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THUD to End Semester with a Bang

By Bryan S. Erickson, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers (THUD) were formed in 1999, when a small group of percussionists from Harvard’s music groups came together to create a separate ensemble dedicated to exploring percussion with other like-minded concert musicians. Since then, THUD have grown to 13 members and developed their own style that looks beyond concert percussion to popular culture, pop music, and film for inspiration.

On Friday, THUD will be holding their end-of-the-year concert, “THUD World,” which will be a culminating show for the work the ensemble has been rehearsing this semester. The event will be held in Lowell Lecture Hall at 8 p.m. THUD will be performing new material.

“The easiest way to describe THUD is a combination of our two primary influences in mainstream percussion shows, like Blue Man Group and Stomp, which make music with...normal everyday objects like basketballs and brooms and all kinds of crazy stuff. But we also play a lot of arrangements of orchestral pieces or popular tunes on percussion instruments,” Seungjun Kim ’13, one of the assistant directors of THUD, says.

THUD will also perform at Arts First this year, joined by 20 guest drummers. The first performance by the group was at Arts First in 1999. The spirit of the Arts First show, which will take place on April 27, is to demonstrate the breadth and potential of the organization and the talents of its individual drummers, as well as to get the undergraduate student body excited about percussion.

The show will showcase popular pieces from the group’s core repertoire, including their red solo cups arrangement. “We play with eight people around two tables, and it’s kind of our trademark piece because we play it every semester,” Kim says. “It’s kind of what we’ve become known for.” According to Kim, it is surprising that more people haven’t heard or seen their cups routine, given that THUD have performed it at numerous showcases across Harvard, including Pre-Frosh Palooza and Cultural Rhythms. A video of the ensemble performing this piece has been uploaded to YouTube along with recordings of many of their other performances since 2009. This video currently has over 70,000 views.

“I guess our goal is to get [THUD’s popularity] to a point where everyone has heard about us and knows about cups, so it’s not so novel, but rather something that’s symbolic, part of what people talk about when people talk about Harvard music and extracurriculars.”

—Staff writer Bryan S. Erickson can be reached at

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