UND Music student reaches semifinals in international marimba competition

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News Article

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College of Arts & Sciences


Paul Millette is one of only 13 undergrads to quality for the event, which kicks off today in Oklahoma City

University of North Dakota music student Paul Millette was recently named one of only 13 undergraduate students to reach the semifinals for the Great Plains International Marimba Competition (GPIMC), which is taking place now in Oklahoma City.

“As percussionists, the marimba provides for creative solo expression,” said Millette, a native of Carson City, Nev., who practices up to five hours each day on the instrument. “The marimba is the best voice we have, as a soloist, to perform on our own.”

The marimba is a percussion instrument, similar in appearance to a xylophone, with wooden bars and metal resonators to produce a myriad tones. Performers use two or four mallet grips, the latter allowing them to play harmonized chords.

“Playing the marimba has taught me a number of things,” said Millette who has been playing since the beginning of high school. “It has taught me discipline, the value and rewards of hard work, time management, how to effectively communicate musically to an audience and many more.”

The GPIMC, which kicked off today at the University of Oklahoma and runs through Saturday, is judged by some of the most prestigious marimbists in the United States and receives entries worldwide. The winner of the GPIMC receives $1,500 prize, a finalist plaque, a recording of their final performance and merchandise from the competition’s sponsors.

Regardless of how competitors place, all will receive feedback from judges.

“It’s a great way to improve, and a great way to meet others who are as passionate about this niche art form,” said Millette.