KoSA Drum Camp 
24th edition in Montreal with a Star-Studded Faculty!

KoSA’s Founders & Directors, Aldo Mazza and Dr. Jolán Kovács hosted a jam-packed room of beaming participants who came from all over Canada and the United States to attend a little slice of drum “heaven”.

The sold-out event kicked off with Aldo Mazza’s classes in Cuban rhythms where he taught and performed on his unique hybrid drumset. This hybrid performance practice mixed African drumming, Cuban drumming, hand percussion of all types, electronic percussion and looping live in performance. Sergio Bellotti followed with a terrific masterclass on “Musical Coordination Applied to Comping and Soloing”. He motivated students to think musically and stressed the importance of learning repertoire. Later that afternoon, every participants’ dream came true as the one and only Steve Gadd casually walked into the KoSA Academy studio. Steve gave a truly memorable workshop, up close and personal, covering a topic very dear to him and which seemed to be a common theme at KoSA this year: playing musically on the drums. Participants were entranced as he explained in great detail his personal process and his approach. The KoSA directors then surprised Steve with a Lifetime Achievement Award for “…his incredible talent and highly original approach to session and studio drumming which changed history and placed him in a class of his own.” And the icing on the cake: all participants received a complimentary ticket from KoSA to see the Steve Gadd Band at the Montreal International Jazz Festival the following evening. 

On Thursday, the KoSA camp was graced with the presence of Melissa Lavergne – a reputable Quebec-born musician who is the Musical director and co-host of a popular Quebec TV show. Melissa expertly taught the participants djembe rhythms and by the end of the class, even the most uninitiated player became comfortable while having fun. Melissa herself explained that she was a former KoSA student who came to study at the KoSA programs both in Vermont and in Cuba, Now as a first-time faculty, she inspired students to keep learning and attend music camps to grow musically. Participants had a chance to “travel” next to India with McGill University professor, Shawn Mativetsky. Mativetsky explained fascinating Indian rhythm concepts on the tabla and his performance demonstrations blew everyone away. 

On Friday morning, the day began with a very informative session on specific topics dealing with the music profession such as contracting, and the challenges of new technologies (i.e streaming etc) affecting the music profession. The round-table discussion was headed by Aldo Mazza along with Aldo Nova (renown Canadian rock artist, and songwriter) as well as two members of the Canadian Federation of Musicians. Canadian performer and educator, Evan Ritchie also gave a masterclass on the DITI/JamKat by Alternate Mode. The DITI incorporates many “gestures” designed for hand drum playing. Following this informative session, the incomparable Dan Weiss presented his approach to tabla rhythms applied on the drumset while effortlessly maintaining an incredible funk and jazz sound.

On Saturday, the intense drum education sessions continued with the Chair of Percussion at Toronto’s Humber College professor Mark Kelso. Mark’s killer masterclass was entitled: “The Joys of Metronomic Displacement” – a concept of time manipulation that is essential for every musician to learn. The participants then showcased their own passion for drumming on Saturday afternoon in their very own concert open to the public. Each evening the classes consisted of playing with the KoSA rhythm section and getting coached on how to improve their performances. All participants had a chance to play daily in the “rhythm section Labs” and receive constructive critique and perform alongside KoSA’s talented rhythm section: John Roney on piano and Solon McDade on bass. Their top-notch performances that afternoon showed how much they had learnt from all these great masters throughout the week. 

On the last day, Canadian drummer, author, and clinician Stéphane Chamberland joined the KoSA Faculty family for the first time and gave a great clinic on collapsing rudiments. And what a better way to end an amazing week, then with KoSA alumnus faculty Antonio Sanchez! Antonio gave an interactive hands-on workshop on developing creative ideas when soloing. KoSA also honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for “ his great contribution in the world of jazz drumming & composing.” He emotionally accepted this award and encouraged the participants to attend all KoSA programs for the quality of the music education that they receive. A first-time KoSA participant, David Shiller of Toronto, Ontario, agreed with this sentiment as he aptly summed up his experience by saying: “Being immersed in drums all week and learning from such amazing players and educators gave me at least one year of stuff to work on!” That was music to the ears of the founders and directors!