Jon Gill (right) of Grand Bend is a member of the 2010 Zildjian Outstanding Percussion Ensemble of the year (below), and winner of the Zildjian Outstanding Percussionist Award.
As told to Casey Lessard
Photos by Casey Lessard
When we won in 2008, it was the first time in six or seven years that any of our bands had earned gold at nationals. It wasn’t a tradition before, but over four years, we’ve earned seven golds at eight festivals. It’s a legacy of excellence at South Huron.
I still can’t believe it (the individual award). I know a couple of guys who have won it before, and I look up to them as amazing people who I want to be half as good as they are. To be compared to them on a national level, it’s mind-blowing for me.
I wanted to start playing drums in Grade 4, but my parents wouldn’t let me. They got me started on bass guitar, and then I came here to the high school. Mr. (Bob) Robilliard recognized that I had a sense of rhythm, so he gave me a pair of drumsticks and stuck me in the percussion ensemble. It really caught on and I really enjoyed playing. I bought my own drum kit and I started playing a lot.
A lot of us take lessons from Dave Robilliard, and he’s taken that percussion ensemble further than we could have imagined.
I don’t think we could do it without the help of dedicated professionals. It just gives us the real world experience and the ability to go beyond just playing. I’m hoping to be a high school music teacher (attending UWO in the fall), and I want to give back to students what my teachers have given to me.