KoSA’s Co-Founders and Directors, Aldo Mazza and his musician wife Dr. Jolán Kovács had excitedly been planning a big celebration for their 25th anniversary. After all, it is not every drum camp that can say that they have successfully educated thousands of participants all around the world for now a quarter of a century! Mazza and Kovács are proud of this accomplishment and especially of the quality of their programs. KoSA offers participants a chance to study in a small intimate setting in personal hands–on classes with such top artists like Steve Gadd, the late Neil Peart, and Bernard Purdie- to name but a few. These artists are not only legendary, but they know how to truly inspire the next generation of drummers who attend the KoSA programs. And then, the world changed in March 2020 and the directors of KoSA had to rethink their planned celebration in a very different way. Determined to “Just Drum On” – which was the theme of this year’s camp – KoSA’s 25th edition was held online this year. Twelve renowned artists delivered their classes on Zoom July 6-10 with great warmth and passion in a carefully-designed educational program.
The week kicked off with Jim Riley’s informative presentation on getting great sound out of the drums as well as creating grooves and fills that serve the song. Aldo Mazza’s classes in Cuban technique and rhythms demonstrated his expertise of this country’s music and traditions. Mazza has spent nearly two decades perfecting his knowledge of these rhythms and his classes focused on his very successful method book on the subject which is distributed by Alfred Music and has just been release digitally by Hudson Music. Bill Bachman followed with a terrific session on “Technique, Musicality & Healthy Hands for the Long Play”. Bachman shared his own personal struggle to relearn to use his hand and arm after suffering a stroke many months ago. His emotional story inspired participants and faculty alike to just keep going in the face of uncontrollable challenges. Later that afternoon, a long-time KoSA faculty alumni, Rick Van Horn joined the line-up offering invaluable advice on using the right tools for the job when considering stands and other hardware, as well as on the safest and most efficient way to lift and transport heavy gear.
The next day, the KoSA camp was graced with the presence of the reputable jazz drummer Mike Clark. Clark, from his home in Manhattan, expertly demonstrated various techniques such as ride cymbal techniques and phrasing, as well as his signature licks on the drum set. Following this great session, Marcus Santos, with his usual abundance of energy, pumped up the Zoom room with his class on different Brazilian instruments and rhythms using a drum pad. The Faculty torch was then passed onto the superbly talented and modest Chester Thompson who gave an amazing class on building independence on the drumset.
More memorable presentations throughout the week were given by Celine Dion’s percussionist, Paul Picard. Picard delivered a tasteful performance at the KoSA Academy recital hall alongside Aldo Mazza on the drums. His classes focused on explaining which percussion sounds and instruments he uses to spice up Celine Dion’s performances and he patiently guided students on the proper techniques of playing certain instruments such as cabassa, shakers, triangles etc. The participants then interacted with the legendary David Garibaldi explaining how he views “Creativity and Process” in his linear drumming style. John Riley continued to fascinate the participants with his class on “Movement and Motivic Development”. While all classes were typically one-hour long, the fascinating thing about this virtual platform is that it allowed faculty to attend each other’s classes which they did with great enthusiasm. This resulted in marathonlike question and answer periods and virtual happy hangs where faculty and participants mingled together. A thrilling result in this virtual camp experiment.
Finally, on the last day, Jim Norris –the well-known publisher of Canadian Musician magazine gave a great and much needed talk on how to set and achieve goals, keep yourself motivated, and constructively deal with setbacks and disappointment. Faculty alumni Allan Molnar’s class was more than timely as he gave advice on creative strategies for online teaching and ensemble performance. Participants then had a chance to use these strategies as they prepared that evening a virtual performance. This concert which was open to the public featured both solo and ensemble performances by both Faculty and participants alike. It also served as a competition for the participants with wonderful prizes to be won by KoSA’s generous sponsors. It was a fitting end to this new way of doing things which may remain with us for a while. As
one young participant from Canada aptly put it: “I was nervous about attending KoSA online as I had such a great experience last year in person, but this year’s camp exceeded my expectations. When there is warmth and passion in teaching, it can transmit through any
medium – Thank-you KoSA!”
Graciously sponsored by : Sabian, Ludwig, Hudson
Music, Pearl, Evans, LP, Gretsch, D’addario Canada, and Alfred. For more information
on all things KoSA, visit us at www.kosamusic.com and at facebook.com/kosamusic