Percussion-Palooza is an educational and entertainment event featuring a solo and ensemble competition a week prior to the Illinois state contests and almost a month before the Iowa state contests for snare drum, melodic percussion, multi-percussion and drum set for percussionists in the following levels:
- Middle School (Grades 5-8)
- High School (Grades 9-12)
- Senior (post-secondary)
The emphasis is on performance. The top three preliminary performances in each category at each level receive awards, and the judges’ special merit honorees perform at the Percussion-Palooza Premier Showcase. The Premier Showcase also features formal exhibitions by a number of respected High School and regional percussion ensembles from throughout Northern Illinois and Eastern Iowa.
This event is held in honor of Rock Falls native Louie Bellson (1924-2009). Bellson was a famous percussionist who performed with some of the greatest jazz musicians that ever lived. Some of those musicians include Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. In addition to being a talented drummer, Bellson wrote more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements in a variety of musical styles. You are also able to find many books about drums and percussion written by Bellson. Throughout the events of Percussion Palooza, we wish to emulate the musical spirit of Louie Bellson and inspire those attending to love and enjoy music like he did.