Spotlight on Josh Parker

03.31.2014 | Fine Arts

By Liz Rosevear '14

If you have been to a football game this year, then chances are you have seen this guy. No, not playing football, but playing something a little more unique: the tenor drums. Josh Parker, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, is a member of the Pride of Dayton Marching Band and percussion extraordinaire.

Parker hails from St. Mary’s, Ohio, about an hour north of Dayton. Since fourth grade, music has been a major part of his life. Both his grandmother and sisters are musically talented and this trait has seemed to rub off on Parker; he started taking piano lessons at the age of nine and one year later was already playing percussion in the elementary school band. Fast forward to high school where Parker not only played in marching band all four years, but also performed in his school’s choir and at various churches on the weekends.

The University of Dayton offers a wide variety of musical groups to join, one of the most popular being the Pride of Dayton Marching Band (or POD). In addition to performing during halftime at every Flyers home football game and one away game, they also perform on the local, regional and national level. Parker has been a part of POD for the last two years, his first year playing the bass drum (that really big drum that looks impossibly heavy) and his second year playing the tenors (the set of drums that looks impossibly complicated to play).

On top of POD in the fall semester, he is also involved with Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble and a small percussion quartet. The craziest part? He plays a different percussion instrument for each of these groups.

“It’s a new experience each time. One performance I may be playing for the entire song, and the next time I could play one cymbal crash,” Parker says.

It would be assumed that someone so involved with music would be a music major…or an engineering major? Parker, who switched to mechanical engineering this semester, started off studying music education.

“I was looking into both majors coming into freshmen year, but decided mechanical engineering was more for me,” Parker says. The great thing about the music groups at UD is that you do not have to be majoring in music to be a part of them. For people like Parker, who still want music to be a part of his life even if it’s not what he’s studying, UD gives him the opportunity to do so.

Parker says he enjoys sharing his passion for music with those younger than him, so the past few summers he has worked with his high school marching band during band camp and. Even after he graduates, Parker hopes to continue this passion by becoming more involved with the Dayton community and giving back through music.

Parker says that the best part of playing music is the connections that are made with people.

“When I started marching band here at UD, I immediately had 150 new friends that are going to be friends for life,” he says.

After reading about Parker’s percussion skills, it’s time to see him play. Parker, along with the Percussion Ensemble and many other talented student groups, will be performing at this year’s Celebration of the Arts. I’m sure we can expect his mom to be there since she comes to almost all of his performances!

Celebration of the Arts takes place on Tuesday, April 1, at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Pre-show activities begin at 6:30 p.m. and the main show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are free but required. Tickets for UD students, faculty and staff are available at the Kennedy Union Box Office with a valid University ID. Tickets for the general public are available by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or online at www.ticketcenterstage.com. For more information visit stander.udayton.edu.

Liz Rosevear is a senior public relations and marketing student at the UD who has always had a passion for the arts and learning about other people’s talents and interests. She’s an event planning/programming sssistant at ArtStreet and the promotions manager for Flyer Radio. Through these positions she’s had the chance to get to know many creative students and give back to the arts community that has inspired her the last four years. When she’s not working at ArtStreet, she’s dancing with the UD Irish Dance Club. Writing student profiles gives her the chance to put the spotlight on students who are passionate, but who are also paving their own way in the arts world.