under the guidance of maestros Gustavo Gonzalez and Jorge Reyes. She also studied with Cuban percussionist Fran Calzadilla. Once in the United States, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a concentration on Percussion Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where she studied with David Bayles. In May 2008, she finished her Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology at Arizona State University. Her thesis research focused on the popularization of Gaita Music, a musical tradition of Northern Colombia. While at ASU, Ms. Benavides studied with African music scholar Mark Sunkett and percussionist Dom Moio. In addition to her work at Bembé Drum and Dance, Ms.Benavides currently teaches for Milwaukee Public Schools as a Percussion Traveling Music Teacher. She has also taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and Concordia University. 

One of her latest passions is the tradition of Bomba from Puerto Rico. Her mentors include Cecilio Negron Jr, Julio Pabon, Beto Torrens, Rafa Maya, and Ivelisse Diaz. She was one of the featured drummers (subidora/primo player) at the Encuentro de Tambores 2023 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where she performed with the Delegation of the Diaspora under the direction of Ivelisse Diaz. Ms. Benavides keeps a busy schedule as a free-lance percussionist, performing regularly with groups like De La Buena, Samba Da Vida MKE, Caña Brava, The Carlos Adames Group, and Eric Jacobson Quartet, among others. 


To participate in the solo and ensemble performance opportunity, K-12 students must register by Saturday, April 6 to receive a time slot. All other Saturday attendees should register to attend, and are encouraged to do so beforehand. There is no deadline and registrations can be done onsite the day of the event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I bring my sticks and mallets? How about ear plugs?

Yes! We encourage you to bring some sticks and mallets as there may be opportunities to play throughout the day. It also never hurts to have hearing protection handy just in case it is needed to maintain a healthy environment.

Can I register if I don’t live in Wisconsin?

Absolutely – the MKE Percussion Festival is open to everyone!

Can I participate if I can only be there for part of the time?

Yes, you can attend as much of the MKE Percussion Festival as you like.

Does it cost anything?

No! the MKE Percussion Festival is completely free to attend — we just ask that you register beforehand or at least onsite the day of the event.

2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211